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Weather alerts on repeater

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vzfarms

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Feb 10, 2009
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Location
ohio
I have a decent repeater set up that I am happy with, but I have been wondering if it would be possible to integrate a weather alert into the system, so that when NOAA issues a weather alert, it would be broadcast on my repeater for my users to hear. I am sure somebody has done this, and I would like your input. The simpler the better. Plug and play=excellent. I am all for tinkering, but I have alot of money invested in this system. BTW the repeater is a ICOM FR3000, if that helps with the connections
 
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kb0nly

Guest
What are you using for a controller?? NHRC and CAT Auto both have weather receiver options. But i don't know of any standalone that could be wired to any repeater.
 

LANEWZ

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Messages
23
Location
La Habra Heights, CA
You can start with a modified TFT EAS receiver with build in weather service that will trigger your repeater. But it may be better to advise modifying a mobile radio to transmit the message to the main repeater when an alert comes in. This would allow you to utilize experienced radio technicians outside your area to design and test a system without disrupting the operations of your repeater.

I do not really like this particular TFT unit but it’s cheap. http://www.tftinc.com/products/datasheets/eas911i.pdf

And yes, I do know of a radio shop that has done this type of work but it’s not cheap.

EOM
 

vzfarms

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Location
ohio
I am not using an external controller, just the icom built in controller.
LANEWZ, like you said it may be more feasible for me to build something to recieve the alerts and transmit them to my repeater
 

AK9R

Lead Wiki Manager
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Central Indiana
Be very careful how you approach this. One local ham repeater was set up to broadcast NWS alerts, but they way it was implemented was "rude" to the live users. The weather alerts would override live users who were accessing the repeater thus interrupting conversations. They tried using that repeater once for a Skywarn net and it was quite annoying.
 
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kb0nly

Guest
Thats a problem i have heard on the air also... The weather alert talking over the users at the same time, and you can't understand either due to the mixed audio.

Best bet, something standalone that transmits to the repeater and is also setup so that it can't transmit when the channel is busy, so nobody gets walked on.
 

SCPD

QRT
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Feb 24, 2001
Messages
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Location
Virginia
Really, why would you want to broacast weather warnings? It's not like Weather Radios don't exist, and while I'm not a HAM, isn't there some kind of rule about retransmitting another broadcast that doesn't belong to you?
 

AK9R

Lead Wiki Manager
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Really, why would you want to broacast weather warnings?
Personally, I don't advocate this practice, but hams who are mobile may not be aware of weather warnings if they are disconnected from broadcast radio or TV or the Internet. Yes, you could keep your car radio on while listening to the ham bands or you could have a weather radio receiver of some sort in your vehicle.

...isn't there some kind of rule about retransmitting another broadcast that doesn't belong to you?
Yes, there is, but there is also an exemption for weather information.

Title 47 Part 97 Amateur Radio Service
97.113 Prohibited Transmissions
(e) No station shall retransmit programs or signals emanating from any type of radio station other than an amateur station, except propagation and weather forecast information intended for use by the general public and originated from United States Government stations,
 

reedo

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Jan 12, 2010
Messages
31
Location
Rochester, New York USA
One of our local repeaters has a voice announcement "on air" when there is a weather warning. At the end of this message it prompts listeners to enter an access number if anyone wants to hear the NWS broadcast. I believe that it's user friendly and won't transmit over another operator.
 

vzfarms

Member
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Feb 10, 2009
Messages
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Location
ohio
keep in mind that this is not a HAM repeater. This is my business repeater, and my employees take their handhelds home with them. Also, when we are out in the field, we do not always have access to weather information media outlets. We have weather channels in our radios, but I want an automatic alert. If someone is listening to the weather channel, they are not listening to the repeater
 

LANEWZ

Member
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Aug 25, 2007
Messages
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Location
La Habra Heights, CA
The best way to avoid mixed audio is to use a yagi type antenna pointed towards the repeater thus effectively capturing the system. The EAS protocol (also applies for weather) must have an alert tone that precedes the warning thus there is time for people to hear the tone and keep the station clear for emergency traffic.
Systems may also include a 2-tone encoder to keep the radios quiet until the EAS receiver detects the EAS header from the message.

The state of California does allow the rebroadcast of EAS warnings via amateur radio.

