VARC members aid National Weather Service during local tornado

By Israel Gonzalez – NWS Tallahassee

Video captured by VARC members of the tornado. 

On February 4th, an area of low pressure developed near the Gulf Coast and moved inland over the NWS Tallahassee forecast area. This system produced 3 confirmed tornadoes, one of which was an EF-2 in Lowndes County, GA that injured 2 people. What made this tornado unique and challenging to warn on was that it developed in a low-precipitation area with respect to the parent storm. This article gives an inside look at key moments during the crucial 5-minute warning-decision process. At 305pm ET, there were no radar indications of a tornado amidst ongoing storms, but the reality was that there was one unknowingly on the ground at that point. A 307pm ET, a crucial chat comes into our Slack Channel (NWSChat 2.0) from a HAM/ARES radio operator, with an attached image (bottom-right) of an apparent distant tornado from a water tank cam in SE Valdosta. At 308pm ET, the warning forecaster, Don Van Dyke (DVD) replied to the operator asking what direction the camera was facing, then pivoted to the Valdosta area on radar to examine more closely where the potential tornado could be, and identifies a low-precipitation area separated from the main storm just to its NW. At this point, DVD drafted a warning for that suspicious area while anxiously awaiting the operator’s response, for which at 309pm ET, came back as “at the Valdosta Cinemas facing southeast”. A fellow Lead Forecaster on shift, Karleisa Rogacheski (KR) then quickly pinpointed the exact location and it aligned with the suspected area on radar. The Tornado Warning was subsequently issued at 310pm ET. Moments later, the next radar scan revealed a sudden spike in the reflectivity in the low-precipitation zone, coincident with debris being lofted in the air by the tornado, itself.

“It is the single best chat I’ve ever gotten in my career so far”.

The operator’s chat saved at least 1-2 minutes on the tornado warning issuance time. Without his chat, the tornado may have not been recognizable on radar until 310pm ET. Residents said they got the warnings with enough lead time to seek shelter. For DVD, it was the most challenging tornado warning decision of his 15-year NWS career and commented that, “It is the single best chat I’ve ever gotten in my career so far”. As for KR, it was a career-defining moment for which she said, “These stories are a powerful reminder that our work matters. Had it not been from Randy (KN4SHQ) sharing those images with us and DVD jumping into action to get the warning out, lives may have been lost.” Additional kudos must also be given to the following forecasters who made strong contributions during that shift: Lance Franck, Kristian Oliver, Joe Worster, and Jasmine Montgomery.

2023 VARC Update – About Us

The Valdosta Amateur Radio Club (VARC) is an active organization dedicated to fostering the growth and development of amateur radio enthusiasts in Valdosta, Georgia, and its surrounding areas. With a rich history spanning several decades, the club has become an integral part of the local amateur radio community.

VARC provides a platform for individuals who share a passion for amateur radio to come together, exchange knowledge, and engage in various activities related to the hobby. The club boasts a diverse membership, comprising both seasoned operators with years of experience and newcomers eager to explore the world of amateur radio. This diversity creates a dynamic environment where novices can learn from the seasoned veterans, and experienced operators can stay up-to-date with the latest developments in the field.

One of VARC’s primary objectives is to promote education and licensing in amateur radio. The club organizes regular training sessions, license examination sessions, and mentoring programs to help individuals obtain their amateur radio licenses. By fostering a supportive learning environment, VARC encourages newcomers to explore the technical and operational aspects of amateur radio and helps them integrate into the larger amateur radio community.

In addition to educational initiatives, VARC organizes a range of activities and events throughout the year. These include field days, contests, public demonstrations, and community outreach programs. The club often collaborates with local organizations and participates in emergency preparedness drills to showcase the vital role amateur radio plays in times of crisis.

Furthermore, VARC maintains and operates multiple repeaters to facilitate communication among members and provide a reliable platform for experimentation and exploration. The club actively encourages members to engage in antenna building, equipment modifications, and other technical projects to enhance their understanding of radio technology.

The Valdosta Amateur Radio Club’s dedication to promoting amateur radio, fostering education, and creating a strong sense of community has made it a respected and influential organization. Through its various initiatives, VARC continues to inspire and support amateur radio enthusiasts, ensuring the growth and longevity of the hobby in the Valdosta area for years to come.

Field Day 2021

Field Day

Come join us June 26, 2021 for Field Day! We’ll be starting at 2PM operating at WAFT. Food and drink provided. Hope to see you there!

215 Waft Hill Ln
Valdosta, GA 31602

First-Time Exam Applicants Must Obtain FCC Registration Number before Taking Exam

ARLB015 First-Time Exam Applicants Must Obtain FCC Registration
Number before Taking Exam

QST de W1AW  
ARRL Bulletin 15  ARLB015
From ARRL Headquarters  
Newington CT  May 7, 2021
To all radio amateurs

ARLB015 First-Time Exam Applicants Must Obtain FCC Registration
Number before Taking Exam

Beginning May 20, 2021, all amateur examination applicants will be
required to provide an FCC Registration Number (FRN) to the
Volunteer Examiners (VEs) before taking an amateur exam. This is
necessary due to changes the FCC has made to its licensing system.

Amateur candidates who already have an FCC license, whether for
amateur radio or in another service, already have an FRN and can use
the same number. All prospective new FCC licensees, however, will be
required to obtain an FRN before the examination and provide that
number to the volunteer examiners on the Form 605 license
application. An FCC instructional video provides step-by-step
instructions on how to obtain an FRN through the FCC’s COmmission
REgistration System (CORES).

The video is available at, .

The FRN is required for all new applicants to take an amateur exam
and is used afterward by the applicant to download the license
document from the FCC Universal Licensing System (ULS), upgrade the
license, apply for a vanity call sign, and to submit administrative
updates (such as address and email changes) and renewal

In addition, after June 29, all applications will be required to
contain an email address for FCC correspondence. Applicants will
receive an email direct from the FCC with a link to the official
electronic copy of their license whenever a license is issued or
changed. ARRL VEC suggests that those without access to email to use
the email address of a family member or friend. Licensees will be
able to log in to the ULS using their FRN and password to download
the latest version of their license at any time. The FCC no longer
provides paper license documents.

Welcome New Member, KB4VLD!

We’d like to welcome a new member to our growing VARC family, Rusty Wetherington, KB4VLD! Rusty is bringing his wealth of knowledge and experience to our group and we can’t be more excited to have him involved. He’s also been elected unanimously as our club secretary! Thanks Rusty!