About Dayton SKYWARN

W8OK

                    "The eyes of the National Weather Service"

WHAT IS SKYWARN?  

            SKYWARN is the National Weather Service network of volunteer citizens, public service and emergency management people working to provide the National Weather Service (NWS) with first-hand weather spotting observations during severe weather events.  Amateur Radio Operators comprise the backbone of many spotter networks through out the United States. In this area of the United States the primary severe weather threat comes from Severe Thunder Storms, Tornados and flooding from heavy rains.  Amateur Radio Operators, or "Hams", participate not only as spotters but also provide the communications infrastructure to rapidly, reliably and accurately get severe weather reports into the hands of the NWS in order to expedite warnings being issued to the general public.

 

HOW DID SKYWARN START IN THIS AREA?

            Shortly after the devastating 1974 Xenia, Ohio, tornado it was decided that a faster, more accurate, visual form of severe weather reporting was needed.  Working with the National Weather Service several amateur radio operators from the Dayton area put SKYWARN into motion.  From its inception in until 1995 SKYWARN operators worked beside meteorologists at the Dayton Weather Service Office (WSO) in Vandalia, Ohio.

            The Amateur Radio callsign, W8OK, belonged to Francis "Frank" Schwab, a Silent Key, who was instrumental to the founding of SKYWARN in the Dayton & West Central Ohio area.  In memoriam to Frank's nearly three decades of dedication to the SKYWARN program the Schwab Family has graciously agreed to allow Dayton SKYWARN to carry the callsign W8OK.

 

 

THE BIRTH OF THE "DAYTON SECTION OF SKYWARN"

            In 1995 the Dayton WSO closed and the NWS weather staff began moving to Wilmington, Ohio's new regional Weather Service Forecast Office (WSFO).  All 54 counties of Wilmington's WSFO responsibility were divided into five sections: Dayton, Cincinnati, Columbus, West Union, and Clinton County.  Dayton Section of SKYWARN was born.  A difficult situation faced Dayton SKYWARN, the need for a new operating location.  With the closure set for the Dayton WSO, Dayton SKYWARN had the job of finding a new home for base operations.  Thanks to an interested, visionary Fire Chief Charles Wiltrout and Butler Township Trustees Dayton SKYWARN found a new permanent home located in Montgomery County, not far from their original location at the original Dayton Weather Service Office.

 

 

DAYTON SKYWARN'S PURPOSE

            Dayton SKYWARN'S sole purpose is to organize, train and operate a portion of the Amateur Radio's part of  the  NWS SKYWARN program on behalf of the Wilmington WSFO.  Amateur Radio Nets furnish the National Weather Service with visual spotter information when activated by NWS, during times of severe weather. Traditionally Dayton SKYWARN Net Control Operators are on call round the clock, by pager or cell, from late February to mid November.  These volunteers not only give of their time but also they pay their own fees to maintain their pager or cell in order to be activated..  Dayton SKYWARN would not have been able to provide vital severe weather information to the NWS for the last 30+ years had it not been for the dedication of the hundreds of trained amateur radio spotters through out the many counties.  They are the "eyes of the National Weather Service" and are always ready to assist at the moment of activation. 

 

 

HOW DOES NWS RECEIVE THE INFORMATION?

            When severe weather threatens, individual trained spotters (public safety officials, hams or individual citizens) make observations and provide the initial reports to the NWS via an "800" phone line.  However, with this 800 line serving all 54 counties in the Wilmington WSFO County Warning Area reports can become congested when severe weather is in more than one county.  This is where Amateur Radio provides an essential public service.

            Upon NWS activation of Dayton SKYWARN, liaison representatives of amateur radio nets from the respective counties (such as: Shelby County Amateur Radio Emergency Services) check into the Dayton SKYWARN Sectional Net.  County Nets receive training to activate using the NOAA Weather Radio's issuance of Watches or Warnings affecting their county.  When the county amateur radio nets receive reports from their local spotters, the information is relayed by the liaisons to Dayton SKYWARN.  Dayton SKYWARN then relays the information on to amateur radio operators on location at Wilmington's WSFO. 

