Storm Highway by Dan Robinson
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                   Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Wichita Falls, Texas spotter coordinators shunning critical severe weather reports

By DAN ROBINSON
Storm Chaser/Photographer
25 Years of Storm Chasing
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UPDATE 4/17: Response to third Times Record News piece released April 16

Do you live in the Wichita Falls, Texas area? You may be in danger the next time life-threatening severe weather impacts your region.

The Wichita County Skywarn (formerly Wichita County Amateur Radio Emergency Service (ARES)) are well-known in the weather community for being on a short list of agencies that ban critical severe weather reports via ham radio from experienced storm chasers. If and when a chaser attempts to make a report to this Skywarn net, they are met with orders to stop immediately.

On Tuesday, April 12, the Wichita Falls Times Record News published a scathing anti-storm chaser article that was nationally syndicated on the USA Today feed. The piece, which appeared in affiliated newspapers across the USA, alleged that chasers were causing problems for emergency managers and local officials during severe weather in the area on Sunday, April 10. The incident that prompted the article was a respected storm chaser, Daniel Shaw, attempting to check in for the purposes of making severe weather reports to the Wichita County Skywarn net. Thankfully, this exchange was recorded and can be heard at the link below (MP3 format):

Audio of Wichita County Skywarn storm chaser incident (MP3 file) >

UPDATE: The full audio of radio transmissions through the rest of the day, along with some other details, has been posted in here in the Stormtrack forum. You can judge for yourself if the incident was truly disruptive.

On Saturday, April 16, the North Texas ARRL Section, in response to the controversy, revised their rules to requre ARES nets to be open to all radio operators who make good faith severe weather reports (this would include storm chasers). The Wichita County ARES group immediately responded by leaving the ARES oranization and renaming themselves Wichita County Skywarn.

The author of the Times Record News articles, Lynn Walker, has been revealed to be the best friend of the operator who was running the local Skywarn radio net that night:

The NYU Journalism Handbook, which reflects guiding principles in the media, states the following:

Writing about friends and family members: Most newspapers bar reporters from writing about, or including quotes from friends or family members, although there may be some exceptions, if the reporter is open about it. In an autobiography or memoir, obviously it is fine. Even here, however, there is an obligation: the writer should be transparent and stipulate the relationship, whatever form that may take. When a reporter is sent out to sample opinion or find an expert, those sources should not be relations, unless the journalist can honestly claim the relationship wonít sway what he writes one way or the other. In other words, would the reporter pull punches because he's a friend of the source? That's why it is usually a good idea to stay clear of using friends and relatives in articles in most instances.

Lynn Walker posted a third piece in Times Record News on April 16th with more already proven-false accusations and mischaracterizations against storm chasers - all of which we have ample video evidence to refute.

To summarize: Shaw, a highly-respected storm chaser - who is known across the USA for his diligence and professionalism in reporting severe weather - attempted to check in to the local Skywarn net to report on severe storms in the Wichita Falls area. The local coordinator publicly scolded him and banished him from the frequency. Two days later, the coordinator's best friend - the reporter for the Times Record News - published *nationwide* the news article blasting all storm chasers with patently false statements. The overseeing authority of the ARES grous in North Texas responded to this controversy by revising their by-laws to require open nets. The Wichita County spotter organization, refusing to comply, responded to this in-turn by leaving the ARES group and renaming themselves Wichita County Skywarn.

Fortunately for storm chasers, we live in the age of the internet and ubiquitous cameras. Everything gets recorded these days - and to the would-be storm chaser critics, I'd say you need to wise up in this regard before you try to spin a story (if you value your reputation, that is). Many chasers run cameras full-time (I have four that record high definition in all directions), and our activities and those around us are well documented. I have already posted a page featuring video of ENTIRE chases from various storm chasers' dash-mounted cameras here that directly refute the claims made in the article:

Video evidence refutes claims of Kansas & Texas storm chaser traffic problems >

For the record, storm chasers and spotters both can serve a useful role in severe weather reporting. Spotters (who stay in their home areas to report) are vital to the warning process, but chasers (who travel to wherever severe weather is occurring, usually at their own expense) often have useful information to provide as well. Chasers have several orders of magnitude greater field experience with observing severe storms, and can offer useful information for communities affected by dangerous weather. They are the last sources a spotter coordinator should reject!

Learn the facts about storm chasing: Storm chasing FAQ >

The fact that reports from storm chasers are banished from the local Skywarn net should be a cause of concern for any citizen in the Wichita Falls area. Do you feel comfortable knowing that if the area spotters aren't in the right location to view a tornado - but chasers are - that the report will be flat out rejected by your local spotter coordinator? Do you feel comfortable knowing that the officials have friends in the media who will collaborate to produce news pieces smearing some of the most qualified people in the country attempting to make reports?

The excuse "we don't know if a chaser making a report is qualified" is a copout. You can tell within 3 seconds if the person transmitting knows what they're talking about, especially with the chaser in question. Thanks to today's technology, chasers who are still active in HAM radio are much fewer in number than 10 years ago. Those who take the time to report are typically the more dedicated, the very ones you want to be listening to. There's no excuse for being so exclusionary if the end goal is public safety.

Most spotter nets in the USA are open, including those in "Tornado Alley"

Many spotter nets across the Midwest and Great Plains are open to chaser reports, and yet are still able to function normally. This includes the Norman, Oklahoma Skywarn net, located in the most storm-chaser-dense metro area in the world. The chaser in question was actually reporting on the Norman net before he was handed off to Wichita County, where the article-triggering incident then occurred. My primary question to the Wichita County Skywarn (formerly ARES) is how the Norman, Oklahoma net can do it just fine, but they somehow cannot or will not?

The Wichita County Skywarn (formerly ARES) and the Wichita Falls Times Record News owe a public apology to Daniel Shaw. He is well-known for the quality, professionalism and by-the-book nature in his reporting (all at his own expense), a fact to which many other agencies across the country can attest. An apology is also in order to the storm chasing community in general for the false and misleading statements in the article.

Wichita Falls citizens, I would urge you to make your concerns known. Contact the Wichita County Skywarn and the Times Record News.

If and when the appropriate apologies are issued, I will take down this page. Until then, this will remain online indefinitely for search engines to index and others to link to.

More information on this incident can be read on this StormTrack forum thread, which is being updated as new information becomes available. For the record, prior to this incident, I was not yet friends with Daniel Shaw and had no previous contact with him.

I will conclude this post with a link to a forum thread on StormTrack entitled "Spotter Nets: How can chasers help?". I feel that chasers and spotter nets can work together to improve the warning process for communities affected by severe weather. If that happens, everybody wins. It's my hope that something positive and constructive can emerge from this, and we'd welcome your input.

