John Montgomery, N8PVCIt was great to have a good turnout for the weather spotter training in March at the OSU Fawcett Center. A date change this year took away competition with the Arnold Sports festival where many amateur radio operators volunteer. Are you loving the weather yet? In mid-February each year all of the SKYWARN radio section nets meet with the National Weather Service in Wilmington, Ohio. We discuss changes in NWS personnel, staffing levels, new or changed products and procedural items related to reporting weather events via amateur radio.We also hear what weather trends the Wilmington office expects for the spring and summer months. Word from the NWS is that there will be a reset on our weather. People may think that severe weather has ticked up but it’s really getting back to more normal patterns. April and May would see warmer and dryer conditions while June and July would see hotter days and cooler nights much like desert weather. The trend for severe weather in the May through June timeframe will be elevated somewhat. Over the last few years severe weather has been below normal so it may surprise people. Amateur radio is changing as are those using it. Hand-held radios are much smaller and less expensive. Features are plentiful and while you can program radios from the front panel, using a laptop makes it much easier. Inexpensive hand-held radios can be good or bad. They’re good on your budget but can’t replace a mobile radio in your car. Many new operators stop shopping for radios after finding an HT. This is a concern for COSWN because HTs are of little value during severe weather even outside the car. It forces us to spend additional air time getting the information from a weather spotter, sometimes asking for the information to be repeated several times. It’s important to know the limits of the radio you’re using. Even mobile radios with heavy rain can experience the signal de-sense it causes. Air time is important. Fewer transmissions can keep the air clear for other traffic.Let’s talk briefly about emission protocols. We have D-Star, Fusion, DMR, APCO P25 and analog protocols available to use. Which one do we use or how many can we use or should we use? That’s a tough question to answer. COSWN loves to know where you’re at when you’re out during severe weather. A couple of the digital protocols I mentioned can provide GPS coordinates with your transmission with that data embedded in the transmission. Strip that data out and place it in APRS and we would know where you’re at.A few years ago we did an informal survey on Tuesday evening seeing who had APRS capability on their mobile station. We might want to dive into that again later this year and ask if anyone is using other protocols.COSWN is not at John Glenn International Airport. The building is gone. We are operating from Gahanna in the MEC Center temporarily. I hope to have more to report on our move to a more permanent home next time.COSWN is always looking for net control operators. We have a training program that requires some reading and participation with us on Tuesday’s during our readiness check. If you are interested please send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. Once we receive your e-mail we’ll send you information on the training program and the requirements of becoming a net control operator.We thank everyone that participates in our Tuesday readiness sessions and those that slog around when severe weather affects central Ohio.