KWO35

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NOAA Weather Radio Station
KWO35
Noaa all hazards.svg
City of license New York City
Broadcast area New York City Metropolitan Area
Branding NOAA Weather Radio All Hazards
Slogan "The Voice of the National Weather Service"
Frequency 162.550 MHz
Format Weather/Civil Emergency
Language(s) English
Power 750 Watts
Class C
Owner NOAA/National Weather Service
Webcast [1]
Website www.weather.gov/okx

KWO35 (note that the third character is the letter "O", not a numerical zero) is a NOAA Weather Radio (NWR) station that serves the greater New York metropolitan area (which comprises New York City and the surrounding counties and municipalities in the Tri-state area), as well as marine interests from Sandy Hook, New Jersey to Fire island, New York (out to 40 miles from the Atlantic coastline), as well as New York Harbor, the western Long Island Sound, and the Long Island South Shore Base, and extending southward from Sandy Hook, to Little Egg Inlet NJ (out to 40 miles from the Atlantic coastline) (see County Cov. section for all marine zones). Programming originates from the National Weather Service weather forecast office (WFO) in Upton, New York (located east of New York City, on the grounds of Brookhaven National Laboratory, in central Suffolk County on eastern Long Island).

The transmitter, located in Manhattan, was originally atop the RCA building (renamed in 1988 as the GE Building) in Rockefeller Center. It was then moved to 200 Park Ave, aka the MetLife (formerly "Pan Am") building.

In July 2013, interference with Coast Guard radio transmissions became a public safety issue, forcing KWO35 off-the-air for extended periods of time. In March 2014, the transmitter was relocated atop a building near Times Square in an effort to mitigate disruptions in service. Primary and secondary transmitters are currently being tested for interference at a new location , and plans for a new, permanent, and more powerful transmitter have been announced (read about transmitter issues in the next section). When operational, the station broadcasts 24 hours per day on a frequency of 162.55 MHz (one of seven VHF radio frequencies allocated by the U.S. Government for NWR transmissions, known collectively as "weather band"), with a power output of 750 Watts. On modern weather radio receivers, it is often tuned as "Channel 7".

KWO35 broadcasts weather and civil hazards information for the following counties within its coverage area: Bronx, Kings, Nassau, New York, Queens, Rockland, Richmond, [western] Suffolk, and Westchester counties in southeastern New York; Bergen, Essex, Hudson, Hunterdon, Middlesex, Monmouth, Morris, [northern] Ocean, Passaic, Somerset, [eastern] Sussex, Union, and [eastern] Warren counties in northern and central New Jersey; [southern] Fairfield County in southwestern Connecticut.

In addition to broadcasting routine weather/marine forecasts and conditions, the station will also transmit public information statements, short term forecasts, special weather statements, advisories, watches and warnings issued by the WFOs in Upton, New York and Mount Holly, New Jersey when hazardous weather conditions threaten the coverage area. In severe weather situations, the NWR Public Alert system may be used to activate specially-equipped weather band receivers, using both Specific Area Message Encoding (SAME) and 1050 Hz alert tones. Radios that are SAME-capable can be configured to sound local alerts only (for specific counties) by programming in the corresponding Federal Information Processing Standard (FIPS) codes.

Service (un)reliability, then return[edit]

There have been numerous interruptions in service due to the lack of a backup power supply (most notably during the 2003 blackout) and limited redundancy in communications. [1] [2]

In July 2013, outages became the norm and numerous listeners complained about them. The National Weather Service (NWS) responded by announcing on their radio status page that KWO35's signal was interfering with U.S. Coast Guard radio communications on VHF marine channel 16 (156.800 MHz), which is used by mariners for emergency and distress calls at sea. Accordingly, they announced, it would remain "out of service" until the issue was resolved.

Starting August 2013, the NWS WFO in Upton followed up by posting "public information statements" on their website, explaining that KWO35 would remain off-the-air indefinitely, but at times "may be returned to service intermittently" - and only for the purposes of testing for "interference", for "weekly tests" of the public alert system (normally conducted every Wednesday just after 11:00 AM Eastern (local) time), or for broadcasting hazardous weather messages or alerts during "potentially dangerous weather situations".

