04 December 2010
According to the NWS amateur radio operators, known as HAMs, provide a vital public service by passing on emergency information during severe weather outbreaks.
The event, Skywarn Recognition Day, is held in cooperation with the Amateur Radio Relay League. HAM radio operators will operate at NWS in North Little Rock from 6 p.m. Friday, until 6 p.m. Saturday.
During the event, HAMs will attempt to contact as many NWS offices and radio stations as possible. In 2009, 35 offices were contacted as were 300 stations.
Hundreds of HAMs in Arkansas are certified storm spotters. In February of 2008, a HAM operator was the first person to provide information on a tornado that struck Mountain View. Electricity and telephone service was knocked out by the storm.
Again in October of this year, a HAM operator was the first to report tornado damage in the Crystal Valley area of Pulaski County.
During severe weather emergencies, HAMs operate a base station at the NWS office in North Little Rock.