National Weather Service United States Department of Commerce

Be prepared for bad weather -- buy a NOAA Weather Radio!

 

Reporting a Transmitter Problem

Do you have a comment about the NWR broadcast from one of the transmitters listed below?

Baltimore-Washington Forecast Office broadcasts over 8 transmitters:
Baltimore (Pikesville) MD -- KEC-83 on 162.400 MHz at 1000 Watts
Hagerstown (Clear Springs) MD -- WXM-42 on 162.475 MHz at 1000 Watts
Manassas (Independence Hill) VA -- KHB-36 on 162.55 MHz at 1000 Watts
Moorefield WV -- WXM-73 on 162.400 MHz at 500 Watts
Frostburg MD -- WXM-43 on 162.425 MHz at 300 Watts
Charlottesville (Covesville) VA -- KZZ-28 on 162.450 MHz at 1000 Watts
Washington DC -- WNG-736 on 162.450 MHz at 300 Watts (fully commissioned as of June 6, 2011)
Fredericksburg VA -- WZ-2527 on 162.425 MHz at 300 Watts

 

Links to additional information

School NOAA Weather Radio Program & setup information
National  NOAA Weather Radio Page
Radio Codes by State and County (FIPS)
What Messages are Toned on the radio
List of counties toned for each transmitter 
NWR Broadcast Service Map

 

NOAA All Hazards Weather Radio Receiver Recalls

 

For information on Weather Radio receiver recalls, go to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission web site and search for "Radios Weather".

 

What's new with NOAA Weather Radio?

NOAA Weather Radio broadcasts weather information 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, direct from the National Weather Service. It is the fastest way to receive weather warnings and information. Tone-alert radios can wake you at night or alert you when television or other radios are not turned on that hazardous weather is headed your way. Weather radios should be in every home and facility much like smoke detectors now are. NOAA Weather Radio saves lives!

 


When does your office conduct its weekly NOAA Weather Radio alert test?

Every Wednesday between 11 am and Noon is the test of the NOAA Weather Radio tone-alert system and the SAME alert system. This is true all across the country. You can take your NOAA Weather Radio with you on vacations and business trips. The test is received by the specially built NOAA Weather Radios with the tone-alert and/or the SAME-alert features. People purchasing these radios should use the test to ensure that their radios are functioning properly. Tests of the NOAA Weather Radio warning system will be canceled in situations were hazardous weather and warnings are already present in your listening area or are expected in the next couple hours.

 


Answers to other common questions:

  1. Streaming Audio: There are sites that people post their live feeds to on the internet. They can be found by search engine. People have asked if we will could make it so that they can listen to our NOAA Weather Radio broadcasts over the internet. Some National Weather Service Offices have made this available to internet users.  The local Baltimore-Washington Office uses the same web server on which the NWS national web pages resides.  To set up streaming audio, we would have to have a dedicated, live feed to the server. This would be extremely expensive. If , at some time in the future, we move our web page to a server located at our office, then we could do the internet broadcast and would be excited about providing that service.
  2. My Weather Radio no longer picks up your broadcast: The majority of NOAA Weather Radios work flawlessly for the first few years. Some radios using analog technology will stray with time from the frequency that they are tuned to. You may need to decide whether to buy a new radio or take this one in for repairs. However, other things could also be causing this problem. Try moving the radio around to other locations and see if it begins picking up the signal again. Nearby development and other wireless systems in your area may be creating some interference. You might need a stronger antenna or an exterior antenna for your radio. If you decide that it is time to purchase a new radio, see if the seller of the radio will let you test it at your location and return it for a full refund if it does not work. Prices for NOAA Weather Radios range from $17 to $90 and the reliability can vary based on the quality of the radio, the distance you are from the transmitter, and any other outside interference.
  3. My Weather Radio no longer picks up your alerts: Our alert system is tested every Wednesday. Every once in a while there may be a problem with the Wednesday test and people who monitor this quickly alert us so we can correct it. So if you have only missed one alert, it could be our problem, if you are missing multiple alerts, it is your radio's problem and you should read #2 above. If you are using a SAME radio (see discussion in NWR 2000 section above), it needs a clear digital burst to decode the message and any interference may limit your ability to receive it.
  4. Could there be a problem with your transmitter?  Yes. Our Manassas transmitter is closely monitored by our office and people outside our office. We are usually quickly informed of any problems. However, it is harder for us to monitor our other transmitters. If you listen to our Hagerstown, Moorefield, or Baltimore transmitters and have noticed a slow deterioration in the broadcast quality or a problem that has lasted longer than several hours, then call or e-mail us so we can look into it. Be sure to include where your radio is (what town), what transmitter or frequency you listen to, when the problem developed and what it is, what model radio you are using, and a phone number that we can contact you at to help us solve the problem.  One problem that for brief periods will affect your reception if you are more than 20 miles from the transmitter occurs whenever the transmitter powers down.  If the broadcast from our office is lost for a few minutes, the power momentarily goes out, or we have to switch to our backup transmitter (on the same tower), the transmitter goes on low power. For some of our older transmitters (Hagerstown & Moorefield), this means that it is broadcasting at 100 Watts versus 1000 Watts and it takes 45 minutes for the transmitter to warm back up to full power. While it is on low power it emits a beeping sound in the background of the broadcast.

We ask you to help support us with your comments and ideas to make NWR a timely and accurate source of weather information that you can trust.  Send your comments to Amy Bettwy@noaa.gov.