Buffalo Repeater Linked Full Time

Buffalo, Missouri Water TowerFollowing several weeks of work and testing, we’re excited to announce that the Buffalo, Missouri repeater at 147.180 MHz. is now permanently linked into the Southwest Missouri Regional Skywarn linked repeater system. It took quite a bit of time to gather the resources to get this repeater to where it can be regularly linked. System trustee Mike, N0NQW, says the Buffalo Repeater has been outfitted with a brand new Yaesu Fusion DR-1X Repeater, a brand new commercial Vertex VX 2200 link radio, and a new CAT repeater controller. Unfortunately a preexisting issue with the antenna and feed line atop the tower continues to produce occasional bursts of static over weaker signals transmitting into this repeater. These static bursts sound a lot like the noise that nearby lightning makes on a radio receiver. At this time it seems unlikely that we will have the financial resources available to try to correct this problem prior to the scheduled razing of the water tower upon which the repeater’s antenna is mounted.  So, in the meantime, you may have to use high power to reliably access this repeater.  Once we are able to raise the funding needed to move the Buffalo Repeater to its new location following the water tower’s demolition, this problem will be resolved.
Southwest Missouri Regional Skywarn would like to thank Joye McElwee, N0OCP, for his very generous donation which has allowed the Buffalo Repeater to become a full time part of our linked repeater system. This repeater will provide much-needed coverage into northern portions of the Springfield, Missouri County Warning Area. Now we are relying on your financial support to guarantee that this repeater will be able to stay on the air after the water tower is taken down. Please make your pledge of support today.

OK Earthquake Upgraded to Magnitude 5.8

2016 Pawnee Oklahoma Earthquake UpgradedSaturday’s earthquake, which was felt by spotters throughout the Springfield, Missouri County Warning Area, is now on record as the strongest earthquake in Oklahoma history!  The United States Geological Survey says the official magnitude of the September 3, 2016 Pawnee, Oklahoma earthquake is now 5.8 (up from 5.6).

According to a USGS press release, the magnitude revision is based on further in-depth analysis of seismic recordings. Changes in estimated magnitude for an earthquake are common in the hours-to-days following the event, as more data are analyzed in greater detail than is possible in the first minutes after the earthquake occurs.

Concurrently, the USGS is also updating the official magnitude of the November 6, 2011 Prague, Oklahoma earthquake to Mw 5.7 (from 5.6). Questions regarding their relative size prompted a re-analysis of both earthquakes. Both updates are the result of comprehensive studies of the long-period, globally-recorded seismic data for these earthquakes, using consistent approaches and datasets for each event.

“USGS analyses indicate that the two earthquakes are very similar in size – to within typically-cited uncertainties of 0.1 magnitude units,” said Gavin Hayes, USGS research geophysicist. “However, the 2016 Pawnee event is slightly larger than the Prague earthquake in 2011,” noted Hayes.

“While the difference in size between the two events is less than 0.1 magnitude units,” Hayes continued, “rounding magnitudes to one decimal place means that the magnitude of the Prague earthquake is Mw 5.7, and the Pawnee earthquake is Mw 5.8.”

Precisely ranking the largest earthquakes in Oklahoma is difficult because seismic instrumentation has vastly improved over the last several decades. Other large, documented and felt earthquakes in Oklahoma include an instrumentally recorded 1952 event centered near El Reno, to which magnitudes of 4.9 to 5.7 have been assigned. Before the instrumental era, an 1882 earthquake in southern Oklahoma has magnitude estimates ranging from 4.8 to 5.7, based on the area over which it was felt.

Magnitude estimates can vary for a variety of reasons, including differences in methods used to compute magnitude, differences in data used, uncertainties in that data, differences in how that data is processed, and differences in our assumptions about the Earth structure through which seismic waves travel.

Earthquakes, Aftershocks, and Band Openings

Pawnee, Oklahoma Earthquake Saturday, September 3, 2016The morning of Saturday, September 3, 2016, is certainly one for the books for a couple of reasons. Of course the big story was the California-sized earthquake that struck the Pawnee, Oklahoma area and shook the western portions of our County Warning Area out of bed shortly after 7 o’clock. At 5.6, this ties the all-time record quake magnitude for Oklahoma set back in 2011*. Immediately following the main shock, several hams began exchanging information across the Southwest Missouri Regional Skywarn linked repeaters, and, after just a couple of minutes, it became clear that the shaking was worse the further westward you went.  While this wasn’t good news for the weary residents of northern Oklahoma, for those of us pondering the potential time bomb that may lie underneath the boot heel of Missouri, it served as a small relief.

As several aftershocks, some greater than Magnitude 3.5, continued to drive the impromptu Saturday morning round table, a fairly significant band opening seemed to be in place on 2 meters. Several long distance contacts were made across our linked system including a station in Bartlesville, Oklahoma – just 50 miles from the main quake’s epicenter.  Later on another amazing contact was made by a ham using an HT and located near Montrose Lake, Missouri.  This is just a few miles east of Clinton and nearly 100 miles from the 145.49 repeater in Fordland!  This station was located high up on a power plant smokestack with an HT running 8 watts.  The real fun was when he was able to knock his power down to 1 watt while continuing to be full quieting into the repeater.

Saturday morning’s excitement reminds us that even though we are weather spotters who can understandably let our guard down on dry, sunny, 80-degree days, the fact remains that disaster can strike without notice.  With past and present quake swarms in neighboring Oklahoma and Arkansas along with our friend, New Madrid, to our east, we can’t afford to be complacent. So, no matter what the forecast is, keep those battery packs charged and check into our weekly nets.  Keep regular amateur radio operation within your routine, because, as we were reminded last Saturday, you just never know!

* UPDATE 09/08/2016: The United States Geological Survey on Wednesday, September 7, 2016 upgraded this earthquake to a Magnitude 5.8.  Please click here for the updated story

September is National Preparedness Month

September is National Preparedness Month. It is a time to prepare yourself and those in your care for emergencies and disasters.  You know that emergencies can happen unexpectedly in communities just like yours, to people like you. We’ve seen tornado outbreaks, river floods and flash floods, historic earthquakes, tsunamis, and even water main breaks and power outages in U.S. cities affecting millions of people for days at a time. Police, fire and rescue may not always be able to reach you quickly in an emergency or disaster. The most important step you can take in helping your local responders is being able to take care of yourself and those in your care; the more people who are prepared, the quicker the community will recover This September, please prepare and plan in the event you must go for three days without electricity, water service, access to a supermarket, or local services for several days. National Preparedness Month culminates on September 30th with National Preparedness Day, the national day of action.

The National Weather Service is proud to be participating in NPM.  By doing so, we want to make sure YOU are prepared in case of a disaster (natural or man-made).  If you haven’t taken the time to think about how different disasters could effect you, then we challenge you to take the necessary steps to become informed and develop a family plan for such events.  These simple steps could SAVE YOUR LIFE!  (Click here to continue)