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 1000 Watts (New Transmitter) 750 Watts (Old Transmitter)
Class C
Owner NOAA/National Weather Service
Webcast [1]
Website www.weather.gov/okx (NWS Office Upton, NY) [2] (KWO35 Transmitter)

KWO35 (the third character is the letter "O") 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 long periods. In March 2014 the transmitter was relocated atop a building near Times Square in an effort to mitigate disruptions in service, with primary and secondary transmitters tested for interference at a new location. A planned new, permanent, and more powerful transmitter was announced (transmitter issues are discussed below). 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 1000 (formerly 750) Watts. On modern weather radio receivers it is often marked "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 and 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]

Coast Guard interferences[edit]

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.

This interference took the form of audio from the NYC transmitter (KWO35) tending to "bleed into" or mix in with the Coast Guard's broadcast because the frequencies were so close to each other (KWO35 on 162.550 MHz, Coastguard on 156.800 MHz). This made Coast Guard communications difficult.

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", 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 other emergency alerts during "potentially dangerous weather situations".

At the start of 2014 transmitter interference issues continued, and KWO35 would only be available only when the winter storms during the 2013–14 North American cold wave rolled in. The Upton, NY WFO updated their public information statements monthly; however there was little change. Throughout that time, there was talk of moving the transmitter as a worst-case scenario.

Finally, in February 2014, the National Weather Service Office in Upton NY decided that the only way that the interference could be stopped was to move the transmitter to an adjacent building in Manhattan. 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 published an article about the interference issues and reported that NOAA did, indeed, intend to move the transmitter. They repeated the NOAA statement that this would take at least six months. [4]

Return in testing mode[edit]

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 in a degraded mode (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, that KWO35, the NYC transmitter, had returned to normal operation, and that NWS in Upton NY was conducting further tests to evaluate the coverage and quality of the broadcast. However, the NWS in Upton did not change their Public Information Statement 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.

In October 2014, the National Weather Service transferred and upgraded the KWO35 NOAA Weather Radio Page to the new page. Because the new transmitter is more powerful, it is upgraded to 1000 Watts instead of the previous 750 Watts.[12]


County coverage for KWO35[edit]

Although the National Weather Service Office in Upton, NY controls KWO35, 8 NJ Counties and 3 Marine Locations from the National Weather Service Office in Mount Holly, NJ are also covered. The transmitter serves Northern New Jersey, the Lower Hudson Valley, the New York City Metropolitan Area, Western Long Island, and extreme Southwestern Connecticut, as well as its adjacent Atlantic Coastal Waters and Marine Interests.

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 implemented by the Ocean Prediction Center on April 1, 2014.[13]

  • 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 implemented 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. 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.

See also[edit]

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://nws.noaa.gov/nwr/coverage/site2.php?State=NY&Site=KWO35
  13. ^ http://www.opc.ncep.noaa.gov/new_zones.php

External links[edit]