NBEMS and SKYWARN

Discussion in 'Skywarn Storm Spotting' started by David Kleber - KB3FXI, Apr 27, 2014.

  1. David Kleber - KB3FXI

    David Kleber - KB3FXI Moderator Staff Member

    As I type this message, I'm watching the Weather Channel and the Tornado coverage in Arkansas, and can't help thinking how much value NBEMS could add to weather reporting where a SKYWARN "scribe" on a VHF/UHF voice net could transcribe reports in NWS forms with FLMSG then send the local NWS station a bulk transmission of the form-based messages.

    I wonder if there are any folks working closely with NWS who could arrange a proof of concept exercise with the NWS with NBEMS.

    -Dave, KB3FXI
     
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  2. W.T. Jones

    W.T. Jones Moderator Staff Member Silver Member Golden GPS Recipient

    I am going to try this with the Binghamton Office of the NWS but again there is major resistance by the amateur community. Anything that seems to say you can do it without using a microphone seems to fall on deaf ears. But we charge ahead. As soon as I can get the ear of the Forecaster in Charge I'll see what we can do about it. I know that for consolidating reports to the NWS it is a major "we can do this" thing. I think that the presentation to the Susquehanna Club next month will be a stepping stone for it. I'll let you know how it goes.
     
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  3. David Kleber - KB3FXI

    David Kleber - KB3FXI Moderator Staff Member

    Well, WT, the good thing - and perhaps the way NBEMS integration with NWS/SKWARN should be positioned - is the voice reports are still the easiest and best way to gather brief firsthand weather observations. All the NBEMS integration on VHF/UHF nets would entail would be to have an "NBEMS Scribe" assigned to the net who would transcribe the voice reports into FLMSG messages. Then, in a major weather emergency, the NWS station could receive a bulk NBEMS transmission of the FLMSG reports from the scribe. Or, the scribe could email the HTML views of the reports to NWS if email and internet are available. But... imagine how valuable the bulk NBEMS/FLMSG transmission of reports on VHF/UHF would be in a situation where Internet, cell service and commercial power were interrupted.

    Another interesting point on FLMSG weather forms is that the voice ops who are giving reports could use FLMSG as a stand alone program (without even having FLDIGI installed) to simply keep their reports consistent by filling out the form before they give their report on a voice SKYWARN net.

    -Dave, KB3FXI
    paNBEMS
     
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  4. DoctorZ

    DoctorZ Moderator Staff Member

    For those of us who don't know (like me) what is "NBEMS" and "FLMSG"?
     
  5. David Kleber - KB3FXI

    David Kleber - KB3FXI Moderator Staff Member

    NBEMS is Narrow Band Emergency Message Service, free software for digital radio communications that uses the sound card in just about any computer to turn text into tones that can be transmitted over any analog transceiver. The primary program in the NBEMS suite is FLDIGI which does the tones and has many different modes to choose from. Some modes work very well without even having a direct interface from the transceiver and the computer. You just key up your transciever mic near the computer speaker and hit transmit on the software. Copying is even easier... just have the computer mic somewhere near the speaker on your receiver. FLMSG is a helper application that has many standardized forms. The data is sent from these forms with code that reassembles the data back into a form view on the receiving end and also has a checksum calculation so that receiving stations can confirm 100% accuracy. You can download the free software for Windows, MAC or Linux at w1hkj.com
     
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  6. W.T. Jones

    W.T. Jones Moderator Staff Member Silver Member Golden GPS Recipient

    Just for reference here is what the Flmsg Severe WX and Storm Report forms look like:

    severewx.jpg
    There is second page where a narrative can be added.

    stormrpt.jpg
    And again there is second page that can be used to supply free form details.

    I think I posted this somewhere else on the forum but here they are again just to reinforce KB3FXI's excellent verbal description.

    For a full description of how Fldigi and Flmsg work just look in the Resources section under "Tour of Fldigi". OK, it is a shameless plug. Somebody bring the wood and somebody else get the nails.
     
    wedgar likes this.
  7. DoctorZ

    DoctorZ Moderator Staff Member

    Wow, that's interesting! I've never heard of this software before. I wonder why no one in our area has ever talked about it before? I'm going to have to download it and pass it on to our SkyWarn Training Coordinator.
     
  8. David Kleber - KB3FXI

    David Kleber - KB3FXI Moderator Staff Member

    Let us know if you have any questions or need any help!

    I'm not sure where you're located or what bands you can run but I'd be glad to see if we can get you in touch with any other NBEMS folks in your area. All are welcome every Sunday to check in on the paNBEMS nets. More info and links on my qrz dot com profile page.

    -Dave, KB3FXI
    paNBEMS Founder and PEMA/ACS Digital Manager
     
    wedgar likes this.
  9. DoctorZ

    DoctorZ Moderator Staff Member

    I'm in Minnesota. All our SkyWarn activity is in the 2-meter band. Who are the NBEMS in my area?
     
  10. David Kleber - KB3FXI

    David Kleber - KB3FXI Moderator Staff Member

    There's quite a bit of HF activity in MN and I'm pretty sure some VHF nets there, too. Dave Frazier (wb0kgn) is very active and a regular check in on many HF NBEMS nets. He's in Le Sueur and his email address is wb0kgn@q.com.
     
  11. DoctorZ

    DoctorZ Moderator Staff Member

    I'm well aware of most of the regular Nets on HF and VHF/UHF around here, but I've never heard of any NBEMS Nets in Minnesota, or any SkyWarn activity on the HF bands.
     

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