NWS Wakefield SKYWARN
Amateur Radio Support Team
WX4AKQ Wakefield, VA
This page attempts to answer many of the frequently asked questions about our team and the SKYWARN program. If there's something you'd like to know that's not listed here, take a look at our Other Q&A Topics, check the SKYWARN Operations Manual, SKYWARN Training Portal, or send us an e-mail.
SKYWARN Net Control Training
How do I become a SKYWARN Net Control Operator (NCO)?
In order to become a SKYWARN Net Control Operator, you must first be a licensed ham radio operator (obviously) with a Technician Class license or higher. You must also have valid Spotter training and will need to produce your PDF Certificate of Completion for the Spotter training.
Your amateur station must meet certain minimum performance and design requirements. Among other things, you must be able to reach the primary SKYWARN repeater in your Area, you must have adequate backup power, and you need a working high-speed Internet connection for routine SKYWARN activities.
You must be comfortable with the operation of a computer, including a web browser and e-mail, and should have a reasonably fast typing speed so you can keep up with reports as they come in.
SKYWARN Net Control Training is offered as an online instructor-lead webinar on an exception basis periodically throughout the year, and a limited number of classroom sessions are also available, usually in the spring.
Full details of Net Control training are available on the SKYWARN Training Portal.
Is periodic SKYWARN NCO Re-Training required?
Yes. NCO's must maintain their Spotter training by completing either the Basic or Advanced SKYWARN Spotter training at least once every three years. They must also periodically re-certify as a SKYWARN NCO.
SKYWARN NCO re-certification is required annually of those team members who do not log at least one Spotter report in a rolling 12-month window. If it has been over 12 months since an NCO ran a SKYWARN net and logged a report, they will be flagged as due for training, and must either complete the training or run a net and log a report.
In all cases, regardless of activity, re-certification is required a minimum of once every three years.
Is FEMA NIMS/ICS Training Required?
For SKYWARN Net Control Operators, no, not at this time.
SKYWARN Responders - those team members wishing to operate the WX4AKQ station at the Wakefield WFO - must complete the current FEMA NIMS/ICS training modules IS.100, IS.200, IS.700, and IS.800, and must provide the PDF certificates of completion to SKYWARN Leadership as part of the Responder training.
Additionally, all SKYWARN Leadership Team personnel are required to complete the same four training modules.
Exceptions apply for certain team members who were in place in their current roles prior to implementation of this training requirement, but that may change in the future.