On February 21, 2014, the NWS WFO in Upton, NY released a public information statement stating that "AFTER MANY MONTHS OF TROUBLESHOOTING...WE ARE UNABLE TO ISOLATE THE SOURCE OF THE INTERFERENCE PROBLEM. THEREFORE WE ARE PLANNING TO RELOCATE THE TRANSMITTER. RELOCATION WILL TAKE AT LEAST SIX MONTHS." [3]

On March 3, 2014, the The Wall Street Journal featured an article about the interference issues and reported that NOAA does, indeed, intend to move the transmitter. They repeated the NOAA claim that this would take another six months. [4]

Three weeks later, on March 25, 2014, KWO35 resumed service, transmitting from a different location (near Times Square). However, since it was only for testing at that time, the transmitter was operating on a Degraded Mode (Indicates transmitter is experiencing a temporary degradation of service). The NWS WFO in Upton, NY released a public information statement on March 26 declaring that "AFTER MANY MONTHS OF TROUBLESHOOTING FREQUENCY INTERFERENCE ISSUES...IT WAS DETERMINED TO RELOCATE THE TRANSMITTER TO A NEW LOCATION. THE TRANSMITTER IS CURRENTLY BEING TESTED NEAR TIMES SQUARE IN ORDER TO DETERMINE IF THE INTERFERENCE CONTINUES" and that "KWO-35 LISTENERS ARE ENCOURAGED TO PROVIDE FEEDBACK ON THE BROADCAST TRANSMISSION WHILE IT'S BEING TESTED FOR INTERFERENCE." [5][6]

(As a misc. data point, this writer listened to the transmission beginning at 23:45 of March 26 for the next half hour. The reason for the lengthy monitoring was that the signal was scratchy [worse than the previous one had been] and I was using an analog tuner and was unsure whether I was hearing KWO35 or one of the other local stations. It wasn't until the top of the hour that they ID'd themselves.)

The following week, on April 5, 2014, the NOAA Weather Radio Outages page was updated with news that during the testing period, no interference issues were reported from the U.S Coast Guard and that KWO35, the NYC transmitter, has finally returned to Normal Operation and that NWS in Upton NY is conducting further tests to evaluate the coverage and quality of the broadcast. However, the NWS in Upton did not change their Public Information Statement yet at that time. [7]

On April 28, 2014, the NWS WFO in Upton, NY updated their Public Information Statement, stating that "NOAA WEATHER RADIO NEW YORK CITY REMAINS IN TEST MODE" and that "DURING THIS PERIOD OF TESTING...THERE WILL BE OCCASIONAL INTERRUPTIONS IN SERVICE. WE ARE TESTING BOTH THE NEW PRIMARY AND SECONDARY TRANSMITTERS AT A NEW LOCATION."[8]

A week later, on May 9, the NOAA Weather Radio Outages page was once again updated with news that the Upton, NY WFO plans to "currently negotiating with the tower owner to lease a location on the tower. Once that is done they will be able to install a better permanent antenna and increase the output power of the transmitter to its previous power levels." [9]

However, on May 22, KWO-35 went down again and stayed off the air for the rest of the day. There was intermittent service on May 23rd, and on May 24, the transmitter returned to normal degraded service. [10]

During the afternoon of June 2nd, KWO-35 went down twice, but soon resumed service and continued normal service for the rest of the day, onward.

On June 4, the NOAA Weather Radio KWO35 page was updated to state the NYC transmitter was returned to normal service. However, the Upton, NY WFO still listed the transmitter as reduced power (degraded) in their NOAA Weather Radio Status Report. [11]

Throughout summer 2014, though KWO35 remained in testing mode, there were no issues and normal broadcasts continued.

County coverage for KWO35[edit]

Counties covered (SAME/FIPS Codes) [Weather Forecast Office Coverage][edit]

  • Fairfield, CT - 009001 - Upton, NY
  • Bergen, NJ - 034003 - Upton, NY
  • Essex, NJ - 034013 - Upton, NY
  • Hudson, NJ - 034017 - Upton, NY
  • Hunterdon, NJ - 034019 - Mount Holly, NJ
  • Middlesex, NJ - 034023 - Mount Holly, NJ
  • Monmouth, NJ - 034025 - Mount Holly, NJ
  • Morris, NJ - 034027 - Mount Holly, NJ
  • Ocean, NJ - 034029 - Mount Holly, NJ
  • Passaic, NJ - 034031 - Upton, NY
  • Somerset, NJ - 034035 - Mount Holly, NJ
  • Sussex, NJ - 034037 - Mount Holly, NJ
  • Union, NJ - 034039 - Upton, NY
  • Warren, NJ - 034041 - Mount Holly, NJ
  • Bronx, NY - 036005 - Upton, NY
  • Kings, NY - 036047 - Upton, NY
  • Nassau, NY - 036059 - Upton, NY
  • New York, NY - 036061 - Upton, NY
  • Queens, NY - 036081 - Upton, NY
  • Richmond, NY - 036085 - Upton, NY
  • Rockland, NY - 036087 - Upton, NY
  • Suffolk, NY - 036103 - Upton, NY
  • Westchester, NY - 036119 - Upton, NY

