CANWARN Atlantic

CANadian Weather Amateur Radio Network 

Blizzard February 2017

CANWARN Activation February 13th-14th Blizzard 2017
On behalf of the Meteorological Service of Canada I would like to thank all amateur radio operators who contributed their reports during the Blizzard of February 13th and 14th 2017. Reports started coming in late Sunday night and a full CANWARN activation occurred at 9 am February 13th. The formal net continued for 12 straight hours and reports were received from over 25 amateurs from over 20 different communities around the Maritimes. Over 200 individual Spotter Reports were received which helped forecasters at the Atlantic Storm Prediction Centre maintain situation awareness during the storm. Spotters endured challenging conditions with heavy snow and blowing snow to go out and take snowfall measurements throughout the duration of this storm. 
The snow began over western Nova Scotia late Sunday evening and progressed eastward reaching Cape Breton by mid-morning Monday. The storm intensified very rapidly and met the loose threshold of a weather bomb. Blizzard conditions lasted for an extended period of time which spotters were able to confirm through their reports. We also were able to confirm storm surge flooding along the Atlantic Coast and high water along the North Shore although no flooding occurred there. One feature we sometimes see with these types of storms is thunder snow which is basically a thunderstorm embedded in the larger snowstorm. One of the reasons we were looking for reports of thunder snow is that they can produce extreme snowfall amounts in short periods. We had a couple of spotters who thought they heard thunder but could not be certain. However, our lightning detection network did in fact pick up on some lightning just northwest of Halifax between Bridgewater and Kentville. 
 As with every activation we have some take-aways on how we can improve the nets. We had a couple of new net controllers to CANWARN Atlantic nets which always helps provide a new perspective. We will be looking at what we learned from this activation and see how we can incorporate this into future activations to help improve them.  Once again thank you to all CANWARN Spotters and especially to the Net Controllers who ran the net. 
Bob Robichaud – VE1MBR Warning Preparedness Meteorologist Meteorological Service of Canada

Maritime Blizzard 2015

On Monday Jan.26th 2015 Mike Johnson VE1MWJ EMO Cumberland County contacted Bob Robichaud VE1MBR from Environment Canada to see about setting up a CANWARN Atlantic Net for the storm coming in on Tuesday. Bob thought it would be a good idea to establish a net starting Tuesday morning to gain eyeball reports from around Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island. On Tuesday morning Jim Hannon VE1AFH started the net beginning at 9am AT just as the storm was hitting the Maritimes. Over the next seven hours 91 reports came in from all over the Maritimes using 12 repeaters on the MAVCOM system. These reports were send in hourly to Environment Canada for processing. At 2:30pm a call came from EC to terminate the net after the 3pm report. Provisions were set aside in case the net needed to return. Thanks to Jim Hannon VE1AFH of Amherst who was Net Control for most of the day and to Mike Johnson VE1MWJ who filled in for Jim when needed. For those amateurs who could not get though via the radio system, Echolink was set up by Jim Langille VE1JBL who relayed reports to the net. Jim also sent messages via the CANWARN Atlantic Twitter feed @CANWARNAtlantic posting important information throughout the day from road closures to power outages. Thanks also go out to all the CANWARN Atlantic members who volunteered their time to give reports throughout the day. Without you there would be no net. Special thanks goes out to the Nova Scotia Amateur Radio Association, all the owners, operators and technicians of the MAVCOM system which worked very well throughout the day. Bob Robichaud VE1MBR of Environment Canada contacted us after the net to thank everyone who participated and for all the great reports. More information about CANWARN and how to become a spotter, click on the Maritime Amateur website and click on the link CANWARN Atlantic.

As one net ended another started up later in the day with Exercise Handshake. This monthly exercise on the last Tuesday of the month was established back in 2008 for operators to practice communications skills and to test out all radios available to amateur radio operators throughout the Maritimes associated with EMO, ARES and CANWARN. The net uses TMR provincial radio, Satellite phones, VHF, UHF, HF, Packet and Echolink. The net also encourages the use of emergency power to run their radio as a way to make sure that when backup power is needed it will work. There were a total of 40 contacts during the hour and thanks go out to all who participated. More information about Exercise Handshake can be found on the Maritime Amateur website under the link Exercise Handshake.

