Using Amateur Radio For Storm Spotters


The Storm Spotters Checklist handout provided by the National Weather Service (NWS) includes a sub-section titled "SKYWARN Reporting Methods" "Amateur Radio: WX5FWD" is at the top of the list.

From time to time we are asked to provide details about using amateur radio for storm spotter activity such as methods,frequencies, repeaters, or local storm spotter groups. The web site attempts to provide some of this information on various pages. Hopefully, this brief page will help organize and reference this information.

You become a trained storm spotter by attending storm spotter training. Trained storm spotters are very important for timely and accurate weather warnings. Despite the rapid advance of weather forecast technology, such as weather RADAR, storm spotters are critical to know what is actually occurring at a particular location. Weather RADAR does not report ground level details. The NWS provides storm spotter training information and schedules on their web page


While not required for storm spotters, Amateur Radio is a very useful method for storm spotters to communicate information to local emergency management and the NWS warning forecasters in a timely manner. Amateur radio storm spotter transmissions may be monitored in real time by emergency management, forecasters and liaisons, such as the net control operators and the WX5FWD radio desk team.

Amateur radio operators must obtain a license from the Federal Communication Commission (FCC). The licensing education requirements are not difficult. There are many local clubs and organizations that provide amateur radio license education. A good place for licensing information and amateur radio is on the Amateur Radio Relay League (ARRL) web site Despite the word "Amateur" in our Amateur adio service name, there is nothing amateur about storm spotters using the service.

Important storm spotter radio operating guidelines and etiquette are found on the Guidelines web page. New or experienced amateur radio operators may avoid some common mistakes or issues by reviewing the information on this page. Local storm spotter groups may have their own guidelines and requirements.


If you attended storm spotter training for north Texas, you likely have seen the county warning area (CWA) map or list of 46 counties covered by the Fort Worth NWS forecast office. Volunteer Amateur radio storm spotter groups exist in many of these 46 counties. These storm spotter groups cooperate with their local emergency management office as well as the NWS warning forecasters. We urge storm spotters to become members of organized spotter groups recognized by their local emergency management. Contact your local emergency management office to request information on local volunteer storm spotter groups they may utilize. The county judge is the head of emergency management for each county Also, local Amateur radio clubs listed on the ARRL web site may provide contact information for clubs in your area involved with storm spotters.

The web site publishes a list of counties and known storm spotter amateur radio frequencies on our web site at Please become associated with and support the storm spotter groups providing these repeaters.

In addition to local amateur radio repeaters and frequencies, the WX5FWD NWS radio desk team may monitor linked repeaters and other amateur radio systems available across multiple counties. These may include the following amateur radio systems:

Radio Over Internet Protocols
  • North Central Texas Connection (NCTC) linked repeater system
  • Wide area coverage repeaters and remote bases, including those on Rosston tower located in southwest Cooke county, or the N5ZXJ 145.310 MHz repeater and EchoLink system located in Falls county.
  • Area repeaters or storm spotters utilizing the Internet Radio Linking Project (IRLP), EchoLink, Allstar or other linked amateur radio systems. WX5FWD radio desk team members may connect via Radio over Internet (RoIP) to local systems directly to monitor spotters. However, any storm spotter may connect to our storm spotter RoIP conference systems. They include the IRLP special conference node 0010, EchoLink conference *WX5FWD* (372418), Allstar HUB node 516220. These three systems are usually cross connected and may be connected to other storm spotter repeater nodes. See