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Fact Sheet

Weatheradio Canada..our premium warning delivery service

Weatheradio Canada is a nationwide network of radio stations broadcasting weather and environmental information 24 hours a day in both official languages directly from Environment Canada's storm prediction centres.

From its inception in 1977, the network has expanded to 179 sites across the country, transmitting continuous weather information on 7 dedicated frequencies on the VHF public service band. Now, fully 92% of Canadians can access a Weatheradio signal, and recent technological advances have made it possible for listeners to program radio receivers to deliver only certain types of warnings for their specific locations.

Canada's Weatheradio network

The Meteorological Service of Canada (MSC) operates a Weatheradio network broadcasting from 179 locations across the country, reaching over 92% of Canadians. The majority of these systems broadcast on the VHF band to permit the transmission of a 1050 Hz tone that will trigger a Weatheradio receiver's internal alert system. This warning tone is broadcast ahead of a warning message to activate Weatheradios upon receipt. Broadcast frequencies include 162.400, 162.425, 162.450, 162.475, 162.500, 162.525, and 162.550 MHz.

The new Weatheradio receivers now use SAME codes instead as the trigger to activate the alarm features, and Environment Canada is converting the Weatheradio network to utilize SAME codes. By broadcasting these codes, those users who purchase a new Weatheradio will not only be able to receive the audio signal, but will receive emergency messages and the full functionality of the warning device unit, such as the ability to pre-select which warnings to receive. For users who have older Weatheradio models, these units will continue to receive the full range of weather watches, advisories and warnings as in the past. However, they will not be able to take advantage of the enhanced options offered by a Weatheradio with SAME decoding capability.

To find the nearest transmitter site, check the Find A Transmitter page.

Who should own a Weatheradio receiver?

A Weatheradio receiver is not just for emergencies. It's a dependable, round-the-clock source of weather information to help plan daily activities.

Weatheradio receivers should be standard equipment in:

  • Hospitals
  • Schools
  • Marinas
  • Dispatch Offices
  • Manufacturing plants
  • Campgrounds
  • Homes
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Fast facts about Weatheradio

  • Most Weatheradio transmitters broadcast on the VHF public service band using one of 7 frequencies: 162.400, 162.425, 162.450, 162.475, 162.500, 162.525, or 162.550 MHz.
  • The average range for reception of the broadcast signal is about 60 km from the transmitter site but can vary according to terrain.
  • At a few locations, low power broadcasts without the alert tone or SAME codes are transmitted on the regular FM or AM band and can be heard using an ordinary radio.
  • In Canada, there are a total of 179 Weatheradio transmitters--166 on VHF frequencies and 13 on regular AM or FM bands.
  • If severe weather threatens, public safety experts agree that seconds count to save lives. With an alert-capable Weatheradio, the device will automatically activate a visual or audible alarm for toned weather warnings, reducing the risk of the warning being missed.
  • A newer model of Weatheradio receiver with a decoder for Specific Area Message Encoding (SAME) messages will screen out warnings that don't apply to the local area, alerting only for pre-programmed events.
  • Weatheradio is no longer just about weather - it is evolving into an "all-hazards" alert system. Warnings for non-weather related natural disasters, technological accidents, AMBER alerts and terrorist attacks will eventually be added to the broadcasts. SAME technology will make this all possible.
  • Weatheradio is not just for emergencies either -- it provides continuous access to current conditions and weather forecasts as well as any severe weather watches and warnings that may be in effect.
  • Tests are conducted monthly on the tone alert feature, to provide an opportunity for listeners to ensure that their equipment is in good working order.

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Created : 2003-01-24
Modified : 2005-05-16
Reviewed : 2003-02-11
Url of this page : http://www.msc.ec.gc.ca

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