Fort Wayne hams volunteer to program weather radios

Amatuer (ham) radio operator Steve Haxby, N9MEL, helps a citizen program a weather alert radio
Amateur (ham) radio operator Steve Haxby, N9MEL, helps a citizen program a weather alert radio

Six Fort Wayne amateur radio operators spent several hours May 23 assisting residents with their NOAA Weather Radio (NWR) receivers.

Tom Baker, N9TB; Jay Farlow, W9LW; Steve Haxby, N9MEL; Joseph Lawrence, K9RFZ; Steve Nardin, W9SAN; and Howard Pletcher, N9ADS worked alongside representatives of WANE TV, the Allen County Office of Homeland Security and the National Weather Service at the Walgreens store on Lower Huntington Road to configure NWR receivers.

Volunteers assured that the receivers’ specific area message encoding (SAME) and receive frequency settings were correct, so users would receive warnings that the NWS issues for their home counties.

WANE TV had promoted the three-hour event, which was duplicated at other locations in the TV station’s market area. The Office of Homeland Security estimates that 100 citizens were assisted.

As Joseph put it, the event “was an excellent example of cooperation between local weather personalities, NWS staff, DHS, and amateur radio operators to support our community. Good PR for amateur radio can go a long way in protecting ham radio bands from public utility spectrum grabs.”

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