National Weather Service United States Department of Commerce

Ham Radio page


The National Weather Service Chicago (LOT) operates Amateur Radio Station WX9LOT for the purposes of passing SKYWARN related traffic into and out of the NWS office. The goal of the Amateur Radio Team at the NWS is to provide a reliable 100% Amateur Radio path to the NWS during severe weather events.


process of how NWS received weather reports from spotters

The LOT weather forecast area is very large and diverse ranging from densely populated urban areas to lightly populated rural areas. Due to the unique nature of the LOT WFO, it is not possible to have a single means of amateur radio to serve the entire area. Because of this the Ham Team monitors a combination of VHF and UHF repeater systems to gather reports from SKYWARN operations. The team evaluates and revises the systems it monitors on a regular basis to ensure the needs of the WFO are met despite the changing amateur radio landscape.


The NWS has designated several repeater systems as Primary Liaisons for LOT. This means that the NWS will always monitor these systems when severe weather is in their area. Liaison systems are chosen by a combination of factors. They must cover a large geographical area as accessed by a moderate base-type station (NOT mobile or portable coverage), have backup power or facilities, have regular SKYWARN net activity, and maintain regular contact with the Ham Team. Smaller non-primary net operations are encouraged to relay their significant reports to the NWS through these Primary Liaison systems.




Repeater Map



The WX9LOT Ham Team appreciates the cooperation and efforts all the amateur radio operators and systems that participate in SKYWARN operations and help us to provide real-time ground reports to the NWS.