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Thread: Clash between Chasers and Spotters

  1. #61
    Member kmreid's Avatar
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    Looks like a struck nerve over here :P.

    I am currently studying to obtain my Technician's license. I have put too put time into it to back out now but I was wondering if all of this will be worth my while in the end? Any insight?

  2. #62
    Member Steven Howell's Avatar
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    I think the power struggle with a HAM at the helm at NWS running the spotter net is, if you get a HAM with a CB operator mentality (cb'er running power squarsh match anyone?), this can be a problem. There are many in HAM radio now, and back when I was licensed in 1994 that had just this mentality. They owned the airwaves and you got on when THEY wanted you to get on. We had a guy with this mentality that was trying to run the NWS Skywarn net in Houston, for a time being. I actually was a net controller for a while too, and I upon hearing this, I drove to NWS, (was only 15 minute drive from my house), and kindly told the operator (in person), that he would not continue to operate the net this way, or I would have a conversation with the MIC and WCM and immediately have him removed from his net control status and never be allowed to return.

  3. #63

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    Personality conflicts sadly are going to happen. I imagine many of the best spotters are older men, perhaps farmers or double-dippers who can retire and are always on call who may take a dim view of chasers with smart phones but no HAM knowledge.
    I can understand where older folks come from. In one of the Tornado Video Classics, we see Carson Eads, I think, trying to keep the air clear of chatter. He wasn't being ugly, just no nonsense. I really liked his disposition.

  4. #64
    Stormtrack supporter Greg Higgins's Avatar
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    There is always going to be a bias one way or the other towards the validity of amateur radio. Making a flat out statement that amateur radio is dead is inaccurate. It boils down to what works best in your particular area. In our local NWSO, they are open to using several different methods to obtain "ground truth" be it amateur radio, Face Book, Spotter Network, or telephone to name a few. As an example, the Southern Region NWS uses amateur HF radio as the backup during hurricane season to keep in touch with those local NWS offices along the Gulf coast. DHS has also recognized, and funded, amateur radio (HF, VHF, WinLink, and EchoLink) "go-kits" as the primary backup system for communications after a disaster. The primary reason being that amateur radio can be successfully deployed and operational within a few hours, not the days it takes for the AT&T, Verizon and the other tele-communications companies to get their equipment deployed to the disaster area and then setup for operations. Will things change? Yes, they have and more change is coming with new technology, but you can't argue the price and service that amateur radio continues to provide.

    As for spotters vs. chasers and amateur radio, via Spotter Network I see that a large percentage of the spotters list an amateur radio frequency in their information along with their cell phone number. Our NWS makes use of this information and will call these spotters direct to obtain "ground truth" if they are in close proximity of a storm, using whatever means works, be it amateur radio or cell phone. There are several chasers here on the forum that can attest that the FWD NWS has called them direct while chasing.

    Everyone has a place in providing "ground truth", no matter their affiliation or the communication method utilized. We would be "cutting off your nose to spite your face" by not identifying and utilizing ALL available resources.
    Greg Higgins

  5. #65
    Member Jake Orosi's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Rennie View Post
    Reading the posts here, I'm wondering if there is any reason to equip my vehicle with a 2-meter radio other than to run the risk of stepping on the toes of some NCO's kingdom. Comments about Spotter Network, etc., taking the place of the traditional ham radio nets, etc., make me wonder if its worth shelling out the bucks for a radio and the time and effort to get a license.
    Yeah, I'm not seeing it either. It's an awful lot of expense just to get dressed down over the air when you're all you're trying to do is help. I've never had to clash with anyone's ego using Spotter Network or calling the WFO on my cell.

    I've been thinking about perhaps getting a tech license for pleasure; I certainly love listening to SW/MW/FM. But I'm not sure I'd use radio for reporting even if I had the option.

  6. #66

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    I think after reading many of these posts I will add my two cents. I have been chasing for what... 11 years now. I have always been skywarn trained, always made credible reports. I am, as of this April, a ham. I am directly involved in Skywarn and ARES/RACES.

    Are there some chaser vs. spotter conflicts? Oh yeah. Something I learned from my Elmer, when I talk to the "old-timers" I'm a spotter. Does my DEC know I chase, yep. Many ham I am friends/acquaintances with know I do. But you learn who to tell what really fast.

    When I check into a local skywarn net, I am always mobile. Do they all take my reports as credible? No. Does it get frustrating, sure. But over time you learn the rules of each net, how they operate, and what is and isn't acceptable. Often time, it can vary by NCS.

    In my area, ham radio is becoming increasingly more public and in many communities a vital asset. Many nets have more then twenty check ins from spotters, mobile and fixed. The idea that ham radio isn't useful anymore is what I think part of the conflict is. Chasers want respect from Skywarn/Ham groups, and visa versa. I think the conflict between spotters and chasers can become less, but it needs to come from both ends.

