Most every-day AM/FM radios can't tune into theNOAA Weather Radio (NWR) All Hazards network but with RTL-SDR we can! NWR is the national weather alert system, which broadcasts weather data as well as emergency alerts.

Let's tune into the closest weather station to Adafruit Southern California, which is in Los Angeles. You'll want to tune into whatever station is closest to you.

To begin, visit the NOAA weather station frequencies-by-county index here

The frequency is 162.550 MHz, type that into the SDR# frequency window
You can see a little peak, its much smaller signal than the FM radio stations. It's also much thinner which makes it a narrow-band FM rather than wideband. Since its voice, not stereo music, they use less of the frequency band, so select NFM as the decoding type
The station is marked as degraded, but by amplifying the gain on the RTL-SDR we were able to tune in
You should be able to hear a computer-generated voice speaking out the weather forcast. It's not terribly exciting but it is very thorough, often giving very detailed reports. The signal continuously transmits so you can tune in at any time!

Going forward

now that you have some basic functionality working, try tuning into other frequencies, and trying the different kind of decoding (e.g. CW/AM/NFM) to tune into AM radio!

This guide was first published on May 19, 2014. It was last updated on 2018-03-21 14:56:59 -0400.

This page (SDR# NWR (Weather) Radio) was last updated on May 19, 2014.

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