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Adding NOAA Weather Alerts to the repeater

 

I started thinking what is would take to interface a NOAA weather radio to the repeater to re-broadcast the weather alerts. One of the first concern that came to mind was, Is it legal? In short... Yes.

From Part 97.113 (c) "No station shall retransmit programs or signals emanating from any type of radio station other than an amateur station, except propagation and weather forecast information intended for use by the general public and originated from United States Government stations, and communications...."  

Full text can be found here.

Ok so it looks to be allowed, but when and how. The when is easy, anytime there is severe weather. Now the how is the question. There are commercially available weather receivers to interface with repeaters, but they are in the neighborhood of $600+ to implement, not exactly in the budget. So how about hacking up a weather receiver from Radio Shack, or similar? It might work, but I would have to find some way to control the receiver, and some way to realize an alert was coming in. I have seen a few articles where someone hacks up an existing radio that has indicator lights for the alerts, and used this to signal the repeater when to rebroadcast the weather alert, but still not configurable enough. And at this point I filed the idea in the back of my head.

 

SoSparkfun Si4707 Breakout today as I am browsing through on of my favorite online electronic parts website, I find they have a breakout board for the Si4707, a weather receiver with SAME decoding built in. SAME is the NOAA Weather system that allows weather radios to alert people of severe weather in their specific areas. You can tailor the alerts by regions and types of alerts. The breakout board  needs some sort of micro controller to use it, but Arduino code is available. The breakout board has a small audio amplifier as well, so I could just build a stand alone WX receiver with SAME capability, and stuff it in a small project box as is. But this is going to be interfaced with the repeater, so that will be the design goal.

More to follow......

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