Learn about the NOAA weather channels, where you can pick them up and how to tune in with your two-way radio. This quick-to-read article will give you the instructions you need to be fully informed about Weather Service watches, warnings, forecasts and emergencies. An NOAA-equipped device is a "must have" when you're out hiking, camping, skiing and for businesses that regularly operate outdoors.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is a scientific agency that's part of the U.S. Department of Commerce. They report on ocean and atmospheric conditions and warn of dangerous weather approaching. Their nationwide radio station network, NOAA Weather Radio All Hazards (NWR), broadcasts continuously 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, issuing reports on all types of hazards, including natural disasters (avalanches, earthquakes), environmental disasters (oil spills and chemical releases) and public safety issues (such as 911 telephone outages, AMBER alerts or a terrorist attack). They work with the Federal Communication Commission's (FCC) Emergency Alert System to be the single trusted source for all weather and emergency bulletins. Their extensive network of transmitters covers the entire U.S.
How Can I Listen to NOAA Weather Radio?
To listen to these important broadcasts, you'll need a special receiver or scanner than can pick up the stations. The NOAA weather radio band can be found in standalone receivers designed to receive these specific frequencies, and in multi-band receivers such as AM/FM radios, CB radios, shortwave receivers, VHF marine radios, scanners, car radios and GMRS/FRS two-way radios.
NOAA stations broadcast in the VHF public service band and are found at these 7 frequencies (in MHz): 162.400, 162.425, 162.450, 162.475, 162.500, 162.525 and 162.550. Whether or not a two-way radio has built-in NOAA weather stations which will be indicated in the product's details. To tune in to a weather channel, it's typically as easy as pushing a single button, but this may vary between models. Check your owner's manual for details. Channels 1 through 7 are the weather radio channels. Depending on your model of radio, a particular weather channel frequency will be assigned to a certain channel.
Is My Area Covered by NOAA Weather Radio?
To see the coverage in your particular region, see the NOAA Weather Radio All Hazards coverage map. They also provide a station listing by state, county coverage listing and transmitter search. Typing in your city or state and then clicking on the location on the map will bring up the transmitters in the area. Once you know the transmitter's frequency, you can find which channel on your radio is programmed to it and then activate that channel according to your radio's instructions.
Why the NOAA Weather Radio Network is So Important
For keeping all your family members and friends on a road trip or hiking adventure informed of an approaching storm, landslide or local flooding, a walkie-talkie system with NOAA radio stations is invaluable. It can be literally life-saving, in the event of an earthquake or a hurricane, and at the very least, knowing about a major tie-up due to a large-scale emergency can save valuable time that would otherwise be spent stuck in traffic. It's a feature that's even available on less expensive models, making them not just a smart but also an easy decision!