NWS Wakefield SKYWARN
Amateur Radio Support Team
WX4AKQ Wakefield, VA
This page attempts to answer many of the frequently asked questions about our team and the SKYWARN program. If there's something you'd like to know that's not listed here, take a look at our Other Q&A Topics, check the SKYWARN Operations Manual, SKYWARN Training Portal, or send us an e-mail.
WX4AKQ "Thank You" Card Program
Have you received an orange, vaguely QSL-like card from us? Congratulations! That's one of our WX4AKQ "Thank You" cards!
This unique program is our special way of expressing our gratitude for your participation in SKYWARN and the generous contribution you made to the National Weather Service by calling in a qualifying report to our net.
What's a "Qualifying Report?"
A qualifying report, simply put, is any first-person report meeting established SKYWARN reporting criteria which matches the overall weather scenario in the area reported. Reports which are below reporting criteria or which cannot be verified as accurate will not qualify for a card.
I called in a qualifying report. Why didn't I get a card?
Cards are sent out at random. In some weather events we may take 30 to 50 qualifying reports and only send out 5 to 10 cards. We don't keep track of who gets one and when, so you might get more than one in your lifetime. Our memory is pretty good, but our budget isn't. We take zero NWS funding for non-critical operations, and that includes this Thank You Card program. Card printing and full retail postage costs come directly out of the pocket of the Leadership team member who sends the card. So, we can't get to everybody. Sorry!
How long does it take to get a card?
There is no specific time we send out cards. We might go a few weeks without sending one. We may send them out the day after the net, or it could be a few months. Whenever.
Do I need to acknowledge the card?
No. It is not a QSL card. We do not expect to receive a QSL card or other correspondence back from you (and sending us a QSL card in return for a Thank You Card will only confuse us.)
Should I hang on to this card?
By the time they make it through the mail, we're told they look pretty ratty so it's probably not suitable for framing or anything, but you might want to hold on to it. Who knows, we might do a contest or drawing or something one day. You know, after we win the lottery.
Really, though, hang on to it. You never know.
Can I see what one of these cards look like?
Do you ever do real QSL cards?
Yes, but not during SKYWARN activations. You can get all those details and access our log book data on our QSL Information page.