WEATHER WEDNESDAY : SPECIFIC AREA MESSAGE ENCODING

Hi All. It’s Weather Wednesday and this is your weekly weather or Weather Radio post. This mainly applies to Canadian Weatheradio broadcasts but it is also valid for our American counterparts, who listen to NOAA Weather Radio.

Weatherradio Canada can be heard on such receivers as: VHF commercial transceivers, Scanners, citizen band radios, GMRS radios, marine transceivers when generally purchased in North America.
Also, most modern amateur or ham radio transceivers with wide receive range on VHF; including most emergency crank radios also have the ability to hear the 7 weather channels. The continuous marine broadcasts are available on most modern amateur transceivers, CB radios with weather band, scanners, some GMRS radios, and marine transceivers.
Speaking from experience, we would recommend purchasing a standalone weather alert receiver. There are many good models available, both in desktop and handheld versions. Basic Weather Alert Receivers use the 1050 Hz. tone alert to warn people of short fuse warnings such as: severe thunderstorm warnings and tornado warnings. Since 2002, they have been phased out, in favour of the latest generation of weather alert receivers that now feature specific codes known as “Specific Area Message Encoding”, or SAME.
This allows you to program your radio to receive weather watches and warnings for your specific area, and to avoid being alerted to watches and warnings that are outside your locality. In the United States, these codes are referred to as SAME CODES or FIPS CODES, in Canada they are referred to as CLC, or Canadian Location Codes. For example: the City of Toronto’s CLC CODE is 043100. Your radio may react differently to each watch or warning situation. For example: SAME weather radios made by Midland make different sounds depending on whether the message issued is a watch, warning or advisory.
Question:
My weather radio receiver has Specific Area Message Encoding! Why does my radio give me the alert audibly for some events, but not others?
Answer:
Your radio may have the feature called Defeat Siren, or Event Blocking. Another reason for this is that it may have been programmed at the factory to only give the audio for watches and warnings. For radios with the Defeat Siren option, you can go through the alerts and unblock them if you like; refer to the owner’s manual for instructions on how to do this.
SAME is a method of identifying a local area to which an alert message applies. The system uses a digital data stream containing information about a specific event that is to be expected, including timing, duration, and location. Identification codes for a specific event and location in the broadcast are inserted by an encoder at the transmitter site, and sent over the air waves.
This broadcast will be decoded by SAME capable models of receivers within the area. The data stream can be heard as a brief tone, or a static burst. This is in accordance with Federal Information Processing Standard, or FIPS. In 1988 it was introduced to NOAA Weather Radio and to Weatheradio Canada around 2006. In 2007 its implementation was complete. Despite this, not all SAME event codes are used by Weather Radio at this time. However, all government departments have been invited to adopt the SAME event and CLC codes to deliver non-weather alerts through Weatheradio Canada’s network, to make it an “all hazards notification system”. They are also working with Industry Canada, and Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Canada to create a single comprehensive service for weather and other emergency information, such as evacuation messages and Amber alerts. This makes SAME the first step in its development, building on the current Weatheradio Canada service.
For a complete list of all 80 event codes, you can go to the Weatheradio Canada webpage at http://www.ec.gc.ca/weatheradio. You can also go to the NOAA Weather Radio webpage at http://www.weather.gov/nwr. They both use the SAME codes and the tone alert and you can buy a weather radio in the U.S. and it will work in Canada and the United States and the same model of receiver may also be sold in Canada.
To get an idea of what Weather radio warnings and alarms sound like, visit YouTube at http://www.youtube.com/ and type in “same weather alert”. To get more information on SAME, use your favourite search engine and you will find a large number of interesting links.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s