About Tropical Storm Net:

The Tropical Storm Network offers professional situational awareness reports for a variety of agencies, ranging from local, state and Federal Emergency Management agencies to the National Weather Service, state hydrologists, the Corps of Engineers and other interested parties.

The Tropical Storm Network activates for any large scale weather event affecting the United States or Canada. Events can include:

  • Hurricanes
  • Tropical Storms
  • Large-scale flooding events
  • Major winter storms affecting multiple states

The Tropical Storm Network utilizes Radio Relay International High Frequency radio networks to collect situational awareness reports from throughout an affected region. These networks offer survivable characteristics unavailable to systems, which rely on potentially fragile, distributed commercial telecommunications resources such as the Internet, cellular mobile data networks or the public switched telephone network.

TSN networks are open to both individual FCC licensed radio amateurs as well as organized local and state emergency communications programs. By utilizing TSN, one ensures the system is available when commercial systems are unreliable or inoperative.

Standardized Methods and Practices:

TSN utilizes a set of standard reporting formats designed to promote consistency and accuracy. These standard formats ensure that weather data, storm damage reports, infrastructure disruptions and similar events are reported in a consistent manner. This allows served agencies to quickly and easily review and harvest data from reports in a systematic fashion. It also allows manually generated reports to be quickly logged or converted to tabular data as necessary.

By standardizing reporting formats, it also becomes possible to improve accountability and message tracking. RRI methods provide additional network management and accountability data not available from networks or organizations using lesser, informal methods. For example, RRI format provides:

  • Message serial number for reference and service replies.
  • Message precedence to ensure rapid dispatch of information or data of a priority or emergency nature.
  • The FCC call sign of the individual/agency responsible for the observation or report.
  • The location of the observation, event or effect (may be different from above).
  • The time at which the observation or event was reported.

Those who wish to adhere to a high level of professionalism will want to participate in TSN and it's parent Radio Relay International program.


RRI provides training materials to all TSN participants. These training materials are available on-line at no cost. The training cover a wide variety of topics ranging from proper siting and installation of weather sensors to network procedures and protocols for reporting situational awareness information. Our proven methods are designed to ensure the voracity and accuracy of reports.

Links to our training are available at the Radio Relay International Web Page:

Weather Instruments:

Accurate weather data is important to a variety of agencies. However, inaccurate observations are obviously problematic. All that is required to participate in TSN is a set of basic weather instruments of reasonable quality and accuracy. Some desirable characteristics include:

  • Barometers should offer reasonable accuracy to 0.01 inches hg and reasonable temperature compensation.
  • Rain gauges should be accurate to 0.01 inches. 
  • Rain gauges should be sited in an open area. An Alter Shield or low-height shrubs surrounding the gauge can serve to improve accuracy in high-wind events.
  • Digital weather stations are often interfaced with the Internet or APRS networks. However, these networks can fail during major storms. Therefore, manual instruments or reporting methods are preferred.
  • Older manual instruments, such as barographs and 4 or 8-inch manual rain gauges are often ideal for TSN.

Communications Equipment:

Radio Relay International infrastructure networks are accessible utilizing High Frequency CW (radiotelegraph), voice (radiotelephone) and data (PACTOR 1 to 3). Recommended methods for interfacing with these networks are covered in the RRI National Response Plan

Local emergency communications organizations are encouraged to establish local VHF or UHF voice or data networks to collect data, which can then be transferred to the TSN via an available HF mode. The RRI National Respons Plan provides a frequency matrix identifying access points to the RRI infrastructure.

As with all emergency communications preparedness activities, participating operators should ensure that basic methods and emergency power are available.

For more information on message formats, data collection and other reporting requiements, please contact RRI for a training package.

Radio Relay International, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) non-profit public service corporation dedicated to providing professional grade emergency communications services.