CANWARN Atlantic Net March 26th, 2014

On Monday March 24th, 2014 Bob Robichaud VE1MBR from Environment Canada sent an email asking to have CANWARN Atlantic activated for a spring blizzard approaching the Maritimes. The storm would bring snow for most regions, rain along the coast, very high winds and storm surge. An email was sent out immediately to other Net Controllers and all spotters informing them of the Net. The storm would cause problems all across the Maritimes including shutting down the Trans- Canada Highway between Moncton New Brunswick and Truro Nova Scotia a total of 170kms. The Confederation Bridge that links Prince Edward Island with the mainland was closed along with the causeway that links Cape Breton and mainland Nova Scotia. Multiple power outages in each province put thousands in the dark. The largest snowfall amount recorded from Environment Canada was 54cms in Charlottetown PEI while the highest gust of wind came from Grand Etang NS 172kms. At 10am AT Wednesday Mike Johnson VE1MWJ and Randy Elliott VE1ADV started the pre net by linking up 12 repeaters from Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island and IRLP Reflector 9014. They asked that stations taking part to check-in and then proceeded with giving the information Environment Canada would require and the order of giving it. After a short Q&A session the repeaters were brought down and everyone prepared for the first reports at 11am. For the next 12 hours reports came in from all over Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island and parts of New Brunswick via VHF and Echolink. There were 29 CANWARN stations taking part during the event and by the time the net ended at 11pm AT a total of 205 reports had been sent to Environment Canada in Dartmouth NS. The next morning CANWARN repeaters were brought up at 9am AT for a recap of the event, final reports of snow totals and damage reports which were then sent on to Environment Canada. Thanks goes out to the Nova Scotia Amateur Radio Association (NSARA) owners and technicians of the repeaters for without them these nets would not be possible. Thanks to all who volunteered their time and participated for those 12 hours including Randy Elliott VE1ADV and Mike Johnson VE1MWJ Net Controllers for VHF, Bob Tuttle VE1DR for bringing up the links each hour and Emil Pineau VE1ESP and Alfred RonDelet VE1AAZ Net Controllers for Echolink. Special thanks to all the spotters who participated for without them these nets would not be possible. They are in no special order, Paul VE1MPM, Brad VE1ZX, Martin VE1KLR, Mike VE1XDT, David VE1EDA, Ron VY2HR, Scott VE1CHL, Mason VE1MUT, Eric VE1JW, George VY2GM, Paul VE1DPG, Rick VE9RWS, Barry VE1DO, Bill VY2LI, Dave VE1DEH, Bob VE1CZ, Joe VE1JES, Derek VE1WX, John VE1JS, Doug VE1DBM and Win VY2WB. Thanks also to several non-members who supplied us with reports during the day.

Anyone interested in becoming a member of CANWARN here in the Maritimes contact Bob Robichaud VE1MBR at [email protected]

Thanks, Jim Langille VE1JBL CANWARN Atlantic

CANWARN Atlantic activated second time in same week

Greetings all CANWARN Atlantic members,
 For the second time in the same week, CANWARN Atlantic was contacted by Environment Canada at 12:07pm Saturday asking a Net be set up on Sunday Dec.22nd, 2013 for an Ice Storm making its way to the Maritimes. That same evening an email was sent out to Net Control from Environment Canada asking what information would be gathered and reported during this net. This information was sent immediately to all members and included the time the net would begin and the repeaters that would be used. The information also stated that the repeaters would be tested an hour before the net began in the morning and members could check out their radios and ask questions to the NCO’s.
At 9am the net began and over the next 11 hours 169 reports were sent in to Environment Canada
I would like to thank all the Net Controllers who volunteered their time during the holiday season to control this net over the 11 hours. They include Mike Johnson VE1MWJ, Mike Master VE1XDT, newcomer Randy Elliott VE1ADV and Emil Pineau VE1ESP who operated Echolink and monitored the IRLP Reflector. Eight MAVCOM repeaters were used during the net and thanks go out to the owners of these repeaters and the NSARA for looking after these repeaters for operations like this one.
Special thanks goes out all the members who took part during the net. These include Bob VE1DR, Paul VE1MPM, Brad VE1ZX, Martin VE1KLR, Dave VE1EDA, Ron VY2HR, Scott VE1CHL, Eric VE1JW, George VY2GM, Rick VE9RWS, Barry VE1DO, Bill VY2LI, Dave VE1DEH, VE1JS, VE1JDT and VE9MTC.
Merry Christmas to all members and all the best for 2014.
May the weather be quiet over the holidays,

