Immediately after the tornado that struck the Blue Ash area, WARN began receiving inquiries about different warning devices that are available for personal or commercial use. Quite frankly, the choices were rather limited. The choices were the old style weather radios that alert for an entire metropolitan area covering many counties, or one of the new SAME programmable weather radios. Let’s face it, one particular electronics store pretty much had the market cornered. We heard about a few products under development. We strongly feel that NOAA Weather Radio is the best way to receive severe weather information without sitting in front of the television 24 hours a day. (My wife says I have come close to that before!)
Well, I’m happy to say we have now learned of the release of a few new products. Each, in its own way, is interesting. If nothing else, they give everyone a choice and may create some competition in the market.
First, there is a portable programmable SAME weather radio manufactured by Oregon Scientific. The Model WR102 is a small, battery-operated weather radio that, like other SAME models, allows you to choose individual counties for which you wish to receive alerts. You can see this radio at http://www.oregonscientific.com/wr102.html. Oregon Scientific also makes other models of weather radios.
Next, we received a few requests for information about radios suitable for commercial use, specifically warning entire facilities by using a public address system and the ability to turn on warning lights, etc. Well, there is progress on this front, too. The WX-1000 from Computer Automation Technology is primarily designed to interface to a radio repeater system for amateur radio, public safety, or business. But, the design of this unit is configurable enough to make it very suitable for many other applications, like the commercial warning application mentioned above. You can see the WX-1000 at http://www.catauto.com/wx1000.html. It is also featured in the November issue of CQ VHF magazine, with a decent technical review.
Finally, there is the Emergency Alert Sentinel from ASi. This one is completely different. This radio is useful in areas that may not have sufficient radio signal from a NOAA Weather Radio transmitter. These radios monitor a broadcast radio station (AM/FM) and alert you to an emergency condition. I don’t think you can pick counties, but in a low NWR signal area this may be just the ticket for personal warning. You can view this radio at http://www.netins.net/showcase/asi/.
Neither the Weather Amateur Radio Network or the National Weather Service (Or I) endorse any particular product or its performance or suitability for any task. We (WARN) just wanted to pass this information on. In light of the number of inquiries received, there seems to be significant interest in the subject.