The SKYWARN program is a loosely organized nationwide group of volunteers who are trained to recognize and report severe weather events to the National Weather Service with the goal of saving lives by improving warning accuracy. Since the 1970's, ordinary citizens across the country have given their time and skills to the SKYWARN program, and amateur "ham" radio has played an important role in the collection of these reports.

In some areas, SKYWARN programs are organized by local emergency management teams or community groups. In other areas, ham radio clubs provide all SKYWARN training and services. Our Team was initially formed by a Board of Directors, residing on the Gaston Radio Club.

Although formed in Gaston County, NC the Gaston Radio Club administers the SKYWARN program throughout the Regional Warning Area which includes 11 counties.

Over 300 active volunteers have completed their Basic SKYWARN training program and take refresher courses every three years as part of their ongoing certification process. Basic SKYWARN Spotter classes are held throughout the County Warning Area each year, mostly in the first half of the year, and a limited number of Advanced SKYWARN Spotter classes are held in major cities a few times a year.

The SKYWARN Amateur Radio Support Team was founded in July 2022 and provides communications support and additional community outreach services for the SKYWARN program. The team consists of specially trained, FCC-licensed amateur radio operators ("hams") who operate on-air communication networks to collect and relay reports and requests for information between the Forecast Office and the amateur radio community. The team is operational in most of 1 counties and cities in the Gastonia Region.

All licensed amateur radio operators are encouraged to check in to our nets and call-in reports of severe weather events as they happen. Interested in becoming a licensed ham? Contact us for information on how you can get started in this exciting hobby.