National Weather Service United States Department of Commerce

NOAA Weather Radio station WXJ-76 in Champaign, serving east central Illinois on a frequency of 162.550 MHz, remains out of service. Here is the latest update:

Status Update: April 2, 2021

Where are we now in the process of getting the weather radio back online? What’s next? 

Here are the steps we are going through to resume broadcasting on the Champaign NOAA Weather Radio:

  • WHERE WE ARE NOW: The lease with a new tower location (WCIA-TV tower) for Champaign NOAA Weather Radio has been agreed to and signed.
     
  • A structural analysis is planned to be completed by April 9th to ensure the tower location (WCIA-TV) can support our NOAA Weather Radio Transmitter antenna and associated equipment. Once the structural analysis is done, we will then execute the lease with the tower owner.
     
  • Once the lease is executed, technicians will travel to Champaign and install the transmitter. The installation of the antenna and coaxial cable on the tower will also be scheduled with a tower climbing crew according to their schedule and the weather.
     
  • There is no estimated date for a return to service yet. However, this will be coming SOON. Typically, the structural analysis, testing and installation of all of the broadcast equipment takes a total of 6 to 8 weeks after the lease is signed. However, MANY factors can influence this timeline, so an estimated return to service date won't be determined until more information regarding the last few steps is available.

We will provide the next status update of the progress of the Champaign NOAA Weather Radio transmitter relocation as more information is available in mid to late April 2021.  
 

Why is it taking so long? 

NOAA needed to find a site - and a lease agreement - that meets our technical, legal, and financial requirements. The antenna and associated equipment needs to be on a tower at least 400 feet tall to provide the level of service that was in place for nearly 40 years before the weather radio went off the air. In addition, a potential lessor (tower owner) will have their own technical, legal and financial requirements.

While we continue through the process, we encourage residents to have multiple ways to receive a warning including enabling wireless emergency alerts on your mobile phone, monitoring local broadcast media, and using trusted weather applications on your mobile phone.
 

Why is the weather radio no longer broadcasting? 

The NOAA Weather Radio servicing the Champaign, IL area, including the campus of the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana, went offline on February 13, 2020. A damaged coaxial cable caused repeated outages and finally a full service outage. During the service restoration process, the previous tower space lease was cancelled by the owner, and thus a new transmitter location was required. A new tower location is being sought for a replacement transmitter and to increase reliability of the service in the future.

 

How are residents of Eastern IL supposed to receive warnings if the NOAA Weather Radio is down? 

While NOAA Weather Radio is one of the most reliable weather warning tools available, we strongly advise residents to have multiple means of receiving key weather information, whenever possible. This includes ensuring Wireless Emergency Alerts are enabled on your mobile phone, monitoring local broadcast media, and using trusted weather applications on your mobile phone.

 

Warning information for Champaign and Piatt Counties is temporarily being broadcast on the Springfield NOAA Weather Radio station (WXJ-75, 162.400 MHz) in order to facilitate distribution over the Emergency Alert System (for local radio and TV stations to forward to the public). 

We HIGHLY recommend that people have multiple ways to receive weather warnings and information.  Forecasts, watches and warnings for Central Illinois can also be found on:

  • NWS Lincoln webpage:   http://www.weather.gov/Lincoln
     
  • Mobile devices:   mobile.weather.gov
     
  • Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/NWSLincoln
     
  • Twitter:   https://twitter.com/NWSLincolnIL
     
  • AlertSense: A service provided by Champaign County can relay emergency alerts and weather warnings via text message to cell phones or email to any email address. These alerts are provided free of charge, however standard text messaging rates and other charges may apply. To sign-up, go to: http://www.champaigncountyema.org/
     
  • Smart Phones:    Most smart phone users receive Tornado Warnings and Flash Flood Warnings from the National Weather Service through the Wireless Emergency Alerts technology provided by nearly all cell phone providers. This feature is enabled on most cellular devices, with no setup or software to download. The emergency messages are broadcast through cell towers at no cost to the consumer.

Several nearby NOAA Weather Radio transmitters also serve portions of the WXJ-76 listening area. None of these cover Champaign County (fringes of the county may receive a signal at times, but not reliable enough to use warning alarm tones). Maps are available by county (click images to enlarge), or by looking at the table below the maps (the table lists which counties are covered by these other transmitters). Only the channel number needs to be changed on your radio receiver. Your county number will not change (though if you have multiple counties programmed into your receiver, some may not be available on the new transmitter). 

Champaign County alternate transmitters
Champaign County
Coles County alternate transmitters
Coles County
De Witt County alternate transmitters
De Witt County
Douglas County alternate transmitters
Douglas County
Edgar County alternate transmitters
Edgar County
Ford County alternate transmitters
Ford County
Moultrie County alternate transmitters
Moultrie County
Piatt County alternate transmitters
Piatt County
Vermilion County alternate transmitters
Vermilion County

 

 

Station Frequency Counties Included
KXI-46 (Shelbyville) 162.500 MHz (Channel 5) Moultrie
KXI-47 (Paris) 162.525 MHz (Channel 6) Coles, Douglas, Edgar
KXI-86 (Crescent City) 162.500 MHz (Channel 5) Ford (except southwest), Vermilion (north)
KZZ-27 (Newport, IN) 162.425 MHz (Channel 2) Vermilion (central and south)
KZZ-65 (Bloomington) 162.525 MHz (Channel 6) De Witt, Macon (northeast), Piatt (north and central)
WXJ-75 (Springfield) 162.400 MHz (Channel 1) De Witt (southwest)
WXK-24 (Odell) 162.450 MHz (Channel 3) Ford (except southeast)