Author Topic: Programming SAME NWS Radio by "zip code"?  (Read 569 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline miraculon

  • Sunrise Side Weather
  • Forecaster
  • *****
  • Posts: 3002
  • KE8DAF
    • Sunrise Side Weather in Rogers City MI USA
Programming SAME NWS Radio by "zip code"?
« on: March 31, 2017, 07:54:30 AM »
The local paper had an article about the upcoming tornado and severe weather season. There were some local statistics, etc. and an interview by the regional NWS office meteorologist.

They had a couple of paragraphs about the weather radio (NOAA All-Hazards). One thing that caught my eye is that the article said that the radios can be programmed by "zip code".

I have never heard of this. NWS publishes the S.A.M.E. codes which as far as I know is what you enter into your radio for programming the alerts. I also know about "FIPS" codes, but even those don't seem to be typically used for much in terms of programming the radios. I wonder if the reporter confused FIPS and "Zip"...

Before I go off correcting the local reporter on this, has anyone heard of a weather radio that allows the entering of zip code? Actually it wouldn't be a bad idea, the S.A.M.E. codes are a little arcane for the average person. I just wasn't aware of any having this capability, but it would be just a matter of having some lookup tables and not technically impossible to do.

Greg H.


Blitzortung Stations 668, 706 - CWOP CW4114 -  CoCoRaHS MI-PI-1

Offline ValentineWeather

  • Forecaster
  • *****
  • Posts: 4510
Re: Programming SAME NWS Radio by "zip code"?
« Reply #1 on: March 31, 2017, 08:25:23 AM »
I haven't, I wish there was a way to program warnings for smaller areas however. My county Cherry is huge so I can get tornado warning some 100 miles away in middle of night...UGH
Randy, the Aviator is my father in 1963 with his Indian bike

Offline miraculon

  • Sunrise Side Weather
  • Forecaster
  • *****
  • Posts: 3002
  • KE8DAF
    • Sunrise Side Weather in Rogers City MI USA
Re: Programming SAME NWS Radio by "zip code"?
« Reply #2 on: March 31, 2017, 08:34:42 AM »
I haven't, I wish there was a way to program warnings for smaller areas however. My county Cherry is huge so I can get tornado warning some 100 miles away in middle of night...UGH

I don't know if this actually works, or your county follows it, but there is a scheme to divide the S.A.M.E. zone into nine sub-zones. See http://www.nws.noaa.gov/nwr/info/samenz.html

Greg H.


Blitzortung Stations 668, 706 - CWOP CW4114 -  CoCoRaHS MI-PI-1

Offline WeatherHost

  • Forecaster
  • *****
  • Posts: 3003
Re: Programming SAME NWS Radio by "zip code"?
« Reply #3 on: March 31, 2017, 08:58:48 AM »
Our problem is that the county is long N/S and narrow E/W and low in population.  The main Zip Code covers much of the county in a disconnected pattern with 4 or 5 other Zip Codes covering very small areas.  One SAME code as far as I know. 

Storms can affect one end of the county with nearly clear skies at the other end.  Our Sirens are set up in sections so only the affected areas can be warned.


NWS alerts by Zip Code would be kind of pointless here.  Almost as pointless as a single SAME code.  We really need two, one each for north and south which would be 2SSNNN and 8SSNNN.  But they don't do that and there are no plans to as far as I know.

To the question at hand, challenge the reporter to prove their claim.  "Show us your source!"


Banners, tags, widgets, etc. are why I have Signatures turned off.

Offline Otis

  • (aka Paul)
  • Forecaster
  • *****
  • Posts: 471
    • Lake Huron Weather
Re: Programming SAME NWS Radio by "zip code"?
« Reply #4 on: March 31, 2017, 09:00:42 AM »
Greg, never heard of being able to use zip codes for this - not a bad idea though.
I recently gave a weather radio to a family member and included a list of the same codes for their state.

Davis Vantage Pro2, Serial Data Logger
WD 10.37S-(b60), VWS V15.00p03, Weatherlink 6.0.3,  Fling 2.35, Broadwave 2.0, Win 7 Pro 64Bit
KMICHEBO10 - CW3699 - Cheboygan, MI

Offline ValentineWeather

  • Forecaster
  • *****
  • Posts: 4510
Re: Programming SAME NWS Radio by "zip code"?
« Reply #5 on: March 31, 2017, 09:05:18 AM »
I haven't, I wish there was a way to program warnings for smaller areas however. My county Cherry is huge so I can get tornado warning some 100 miles away in middle of night...UGH

I don't know if this actually works, or your county follows it, but there is a scheme to divide the S.A.M.E. zone into nine sub-zones. See http://www.nws.noaa.gov/nwr/info/samenz.html

Greg H.


I'll look into it. Thanks
Randy, the Aviator is my father in 1963 with his Indian bike

Offline miraculon

  • Sunrise Side Weather
  • Forecaster
  • *****
  • Posts: 3002
  • KE8DAF
    • Sunrise Side Weather in Rogers City MI USA
Re: Programming SAME NWS Radio by "zip code"?
« Reply #6 on: March 31, 2017, 09:21:58 AM »
Our problem is that the county is long N/S and narrow E/W and low in population.  The main Zip Code covers much of the county in a disconnected pattern with 4 or 5 other Zip Codes covering very small areas.  One SAME code as far as I know. 

Storms can affect one end of the county with nearly clear skies at the other end.  Our Sirens are set up in sections so only the affected areas can be warned.


NWS alerts by Zip Code would be kind of pointless here.  Almost as pointless as a single SAME code.  We really need two, one each for north and south which would be 2SSNNN and 8SSNNN.  But they don't do that and there are no plans to as far as I know.

To the question at hand, challenge the reporter to prove their claim.  "Show us your source!"

It occurred to me after posting this, that zip codes can be kind of like a gerrymandering political zone. The post office can be in some town serving a rural area and be out a ways. Also, if somebody uses a P.O. box, it would have the same problem. I can see now why they don't do this.

I tried programming this 1/9th sub-zone thing when I got my first SAME radio, but I gave up on it and just put the county code in.

Greg H.


Blitzortung Stations 668, 706 - CWOP CW4114 -  CoCoRaHS MI-PI-1