Related Posts:
Video evidence refutes claims of storm chaser traffic problems >
A derived parameter for storm chaser traffic impacts: the "Chaser Traffic Index" or CTI >
Call-out: stop exaggerating storm chaser traffic with Spotter Network screen grabs >

The following comments were posted before this site switched to a new comment system on August 27, 2016:

Couldn't agree more. I made sure I took courses and studied severe weather and forecasting as much as I could before becoming a more serious chaser. I often spot here in the Houston area (not a lot of spotters here from what I can tell) and have found myself alone to report severe weather on several occasions. Would be good to see more respect for chasers in general. Local thrill chasers who have no training won't be making reports anyways. They're focused on seeing naders.
- Posted by James H
The FCC Part 97 Rules & Regulations allow net control operators the decision to either allow an open net (any ham radio op can make a report) or allow a closed net (only registered ham radio ops can make reports). However, Part 97 also states that if there is any life threatening emergency, the NCO has to allow the radio transmission.
- Posted by TJ
As a storm spotter, I feel that chasers do make our job a lot harder. Seasoned chasers is one thing, but the glamorization of "chasing" has put a lot of novice people in harmful situations. As an RACES spotter, chasers need to stay off of the local ham frequencies. If they want to make a report, do it directly with the NWS. It is the NCSs discretion to take a report or not. Just because this chaser happens to be your buddy, doesn't mean that you get to use your position to bash someone for their public service.
- Posted by Scott
Listening to the mp3, it's clear to me that the chaser in question knew how to report, and was having technical issues, hence the request to the closed net. This closed-mindedness towards chasers in general is rather ignorant. I've studied mesoscale meteorology and supercell dynamics for more than 25 years, and am close friends with some of the most well-regarded scientists, spotters, and chasers in the US and Canada. I'm an active spotter, but I've actively started to shun ham radio in favor of cell communications with local emergency officials and NWS because of issues with territorial ops. This is no longer a public service, it's a regional clique, and quickly approaching the end of its usefulness.
- Posted by David
David, the FCC allows net control ops the discretion of having an open or closed net. In some areas, closed nets are used to keep people from making erroneous reports or from the daily rag-chew that may occur on the repeater when RACES/ARES nets are not occurring.
- Posted by tj
You know what this really is? This is Wichita ARES basically pulling their pacifier out and crying "THIS IS MY STORM!!! MINE!! ONLY MINE 😤😰" and they're trying to use the guise of "safety protocol" to enforce it. Nothing more.
- Posted by Ryan Mauk from Fargo
I might add that Rick from within the NWS darn well better answer as to why he used the death of Samaras as a reasoning to "not condone" chasing. During the NWS many budget cuts, he freely handed them data and research compiled over the MANY years he chased AND THEY called HIM for ground truth reports more often than he called them. Using his death to shun the chasing community was disrespect, unethical and immoral. They owe him the respect he rightfully deserves. I for one will no longer freely hand over research and data to NSSL, NOAA, NSF, & CSWR. They better find room in their budget to gain by other means. And if chasing "isn't condoned, I darn well better see every car marked NOAA including the DOW's parked. Period. As for ARES, especially in the Wichita Falls TX area can kiss my hairy whit butt. They better read and then re read FCC part 97 RULES AND REGULATIONS. Morons. No worries though, they'll never get a report from us. I'll call the media meteorologists instead. Let them ARES morons get their fat lazy butts off the radio and look out the window for reports. Let em trust their Skywarn noob's. Due to Ricks comments, after using chasers for free live streaming, for free data and research that they HAVE benefitted from, they can kiss my rump too. I will be da😬ned if I'll call in a report to the NWS from now on. Let their SKYWARN nets call in all the sheriffnado's and scuds they want while actual tornados on the ground WITHOUT WARNINGS are going on. Yes, many chasers have video of tornados touching down without a warning in place. Sometimes without a watch in place much less a warning. WE call those in. I guess they forgot that we have more technology now than ever before. I guess they forget we can easily show the public the live streams and videos of unwarned cells that drop tornados. Maybe we need to start showing people how much the NWS screws up. Put them on blast since they just seem to love putting chasers on blast.
- Posted by DJ from Moore Oklahoma
HAM Radio is irrelevant - it's not 1950 anymore. Why bother with HAM? Submit your reports to 911 or the NWS.
- Posted by allison
BRAVO! Thank you Dan for writing this excellent commentary on the incident involving a Wichita Skywarn Net Controller & the storm chaser from Australia. Your description of the chaser is accurate, and I join you in sharing my complete trust in his laudable skills, admirable motivations, and professional conduct. I have had a lot to say on the newspapers FB page & Twitter, so here I will just make one point: The Skywarn Net Controller & his supervisor, both of whom ignored the chaser's report & basically told him to get out of the country, greatly overstepped what little authority they have. They have no authority or qualifications that give them the right to assess, filter, and/or refuse field reports from Storm Spotters & Storm Chasers. The only people who have the authority & qualifications to make such a judgement call are the meteorologists at the local NWS office. The Skywarn Net Controller's job is to gather information & pass it on to the appropriate NWS office. Because this has been an ongoing problem, IMHO the problematic Net Controller and his supervisor must be removed from their positions & permanently replaced with Skywarn personel who are both approachable & sufficiently trained. Thank you
- Posted by Derek Baker
In response to DJ's criticism of Rick Smith. First, my experience has been that Rick is a good guy & consummate professional in his field of work. I also believe Rick to be passionately devoted to the issues of public education & public safety. I would encourage you to spend some time watching/listening to James Spann's podcast "WeatherBrains"every Monday night, because Rick is usually on it & always provides excellent input. Second, while I totally understand your frustration, I think you need to put yourself in Rick's position. Any time Rick is communicating as an employee of the NWS, he must be extremely mindful of the legal implications of what he says. If Rick is seen to condone, reward, or encourage storm chasing, and someone gets killed while storm chasing, he could be held liable, get his arse sued, and lose his job. So under no circumstances will we ever see Rick officially condone storm chasing or encourage members of the public to storm chase in order to make Wx observations and send in reports. But what about Skywarn Spotters? How is it that Rick can praise their work? Well, since NWS offices across the country do Skywarn training, it is clear that performing Spotter duties is condoned by the NWS. I suspect this is because Storm Spotters are trained to obtain information only if safe to do so & they are taught to stay back from any storms & observe from a safe distance. Consequently, the NWS is being consistent with its mandate re: public safety. If a Storm Spotter makes poor judgement calls & gets hurt or killed by a severe weather event, the NWS cannot be sued & heads will not roll, because the NWS never asked/expected the Storm Spotter to do anything that was unsafe. Contrast that with Storm Chasing, which can involve a wide range of unofficial activities that include some very risky activities. Finally, as far as Rick Smith's statement that was quoted in the newspaper article goes, his statement is the standard endorsement of Skywarn Storm Spotters & standard response regarding storm chasers that you would hear from any NWS employee at any NWS office in the nation. What gave Rick's quote a more controversial tone was not Rick's words, but the context within which it was used by the author of the newspaper article. If you lift Rick's comments out of the article & look at them on their own, they are benign & totally consistent with what I have explained in the above paragraphs. If you should need a target for your frustration & anger (which is understandable), then IMHO it needs to be directed at the thoroughly unqualified, unprofessional author of the newspaper article, not Rick Smith. All said, as always, 'with due respect'....
- Posted by Derek Baker
