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About Skywarn™...
The National Weather Service modernized during the 1990s, with technological advances and employee training greatly improving the warning process.
While changes have taken place, some things have remained the same. Skywarn™ has been around for several decades, and is valuable when severe weather threatens.
Each year, the value of this program is celebrated during Skywarn™ Recognition Day.
Skywarn™ Recognition Day
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The National Weather Service (NWS), in cooperation with the Amateur Radio Relay League, sponsored Skywarn™ Recognition Day from 6 pm CST on December 3rd to 6 pm CST on December 4th, 2021. The purpose of the event was to recognize the vital public service contribution that amateur radio operators make during NWS severe weather warning operations.


In the picture: Skywarn™ Recognition Day is an opportunity to give thanks to HAM radio operators.

In past years, the event was held more often than not at the NWS office in North Little Rock (Pulaski County). A special radio call sign...WX5LZK...was assigned to the HAMs, and they attempted to reach as many other weather offices as possible and other participating contacts around the world. Weather conditions (including sky condition and temperature) were documented for each contact.

Due to restrictions associated with COVID-19, the rules changed. HAMs could not assemble at the usual location, and had to reach out from remote locations (such as their homes).


Spotters in Arkansas and surrounding states were hard at work during Skywarn™ Recognition Day, 2021 (plotted on a map as of 400 pm CST on 12/04/2021).
In the picture: Spotters in Arkansas and surrounding states were hard at work during Skywarn™ Recognition Day, 2021 (plotted on a map as of 400 pm CST on 12/04/2021).

While we couldn't bring HAMs together in one room, we still wanted to take the time to thank them. What they do is a passion, and give their time and use of their equipment as a public service. If you're not familiar with what they do exactly, keep reading.



In the picture: HAM radio operators set up equipment for Skywarn™ Recognition Day during the afternoon of 12/06/2019.

In actual emergencies, the HAMs are often called upon for their radio skills. For example, during severe weather outbreaks, HAMs operate a base station at the NWS to gather reports of severe weather across Arkansas. Watches, warnings, and statements are broadcast from the base station to HAMs around the state.


In the picture: HAM radio operators were busy at work communicating with the outside world for Skywarn™ Recognition Day during the evening of 12/06/2019.

In cases of widespread communications outages, the HAMs can also serve as a vital link when normal communication circuits are out of service.



Such outages often occur following large scale episodes such as ice storms, hurricanes, and when one or more destructive tornadoes are spawned. In such situations, HAMs can provide valuable information to the NWS that would otherwise not be available.

During the second most active hurricane season in 2005 (storms such as Katrina and Rita), HAMs supplied such services to NWS offices adjacent to the Gulf Coast.



For more about Skywarn™, visit our Skywarn™ page by clicking here.

For more information concerning Skywarn™ Recognition Day...visit the official event homepage by clicking here.