Severe weather can strike at any time, day or night. You may not be listening to broadcast radio or watching television when a weather alert is issued. But you can keep informed of changing weather conditions by keeping a NOAA all hazards weather radio in your house.
An external antenna can increase your reception of NOAA weather broadcasts.
Weather radios monitor the seven radio frequencies that the National Weather Service uses to broadcast weather information, current conditions, and severe weather alerts 24 hours a day, seven days a week. There are over 900 NOAA weather station transmitters covering almost 95% of the United States. But there may be locations, especially in rural areas, or in hilly or urban terrain, that may not reliably receive the NOAA weather broadcasts. If that is the case for your location, then an external antenna may be needed to reliably increase the reception of NOAA weather broadcasts.
Most weather radios, like the popular Midland WR-100 pictured, have the ability to be connected to an external antenna. If you look at the back of the weather radio, you’ll see a small port marked Antenna. The NOAA weather J-Pole antenna is a great choice for these radios to increase your range and strengthen reception. The weather radio has an RCA jack on the back, so you will need a couple of additional parts to connect the radio to the antenna. But everything you will need is available from your local Radio Shack store.
Parts needed to connect weather Radio to external antenna
- RCA (Phono) Male to BNC Female RS Part #278-250
- BNC female to PL-259 adapter RS Part #278-120
- 20 Feet RG-58 Coax Cable Assembly (with PL-259 ends) RS Part #278-967 or
- 50 Feet RG-58 Coab Cable Assembly (with PL-259 ends) RS Part #278-971
Update (04/02/15): With the recent departure of Radio Shack stores in many communities, it may be difficult to find the adapters. I’ve found two replacements on Amazon, either of which will work:
RCA Male to SO-239 UHF adapter: “Coaxial Adapter, UHF Female / RCA Male”
RCA Male to SO-239 UHF adapter with pigtail: 1 foot RG58 SO239 UHF Female to RCA MALE Pigtail Jumper RF coaxial cable 50ohm
To connect the radio to the antenna, connect the two adapters inline and insert the RCA male end into the jack on the weather radio. Run the coax cable (either the 20 or 50 foot length, depending on the length of your cable run) to the antenna mounted outside. One end of the cable is attached to the adapters and the other to the antenna. Seal up the exterior connections with high quality electrical tape.
Once the external antenna is connected, go through the available frequency channels and program to receive the strongest/closest channel to your location. You will probably be able to pick up more than one channel with the new antenna, so you will want to make sure you listen to the channel that is broadcasting information for your location.
That’s all you need to do, now you’ll never miss an important weather alert.