Severe weather emergency communications

Tornado spotted near Wausau, WI May 24, 2012

Tornado spotted near Wausau, WI May 24, 2012

On Thursday May 22 a confirmed tornado was sighted within the city limits of the Wausau, WI area. Fortunately the EF-0 tornado only had a five mile path and caused minimal damage and no injuries as it skipped along the countryside. This weather event could have been worse if it weren’t for the network of trained storm spotters that activated on Thursday afternoon in anticipation for this event.

Emergency communications played a vital role in this event. Our storm spotter crew are all amateur radio operators. We have a direct radio link with the area National Weather Service office so that we can relay timely information to them about severe weather. We are located about ninety miles from the closest NWS doppler radio, so ground truth is vitally important to the weather service in verifying what they see on radar.

Kenwood Tm-281 TM-V7a j-pole antenna kb9vbr review

My net control station during severe weather. Not pictured are the two computers for radar and net logging

What does this have to do with antennas? Our J-Pole antennas factor highly in severe weather deployments. As I was net control for the event, I was monitoring three radios. The main radio I was using, the Kenwood TM-281 was connected to my new 2 meter Slim Jim antenna. We had another operator running traffic between myself and the NWS on his J-Pole antenna. These antennas took quite a beating as the 60mph wind gusts from the frontal boundary hit our community.

Emergency Communications require a good, strong signal. That’s why I rely on a good radio and a solid, reliable antenna like the KB9VBR 2 meter J-Pole antenna.