Amateur Radio News

The Hurricane Watch Network: Another Way for Hams to Help Out

The Hurricane Watch Network (HWN) is a ham-run organization that safeguards communities against the threat of hurricanes. The network activates when a system reaches hurricane status, is within 30 miles of a populated landmass, or if advised to do so by the National Hurricane Center.

Comprised completely of volunteer members who are experienced net control operators, this is not an organization known for accepting novice hams, but instead draws in many Elmers who come from military or MARS backgrounds. All members and stations are located in the United States, Canada, Central America, and the Caribbean.

One of the primary purposes of the HWN is to disseminate tropical cyclone advisory information to island communities and coastal areas. Net operators at HWN also collect observed or measured data from everyday hams (a great way to help out without becoming a member) in storm-affected areas and collect data about post-storm damage to communicate back to the National Hurricane Center using amateur radio station WX4NHC. When activated, the HWN can be found on 14.325 MHz (USB) by day and 7.268 MHz (LSB) by night. When not active, you can hear updated information on 14.300.00 MHz (USB).

Tracking hurricanes can be a tricky business, and the HWN is always looking for hams of all skill levels to help out by providing eyewitness reports and measured data from impacted areas. Since the organization is so widespread, sometimes the only people able to collect relevant lifesaving information are independent hams operating out of at-home shacks who live in the storm-affected areas—but these hams can and do save lives. If you live in an area frequented by hurricanes and are interested in collecting and observing data from storm systems, you can visit the WX4NHC website to download a Hurricane Weather Report Form to use as you collect data that could very easily save lives.

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