just a quick correction: The Skywarn Net Controller & his supervisor told the Australian storm chaser to get out of their *county* (not country). Apologies for the typo.
- Posted by Derek Baker
Allison, what would you rely on if landlines and cell service is down? That's right...ham radio
- Posted by Hammer
This is just another case of some self appointed Ham Operator wanting to be "in Charge"...happens quite often...this time Oscar O Fissle got his toes stepped on and he s having a hissie fit....Leave my Storm Alone!!....I say feed him FishHeads
- Posted by Don Markl from TX
This story is so far from the truth it stinks to high heaven. Even tho the chaser in question is a highly respected chaser he was still trying to check in to a CLOSED NET. He had been told that net was CLOSED in the past. He also was NOT trying to make a severe weather report. There is procedures in place to make emergency transmissions on ham radio frequencies and being a seasoned ham operator he knows those procedures. He also knows that there are OPEN NETS and CLOSED NETS. He is not intitled to check in to a closed net just because he wants to. If he has an emergency then that a different thing all together. You also can hear on the mp3 file another chaser not following established rules set but the FCC on making illegal transmissions by not identifying him self after his unneeded comment. He probably does not even have a license to transmit on that frequency anyway. Another example of disregarding the rules and regs. The head line of the whole story is in essence the problem with open nets. Some chasers embellish the information to build themselves up or to attract attention. But NOT ALL do that. But a closed net weeds out those kind of reports. The Net control operator does not have to figure out if that report is true or made up. NO SEVERE WEATHER INFORMATION WAS SHUNNED. Just report the facts nothing else just how it happened and exactly what you see. WOW sounds so fimiliar???
- Posted by Fisherman from Texas
One must remember it's a matter of egos amongst the local ham community in Wichita Falls ARES group... they will blatantly put lives and injury second place to their operations of their net. In other words they are their own albatross.. I am a ham and I'm also a meteorologist, spotter trained, Skywarn member, ARES member...former SEMA Coms Officer but I can certainly tell you this group in Wichita Falls has a real ego problem from all I have read and all I have seen. I sincerely hope there is an investigation to retrain the Wichita Falls ARES group and make them something usable instead of the seriously untrained group that's there now.. human lives are at stake and certainly human lives surpass the egos of Wichita Falls ARES, or do they ? :-/
- Posted by L.M.
L.M. you clearly are basing your opinion on the matter by what has be posted on this blog. You being a meteorologist know you can not go by just one source of data. No lives are ever put in any danger because of closed severe weather nets. But lives can be put in danger during the time the net control operator is trying to sort out if a report from an unknown source is true or not. Timely warning as you know save lives. The NWS has to do that all the time. They have to put a forecaster on that task of trying to determine if the reports coming in from unknown sources are true. Closed Nets take care of that problem. Ego has NOTHING to do with it. You being a ham radio operator know if emergency traffic needs to be made it can be made on any frequency and is done all the time even on CLOSED NET frequencies. The only ego problem in this story is from a few chasers who are not getting to check in to a CLOSED NET That they want. Most chasers are members of Spotter Network. Why not report their life threatening information through that? It goes directly to NWS !!! The whole thing in this case is over a very small sample of chasers mad about being told "Thanks but no thanks" No lives are in danger of not being told of severe weather threats. That's just hear say to add to the ill feelings of the chasers in question. The NWS receives severe weather information for CLOSED NETS and knows those nets are closed and information is already ground truth and no other action is needed before this info is handed over to the warning coordinator on duty. You being a spotter and a chaser as I know that Just because you come up on a CLOSED NET does not mean that that community is being kept from severe weather information. It's just a closed severe weather net and move on. Just as everyone needs to do with this NON STORY. By the way I thank you for your time and work you have put in studying weather. We have a lot of work to do. Both in weather forecasting and weather warning dissemination. Because That is what saves lives !!!
- Posted by Fisherman from Texas
Maybe someone should remind them of the FCC Rules where any licensed HAM operator may use whatever frequency they need (even out of band) in cases of emergency where life and property is in danger. This overrides an operator of a repeater from "banishing" someone from the repeater, and, if a "banished ham" takes their complaint to the FCC and states (with proof) that the local SKYWARN net operators were acting to prevent emergency traffic, the FCC would be within the rules and the Telecommunications Act to issue a citation, fines or going as far as to suspend/revoke their license (club and individual). They hold an FCC license as long as they remain in good standing and by refusing to allow storm spotters who are trying to relay information on severe weather does not serve the terms of their license requirements, period. Thing is, if I checked into the net and was rebuffed, I would merely state that as it's an emergency as defined under the FCC rules, I have a right to have my information relayed to the NWS and will be filing a complaint with the FCC.
- Posted by Splinter48708 from Muncie, IN
Fisherman. You need to consider the following issues. 1. Representatives of NWS have made it abundantly clear to Skywarn trainees, spotters, and chasers that the two quickest ways to get Wx observations to their mets is 1. direct phonecall, and 2. Ham radio 2. Telephone/cell phone communication can be seriously compromised during severe W events & during Geomagnetic Storms, therefore Ham Radio may be the ONLY option for a Spotter, Chaser, or member of the public to get lifesaving observations to mets at the NWS. So, every Ham Radio community had better have its sh*t together in the event that they are being relied upon to get crucial information to proper authorities. 3. In the event that dangerous Wx is affecting a region, neither the Net Controller, his supervisor, or any other member of Skywarn has the qualifications to decide what information should/should not be shared with NWS mets. Only the NWS mets have the knowledge, qualifications, and authority to decide if a watch or warning has to be issued. So, for a Net Controller, ARES supervisor, Skywarn spotter, or storm chaser to do anything to interfere with the communication of observations with NWS mets is both socially irresponsible & ethically questionable. 4. As Splinter just explained in great detail, a Net Controller & ARES supervisor have no authority (legal or otherwise) to subvert any attempt by anyone (storm spotters & chasers included) to share crucial information that impacts public safety. During the incident, both the Net Controller & ARES supervisor acted in a manner that placed themselves above the authority of NWS & prevented the communication (in good faith & by necessity) of important information regarding severe Wx that could indeed impact public safety. The bottom line? The Net Controller, ARES supervisor, the author of the newspaper article, and the newspaper itself all screwed-up. We're all human, and mistakes happen, so what occurred is just another 'live-and-learn' situation. IMHO, all that needs to happen is for an apology from the parties I listed be sent to the Australian storm chaser, with the promise that those parties will educate themselves regarding the legal & ethical obligations they have in those sorts of situations. Then, everyone can move on, put the incident in the past, and return to our common goal - serving the needs of the public to the best of everyone's ability.
- Posted by Derek Baker
Great write up Dan! Fisherman, you're missing the main point here. Spotters/ Chasers and the Net Controlers should be working together here. We share the same goal and that is to ensure protection of life and property. This ARES Net seems deadset against anyone they consider an outsider, no matter how qualified. Witchita Falls ARES is going to get people hurt by their arrogance and borderline xenophobia.
- Posted by Don Sanderson from Missouri