    And as for ham radio being dead, Fox News just did a big story on Amateur Licenses being at an all time high. http://www.foxnews.com/scitech/2011/...all-time-high/

    If anyone would like to learn more about what good amateur radio can be during a disaster (small or large) please feel free to contact me and I would be happy to talk with you. Ham radio is being used in many ways that may surprise you.
    In most situations it's the silence thats the warning.
    KC9TZW
    WI ARES/RACES
    North East District ADEC-PIO

  7. #67
    Member J Tyler's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Greg Higgins View Post
    There are several chasers here on the forum that can attest that the FWD NWS has called them direct while chasing.
    .
    Greg, I assume YOU are the "Greg" I've dealt with out of the Fort Worth NWS office via ham while chasing/spotting. If so, you are absolutely wonderful to work with. Greg is correct. More times than I can count I have been called on my cell phone, and called on the ham radio by the FWD NWS office. I've been on one storm that had 3-4 other spotters on it, and been asked if I would be willing to switch to a different storm that they are worried about. They will see my dot on SN moving north on I35, and call me to ask which storm I'm heading to. The reason I love using Amature radio is because I can hear when another spotter/chaser is working a storm with the FWD office and I am then able to figure out how I can help. I may have a better angle on a "feature" and can confirm that the funnel is not on the ground yet, etc. My wife and I are also equipped and experienced to be able and willing to chase after dark when most people pack it up.

    To the subject at hand......I only see "resistance" from the major cities spotter nets. I don't bother working a storm if it is in the DFW metro or suburbs. They have enough resources and have it covered IMO. Rural areas are what we work, and have been welcomed with open arms every single time, from Arkansas to Kansas to Texas to Oklahoma. We always check in early before things get heated, let the net know we are SKYWARN out of Dallas and are operating in their area today, etc. We have never gotten a cold shoulder.

    As for spotters vs chasers......
    I think a lot of chasers are seen as spaz thrill seekers. Plus, the local Skywarn net has no idea who the chaser is and whether they are credible. Then, add in the fact that most Skywarn nets are run by older men who are set in their ways......

    The problem is.....most local nets are county based. They activate when the weather enters their county, and deactivate when it leaves their county. Since 1987, I was a traditional "spotter". I would wait all year only to activate twice and never see anything. Most "spotters" have never seen a tornado. When I listen to a local net, I hear so much bad information it is scary. Obvious scud being called in as a funnel. Overestimation of wind speed. I hear too many excited, scared, poorly trained people. The net controllers filter most of the junk out, but still....Also, the traditional "spotter" does not have GR3 in their vehicle nor other equipment. Chasers see more severe weather and gain more experience in one season than most "spotters" do in an entire lifetime. After just 3 seasons of all out chasing, I am a MUCH better asset to the NWS than I was after 20 years as a "spotter"! But, like the earler poster, I don't use the dirty word of chaser. Carmen and I say we are HIGHLY moble spotters.
    Last edited by J Tyler; 12-05-2011 at 03:53 AM.
    -----------------------------------------------------
    Jeff Tyler KF5GDA-Dallas Texas
    Chase Partner-My Wife, Carmen Tyler KF5GCZ
    Twitter---WXTERRA

  8. #68
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    Wow - talk about waking up the dead!

  9. #69
    Stormtrack supporter Greg Higgins's Avatar
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    Thank you Jeff, and yes I am one of the radio ops at FWD NWS.
    Greg Higgins

  10. #70
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    Quote Originally Posted by J Tyler View Post
    The problem is.....most local nets are county based. They activate when the weather enters their county, and deactivate when it leaves their county. Since 1987, I was a traditional "spotter". I would wait all year only to activate twice and never see anything. Most "spotters" have never seen a tornado. When I listen to a local net, I hear so much bad information it is scary. Obvious scud being called in as a funnel. Overestimation of wind speed. I hear too many excited, scared, poorly trained people. The net controllers filter most of the junk out, but still....Also, the traditional "spotter" does not have GR3 in their vehicle nor other equipment. Chasers see more severe weather and gain more experience in one season than most "spotters" do in an entire lifetime. After just 3 seasons of all out chasing, I am a MUCH better asset to the NWS than I was after 20 years as a "spotter"! But, like the earler poster, I don't use the dirty word of chaser. Carmen and I say we are HIGHLY moble spotters.
    This is partially true. Experience certainly helps. That said, simply chasing for a number of years doesn't necessarily mean you've actually learned anything. I know chasers who have been out there for 10+ years and they're still idiots in my opinion and they make bad reports. The biggest problem in my opinion is inadequate spotter training. Often too much time is spent teaching spotters things they don't really need to know and the actual training materials are poor.

    ..Chris..

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