National Weather Service United States Department of Commerce
 NOAA All Hazards Weather Radio Links
Local Transmitter InfoSAME Codes
NOAA Weather Radio National Homepage
NOAA All Hazards Weather Radio Brochure PDF
Voluntary Recall of Some Oregon Scientific Radios
National List of NOAA All Hazards Weather Radio Stations
Weather Radio Consumer Information (including recalls)
Report a NOAA Weather Radio Outage
Reception Problems & Solutions
 General Information

NOAA All Hazards Weather Radio is a service of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) of the U.S. Department of Commerce.  As the "Voice of the National Weather Service", it provides continuous broadcasts of the latest weather information from local National Weather Service offices.  Weather messages are generally repeated every 5 to 10 minutes and are routinely updated every 1 to 3 hours or more frequently in rapidly changing weather conditions or if a nearby hazardous environmental condition exists.

The regular broadcasts are specifically tailored to weather information needs of the people within the local service area of the transmitter.  For example, in addition to general weather information, stations in coastal areas provide information of interest to mariners.  Other specialized information, such as hydrological forecasts and climatological data, may be broadcast.

During severe weather, National Weather Service forecasters issue special warning messages concerning imminent threats to life and property.  Special signals are added to warnings that trigger alerting features of specially equipped receivers.  In the simplest case, this signal activates audible or visual alarms, indicating that an emergency condition exists within the broadcast areas of the station being monitored and alerts the listener to turn up the volume and stay tuned for more information.  More sophisticated receivers are automatically turned on and set to an audible volume when an alert is received.

Tests of the NOAA Weather Radio warning alarm are conducted every Wednesday between 10 AM & noon.   If there is the threat of severe weather, the test is postponed until the next available good-weather day.
 Specific Area Message Encoder (SAME)

The National Weather Service recently began using a new alert system called Specific Area Message Encoder (SAME).  This new alert system employs digital coding to activate only specially programmed receivers for specific emergency conditions in a specific area, typically a county.  Television, cable and radio stations can use SAME to allow their listeners to hear warnings as they are being issued. SAME is also the primary activator for the new Emergency Alert System which replaced the Emergency Broadcast System on January 1, 1997.  Operations and Programming for NWR Specific Area Message Encoding (SAME) contains information on how to program your NWR SAME receiver including SAME codes for every county/parrish/independent city.  New programmable NOAA All Hazards Weather Radios are on the market now which utilize SAME technology.  Here is a listing of all the SAME County Codes (FIPS Codes) used for the new SAME programmable NOAA All Hazards Weather Radios.

Under a January 1995 White House policy statement, NOAA Weather Radio was designated the sole Government-operated radio system to provide direct warnings into private homes for both natural disasters and nuclear attack.  This concept has recently been expanded to include warnings for all hazardous conditions that pose a threat to life and safety, both at a local and national level.

 Where to purchase a NOAA Weather Radio

Special radios that receive only NOAA Weather Radio, both with and without the spacial alerting features (SAME), are available from several manufacturers. In addition, other manufacturers are including NOAA Weather Radio as special features on an increasing variety of receivers. NOAA Weather Radio capability is currently available on some automobile, aircraft, marine, citizen band, and standard AM/FM radios, as well as communications receivers, transceivers, scanners, and cable TV.  Click here for more consumer information, including a list of some weather radio manufacturers.

 How to Program a NOAA Weather Radio

Instructions are specific to each brand and model of NOAA Weather Radio and are typically included in the box.  Here are a few brands and models and instructional videos created by Ted Buehner from the National Weather Service in Seattle:

 NOAA All Hazard Weather Radio Coverage & Frequencies

NOAA Weather Radio coverage is limited to an area usually within 40 miles of the transmitter. The quality of what is heard is dictated by the distance from the transmitter, local terrain, and the quality and location of the receiver. In general, those on flat terrain or at sea, using a high quality receiver, can expect reliable reception far beyond 40 miles. Those living in cities surrounded by large buildings and those in mountain valleys with standard receivers may experience little or no reception at considerably less than 40 miles. If possible, a receiver should be tested in the location where it will be used prior to purchase. NOAA Weather Radio is directly available to approximately 70 to 80 percent of the U.S. population. The National Weather Service is currently engaged in a program to increase coverage to 95 percent of the population.

NOAA Weather radio currently broadcasts from 940 FM transmitters on seven frequencies in the VHF band, ranging from 162.400 to 162.550 megahertz (MHz) in fifty states, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, Guam, and Saipan. These frequencies are outside of the normal AM or FM broadcast bands.  The National Weather Service broadcasts continuous weather information 24 hours a day on the following frequencies:  162.550 MHz, 162.400 MHz, 162.475 MHz, 162.425 MHz, 162.450 MHz, 162.500 MHz, and 162.525 MHz.

If you have additional questions or comments about the NWS Jacksonville NOAA Weather Radio program, e-mail William Corless