Everyone can be upset with one another, but I have to live here! :-p I'm still waiting for someone to quantify the number of non-ARES-member, HAM radio licensed, proactively helpful storm spotters that are "clogging" the airwaves and hampering storm reporting in Wichita Co. An annual estimate will do. Perhaps this is a genuine, demonstrable problem and Lynn should've And we're still dodging the overall issue. If the conversation goes something like this: 1. "I'd like to help if I have info I can pass along." 2. "We don't want your help. Thanks, but no thanks." 3. "Okie dokie." Then - REGARDLESS of the conversation on Sunday not SPECIFICALLY shunning a severe weather report, you are still preemptively shunning them. It is still the same outcome, no? (Hint = Yes) I don't think anyone is suggesting Wichita Co. ARES not evaluate ANY reports EVER. But if this is about not having to go to the "trouble" of having to vet occasional reports, surely a brief back-and-forth conversation is better than not having something reported at all. This is not about mutual exclusion - spotters OR chasers. This should be about BOTH. The more tools in the tool bag the better...unless people on either side are acting like toolbags, then I don't want them in Wichita Co. ;-)
- Posted by Jim Duyck from Wichita Falls, TX
In response to Dj and Derek Baker: While I agree with Dj that Rick Smith may have given appeared to have given a kick in the pants to chasers even though they do in fact rely on them often, Derek Baker is correct. I've met with and worked with Rick for quite some time and he actually respects chasers that legitimately chase to assist in research and development as well as assisting in safety of life and property. His statement in an official capacity as with any NWS employees will always state that the practice of chasing is not condoned as liabilities exist if it's not stated. Now, in regards to using the deaths in May of 2013 as an example, well I do agree that it was in bad taste. You should never use this that truly assisted you as an example of a practice of which your chastising in an official capacity. In that aspect though, he may have been caught off guard and went to the most memorable loss of life within the chase community. You have to understand how the media plays mind games as they question you just to make a headline work in the most favorable manner for them as a journalist. They could care less about the true issues, they just want the story. I would definitely say that the ARES net seems to require an overhaul or retraining in that region though. This needs to be a live and learn issue. Learn from it, use what's learned and apply it to policy and move on with the added knowledge. Everyone should be working together to reach the ultimate goal... Safety of life and property. Now, if your the Dj I think you are, I know you truly wouldn't without the data and research you guys do from anyone. Doing so doesn't affect the NWS or this ARES net, it only affects the people your doing the research for, the people we all wish to ensure remain safe...citizens that have nothing to do with this. Think about that.
- Posted by Danny James from Moore Ok
Good Lord my spelling in that comment... I need a new talk to type app! 😳
- Posted by Danny James from Moore Ok
Gotta jump in here. This 'respected chaser' has caused problems on the Closed Net in other years, multiple years. He was trying to report non-emergency traffic from out of the area specifically into the ARES net in WF. He was politely told the status and that the area he was in was NOT in our area, referred appropriately, and asked not to transmit on the closed net. He wouldn't let it go, kept pushing the issue, all of this while there was a tornado on the ground IN THE AREA and spotters who needed to speak with the NC, but couldn't because the chaser kept monopolizing the frequency with long, eloquently-worded soliloquies. Spotters are required to stay at their assigned location unless told to move by the NC, or in the event that their observations indicate their location is unsafe, but they must inform the NC that they are moving, and again the new location where they stop, as the NC is responsible for their safety and must have an accurate location for them. His interference that year became a safety issue. He is lucky nobody was injured that day, as he could be liable for preventing the very emergency communication that he politely says he so desperately wants to be able to provide. We have a history with this 'respected chaser'. His speech is always polite and 'professional', but it's like The Thing That Won't SHUT UP! He already knows the status here, but seems to me to enjoy testing the waters every year to raise a stink, very politely always, repeated every storm season, right in the middle of our high-stress activation. We need to know the folks who check into our nets, we need to know that they can accurately describe the weather feature they see and interpret it, we need to know they can accurately describe the location of the weather feature, and aren't mistaken about what road they are on. We know the similar and confusing road names around here, and which roads with the same name don't go through in certain spots, or concurrently run into having a different name at some point. We know what building or company or landmark is in the path of the weather feature. We know the alternate escape routes that are NOT shown on the maps because we live here and travel these roads and keep up with construction. This man 'knows the Wichita Falls area [very well]' because he's 'been through here several times'. I'm sorry, that's not what we need on the Closed Net. And everyone with their panties in a wad over their perception of his supposed mistreatment, if you don't live here, if you don't enter the group and train and re-train and re-certify annually, and progress with a seasoned spotter until they sign off on your ability to correctly assess what you see, then you don't have a dog in this fight. We are disciplined for all the right reasons, and we are respected by the NWS as a highly trained and accurate source for weather reports. You don't get to fly the chopper till you show you can handle the similator. You don't get to drive at 60mph until you show you can handle the car at 30. You don't get to enter the gated community if you don't have clearance. And you don't get to give willy nilly 'reports' on the Closed Net here until you are approved by the trained and experienced leadership of the Net Controls and the County Emergency Management group. And if this man is such a great friend of Rick Smith, maybe he should get Rick to write him a personal letter of recommendation and send it to the ARES Coordinator, requesting to accept his reports. Funny, he does this every year, and yet no letter from Rick supporting him. What if I see severe weather? Can I check in then? What if I see a car overturned in the ditch? Can I check in then? What if I see an armadillo born dead on the side of the road, can I check in then? Nobody is forbidding this man from reporting an emergency or requesting help, NEITHER of which has he tried to do here yet, nobody is telling him he cannot use Ham Frequencies to do so, just not this ONE Closed Net that he already knows won't OPEN UP JUST FOR HIM ON HIS WORD ALONE WHEN HE BEGS nine different ways, ad infinitum, ad nauseum, and is repeatedly told No Thanks. I'm reminded of someone raising a stink, not because they really want Company A to make their wedding cake, but because they want Company A to refuse...so they can file a frivolous lawsuit to force Company A to violate their principles and/or pay a fine and/or lose their business/home/shirt because of the media frenzy on a non-story. Oh well, like other things, everyone has an opinion. Some are based on misperception, and others are based on the complete story.
- Posted by Uga Dano from Wichita County, TX
Thank you everyone for your thoughtful replies, much appreciated! I have one primary question for the Wichita Falls ARES and their supporters: Many other spotter nets around the Plains and Midwest are not closed, and they apparently do just fine. The Norman, OK net, which the spotter in question was coming from when he attempted to hand-off to Wichita Falls, is in the most chaser-dense metro area in the world, yet we don't see them complaining about errant chasers. While I recognize the right of an operator to close their net, I question the reason why it is necessary and how it furthers the mission of the net in the first place. Can someone offer some insight? Thanks!
- Posted by Dan R. from New Baden, IL
Mr Sanderson do you truly think that Closed Nets are hurting people. Because the whole story is about a chaser wacting to check in to a net that is closed. Closed nets are not closed to keep out chasers. Thats just dumb. Closed nets are closed to keep out false reporting from unknown people. Emergency traffic is and will always be allowed on closed nets. Someone just got their feelings hurt and saying stuff that just does or will not happen. Yes chasers provide valuable information but in areas that already have a outstanding severe weather reporting net some chasers become a problem when they try to break the establishEd protocols of those nets. In this case it's just that simple. Nothing more.