            It sounds like this process would take a long period of time but through the diligence, skill and speed of the volunteers a report can be in the hands of the National Weather Service within less than a minute.  Upon receipt the NWS meteorologists analyze the information, comparing it to their instrumentation (such as Nexrad Radar) and a decision is made on whether they should issue a "Warning" to the public.  During severe weather events Dayton SKYWARN and the area spotters also report heavy rainfall and damage to property, when it meets the NWS severe weather criteria

 

 

WHAT'S THE AREA OF RESPONSIBILITY FOR DAYTON SKYWARN?

Counties reporting to Dayton SKYWARN are: Shelby, Auglaize, Mercer, Logan, Hardin, Clark, Champaign, Darke, Preble, Greene, Miami, Montgomery and the northern portion of Warren and Butler in Ohio.  In addition Wayne, Union, and Fayette counties in Indiana also report through Dayton SKYWARN.

 

 

HOW IS DAYTON SKYWARN FINANCIALLY SUPPORTED?

            With no income and designated as a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization Dayton SKYWARN relies on donations. Comprised entirely of volunteer amateur radio operators, all equipment and training materials must be donated.  Even the roof over Dayton SKYWARN'S operating site was donated in the form of a public service building located in Butler Township-Montgomery County for the past 17 years. Thanks to the Butler Township Trustees and Township Fire Department for providing Dayton Skywarn a home. 

Dayton Skywarn moved to a new location to better serve NWS and the citizens of the Miami Valley region. Dayton Skywarn moved into a new home at WHIO-TV - Cox Media building in May 2012. Dayton

SKYWARN is always in need of equipment and monetary donations.  Donors receive a letter of acknowledgement, which might be usable for tax deductibility, depending on your tax situation.  Always consult your accountant.  Any inquiries regarding donations may be sent to: Dayton SKYWARN-W8OK, 4201 Woodbine Ave. Dayton, Ohio 45420, or e-mail; LouisPLong2@aol.com

 

 

Thanks & 73

 

Lou Long (KB8TCK) & Don Parker (KB8PSL)

Dayton SKYWARN "W8OK" Coordinators

 

 

 To visit the Website of Wilmington, Ohio National Weather Service, click here.
      


Dayton SKYWARN Sectional Net Operators

Who Are these People?

 

Without the assistance of this very dedicated group of amateur radio operators Dayton SKYWARN would not exist.  It is because of their desire to help protect the 15+ county area, including their own communities, that Dayton SKYWARN is able to assist the National Weather Service during severe weather events.  On call with the NWS 24/7 these ladies and gentlemen will leave the safety of their homes, during severe weather events, driving to the Dayton SKYWARN site, so they can relay severe weather reports from any or all of the 15+ counties, to the National Weather Service via amateur radio.

If you are interested in placing a name, or a call sign, with a face you might want to go click on the "What's New" page on this site and match up the name with one of the pictures. 

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Louis "Lou" Long (KB8TCK) Co-Coordinator - Sectional Net Operator -  Licensed since 1993, Lou holds an Extra Class amateur  license. Originally from West Virginia, Lou recently retired from the healthcare field as a Recreation Therapist at the V.A Center.  Lou is married and has 1 daughter. Lou officially became Dayton SKYWARN's Co-Coordinator September 22, 2007.

 

Don Parker (KB8PSL) Co-Coordinator - Sectional Net Operator - Licensed since 1993, holds an Extra Class Amateur Radio License.  He joined Dayton SKYWARN in 2005.  Don's background is in law enforcement and emergency services.  He is retired from law enforcement but remains active with the Kettering Fire Department as a Fire Command Officer. Don is a member of the Montgomery County Emergency Communications Response team (EMCOMM) with county O.E.M.A. Don is a Montgomery County Assistant Emergency Coordinator and P.I.O. for ARES. Don is a Laurel Amateur Radio Club Volunteer Examiner Coordinator. Don officially became Dayton SKYWARN's Co-Coordinator September 22, 2007. (Web Master)

 

Rick Ganter (WD8KYW) Sectional Net Operator -  Licensed since 1977, holds an Extra Class Amateur Radio License. Rick is retired from GM after 32 years of service and 28+ years with the Vandalia FD as a POC Captain /Firefighter/ Paramedic. Rick enjoys all aspects of Amateur Radio especially the Public service end, now able to pursue is other hobbies Rick continues to be involved with Dayton Skywarn for over 15 years.

Chris Harris (N8OXC) Sectional Net Operator & Advisor - Licensed since 1991, with a General Class amateur radio license, He has been a vital part of Dayton SKYWARN for over 17 years. Chris is employed in the technology field & as a Realtor.  He loves playing bass in his band & going to NASCAR events.

