NOAA Weather Radio is a nationwide network of radio stations broadcasting continuous weather information directly from National Weather Service (NWS) offices across the country. NOAA Weather Radio coverage is limited to an area within 40 miles of the transmitter. The quality of what is heard is dictated by the distance from the transmitter, local terrain, and the quality and location of the receiver.
NOAA Weather Radio is directly available to approximately 70 to 80 percent of the U.S. population. The National Weather Service is currently engaged in a program to increase coverage to 95 percent of the population.
Known as the "Voice of the National Weather Service," the NOAA Weather Radio network has more than 750 transmitters, covering nearly 90% of the 50 states, along with the adjacent coastal waters, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and the U.S. Pacific Territories. NOAA Weather Radio broadcasts in the VHF public service band (between 162.400 and 162.550 megahertz (MHz)) and hence you need a special radio receiver or scanner in order to pick up the signal.
NOAA Weather Radio currently broadcasts from over 425 FM transmitters in fifty states, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam and Saipan on seven frequencies in the VHF band, ranging from 162.400 to 162.550 megahertz (MHz). These frequencies are outside the normal AM or FM broadcast bands.
All NOAA Weather Radio stations broadcast on one of seven frequencies in the VHF Public Service band: 162.400 megahertz (MHz), 162.425 MHz, 162.450 MHz, 162.475 MHz, 162.500 MHz, 162.525 MHz, and 162.550 MHz. While some older Weather Radio receivers will only have three frequencies (162.400, 162.475 and 162.550)
The normal broadcast range of a full-power transmitter (1000 watts) over level terrain is approximately 40 miles. The effective range depends on terrain, height and power of the transmitting antenna, quality of the receiver, and whether you use an indoor or outdoor antenna. Before you buy a Weather Radio receiver, make sure that your area is covered by one of the transmitters.