- Posted by Fisherman from Texas
@Uga dano that is a complete lie there is proof that what you said never happened. This chaser records everything he does and archives them also. It is people like you that should not be allowed to comment on articles like this, because you do nothing but lie.
- Posted by William Hawkins from Van wert Ohio
Yes Fisherman, it is my belief that it could happen. Remember, this is just my opinion. What happens if I have no other means to relay emergency information other than Amateur Radio and I was in that area? Would I be allowed to make a report then? What if I had to call out for station in distress? Would I be told to go to a different frequency? You see, that's my problem and that has the potential to get someone hurt.
- Posted by Don Sanderson from Missouri
BTW, a chap on FB shared this link, which demonstrates that the issue of Closed Nets has been controversial for a long time (the forum stretches from the year 2000 up to 2004). I would suggest that the concept needs to be re-evaluated in light of the warning system & the great growth in the numbers of both Storm Spotters & Storm Chasers... [go to eham (dot) net/articles/1043]
- Posted by Derek Baker
A closed nets does not mean no emergency traffic people!!! Dang get that through you thick skulls. Well established nets do follow FCC rules with regard to that. That is not what is in question here.
- Posted by Fisherman from Texas
Oh and BTW the story it self contains audio proof of an illegal activity by a chaser. The mp3 file recording of the second chaser making a transmittion and not identify his station. That does not cast a good shadow for the whole argument of the story.
- Posted by Fisherman from Texas
I talking about the story of this blog. Not the newspaper story.
- Posted by Fisherman from Texas
Uga Dano. Over the last 5 years, because of my fascination for severe Wx & my desire to learn as much as possible about storm spotting & storm chasing, I have spent a great amount of time following the live streams of storm chasers & engaging in conversations with them via social media/email. Over those years, I have created a personal list of favorite live streams to follow, based on the educational value of the stream & my overall respect for the chaser's knowledge, skills, success rate, and attitude. Given my comments on this forum, it should not come as a surprise that the Australian chaser at the centre of this controversy is in the top 3 of my list. IMHO, he truly represents the best of what you want to see from a storm spotter & storm chaser. I don't think there is a storm chaser out there who will spend as much time forwarding observations to NWS offices via Ham radio as this chap. Although he does capture video, take photos, and sell them to networks & individuals like most chasers, he never lets those goals take priority over reporting crucial information when the well-being of the public is at risk. In fact, the issue of public safety is so important to him that he has taken first aid & first responder courses on his own time at his own expense, to the point that he is fully qualified as a first responder in the USA as well as Australia. I have seen multiple examples of him tracking tornadic supercells for hours & hours in order to keep NWS informed, and that includes chasing nocturnal storms which he cannot capture easily or at all as video/photos. Furthermore, this chap has full audio, which - unlike some live streams - is not filled with 'potty-mouth' & small talk, but instead it has a lot of highly informative commentary. Consequently, his followers & I have been privy to many interactions between he & local ham operators/NWS mets. FYI, I have never ever heard him engage in the sort of interactions you accuse him of. Instead, what stands out is how polite, professional, efficient, and cooperative he is when interacting via Ham radio. So, I'd like you to provide proof that he has repeatedly been disrespectful/annoying to you, because I can't help but wonder if you are unwittingly sharing second-hand accounts from others, rather than documented events. I would also suggest that if all the people who have interacted with the Australian storm chaser on Ham frequencies were polled, virtually all of them would have positive things to say about him. You are more than welcome to share evidence that he has been a problem in all the counties in all the states he has chased in, but I am betting that you won't be able to find any. If you do find evidence, I'd suggest you encourage the Net Controller or NWS employee to share his/her story in this forum, along with specifics & evidence. Frankly, I do not think the Australian storm chaser is the source of the problem. Unless we see clear evidence that he has been/is, I'd suggest that further attempts to smear his character or abilities will continue to be a waste of time.
- Posted by Derek Baker
People look at what your saying. Ego has everything to do with it because I go through the same thing. There are certain ways you conduct yourself. As a nco myself you job is to get reports in and to get info out as well as what reports need to go for specific criteria. If this operator was wrong he was wrong but if it is an emergency situation you have to look at it. We are in a hobby.
- Posted by Justin
Fisherman, I have a question. How does one get into a closed Skywarn net in the first place? Do you all have some magical method for acquiring spotters in the field that we here in Colorado aren't familiar with? I guess we're still using the archaic method of standing up a net and taking check ins from spotters who then move to areas they can get a good safe vantage point on the storm and from there they report if they have weather that meets the requested NWS criteria. As our storms move through the district more and more spotters may check into the net and move to get a good bead on what the storm is doing. So, at some point do you just cut off the check ins and say a Skywarn net is closed and no one else can play in your sandbox? Our MOUs with the repeater clubs that own the repeaters we use are gracious enough to allow us to request exclusive use of the repeater for the duration of the net such that rag chewing is not permitted and the hams just move off to another repeater or simplex for that. However Iíve never heard of closing a net to folks who are interested in reporting weather events. We have elected not to report some information to NWS usually because other reputable sources in the area could not confirm the reports but we have taken the reports. In this case the man in question (VK2FSRV) got his amateur radio license and then chose to come the US to do some storm chasing. Heís probably got quite a load of experience with severe weather if heís willing to do all of that. I think rather than kick the guy to the curb the net control should have taken his check in, specified what he would like to hear in the way of severe weather reports from the man (as he might not have been aware of the requirement) and then trusted that the man would want to help out and do the right thing. After all, this gig is about public safety and not territories or who owns the sandbox. Youíve probably got a driverís license, right? Ever driven in a state other than the one that issued your license? Probably. Those people in that other state didnít know if you were qualified but they cut you some slack and trusted youíd do the right thing. I think itís time people get over their self-importance and do the right thing.
- Posted by Jeff Ford from Colorado ARES R3D2
Jeff come on now. Bad example bud ! You can't jump in a car and go drive chasing the wind. Its not a right. It's really a closed group of people who can do that and you have to be a member. You get that membership from the DMV or State Police. The other states you wish to drive in let you as long as you belong to the closed group of licensed drivers. You proof is your ID and license that you have get after training in driving. You cant just drive where ever you want and just say I have been trained and I know how to drive. Same way with closed nets you come to training meeting during off seasons and you get put on the net roster and can check in on the nets along side a senior spotter until the groups feel your ready to be on your own. BTW Thanks for your example because that really supports the argument for closed net. Now as far as the chaser in question other qualifications.....I know of closed net around Texas that contain members who are VFD, EMT, National Guard and off duty LEO's and USAF pilots. Yes he may have more experience but that's only based on verbal say so. This will for ever be a ongoing topic but we must not let anger cloud our action from this like some on here have said. For example they will never report anything to NWS again or share any research data. That is the hot head that should be shunned by both chasers and spotters. BTW the most famous chasers Reed T has been through Texas time and time again and never once stirred up the pot by crying about he could not check into a CLOSED NET. I doubt anyone you can name has more qualifications then him in chasing !!!!