Marine locations covered (Marine Zone #) [Weather Forecast Office Coverage][edit]

  • Sandy Hook NJ to Fire Island NY out to 20 NM - ANZ355 - Upton, NY
  • New York Harbor - ANZ338 - Upton, NY
  • Western Long Island Sound (Long Island Sound West of New Haven, CT to Port Jefferson, NY) - ANZ335 - Upton, NY
  • Long Island South Shore Base (Long Island South Shore Base from Jones Inlet through Shinnecock Bay) - ANZ345 - Upton, NY
  • Sandy Hook NJ to Montauk Point NY out from 20 to 40 NM - ANZ370 - Upton, NY
  • Sandy Hook NJ to Manasquan Inlet NJ out to 20 NM - ANZ450 - Mount Holly, NJ
  • Manasquan Inlet NJ to Little Egg Inlet NJ out to 20 NM - ANZ451 - Mount Holly, NJ
  • Sandy Hook NJ to Fenwick Island DE out from 20 to 40 NM - ANZ470 - Mount Holly, NJ

Offshore waters (Marine Zone #)[edit]

Current These are the new smaller zones implented by the Ocean Prediction Center on April 1, 2014.[12]

  • South of Long Island between Montauk Point and Sandy Hook out to 1000 Fathoms - ANZ815
  • South of New England between the Great South Channel and Montauk Point out to 1000 Fathoms - ANZ810
  • Hudson Canyon to Baltimore Canyon out to 1000 Fathoms - ANZ820

Former These were the Offshore waters before the Ocean Prediction Center implented new smaller zones on April 1, 2014.

  • South of New England - ANZ083
  • Hudson Canyon to Baltimore Canyon - ANZ084

Nearby transmitters[edit]

Several other NWR stations broadcast within the Tri-state area and may provide partial coverage in some areas served by KWO35 - these include: WXM80 (Riverhead, Suffolk County, Long Island, NY) at 162.475 MHz; WXJ42 (Meriden, Fairfield County, southwestern CT) at 162.400 MHz; KZZ31 (Hardystown, Sussex County, extreme northern NJ) at 162.500 MHz; WXM60 (Southhard, Howell Township, Jersey Shore/central NJ) at 162.450 MHz. It should be noted that the New Jersey NWR stations receive most of their programming from the Mount Holly WFO, which covers much of New Jersey but primarily serves the greater Philadelphia metropolitan area and its adjacent regions. WXM80 in Riverhead, NY and WXJ42 in Meriden, CT receive their programming from the Upton, NY WFO.

References[edit]

  1. ^ http://massis.lcs.mit.edu/archives/back.issues/2002.volume.20/vol20.iss301-350
  2. ^ http://catless.ncl.ac.uk/Risks/24.07.html#subj4
  3. ^ http://mesonet.agron.iastate.edu/wx/afos/p.php?pil=PNSOKX&e=201402212204
  4. ^ http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052702304026804579411362657098646
  5. ^ http://mesonet.agron.iastate.edu/wx/afos/p.php?pil=PNSOKX&e=201403261630
  6. ^ http://www.nws.noaa.gov/nwr/Maps/PHP/site.php?State=NJ&Site=KWO35
  7. ^ http://www.nws.noaa.gov/nwr/outages.php
  8. ^ http://mesonet.agron.iastate.edu/wx/afos/p.php?pil=PNSOKX&e=201404281535
  9. ^ http://www.nws.noaa.gov/nwr/outages.php
  10. ^ http://mesonet.agron.iastate.edu/wx/afos/p.php?dir=prev&pil=AFDOKX&e=201405240000
  11. ^ http://www.nws.noaa.gov/nwr/Maps/PHP/site.php?State=NY&Site=KWO35
  12. ^ http://www.opc.ncep.noaa.gov/new_zones.php

External links[edit]