"May Amateur Radio stations relay EAS Alerts and Tests?"
Amateur Radio stations may send EAS messages and act as relays of EAS messages, using the EAS message sequence, as long as they follow all the Amateur Radio FCC Part 97 rules. EAS - Emergency Alert System, California OES

Example of an actual over the air warning that alerted an unwary community of a severe weather condition using the method described in the first paragraph.

http://www.lhhfirewatch.com/LHHFW FILES/NWS 3rd warning for Heights area 5-22-08.WAV Note: A little noisy due to overloading of the receiver making the recording. It was crystal clear over the repeater.


This one is locally generated for Red Flag Fire Warnings.
http://www.lhhfirewatch.com/LHHFW FILES/HGTS-1-RED-FLAG-WARNING-MESSAGE.WAV

Now lets ask this question: Should emergency traffic take a back seat to long winded QSO’s?


EOM
 

SCPD

QRT
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Feb 24, 2001
Messages
0
Location
Virginia
Actually the best way to avoid mixed audio is to use a controller that has prioritized ports. I'm using a CAT weather radio interfaced with a Link Comm Club controller. The weather radio goes off, runs a couple of macros, plays the NOAA message and then shuts off. I've prioritized the ports so if someone is talking on the repeater port and the weather radio goes off, the weather radio port doesn't interrupt the repeater users. OP - PM me if you would like more info.
DSW
 

RayAir

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Dec 31, 2005
Messages
1,803
Instead of broadcasting NOAA alerts, our repeater will just key up when it's not busy and identify itself and then say "storm watch", or "tornado warning". To sort of give an example, say for instance when you bring up a repeater, after your message instead of a roger beep it would say something like , this is W8YTT, tornado warning".

I am not sure how it is controlled, but its been set up like this for years.It's not too annoying this way.
 

stevelton

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Apr 19, 2005
Messages
359
Its nice to see the replies, but I suprised no one has quoted the FCC rules for part 90 business repeaters.

The OP is going to do this on a business repeater, not a ham repeater. What are the Part 90 rules for rebroadcasting weather info from government stations.
Steven
 

LANEWZ

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Aug 25, 2007
Messages
23
Location
La Habra Heights, CA
§ 90.403 General operating requirements.
(d) Communications involving the imminent safety-of-life or property are to be afforded priority by all licensees.

§ 90.407 Emergency communications.
The licensee of any station authorized under this part may, during a period of emergency in which the normal communication facilities are disrupted as a result of hurricane, flood, earthquake or similar disaster, utilize such station for emergency communications in a manner other than that specified in the station authorization or in the rules and regulations governing the operation of such stations. The Commission may at any time order the discontinuance of such special use of the authorized facilities.


§ 90.411 Civil defense communications.
The licensee of any station authorized under this part may, on a voluntary basis, transmit communications necessary for the implementation of civil defense activities assigned such station by local civil defense authorities during an actual or simulated emergency, including drills and tests. The Commission may at any time order the discontinuance of such special use of the authorized facilities.

EAS (Emergency Alert System) messages are a form of emergency communications and are intended for the immediate protection of life and or property.

EOM
 

K8TEK

Completely Banned for the Greater Good
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Jul 13, 2004
Messages
681
Location
Ohio
The state of California does allow the rebroadcast of EAS warnings via amateur radio.
That's nice considering they have no jurisdiction over federal law.
 

Baylink

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Nov 10, 2010
Messages
298
Now lets ask this question: Should emergency traffic take a back seat to long winded QSO’s?
And the answer, of corse, is no; the proper solution (if your controller is smart enough, and why the heck wouldn't it be? :) is this:

1) Controller receives EAS/NWS alert from proper receiver, and records the broadcast.
2) If channel clear, controller keys up, and sends a voice intro, followed by the entire EAS broadcast, and followed by a callsign.
3) If channel in use, controller waits until the next unkey, *or for a programmable amount of time, and then interrupts the talking user*, and then disables all receivers, takes control, and proceeds as in 2), apologizing politely at the end. :)

Subject, of course, to regs for the transmit band and service in question.
 

phillmobile

Member
Joined
Oct 12, 2009
Messages
229
Location
bridlington, uk
real dumd question here but why no buy a gm300 set it to required frequency, buy a repeater link cable of ebay for 4 dollars from china, cut one end of and solder repeater typre aux plug on, plug rx audio from gm300 to aux audio in on repeater and cor from gm300 to ext ptt in repeater the whole operation will take less than 5 minutes, whats so hard again?
 
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