- Posted by Fisherman from Texas
Fisherman. From the multitude of Reed Timmer's live streams, videos, and documentaries that I have seen, he almost always uses a cell phone to call in reports, or he is linked with a local TV station that takes his reports. Your argument regarding Reed Timmer is moot. Statements regarding the extensive experience of the Australian storm chaser are not based solely on "verbal say-so". Take a bit of time to do some research, go to his website, and follow him on live stream (likely as soon as this Friday & Saturday), and you will find out that he has an abundance of experience with storm spotting, storm chasing, Ham Radio operations, and Emergency Response procedures. Fisherman, you need to quit trying to find excuses to slough him off & defend your ARES buddies. Instead, how about trying to find out the facts? I guarantee that, rather than confirming that he is your 'enemy', you will discover that all along you should have considered him to be one of your most-capable & honest spotters!
- Posted by Derek Baker
Your statement D.R. "take a bit of time"!!! During a severe weather net you do not have the time to do the research to find out about an unknown check in. After the net yes you have that time. My whole argument is about the reason for some of the closed nets. Not Chaser qualifiations. Maybe there should be a National roster of fully trained spotter/chasers and a network to take their reports. Then the Closed severe weather nets would not moot. Wait that would be.... Spotter Network!
- Posted by Fisherman from Texas
Dan R. Your web sit is great. I'm a new fan. Love the lightning photos. I do those while out in the field too.
- Posted by Fisherman from Texas
Fisherman... Interesting viewpoint. I've never heard of closed nets before and I have in my ARES district the county that since 1950 to present has had more tornadoes in it than any other county in the US. We kind of feel that since Skywarn is an NWS function, not ARES or ARRL or anything associated with ham radio, that other folks may want to be involved. ARES just performs a support function in that we are able to centralize reports and keep track of spotters for safety reasons but we've actually figured out we don't own the thing. Each year there are several people who show up to our Skywarn training classes that are not, and have no interest in becoming, amateur radio operators yet they are issued the same kind of spotter number from NWS that we are. Which means, according to the NWS (you know, the owners of the program) they have just as much right to be out there spotting as any of us do. They just don't have anyone keeping track of their location and whether or not they make it home at the end of the day. I agree with you that you probably should have been trained by NWS to report weather events on a Skywarn net or even back to the NWS directly. But Iím sure if the ham in question (who paid and annually continues to pay a lot more for his license than you did/do for yours) wasnít trained by NWS that he would at least be receptive to being instructed as to what types of weather events to report on for the duration of the net. Iím just saying that I have 600K people spread out in 6,700sq. mi. of ARES district and I can use all the eyes I can get especially since I can have SEVERAL storms forming, active, and moving on at one time. We donít have time for the beer drinking buddy club to get together to go out and be the only game in town.
- Posted by Jeff Ford from Colorado ARES R3D2
Gentlemen, I respect the goals of both sides and assume good faith from both parties. My only quip is with the perceived methods used by the ARES group in Wichita Falls. Uga Dano from Wichita in a post above mine stated that the Spotter in question had previously sent the local ARES group multiple letters requesting permission to accept his reports over subsequent years. Assuming this is true and can be corroborated, does this not imply that the character in question was attempting to reach out to you in good-faith to cultivate a working relationship grounded in spotting/public safety? From my perspective, at that point he ceases to become an un-vetted chaser and more of a known quantity you are able to at least google and get a cursory view on. Perhaps that alone does not justify allowing him on your net per your rules and regulations, I understand that. But in my opinion the preponderance of evidence of this Spotterís documented work and professionalism warrants more than treating him as foreign yokel stumbling onto your frequency. Out respect to your group I will not bring up the news piece, which I feel has yellow-journalism streak so wide that it is not worth attaching to your organizationís affirmed public safety goals. I just feel that an informal interview/vetting done in the off-season and not on a net with a severe-warned storm overhead would have done wonders. Kudos for coming here and the taking the time to give us your perspective. A lot of us might be guilty of that adrenaline rush at sight of a wall cloud, but it is our dedication to the publicís well being & safety that turns a hobby into a public service.
- Posted by Thamer Khalfan
The spotter you are talking about is trained and registered with the NWS, He is also a trained and registered medical first responder. My view is if you want to run a closed private net for your own group then don't list it on skywarn net.
- Posted by Chris
"BTW the story it self contains audio proof of an illegal activity by a chaser. The mp3 file recording of the second chaser making a transmittion and not identify his station." And how did you come to the conclusion that this person was a chaser?
- Posted by Hammer
Chris, I was listening last season when the Austrailian chaser was politely told that he was not wanted on the closed ARES repeater net. Again, this year he came on announcing that he was moving into the Wichita County area. He had no urgent weather report to give. Upon being told once again that the net was closed just as it was the year before, the chaser kept talking. I'm surprised that the net controller kept his cool as well as he did since this is NOT the first incident with this disrespectful chaser.
- Posted by K.W. from Wichita Falls, TX
Uga Dano is absolutely correct, the recording was done by the Ares group. The Australian chaser has been a pain, he was in oklahoma reporting into a Texas net. I was listening to the whole thing live on the radio and all of you that make comments that were not there should shut your mouth because you know not of what you speak. The Australian chaser was preventing friends of mine who were in the path of rotating weather, a possible tornado, he was preventing them from asking permission to move, he was in fact interupting the net and ENDANGERING THEIR LIVES. He should be arrested for endangering peoples lives after he was told to be silent.
- Posted by John H from a ham who isnt involved in skywarn
John and KW, we have the entire recording of the day's radio traffic. It can be found in the Stormtrack thread linked here on this page.
- Posted by Dan R. from New Baden, IL
John H. Yes the audio is well edited by the ARES group because I was watching the entire live stream with audio from start to finish So I heard all, And you saying he was in Oklahoma is straight out rubbish, Because he was working the area between Wichita Falls through Gainesville east to Sherman, Then down to Greenville and Terrell. Then back up skirting around Dallas to Denton and then back to Wichita Falls.
- Posted by Chris
Then why did he say he was being handed over from the Cryil net and OUN which BTW is In Oklahoma? And why try to check in to Wichita County bypassing Clay County net which is between where you say he was and where he was going. Montague County in that area where he was as well. Check in for those????? Why leave the Cryil net anyway. OUN monitors that frequency anyway? Just plain dumb to leave that net and try to check into a known closed net
- Posted by Fisherman from Texas
