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Fairbanks, Alaska

The next AARC Club Meeting will be Friday November 9.  Please  contact Roger about date/time of the next license test session. A fee of  $15 per session applies.

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Copyright © 2018 Arctic Amateur Radio Club  (Version 2018 J4 update  10/29/18 @ 1800 utc

Kilo Lima 7 Kilo Charlie

The 2011 Bering Sea Superstorm was one of the most powerful extratropical cyclones to affect Alaska on record.  On November 8, the National Weather Service (NWS) began issuing severe weather warnings, saying that this was a near-record (or record) storm in the Bering Sea.  The storm had been deemed life-threatening by many people and began began affecting Alaska in the late hours of November 8, 2011.  Infrastructure systems in coastal communities started failing once it reached the west coastline of Alaska.

Our local Fairbanks National Weather Service enlisted the aid of the AARC to man their NWS ham radio station (KL7FWX) during the 48 hour storm duration, pass real-time weather conditions and emergency NTS traffic via Nome to NWS personnel in Fairbanks, Anchorage and Washington DC.  During the storms fury, amateur radio operators became the eyes for scientists in Fairbanks and Anchorage who otherwise would have been blind to weather conditions they could predict but not see.  “They were providing critical observations. We don’t have a lot of meteorological observations in the west. We don’t have the instruments out there,” Carven Scott, a forecaster with the National Weather Service in Anchorage, said Thursday as messages sent via the amateur radio network arrived into his inbox.

The messages were deceptively simple: how fast the wind was blowing and from what direction; sea level; wave height; whether it was snowing or raining; and the temperature.  These seemingly small details from various villages made a big difference for the weather service -- enough so, Scott said, that a lead forecaster told him, “Whatever you do, don’t cut it off because this stuff is really helping us”.  Scott describes weather prediction as a 10,000 piece puzzle with 9,000 pieces missing.  Remote sensing tools, radar and satellites all help, but conceptual models are only as good as the limited information forecasters have.  First-hand reports from people on the ground feed the model with real information in real-time, allowing forecasters to adjust and refine their analysis.  If snow was predicted but it’s actually raining, meteorologists tweak their formulas.  “Those seemingly unimportant pieces of information help us characterize where the front is at,” he said. “Without that information, it would impact our ability to execute our mission, which is the protection of life and property and enhancement of national commerce”.  “Whenever the National Weather Service has questions about what is going on or what is pending in a far-off place, they will call on the amateur (radio) community to try and provide current update information,” said Jerry Curry, a board member and ham operator with the Arctic Amateur Radio Club in Fairbanks. “They don’t have the ability to see what’s going on out there. It enables them to produce better and more accurate forecasts.”

Would you be ready, willing and able to help ?  AARC can help get you organized, trained and prepared.

Our last “Real Emergency” The Bering Sea Super Storm of November 8, 2011

Emergency Communication

Earthquake, Wildfire, Severe Weather, Flooding.  It happens only occasionally in Alaska, but when it does, it’s a whopper.  A “real  emergency” in this state cuts you off from normal communications, access, fuel, power, lights, and food.  The AARC offers emergency training, SET practice sessions and even loaner equipment for your use in training.