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What's the Weather

What's the Weather??
by Gary Woods

In an emergency one of the things that you'd really to know is "what's the weather?" If you know what's going to happen and can prepare for that occurrence you could save your life. At the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas one display that intrigued me was the NOAA booth. NOAA is the National Weather Service and you can check them out at

Besides their weather service they were advocating that people get a radio that can receive NOAA broadcasts. It turns out that a NOAA capable radio can be had for as little as $20 and as much as $200. Some of the features you're going to want to look at are Tone Alarm. The National Weather Service will send a 1050 Hz tone alarm before most warnings and many watch messages are broadcast. The tone will activate all the receivers which are equipped to receive that alarm.

Then there's SAME technology which is Specific Alert Message Encoding which allows you to specify the particular area for which you wish to receive alerts. Another feature is selectable alerting of events. While SAME allows you to specificity particular areas of interest, some receivers allow you to turn off alarms for certain events which might not be important to you. A couple of other important features are battery backup and an external antenna jack to increase the range.

You can find NOAA compatible ratios at Ambient Weather, Explora Track and good ol' Radio Shack

If you have any suggestions or questions for me please drop me a note at or see my column on the Internet at or call me at (805) 729-0910

Gary Woods is the Computer Trainer for the Santa Barbara Association of Realtors. And he is a Broker/Associate at Home Realty & Investments, Inc