CANWARN Atlantic Net Sunday Dec.15th, 2013

On Saturday Dec.14th at 4:14pm AT an email was sent out from Environment Canada to establish a CANWARN net Sunday morning beginning at 10am AT. Mike Masters VE1XDT and Mike Johnson VE1MWJ set up the net and operated for 10 hours on Sunday. They use several MAVCOM repeaters in NS and PEI to link up and over the 10 hours “ON THE AIR” recorded 108 messages by 15 members. Echolink was also used during the net thanks to Emile Pineau VE1ESP.
There still needs to be adjustments made to the operation including spreadsheets but overall things went well with the repeaters and the reporting. We are looking to have a debrief very soon and will let you know when that happens and look forward to your input on amateur radio operations.
If any repeater was not brought up during the exercise that you would like to see used in the future, please let us know and we will look into it.
Thanks to all the members who stayed with us all day reporting your findings and a special thanks to the Net Controllers Mike & Mike for looking after setting up and operating the net.
One thing that I have seen from these nets is that we really need more Net Controllers. These two operators spent all day minute by minute, hour after hour on the air. If we had more NCO’s time could be split up hour on hour so others could take time off during the day. I would hate to see this program die due to lack of volunteers. Environment Canada appreciates the input from amateur radio operators during these storms.
If interested in being a NCO for Nova Scotia or PEI please let myself, Mike Johnson, Mike Masters or Bob Robichaud know and will help you get started.
Best regards,
Jim Langille VE1JBL

From Jim VE1JBL Feb.19th, 2013

For the second week in a row, amateurs in Atlantic Canada were contacted by Environment Canada to establish a CANWARN net for a severe winter storm making its way to the Maritimes on Sunday Feb.17th, 2013.

This storm would be a little different than the one a week earlier as there would be two separate lines to this storm. To the north in New Brunswick, the storm would bring snow, strong winds and Blizzard conditions. To the south, Nova Scotia and PEI would receive heavy rain, freezing rain and ice pellets.

After receiving information from Bob Robichaud VE1MBR Meteorologist with Environment Canada, the net began at 1200 hours with Net Control bringing up 13 repeaters on the MAVCOM network in Nova Scotia & Prince Edward Island. Other modes activated were IRLP Reflector 9014, Echolink and HF operations on 3.770MHz.
CANWARN New Brunswick also began operations at 1300 hours bringing up all 23 repeaters of the International Repeater Group (IRG).

As reports started to come in, it was soon learned that there would be problems associated with this storm. Some repeaters began to ice up making it hard to connect to, home weather stations began to freeze and power outages continued to rise in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick. By late afternoon the winds changed direction and the temperatures started to drop in Nova Scotia. Within an hour there were blizzard conditions in the Annapolis Valley and several power outages. In the evening the winds began to pick up throughout the province which made it worst for trees and power lines covered in ice. Extra high tides earlier in the day on the Northumberland Strait gave worry to some.

At 2300 hours AT, Environment Canada informed CANWARN to close for the evening and to start up again on Monday morning. At 0700 hours AT, operations began again after a message was sent out to all members informing them to add visibility to their reports as high winds was causing blowing snow in many areas. After the 1000 hour report Environment Canada informed CANWARN to terminate the net as skies began to clear. The storm continued in Cape Breton with blizzard conditions for the rest of the day.

Thanks to all the spotters who gave reports over the 14 hours of operations. There were a total of 155 reports from 35 amateurs in Nova Scotia and PEI. Also thanks to the following NCO’s for volunteering their time for this event,
Mike Johnson VE1MWJ backup NCO and for recording all the reports and sending them to Dartmouth, Brad Ross VE1ZX Net Control for HF, Emil Pineau VE1ESP Echolink and Sterling Carpenter VE9SK Net Control in New Brunswick.

For pictures on this storm, go to the Photo Gallery under Ice Storm

To become a member of CANWARN, contact Bob Robichaud VE1MBR at [email protected]

As a member you will get on the e-mail list and be sent information about approaching storms and CANWARN operations.

Jim Langille VE1JBL

Recap of February Blizzard Feb.11th, 2013 

After several days of warnings, a major winter storm moved into the Maritimes on Friday evening Feb. 8th, 2013. After causing major problems in Ontario, Quebec and the eastern parts of the United States it was our turn. Messages from Bob Robichaud VE1MBR at the Atlantic Storm Prediction Centre in Dartmouth were being sent out to all CANWARN members via email to prepare them in case of activation. Information was also being posted on the Maritime Amateur website. On Friday morning the call came in to activate CANWARN in Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island on Saturday Feb.9th 2013 beginning at 8am Atlantic Time. A message went out to all CANWARN members and a notice was put on the MA website to let everyone know of the net and the information Environment Canada would be looking for.

