ARES - Linn County, Iowa

Weather Radar

Standard Operating Guidelines

1. Scope

This document provides a specific plan of operation of the Rockwell Collins Doppler Radar to support Emergency Management operations and a severe weather spotter network.


2. Preparation

All radar operators are encouraged to monitor the developing weather situation by monitoring local media and NOAA Weather Radio (162.475 MHz) for forecasts of severe weather.

If the possibility of severe weather appears likely within the next few hours, all operators should be monitoring 146.745 MHz. At this time, the EC or available AECs should ensure that at least one radar operator is available to staff the radar. If a qualified operator has not yet indicated his availability on 146.745, the EC or AEC should attempt to contact potential operators using the Radar Contact list.


3. Activation Guidelines

3.1 Authorization to Activate

Radar may be activated based on:

  1. Request of Emergency Management
  2. Request of the EC or AEC
  3. Individual Radar Operator initiative
  4. Request of Adjacent Counties

3.2 Request to Activate Radar

Radar may be activated by any of the following guidelines, as necessary:

  1. Notifying an operator monitoring 146.745, or
  2. Paging Amateur Radio via the Linn County paging system, requesting radar activation, or
  3. Calling (by telephone) an operator on the Radar Contact List.

3.3 Acknowledgment of Radar Activation

Once Weather Radar has been activated, the operator should:

  1. Notify net control, and
  2. Notify the EOC by telephone if no Amateur is yet present at the EOC.

4. Operational Guidelines

4.1 Contact with EMA

The weather radar operator should maintain continuous telephone contact with the Linn County EOC if severe weather is occurring or is anticipated in the immediate future. EOC personnel should be requested to be left on the speakerphone, so the radar operator can hear relevant radio traffic from other agencies. This should be the primary mechanism used by the EOC to request specific radar observations. The fallback is to use 146.745 in the event of telephone failure.

4.2 Radar Summary Reports

The radar operator (or his assistant) should verbally describe the situation observed by radar as it affects Linn County. Reports should be made periodically on the Linn County Severe Weather Net. The frequency of the reports should vary according to the severity of weather within or approaching Linn County. During severe weather, updates should be as frequent as every 5 minutes, if traffic permits (i.e. Severe Weather reports have priority).

4.3 Radar Interpretation

The radar operator should communicate his interpretation of observed conditions via the audio subcarrier on the radar channel. This will assist stations monitoring the video to interpret the conditions observed. The radar operator should respond to requests from adjacent counties for radar interpretation.

4.4 Assistant Radar Operators

If the radar operator is experienced, he should also notify one or more additional operators with less experience to assist with operations. This will help new operators gain experience, and will allow one operator to concentrate on radar interpretation while another handles communications. If you are a Rockwell-Collins employee and are interested in assisting with radar operations, please contact those on the Radar Contact List.


5. Termination

Radar operation should be maintained until Linn County EMA and adjacent counties utilizing radar information agree that radar support is no longer necessary. Each agency/county involved should be notified prior to terminating service.