VoIP Hurricane Net Seeks Emergency Communication Groups in Hurricane
Areas to Pass Traffic and Reports
The VoIP Hurricane Net is seeking ARES, RACES, SKYWARN and
other emergency communication groups such as REACT, MARS and SATERN
to utilize the VoIP Hurricane Net as another means to pass weather,
damage and other pertinent reports to WX4NHC and other national
"In 2005, we've had the National American Red Cross
Headquarters check into our net on several occasions and during
Hurricane Dennis, we passed the status of shelters from the Mobile,
Alabama EOC to the National Red Cross. They were also able to hear
the weather and damage reports as Dennis made landfall from spotters
reporting their information to WX4NHC" said Rob Macedo, KD1CY,
Director of Operations for the VoIP Hurricane Net.
The VoIP Hurricane Net has a weekly preparedness net that meets
at 0000 UTC Sunday which is Saturday Evening for most of North
America. The net currently meets on IRLP reflector 9508 and utilizes
the EchoLink Conferences *VKEMCOMM*, Node: 270177 and *WX-TALK*
Node: 7203 in one integrated net. During activations, the net would
meet using the same system. This is currently the backup system as
the main Raleigh 9210 IRLP reflector system is undergoing an
upgrade. Net activation connect status will be posted on the
"The utilization of EchoLink and IRLP is another way for
Amateurs to gain access to WX4NHC and other national agencies. It's
another tool in the toolbox for the emergency communicator that does
not replace other modes of operation." Macedo said.
"It is also been utilized as alternative means to connect
EOC's, National Weather Service Forecast Offices, and other
emergency response agencies when no other communications are
available. When HF propagation becomes poor, this is but another
path that allows even our technician class operators to assist with
reports and utilize the net as a way to communicate with WX4NHC and
other agencies that are on the system" said Danny Musten-KD4RAA, co-
Net Manager of the VoIP Hurricane Net.
"During Hurricane Rita, we had the National Weather Service
Offices in Shreveport, Louisiana, Houston, Texas and Dallas-Fort
Worth, Texas along with the National Hurricane Center on the net. We
received surface reports from the Livingston Texas Memorial Hospital
of measured winds over 100 MPH, significant roof damage to a school
shelter along with damage to the emergency room doors of the
hospital through the efforts of WM6V-Flo Garneau" said Kevin
Anderson-KD5WX, co-Net Manager of the VoIP Hurricane Net.
"She maintained contact with her local EOC on one frequency,
while communicating to our net, providing critical surface reports.
We need more efforts like what Flo did during Hurricane Rita in
other hurricane prone areas" said Anderson.
The VoIP Hurricane Net also has close ties to a program
called StormStudy and it's outreach arm, the Storm Education Team.
That program is led by John Van Pelt-K4JVP and Danny Musten-KD4RAA
is the team's communications engineer. It is a program dedicated to
teaching people about dangerous hurricanes and severe weather
safety, but more importantly for us, provides surface reports
directly from the hurricane's potential affected areas.
"Joining the Storm Education Team is something I've decided
to do as an extension of my technical VoIP support for reporting
during hurricanes. I have been a strong supporter of John's
StormStudy effort and in 2005 made an active decision to join him on
the road and this year, outfit my Suburban as the SET2 vehicle. The
SET2 truck also has Baron Mobile Threat Net radar system and Davis
Instruments weather gathering gear, but has been equipped with a
very strong emphasis on communications - which includes VoIP as well
as HF/VHF/UHF and satellite modes for redundant communications at
the various staging areas" said Musten.
During this hurricane season they will be able to cover
more targeted areas with two trucks and will deploy a portable UHF
repeater linked to our VoIPWX net that will not only facilitate
their reporting, but also allow locals to check in with reports.
John and Danny are hoping to deploy additional weather stations,
that either we or other local hams can monitor in areas where there
might not be Skywarn or other ARES nets active. IRLP and EchoLink
repeaters are growing plentiful, but are not currently in every
remote coastal area that they have visited during the 2005 season.
"I've worked with the VoIP Hurricane Net since 2002 and was
the first reporting station on scene of a hurricane to utilize VoIP.
It's very convenient to be able to hit my space bar on my laptop and
talk with WX4NHC via EchoLink. I'm really happy to have Danny as my
partner in StormStudy and to have his VoIP and communications
expertise with me when we deploy into hurricanes is really exciting"
said John Van Pelt-K4JVP.
The VoIP Hurricane Net is not just a US operation. Some of
its most critical reports have also come from areas outside of the
United States. One example last year was during Hurricane Emily as
she affected the Caribbean islands of Trinidad, Tobago, Grenada and
the Grenadines in early July 2005.
"Emily rapidly intensified into a Strong Category 1 Hurricane
as she went through the Caribbean islands during the overnight
hours. Our net was able to make contact with stations in Trinidad,
Dominica and Grenada and they relayed reports from their 75 Meter HF
Weather Net to our net via VoIP so we could send critical damage
reports to WX4NHC. Here is a case where we would not have been
successful without utilizing both HF and VoIP modes in coordination
with one another" Macedo said.
"In addition to more participation from US stations and
emergency groups, we are looking for more stations in the Caribbean,
Central America and Mexico to utilize our net as another mode to
pass information to WX4NHC." Macedo said.
Julio Ripoll, WD4R, Assistant National Hurricane Center
Coordinator, endorses the efforts of the VoIP Hurricane
Net. "Clearly, we have gained additional critical reports to the
WX4NHC mission of saving lives via the efforts of the VoIP Hurricane
Net and the WX4NHC team urges Amateurs to utilize the VoIP Hurricane
Net as another way to reach us with critical damage and weather
reports when a hurricane strikes. We monitor the net as much as
possible when we have activations" Ripoll said.
More information on the VoIP Hurricane Net including a link
to their VoIP Hurricane Net email list can be found at