WTVY Hurricane Center -> Be Prepared -> Weather Radios

Weather Radio Purchase and Programming

Weather Radio Purchase Guide

We recommend Public Alert weather radios with SAME Technology. Digital tuning, optional external antenna capability and reliability are the primary factors in choosing a weather radio.

What is an NOAA Weather Radio?

This life-saving technology broadcasts weather forecasts and travel conditions, storm warnings, and alerts affecting life and safety on a 24 hours a day, seven days a week basis. The system is operated by the National Weather Service which is a division of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration; both agencies are branches of the US Commerce Department. NOAA Weather Radio broadcasts are localized using over 600 special VHF transmitters in all 50 states, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands (stations are continually being added). The NOAA frequencies are in the VHF radio spectrum ranging from 162.400 to 162.550 MHz, which is outside of the normal AM/FM radio bands and must be monitored by special receivers like the All Hazards/Weather Emergency Alert radios. These broadcasts can be received up to 40-50 miles from a NOAA transmitter.

What is EAS?

The Emergency Alert System (EAS) provides the only network of national and local government broadcasts for messages affecting public health and safety. Weather radios with S.A.M.E. technology will receive these broadcasts automatically. EAS broadcasts may include warnings about weather and technological emergencies, including tornados and earthquakes; toxic chemical spills; radiation emergencies; explosions and fires; and other conditions that require immediate public notification.

With the EAS and the NOAA working in conjunction, communities are capable of being warned of every type of disaster - natural as well as man-made. Alerts and warnings (both visual and audio) are issued for such severe weather as hurricanes, tornados, floods, high winds, thunderstorms, tropical storms, radiation emergencies, hazardous chemical spills and fires within a 30-40 mile range.

What is S.A.M.E.?

S.A.M.E. is Specific Area Message Encoding. S.A.M.E. radios receive the same alerts and warnings as the NOAA radios, however they allow users to adjust their reception and identify information for specific counties of interest and concern, rather than for an entire regional broadcast area. Weather Radio owners can easily program a SAME-equipped receiver with a six-digit code for a specific county location. This eliminates the numerous "false alarms" for weather alerts that may apply to an area 40 or 50 miles distant.

County Codes

For SAME Technology Codes and NOAA WEATHER RADIO County by County Coverage: http://www.nws.noaa.gov/nwr/indexnw.htm When travelling, simply program 0 (zero) as the county code and you will receive alerts within the local broadcast area. This avoids reprogramming county codes as you change locations.

Automated Computer Voice Broadcasts

In addition to active weather alerts and warnings, the automated computer voice broadcasts (or voice of the National Weather Service) allows you to listen to current weather conditions, weather forecasts as well as weather statements, alerts and warnings. All weather radios have the ability to tune into a specific frequency and listen to broadcasts. Automated computer voice broadcasts: Temperature and Humidity, Barometric Pressure, Rain Fall, Weather Forecast, Storm and Disaster Warnings

Stand-by Mode

All NOAA Radios include a silent stand-by mode that automatically turns on the audio when an alert warning is received.

Public Alert Devices

The Public Alert Standard (CEA-2009) was developed by the Consumer Electronics Association in conjunction with the National Weather Service. Devices carrying the Public Alert logo meet certain technical standards and come with all the features mentioned above.

Weather Radio Accessories and Special Needs Weather Radios

External antennas, audio cables, bed shakers, strobe lights and wireless transmitters are available for special needs applications.


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