Thursday, September 7, 2017

Hurricane Watch Update - Solar Flare Shuts Down HF Propagation

The following update is from Hurricane Watch Net Manager KB5HAV. A solar flare is disrupting HF communications...

NASA Solar Dynamics Observatory photo of solar flare
that is currently disrupting HF communications.
Update: Thursday, September 07, 2017 @ 1100 AM EDT (1500 UTC)
Mother Nature is still not playing fair.  We’ve had yet another solar flare which has caused another HF blackout.  Hopefully, the frequencies will recover soon.

Irma remains a powerful and deadly Category 5 Hurricane with
maximum sustained winds of 175 mph (280 km/h).  At 1100 AM AST – 1500 UTC, Irma was located about 120 miles (190 km) southeast of Grand Turk Island.

We are closely monitoring 2 additional hurricanes: José and Katia.  There is an old saying, “Timing is Everything”.  Amazingly enough, depending upon the course and timing of José and Katia, members of HWN “could” be working 3 landfalling hurricanes at once.

José could affect the northern Leeward Islands Saturday or Sunday as a Category 2 Hurricane.

Katia is forecast to make landfall as a Category 2 Hurricane late Friday evening-early Saturday morning somewhere between Veracruz and Tampico, Mexico.
As a reminder, our Net will remain in continuous operation until further notice. Daytime operations on 14.325 MHz will begin at 7:00 AM EDT – 1100 UTC each day continuing for as long as propagation allows. Nighttime operations will be on 7.268 MHz starting at 6:00 PM EDT – 2200 UTC and continue overnight. If propagation dictates, we will operate both frequencies at the same time.

Note: Operations on 7.268 MHz will pause at 7:30 AM ET, and, if required, resume at approximately 8:30 AM ET. This will allow the Waterway Net to conducts their daily net.

Any change in Net Operation plans will be noted here, on our website, the networks of 14.300.00 MHz, and many additional amateur radio networks and media.

As with any net activation, HWN requests observed ground-truth data from those in the affected area (Wind Speed, Wind Gust, Wind Direction, Barometric Pressure – if available, Rainfall, Damage, and Storm Surge). Measured weather data is always appreciated but estimated data is accepted. We will also be interested to collect and report significant damage assessment data back to FEMA officials stationed in the National Hurricane Center.

In addition to collecting weather data for the forecasters at the National Hurricane Centers and reading the latest advisories, bulletins, and updates, we can also handle any emergency or priority traffic. Additionally, we are available to provide backup communications to official agencies such as Emergency Operations Centers and Red Cross officials in the affected area.

As always, we are praying and hoping for the best yet preparing for the worst.

Bobby Graves - KB5HAV
Hurricane Watch Net
Net Manager