One of the main issues I see is a widespread unfamiliarity in much of the spotter community of what storm chasers do and how much knowledge we have about severe weather. In order to be a successful chaser, we really have to put in the time to learn meteorology on a fairly detailed level. Chasing SPC outlooks, watches and NWS tornado warnings will only get you so far as a chaser. Most of us have learned to do our own forecasting, and have paid our dues with many failed forecasts and busted chases. It's expensive to chase, so we have incentive to learn. We all spend our own money, any revenue we make from video sales goes toward possibly covering SOME of our gas money. Most chasers really do have extensive knowledge and can offer something of value to any spotter net. Again, we both agree on the bad apples that exist out there that ruin it for everyone. The problem with this current controversy is the lumping of all chasers into the same category as the bad apples, and then publishing a rather poorly written/researched and journalistically unethical national news article. This is giving a bad rap to people who don't deserve it. You can find Daniel Shaw's Youtube channel and watch/listen to all of his chases in their entirety, including the audio of all of his spotting interactions. He's not a threat to any spotter group, he's an asset, and other net ops can testify to this. From what I understand, he's made the effort in the past to introduce himself to the Wichita County group for this very purpose, and his only mistake may have been misunderstanding the implications of trying to check into such a rigidly closed net. While I don't agree with closed nets (if OKC/OUN nets can operate just fine open, no reason SPS ones couldn't also), I respect the decision of any one to do so. I don't however respect the perpetuation of the yahoo chaser stereotype and the broadbrushing of it to apply to all of us as the article does. Furthermore, from what I've seen across the internet in the past few days, the "all chasers are yahoos" stereotype is widepread across the spotter community (forums, Reddit, Facebook, etc). We'd simply appreciate a better understanding of what we do and an acknowledgement that we have something to offer the spotter community. You will rarely, if ever, find chasers disparaging spotters - on the contrary, we are always highly supportive of what they bring to the table. It's unfortunate that the feeling is rarely mutual, and I think this is due to a long-standing stereotype that the news pieces only further perpetuate. The best I can do is provide video evidence of what chasers actually do and what our chases are really like. Again, I've provided links to over 20 full-day videos from me and other chasers to help show this. Ideally, both chasers and spotters can work together for a common goal. Chasers are willing, we just need spotters to do the same. For the most part they do, aside from the islands of holdouts like Wichita County. What can be done to change the false perceptions?
- Posted by Dan R. from New Baden, IL
Dan, That was very well written and I agree with you 100% on the value from a vast majority of chasers. Like you,... I had a problem. My problem was with the original Blog article saying severe weather reports were being shunned from the public and putting them in danger. That is simply not true. Chasers and Spotter can and do provide valuable severe weather information to the public often setting right beside each other. This Blog was well, unattended or not blaming closed nets. When a along it was a news paper article NOT written by Spotters that caused the problem. People are going to defend what they believe in no matter what and will argue over what they don't like. That is because we are human. What we have to put first and always first is making sure the public and NWS receive life or death severe weather information no matter who sends it. Agreed??? BTW when severe weather is not threatening my counties of responsibility I chase too. I do so to continue learning about formation of severe weather and yes for the photos as well.
- Posted by Fisherman from Texas
I'm a storm spotter for Wichita county in TX. We run a closed net and for good reasons. NWS and local EM doesn't take reports from one spotter seriously unless they trust that spotter. During severe weather multiple chasers of unknown training come into the area and try to make reports over our system and we don't know that we can trust them our EM won't blow the rirens if they don't know they can trust the report which can be deadly to the occupants of the city/towns. That is why we run a closed net of trained trusted local spotters. Regarding this incident with the Australian station. He came on the net two years ago while multiple of our spotters wheir watching a severe thunderstorm that had two tornadoes on the ground at that time. Our spotters had a hard time getting in to the repeater during that time because of the repeater shadow over that area. The Australian station came on and started reporting non critical information in a lengthy transmission that was blocking our spotters from getting into the repeater at all. The same net control was in charge at that time as well and very politely told him that it was a closed net and he needed to make his reports else where and gave him frequencies that he could use. And the Australian continued to come back and argued which in effect jammed our spotters from making critical life saving reports. In essence he already knew from last time that this net was closed and proceeded to key up our repeater during a critical time of the net when we had a violently rotating wall cloud with lowerings approaching the ground. Again he gave a lengthy non critical report that blocked our spotters from contacting net control. That is why our NCS acted in the manner that he did and I support what he did. Regarding the chasers verses spotters battle. Let me brake it down for you. Spotters volunteer their time money and equipment and put their lives at risk to help give the public the much needed information on whether to take cover or not. Like the spotters Most of the public work and require sleep in a short period of time and don't need to be hiding in a celler if they don't need to be. And much of the public won't take cover unless their local weather station can confirm that the hazards that the storm is capable of is in fact happening and is coming their way. And it's the counties spotters that provide that information. Chasers come from all over the country to chase storms and their is a few of them that actually collect potentially life saving data and pass it on to NWS. The rest is self proclaimed chasers that more often then not pose a hazard to the spotters and real chasers by congesting highways and intersections that are escape routes for spotters and real chasers. I have been trapped by these people before and it's not fun. They also tend to run hazard lights and other bright flashing lights that blind us during dangerous night spotting. Which is in violation of several traffic laws. And they tend to block the view of spotters with their vehicles which limits our effectiveness. Please if you are not credentialed members of NWS or Skywarn. Don't endanger us and the public by clogging up the highways.
- Posted by Wichita county spotter. from Some where between here and there
Does your arm get tired painting with such a large brush?
- Posted by Jim Duyck from Wichita Falls, TX
Ok Wichita County Spotter. I insist that you now furnish evidence to support your story. Ideally, you or the net controller records of all activity on the relevant frequency. Everyone following this blog needs you find that evening's audio and share it NOW. Why? Well, the Aussie storm spotter/chaser always live streams with audio on, so anyone following him will be privy to all ham radio transmissions he makes, and can also hear the response from the operator on the other end. He also will speak with other spotters/chasers about what they're seeing via ham radio, and anyone following him are privy to the same. Since I have followed the Aussie chaser's live stream extensively over the last 3 or 4 years, I have a very good sense of how he operates & how he interacts with both authorities & other spotter/chasers. With that in mind, I shall tell you loud and clear that I have NEVER seen/heard him behave the way you have described. NEVER. Not only that, but I have NEVER heard any of his other followers or fellow spotters/chasers talk about him behaving in such a manner, and trust me, they would if he behaved as you claim, because it would have been totally out of character for him. The bottom line is that I have real doubts about the veracity of the information you are sharing & the accuracy of your story. So, the onus is now on you Mr.Wichita Country Spotter to provide proof that your story is true. Frankly, I think you are absolutely full of sh*t, but if I hear actual audio that supports your story, I will readily apologize. The ball is now in your court....
- Posted by Derek Baker
Hey Wichita Spotter! WHERE IS YOUR EVIDENCE? We're waiting...WHERE IS IT?
- Posted by Derek Baker
John H. If your friends need to ask permission to move from the possible life threatening situation. Maybe they don't need to put themselves in that situation. That is like saying they sat on railroad tracks with a train coming and didn't know if they should move because they couldn't hear the train horn because of music playing. Come on man, really? If they don't want people on their frequency they should buy a frequency pair in the business band! All they have managed to do is look like a bunch of 5 year old spoiled brats.
- Posted by Billy H.
