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Guide to Weather Radios
Introduction
Understanding Weather Radios
Operation
NOAA and NWR
EAS (Emergency Alert System)
SAME Codes
Alert Messages
Selecting a Weather Radio
Weather Radio Accessories
Frequently Asked Questions
Glossary
 

 Weather Radio Answers

Question: What is the difference between a watch and a warning?

Answer:
A watch alerts you to potential severe weather approaching your area. It doesn't mean severe weather will occur, but that the right conditions exist which could lead to severe storms. You should be prepared for the weather to deteriorate rapidly.

A warning states the severe weather is imminent or present in your vicinity. You should immediately take precautions to protect yourself and your family.

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Question: How can I adapt my weather radio for special needs?

Answer:
You can use a weather radio with terminal outputs along with a universal interface and modules to trigger a siren and/or flash particular lights when an alert is received. For detailed information, see Adapting your Weather Radio for Special Needs.

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Question: How can I check my radio to be sure that it is working properly?

Answer:
The NOAA Weather Radio service usually sends a test signal once per week. You will need to check with your local weather service to find out when they send the test signal in your area.

RadioShack weather radios will display "Chk Op" if it goes seven days without receiving a signal (test or otherwise).

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Question: Why wouldn't I receive the test signal from NOAA?

Answer:
If your area is experiencing bad weather, the NOAA Weather Radio service will not issue the test alert. Check to be sure that you still receive the weather broadcast when you activate the Weather audio. Also, while NOAA Weather Radio is a national organization, the signals and test alert are local. Some local services send the test signal out once a month instead of once a week. Other local services do not send it out at all unless it is a certain season (hurricane, tornado, etc.). You will need to check with your local weather service to find out the frequency of their testing.

If you are on the right frequency and a signal was sent, you might need to try a different location for the radio, such as near a window and away from any other audio equipment, or you may need an external antenna.

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Question: Should I be able to pick up a weather channel all the time?

Answer:
The weather service is on constant broadcast. If you cannot pick up the weather channel, check the NWR website to be sure you are on the right frequency. If you are on the correct frequency and do not get a signal, try moving the weather radio to an outside wall or window. If you are in a metal structure (such as a mobile home) or in a weak signal area, you may need to use an external antenna.

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Question: What does 0H29M (or similar) mean on the display?

Answer:
#H##M (such as 0H29M) is displaying the time data sent with the alert signal and indicates when the warning expires. The "0H29M" means 0 Hours and 29 Minutes. If you watch the unit, you will notice that it is counting down/backwards. This indicates how much time you have left before the warning or alert expires.

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Question: Why is "Check Op" or "Chk Op" on the display?

Answer:
When CheckOp or ChkOp appears on the display, it indicates that the weather radio has not received a signal from NWR in a week. You should check the channel to be sure that you are on the correct frequency and/or move the radio to a better location.

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Question: Does RadioShack carry a weather radio with an alert time of less than one minute?

Answer:
No, we do not.

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