How Does a Weather Radio Work?

Last Updated: 18.09.20


If you live in an area where natural disasters occur from time to time, or you simply want to stay informed on weather changes, getting a weather radio is the best way to reach your goal. The National Weather Service issues messages only on certain frequencies that cannot be picked up by a standard radio. There are plenty of weather radios around, some with more features, others just basic, but they are all capable of receiving the important messages sent by NOAA.

1.How does a weather radio work

Learn the frequencies

The most important thing you need to know when using a weather radio is the frequencies on which NOAA transmits their important messages. These are, as follows:










These seven frequencies are the ones used by NOAA. Some weather radios are capable of switching to the needed frequency in case an alert is issued, but the above information may help you if you do not have such a device.


Place the weather radio correctly

Another thing you may find useful to know is how to place your weather radio correctly, so you can receive the important transmissions. A good recommendation is to place your radio near a window that faces one of the NOAA’s transmitters. In general, weather radios currently sold on the market have good reception, but there can be situations where you may not be able to receive the messages as clear as you may want.

For instance, if you live in an area that is more mountainous, getting an extra antenna to improve reception quality is quite a must. Also, if your home is near tall buildings that can block the signal, this can be a problem, as well. The good news is that many weather radios have a built-in antenna jack you can use for extending reception capabilities.


The tone alarm

If something happens and you are not in the same room with the radio or you are asleep, you may miss the alert. Luckily, this is not possible, for the simple reason that weather radios will emit a 1050Hz tone alarm when an alert is issued. Even more, the alert activates the radio and turns it on, so, even if you sleep soundly, you will still hear the alarm and you will be able to start preparing for evacuation or for staying inside until the weather calms down.


Have batteries around

Since most weather radios are battery powered, it serves to have plenty of batteries around. This way, you will be able to have an up and running weather radio that will keep you in touch with all the latest changes in weather.


What SAME stands for

SAME is an important feature of weather radio. It prioritizes the messages and alerts issued for your specific area, so you do not get alerted over disasters and important weather changes that are too far away from you to affect you in any way.


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