James (Jim) Buchanan (KD8AYQ) Sectional Net Operator - Licensed since 2005, Jim holds a Technician Class amateur radio license.  Although his job requires travel finds time to be active with his family including two grown children.   

Doug Magilvy (WB8TIA) Sectional Net Operator - Licensed since 1972, holds an Advanced Class amateur radio license.  Doug has been a Dayton SKYWARN Sectional Operator for over 11 years, but has been active in SKYWARN since the late 1970s.  He is employed by Miami Valley Hospital in Information Technology. A former private pilot, he also served as an EMT-Paramedic and firefighter for over 20 years. He is the Advisor to Ham Radio Boy Scout Venturing Crew 73 and enjoys camping and traveling the country with his wife, N8LJQ, and daughter.

Bob Morrison (K8BOB) Sectional Net Operator - Licensed since 1977, Bob carries an Extra Class amateur radio license.  He joined Dayton SKYWARN in early 2004.  Retired from the U.S. Air Force, Bob's second career is as a Realtor.  Bob enjoys teaching Real Estate classes and spending time at home, when he can.

Ken Todd (KD8KET) Sectional Net Operator - Licensed in 2007, Ken holds a Technician Class amateur radio license. He has served as a Harrison Township & City of Trotwood Firefighter/EMT for 25 years service prior to going on disability.

Jack Cotterman (W8NRO) Sectional Preliminary Net Operator - Licensed since 2007, Jack holds an Extra Class amateur radio License.  Jack is retired; previously owning a communications company and also served as a fireman with Kettering Fire Department.  A US Navy veteran Jack is a member of DARA, BARC, and WCOARA. Jack is now a member of the local VE team for administering Ham Radio exams.

Bill Watson (K8WEW) Sectional Net Operator Licensed since 2007, holds an Amateur Extra radio license. Bill became a Dayton Skywarn Sectional Net Operator in April 2009. Bill is retired from Reynolds and Reynolds after 28 years of service in customer and employee training and Technical Assistance Center.  Bill is a member of Beavercreek Police Department COPP (Citizens On Preventive Patrol) program, a member of Kettering FOPA #58, and a member of Greene County Amateur Radio Emergency Service. Bill is an Air Force veteran and served in Vietnam.

Gary Clark II (KC8TND) - Sectional Net Operator - Gary has been licensed since 2002, Gary holds a Technician Class amateur radio license. Gary became a Dayton Skywarn Sectional Net Operator in July2009.  Gary has been an active volunteer with a local chapter of the U.S. Jaycees for over 8 years.  Gary is a past member of the Civil Air Patrol, USAF Auxillary for 10 years assisting with Ground and Air Search and Rescue and Disaster Relief operations as both a volunteer Team Leader and Mission Base Radio Operator. Gary is the Skywarn representative for Montgomery County Ares.

Don Chelman (KB8LWL) - Sectional Net Operator - Don has been licensed since 1988, holds a General amateur licence. Don retired from the Dayton Fire Department in 1992 with 29 years of service. After retiring Don worked as a lab tech at Sinclair College for 6 years and was maintenance supervisor for United Coffee-Break Service. Don volunteers with Kettering Hospital Group, Montgomery County Emergency Operations at county O.E.M.A., as well as Dayton Skywarn.

Bob Rohrbach  (NR8R) - Sectional Net Operator - Bob was first licensed in 1979 and earned his Extra Class License in 2008. Bob is a US Army  Security Agency Veteran, a retired University of Cincinnati Assistant Police Chief, and a retired German Township, Montgomery Co. Fiscal Officer. Bob is a Sectional Net Operator with Dayton Skywarn and a member of Montgomery County ARES, Germantown Amateur Radio Society,  German Township Citizens Emergency Response Team and DIAL Radio Club of Middletown. Bob is a Volunteer License Examiner for the ARRL and The Laurel Amateur Radio. Bob is also an instructor in the Dial Radio Club Technician and Extra License Classes.

Greg Stephens (KD8NKQ) - Sectional Net Operator - Greg has been licensed since 2009, holds a Technician amateur class license. Greg is the Communications Supervisor for the Montgomery County Sheriff's Office.

