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VORTEX2 was a meteorological research program that took place during the spring seasons of 2009 and 2010 in the Great Plains area of the United States of America. The acronym stands for Verification of the Origins of Rotation in Tornadoes EXperiment. The original Project VORTEX took place in 1994 and 1995 with a smaller follow-on in 1999.

From VORTEX 2 program documents:

4.4 Radio communications (updated 14 April 2010; changes from 2009 are in bold)

4.4.1 Frequencies

The following frequencies (MHz) are authorized for mobile use throughout the VORTEX2 domain. They are authorized on a non-interfering basis. This means if we cause interference to another group, we must change frequency. This is accommodated by providing primary and secondary frequencies for each group.

A. Coordination frequency--This frequency is so the group coordinators can discuss strategic planning related to storm targeting, storm abandonment, mission design, and other issues. The main vehicles/people talking on this frequency are the following vehicles: Field Coordinators, Radar Coordinator, Mobile Mesonet Coordinator, Sounding Coordinator, Sticknet Coordinator, UAV Coordinator. Since this frequency will be on a repeater, it may be used in urgent situations when a team has lost contact with its coordinators. But, it will be rare that an individual team will need to communicate on this frequency.

Primary Talk: 163.2250 Listen: 163.2250 and 171.9375 (the NSSL repeater transmits at 171.9375) Secondary Talk/Listen (no repeater): 161.1000

B. Radar frequency--This frequency is used for radar coordination. In addition, the Disdrometer and photogrammetry teams that are tightly linked to radar deployments will use this frequency. This frequency will be heard by DOW7 and DOW6 which will be somewhat centrally located and which may have 56 masts erected for additional range, so may be used in urgent situations when a team has lost contact with its coordinators. Primary Talk/Listen: 161.4000 Secondary Talk/Listen: 161.5000 Tertiary Talk/Listen: 161.3000

C. Mobile mesonet frequency This frequency is used by mobile mesonet communication. Primary Talk/Listen: 151.7000 Secondary Talk/Listen: 151.9400

D. Tornado pod team frequency This frequency is used by Tornado Pod Teams (and will be used for TIV-DOW communications). This frequency will be monitored by DOW7, which may have a 56-foot mast extended, so it may be used in urgent situations by teams who have lost contact with their coordinators. Primary Talk/Listen: 151.7600 Secondary Talk/Listen: 151.8200 Tertiary Talk/Listen: 151.9400

E. Sticknet intra-team frequency, SR and NOXP intra-team frequency, MGAUS intra-team frequency This will be used for intra-team coordination, such as stick placement, SR/NOXP scouting, and similar uses. Primary Talk/Listen: 161.0000 Secondary Talk/Listen: 160.9000

F. UAS Frequency Primary Talk/Listen: 173.3000 Secondary Talk/Listen: 173.4000

G. Spares (unassigned but available for use) Talk/Listen: 161.2000 Talk/Listen: 163.1000 (not within 15 mi of Houston, TX) Talk/Listen: 173.2000 Talk/Listen: 451.0000 Talk/Listen: 452.0000 Talk/Listen: 458.0000

4.4.2 Radio communications protocol

All participants are expected to follow the following rules for VHF radio communication in VORTEX2.

--Keep communications brief, particularly during active mission periods. Your transmitter will be active, and could prevent other teams from communicating. Further, all teams will be able to eavesdrop on the conversations going on in your vehicle.

--No idle chatter until after operations are completed.

--Our communications channels are monitored by outside groups. You are representing public funding agencies, universities, and government laboratories. Be professional.

--There is great temptation to broadcast the existence/formation of tornadoes over the radio. Extra caution has to be exercised in these cases to avoid the “yelling fire in a crowded theater” effect. Unless such a broadcast is necessary for the safety of others in the fleet, unless the tornado has not been otherwise observed, such announcements are to be avoided.

--Cellular phone is the communication medium of choice if you need to speak privately with another participant. Contact numbers can be found in the Appendix. If you can communicate effectively using the chat feature of the SASSI software, please do so. The advantages are minimized radio chatter, and a written record of communications. However, sometimes time is of the essence in communications, and voice is the only suitable method.

--Your radio should be programmed with the channels that you are allowed to use for your team’s communications (section 4.4.1).

--When initiating contact, follow the following to/from protocol example: “FC, PROBE1.” (Think: FC, this is PROBE1.) FC will respond with “PROBE1, go ahead” or “PROBE1, stand by.” You may proceed if you receive the go-ahead for communications.

--If you hear and understand radio conversation directed to you, respond with your ID and the word “copy”, e.g. “PROBE1, copy.” If you did not understand, respond with your ID and the message “please repeat”, e.g., “PROBE1, please repeat.”

--Keep communications as brief and terse as possible, while at the same time communicating clearly and unambiguously.

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