May 2018 Club Meeting - SKYWARN

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Friday, May 18, 2018

7:00pm MST

Ascension Lutheran Church 1220 West Magee Road, Tucson, AZ




Presented by Henry Gonzales, KI7KSB

SKYWARN is the National Weather Service (NWS) program of trained severe weather spotters.  SKYWARN volunteers support their local community and government by providing the NWS with timely and accurate severe weather and flood reports.  These reports, when integrated with modern NWS technology, are used to inform communities of the proper actions to take as weather threatens.  The key focus of the SKYWARN program is to save lives and property through the use of observations and reports of trained volunteers.

When it comes to extreme weather conditions such as thunderstorms, hail and flooding, the Tucson region sees the highest yearly frequency compared to cities such as Austin, Las Vegas, Phoenix, Portland and San Diego.
And such events have resulted in $3 billion in direct damage costs for Arizona since 2010.  While we don't get the dramatic tornados and thunderstorms that they get in the plains area, the Tucson sector ranks #1 in number of severe weather events!
Amateur radio operators comprise a large percentage of the SKYWARN volunteers across the country.   During times of severe weather a SKYWARN net may be activated, providing a real-time way to pass information between spotters and the NWS warning desk without tying up their phone lines.  The Amateur radio operators also provide vital communication between the NWS and emergency management if normal communications become inoperative.
Because of the lessons learned during the recent disaster in Puerto Rico, government agencies (including the NWS) have been re-assessing their relationships with Amateur radio operators and the Tucson Forecast  Office is no exception.  This year we are being actively courted by the NWS and look to play a bigger role in the reporting of dangerous and possibly life-threatening weather events by acting as the eyes and ears of the NWS on the ground.  
We are going to be doing things a bit differently this year to better help the NWS' mission of saving lives and property and this includes some changes that will affect every OVARC member, whether you are a member of Skywarn or not.  

About the Presenter:

Though only licensed last year as KI7KSB and upgrading to general one month later and getting the vanity K7AEL, Henry is no stranger to radios-especially radios used in a Public Safety and Service Venue.

Henry started out in his late teens by serving with The Tucson REACT team on 11 meters. In addition to his ham ticket, he has held a GMRS License since 2002. Henry spent nearly 10 years in Emergency Medical Services Working for various ambulance companies locally including pulling some night shifts as a dispatcher in the very early years. From there he made his way into the IT world as a programmer where he would find himself once again in the public safety sector writing custom software for the Tucson Fire Department.  His most recent corporate gig was as a business analyst speaking corpspeak to the business people and geek to the tech people.  

Henry has transitioned out of the IT world and was named one of the top 20 Tucson wedding photographers in 2018 by   Henry brings this passion for technology and public service to his latest appointment as the Amateur Radio Coordinator for Skywarn Sector 1 - the Tucson Weather Forecast Office Area which covers Pima, Cochise, Santa Cruz, Graham, Greenlee and Southern Pinal County.