NOAA All Hazards Weather Radio
What is NOAA Weather Radio?
NOAA Weather Radio is a free public service of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
The National Weather Service operates a network of NOAA Weather Radio stations across the country,
and there are a handful of these stations in Arizona. Our staff prepares the broadcasts for the Phoenix,
Yuma, and Globe stations, and the remaining stations in Arizona are handled by our offices
in Flagstaff and Tucson.
NOAA Weather Radio broadcasts are commercial-free, and operate 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Routine
broadcasts prepared by NWS Phoenix include current weather conditions, local and extended
forecasts, Arizona weather summaries, and travelers forecasts. Daily climate summaries are also broadcast
on the Phoenix station.
During severe weather, our forecasters will interrupt the routine weather programming with special statements
and warning messages, bringing you up-to-the-minute information on developing weather situations.
In addition, we can trigger specially equipped NOAA Weather Radio receivers to sound an alarm
when threatening weather is approaching your community. This feature alone is one of the most important
reasons to own a weather radio.
The most important feature of NOAA Weather Radio is its capability to tone activate weather radio
receivers. This feature can turn on weather radio receivers alerting the listener that severe weather
or a flood/flash flood is imminent. The primary mission of the NWS is to issue severe weather
warnings to protect life and property. The NOAA Weather Radio upgrade ensures consistent "Alarm"
service directly to the public, schools, hospitals, day care centers, and commercial broadcasters.
Specific Area Message Encoding (SAME)
Specific Area Message Encoding (SAME) technology allows you to program specially equipped NOAA Weather Radio receivers
to activate or sound a warning alarm tone for only specific types of weather events in select geographic areas. This
differs from the convential NOAA Weather Radio alert tone, which would cause conventional receivers to activate or sound
an alarm for all weather warnings in all geographic areas.
For example, a resident of Phoenix could set their NOAA Weather Radio receiver to activate an alarm tone ONLY for
tornado and flash flood warnings affecting Maricopa county. Another resident of Casa Grande may wish to set their
receiver to receive ANY type of warning, but only those affecting Pinal county. Thus, the SAME system allows you to
tailor your weather radio to alert you only to the types of watches or warnings you desire to hear, and only in the
geographic area you've chosen.
To take advantage of SAME technology, you must have a specially designed NOAA Weather Radio receiver. For more
information on SAME, including SAME codes for any county in the United States, please visit the
National SAME page.
How do I tune in?
NOAA Weather Radio broadcasts can not be received on most conventional AM/FM radios; you need a
special receiver. These special receivers, which are available from several manufacturers, are
available with and without the alerting features discussed above. Some other manufacturers also
include the NOAA Weather Radio bands as special features on an increasing variety of receivers.
NOAA Weather Radio capability is currently available on some automobile, aircraft, marine, citizens
band, and standard AM/FM radios as well as communications receivers, transceivers, scanners, and cable TV.
However, if you wish to have the warning alarm feature, your best bet is to purchase a special
receiver designed for this purpose.
Where can I buy them?
Special NOAA Weather radios can often be found at an electronics store, or at a local department store.
A number of models and styles are available, and prices usually range from around $15 for a basic
receiver to over $50 for a high-quality unit. You can generally find a good-quality receiver
for around $30 - $40 with a built-in alarm. The National Weather Service does not endorse any
particular brand, but we do recommend purchasing one with SAME technology.
Where can I tune in?
By nature and design, NOAA Weather Radio coverage is limited to an area within about 40 miles of the
transmitter, but this range will vary somewhat in mountainous regions. A list of transmitting sites
in Arizona is provided in the table below. The quality of what is heard is generally dictated by the
distance from the transmitter, the terrain, and the quality and location of the receiver. Varying
weather conditions can also affect the quality of the received signal. Sometimes, transmitter problems,
not range or location, can result in a degraded or inaudible signal. Click on a location in the table
below to see a coverage map for that specific transmitter. Click "
Reporting an NWR Transmitter Problem
" to forward your concerns to the appropriate NWR technicians.
NOAA Weather Radio in Arizona and Southeast California
NOAA Weather Radio sounds different now. Why is this?
As part of the NWS modernization effort, NOAA Weather Radio had been upgraded across the country. NOAA Weather
Radio 2000 was a nationwide system upgrade which included a computer synthesized voice; the first
incarnation of this voice was known in some circles as "Sven" due to the rather distinctive
"accent". The newest computer voices, known as "Craig" and "Donna" are based on
a 'voice-concatenation' technology which provides a superior sounding voice, as compared to 'Sven'. NWR will
continue to broadcast all of the National Weather Service information that it has in the past, and because
it is automated - severe weather and flood/flash flood warnings will be broadcast immediately without any of
the delay that the previous "manual" system involved. Our office has been able to improve the voice
and word pronunciation so that the computer's spoken words are more clear; it is unlikely, however, with the
current technology, to ever get the synthesized voice to equal a human voice in quality.
Internet MP3 Broadcasts
You can listen in to selected products from the Phoenix NOAA Weather Radio broadcast cycle, encoded in
MP3 format. If you have a Windows Media Player or a RealAudio Player (5.0 or later), then click here to go to our NOAA Weather Radio
For more information...
Official NOAA Weather Radio (NWR) Homepage
NOAA Weather Radio Receiver Consumer Information
Reporting an NWR Transmitter Problem
Information on the proposed automation of NOAA Weather Radio Stations