The Hurricane Watch Net (HWN) has been in operation since the morning of September 27, 2022, as Hurricane Ian swept across Cuba and headed toward Florida’s Gulf Coast. The HWN continues to operate on both 14.325 and 7.268 MHz as propagation permits. The 20-meter net resumed at 8:00 AM Eastern Time on Thursday, September 29, and will continue until further discussion and conditions warrant closing-down the net.
At 5 AM EDT on Thursday, the National Hurricane Center (NHC) reported that Ian is now a tropical storm located 40 miles southeast of Orlando, Florida, with maximum sustained winds of 65 mph. Ian is moving toward the northeast near 8 mph, and is still expected to produce strong winds, heavy rains, and storm surge across portions of Florida, Georgia, and the Carolinas. “On the forecast track, the center of Ian is expected to move off the east-central coast of Florida later today and then approach the coast of South Carolina on Friday. The center will move farther inland across the Carolinas Friday night and Saturday,” included the report.
As the storm moves toward the Atlantic, and then back into the coastal states, the focus of the HWN will change to receiving damage reports for the National Hurricane Center, handling messages for Emergency Operation Centers, and other agencies. The HWN will also assist Salvation Army SATERN Net partners to move health and welfare communications traffic out of the affected areas.
“We appreciate the cooperation of amateur operators and nets in allowing us clear frequencies to make these important contacts as Florida and the southern states work to recover,” said HWN Assistant Net Manager Stan Broadway, N8BHL.
The HWN disseminates the latest advisories issued by the National Hurricane Center in Miami, Florida. The net also obtains real-time ground-level weather conditions and initial damage assessments from amateur radio operators in the affected area and relays that information to the NHC by way of WX4NHC, and when required, the Canadian Hurricane Centre.
Amateur radio operators who want to monitor or participate in the hurricane nets should visit these two useful and informative links:
ARRL News previously reported that the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) granted an ARRL emergency request for a 60-day temporary waiver intended to facilitate amateur radio emergency communications for hurricane relief. The waiver was adopted on Tuesday, September 27, 2022, and immediately permitted amateur radio operators supporting amateur data transmission for Hurricane Ian traffic to employ a higher symbol rate for data transmissions than the current limit of 300 baud (read the complete story at https://www.arrl.org/news/fcc-grants-an-arrl-emergency-request-to-permit-higher-data-rate-transmissions-for-hurricane-relief-c).