At 8am Saturday Morning, Net Control began operations by linking up 13 repeaters throughout Nova Scotia and PEI through the MAVCOM system, IRLP reflector 9014, Echolink node 190339 and HF operations on 80 meters 3.770MHz. A preamble for CANWARN was read with information to all amateurs in Nova Scotia and PEI of when the net would begin, areas affected, information needed and modes being used for the net.
CANWARN spotters were asked to record snowfall amounts each hour, visibility, wind speed, direction and storm surge. Notes would also be kept for any changeover from snow to freezing rain, ice pellets, rain, flooding and any other damage reports. Members were told which repeater the net would be based on (VE1BHS 145.350- Sugarloaf) and the codes to link up to send in their reports. After a short question & answer session, the repeaters were dropped and net operations began.
Reports would be recorded till the bottom of each hour and then sent to Dartmouth for processing. Net Control would then reset and prepare for the next hour.
A spreadsheet developed by NC Mike Johnson VE1MWJ was used to record information coming in from CANWARN spotters which would then be sent in to Environment Canada each hour.

Starting at 11am damage reports starting coming in of trees down, roofs being blown off, flooding in coastal areas and roads being breached. Power outages were reported all over the province. Over the next 12 hours Net Control recorded close to 200 messages. As darkness approached we were told by Environment Canada that we could close the net for the evening after the high tide at 10pm in case of any reports of storm surge.
The net activated again Sunday morning for only one hour to record any damage reports. At that time the net was terminated.

It was a very active and interesting net and I would like to thank all the spotters who took part giving their hourly reports, without them, this net would not have taken place.
I would also like to thank the NCO’s (Net Control Operators) who volunteered 14 hours of their day recording information to send to Environment Canada including Mike Johnson VE1MWJ who also recorded the messages coming in and sending them off to Dartmouth, Brad Ross VE1ZX from Leamington NS for HF operations and Emil Pineau VE1ESP Net Control for Echolink.
Also thanks to Bob Robichaud VE1MBR and Environment Canada for trusting us with running the net and sending them timely reports.

More information about CANWARN Atlantic can be found on The Maritime Amateur website at  Once on the homepage click on CANWARN Atlantic.
To become a member of CANWARN, contact Bob Robichaud VE1MBR at [email protected]

As a member you will get on the e-mail list and be sent information about approaching storms and CANWARN operations.


Jim Langille VE1JBL

CANWARN Activation Report – January 27th, 2012

On Friday January 27th a low pressure system tracked through New Brunswick and produced a wide variety of weather across Atlantic Canada. While part of New Brunswick and Newfoundland received over 30 cm of snow, much of southern NB, PEI and NS saw snow changing through ice pellets to freezing rain to rain. Strong and gusty southeast winds were also observed and the combination resulted is dangerous road conditions and a few power outages.
CANWARN was activated at 1400 on January 27th and continued until 0000 on Saturday for a total of 10 hours. A total of 132 reports were received from 48 stations across all Atlantic Provinces. These reports helped forecasters identify and precisely locate areas of freezing precipitation and to determine snowfall intensity. Thank you to all stations who provided weather reports during this storm and to the net controllers Jim Langille (VE1JBL), Brad Ross (VE1ZX), Mike Masters (VE1XDT) and Al Thurber (VE1AKT) who collated the reports and sent them in to the Atlantic Storm Prediction Center.

Hurricane Irene Aug.28th, 2011

Greetings all CANWARN and ARES stations,
I would like to thank all who check in with reports to the CANWARN Central Zone net last night. The net ran from 7pm ADT till 2am in the morning. We are operating this morning on the Sugarloaf repeater looking for reports when the tide is high around noon hour.
There are many power outages throughout the Maritimes at this time.
I would like to thank the following operators who checked into the net.
We log a total of 46 messages over the seven hours of operation. 
Special thanks to Larry VE9LRL who informed me about Saint John Energy and their website to find outages in the Saint John area.  
Thanks to Martin Thomas VE1AUZ and Brad Ross VE1ZX for looking after the HF portion of the net. 
If I receive any information from the IRG in New Brunswick or the ASPC, I will pass it along to all. 
Jim Langille VE1JBL