When all you chasers are finished with your school yard gang up on this get back to work and chase. The FCC has the final say over the use of repeaters not a bunch of mad folks including the ARRL. Get over it and be an adult and move on. Stop being a whining brat throwing a fit because someone called you a name. People's opinion of chasers and of spotters will not change because of this. All this has done is to continue the riff between some chasers and some spotters. The research and data chasers should pull the rein's on thrill chasers and stop this. Hot heads and name calling do nothing for the good. MOVE ON PEOPLE MOVE ON. GET BACK TO WORK ON STORMS!
- Posted by Tired of the childish whining
I'm still digesting all of this, and will continue to seek out verifiable information. That being said, OUR amateur radio community continues to be it's own worst enemy. Egos, turf battles, government official wannabes, those giving the appearance of some authority or pretending to have government associated authority (whackers), whole ARES groups leaving ARES because they don't like (insert reason here), clubs acting as though THEY owned the soveriegns Skywarn, RACES, or ARES, alienating EOC and Emergency Service (Fire, EMS, Police)managers, disregarding NIMS/ICS (and other available training), poor operating techniques (mic breathers, slobber blowers, excited loud speaking), self appointing and self deploying...self everything, except for self discipline....... So sad. And now in nationally published media outlets for eveyone to see.
- Posted by 5Station from 5 Land
I certainly hope most will come to their senses and back away from what appears more and more to be a group of egomaniacs. Just forget giving reports in this locality & county. If WF, TX ARES/SKYWARN (or whatever it is they want to ID themselves as now) wants to show their arrogance and chase away anyone that does not meet their specifications, then so be it. Usually antics like this will cause this group to die a slow death because of their politics. When word gets out on a widespread basis that they won't accept reports unless THEY say it's okay, then that's on them. They better hope and pray that there is a group there to help because in chasing away that help invites results of bad decisions. Lynn Walker will have nobody to blame but himself when it's eventually proven he doesn't know what he's talking about. When more know that's he's a close friend of the NC Op, then he'll be called out for a biased article by other journalists and anyone else that sees that article for what it is. Unlike this minority of self-important individuals, there are other EOCs in places like Iowa, Nebraska, Kansas and Oklahoma that operate completely opposite and work very effectively. When the after-action reviews of what worked and what failed come out once that day comes, they better hope fingers don't get pointed at them. Should I ever be in the area when a storm hits, I won't even bother. Decisions have consequences...
- Posted by Zero Land Ham from Midwest, USA
OMG. Okay, time for an update. "...@Uga dano that is a complete lie there is proof that what you said never happened. This chaser records everything he does and archives them also. It is people like you that should not be allowed to comment on articles like this, because you do nothing but lie. - Posted by William Hawkins from Van wert Ohio... " Ok, Jeenyus, you win. I bow to your superior intellect and obviously scrupulous accumulation of incorruptible data archives. Don't go back through those audios, because if you are correct and he makes ALL of them available for you, or you saved ALL of them yourself, you might accidentally stumble upon the one I was talking about. Don't listen to it, because the truth of what really happened might be such a shock that your lips will lose suction and the resulting pressure change might rupture your eardrums. I don't want to publish my video of the tornado in question, because I was not transmitting on Ham frequencies at the time, and my language was not FCC approved. However, the entire episode of which I speak is background audio of that video and is in the possession of the net control, to my eternal shame. Meanwhile, you will be happy to hear the first part of the latest news. The ARRL sent multiple high level representatives to Wichita Falls yesterday, May 14, to chastise the entire Skywarn group at a mandatory-ish meeting, all under the guise of a banal-sounding announcement of a 'continuing education session', and in the presence of local officials, including a representative of the Sheriff's dept, EM coordinator, and a judge. Now for the second part...good feeling's gone. It seems there was a bit of intel gathering done Saturday. Since you no longer trust my account of an episode, and since I was NOT in attendance at that mandatory-ish meeting, I will expect YOU to do due diligence in finding out the official story and the identity of those on the receiving end of the final discipline that was meted out following that meeting. I sincerely hope that you will come back and post your results here for all to witness. Oops.
- Posted by Uga Dano from Wichita County
so where is all the proof the ham from down under is correct and in the right>> also not one of you have even talk about at the same time a person keyed up and said " yea they are real jerks" no id either..but lets all forget that ill be willing to bet he was a chaser also.prove he wasnt. sky wan is not chase this was not a chase net he was not in wichita to spot and help but chase and game fame and personal gain...please show me any research (youtube vids that are gaining views and money are not research) he has turned in in all these year?? ill bet 0 he does this for the thrill and fame end of it, and why did he quit like his statement he posted if his research was so great and vital? shay it like it is he was on a trill chase for fame and money he has caused issues before and didnt get what he wanted now we also have the dont hurt feeling trolls that jump on nay chance to scold someone for not doing as they feel they should.. btw that net will let non ares skywarn ppl report if it is valid and needed, just get a broadcastify membership and listen last year i found one but guess what you can buy your own and do your own work to find it. how about that proof for you? i told you where it is no go dig it out like i did
- Posted by gimpy from usa
You can listen for free on broadcastify without a membership. We encourage listeners. Half the community does by scanner, the other half by this means. Get the ARRL version of Saturday's events. Even if I provided links and video evidence and proof, there is none so blind as he who will not see, and they wouldn't believe my provisions anyway. I don't care. I don't have anything to prove to people like that. They will have to answer to the Righteous Judge, not me. This blogger will have some crow to eat soon, I suspect. Use salt and garlic and ginger to cover up the smell. Worked for me once. Lesson learned.
- Posted by Uga Dano from Wichita County
Uga, a Stormtrack member posted the entire day's radio traffic here in this thread. If you could point out where in these recordings the problem you're referring to occurs, I'll highlight them on this page.
- Posted by Dan R. from New Baden, IL
Dan, this was 2 seasons ago, the episode to which I refer, where the VK station prevented 2 skywarn members at their assigned spot from passing info about a tornado that had just touched down and was heading directly toward them. They couldn't report, but videotaped the tornado. They had to move, and had to call the Net Control on the cell phone because the VK station wouldn't stop arguing with the NC with pointless bs. He was not even in our county, nor did he have pertinent info. He was politely directed to the appropriate frequency and given the PL tone for that county's net, the county he was in. He does this every storm season. This time he opened the wrong can of worms, and they may come back to bite him. We are allowed to move if we perceive that we are in danger of hail damage or worse. But we are required to alert the NC asap that we are moving and where we stop so they can adjust our spotting location on their map accordingly. They are responsible for our safety, yet ultimately we are expected to do what is necessary to remain safe. Anyone ever hear of NOT deserting your post???. I wish these armchair qb's would quit being so insulting about every phrase they want to deliberately misunderstand.
- Posted by Uga Dano from Wichita County
Uga, is that the May 7, 2014 event? If so, there is audio of that on record which I have heard, but have not yet been at liberty to post publicly. If it is, I'm sure it won't be a problem for me to get permission, especially if it is relevant to something new that is happening. This audio doesn't reveal any inappropriate transmissions, but again, maybe this isn't the event you're referring to. I'm just making the assumption it is, since May 7 was the only Wichita County tornado day listed in 2014 records. In the meantime, if you haven't heard that audio, I'd be happy to send you those links privately. You can send me your email address via my site's contact form.
- Posted by Dan R. from New Baden, IL

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