David A. Crawford (KF4KWW) - Sectional Net Operator - Licensed since 1996, Dave holds an Extra Class license. He is active in many facets of Amateur Radio to include GCARES AEC for Beavercreek city and Beavercreek Township, USAF Marathon Amateur Radio Coordinator, Dara VE Team Leader, Dara van crew, and Hamvention Awards Committee Assistant Chairman. Dave spent twenty-four years serving in the USAF. Seven years as a RADAR maintenance technician and 17 years as a USAF Emergency Services Coordinator before retiring. He curreently is an Electronic Bench Technician maintaining local public service radio systems and lives in Beavercreek, his hometown, with his wife Lee. They have been married for 30+ years.

 Mike Carter (W8BSI) - Sectional Net Operator -Licensed since 1975, Mike holds an Extra Class Amateur Radio License. Mike joined Dayton Skywarn in May 2014. Professionally Mike was a mechanical designer and engineering project manager. He is the Operations Officer for the Montgomery County Amateur Radio Emergency Service, primary contact for Miami Valley Hospital's Emergency Communications Team and is a Communications Specialist with FEMA's Ohio Task Force One. Mike is a Volunteer License Examiner with both the American Radio Relay League and Laurel Amateur Radio and a Field Instructor and Examiner with the ARRL.

Les Dershem (K9CAV) - Sectional Net Operator - Les has been licensed since 1995 and currently holds a General Class
amateur license. He joined Skywarn in 2016. Les has a 38 year public safety background, and has been a paramedic, firefighter, police officer and police/fire/EMS/911 Communications Operator. He is also retired after 22 years in the U.S. Army, having served on active duty and with the Ohio Army National Guard. Les is a member of the Montgomery County ARES and DARA

             Past Cordinators

 Frank Schwab (W8OK - SK) Dayton Weather's Founder/Past Coordinator (1974-2003) - Licensed in 1946 as W8YCP Frank was quick to upgrade to the ranks of Extra   Class as W8OK. Along with other amateurs, Frank founded Dayton Weather (now Dayton SKYWARN) based at the Dayton Weather Service Office at Dayton Int'l Airport, General Aviation in late 1974.  (In 1952 as the President of the Dayton Amateur Radio Association, Frank was among the organizers of the first Hamvention.)  He retired as Coordinator of Dayton Weather in 1994 with Paula & Nelson DiGennaro taking the reigns, but he remained an active Sectional Net Operator until his death on May 30, 2003.  His family has graciously permitted Dayton SKYWARN to carry Frank's call (W8OK) in his memory.

 

Paula DiGennaro (KA8HQJ) Past Co-Coordinator / Sectional Net Operator (1980-2007) - Licensed since 1979, holding a General Class amateur radio license. In 1980, Paula became involved with Dayton's SKYWARN as a Net Operator.  She was selected as a Dayton SKYWARN Co-Coordinator in 1994.  A Realtor since 1974 in her spare time Paula enjoys all forms of auto racing, poodles "Cinnamon, Raven & lovebird Flagger" and is Founder/ Coordinator of: The SICSA Red Dog Racers Charity Auction, held in mid-October each year for animal welfare. In 1994 Paula w./husband, Nelson, worked to find Dayton SKYWARN their new home at Butler Twp Fire Dept but also organized Dayton Weather into what is now known as Dayton SKYWARN "W8OK." Paula retired after 13 years as Co-Coordinator and 27 years as a Dayton SKYWARN Sectional Net Operator.

 

Nelson DiGennaro (WB8VUU) Past-Coordinator / Sectional Net Operator / License Trustee (1981-2007) - Licensed since 1976 - holding an Extra Class amateur radio license, Nelson joined Dayton SKYWARN in 1981. He was selected as a Dayton SKYWARN Co-Coordinator in 1994.  Nelson has worked as a Civilian for the U.S. Air Force since 1977.  He also served as Radio Officer for the Montgomery County (Ohio) RACES for several years.  For relaxation he enjoys RVing, poodles (Cinnamon & Raven), lovebird (Flagger), auto racing and assisting with SICSA's Red Dog Racer's Charity Auction fund raiser.  In 1994 Nelson w./wife, Paula, worked to find Dayton SKYWARN their new home at Butler Twp Fire Dept and also organized Dayton Weather into what is known today; Dayton SKYWARN "W80K"  Nelson retired after 13 years as Co-Coordinator and 26 years as a Dayton SKYWARN Sectional Net Operator.

 

 

Last Updated: 10/12/16