RF Tornado Detection, 1959

By Bob W9DXR

With the upcoming weather spotting season, this article we recently unearthed is very timely.  My wife recently came across a newspaper clipping from around 1959 that her family had kept.  At that time the use of black and white television was still predominant and I believe the following method of tornado detection worked best with a black and white TV (you do remember those don’t you?) on an outdoor antenna.

This method is outdated and presented for historical reasons. SARC recommends monitoring a weather radio, weather web site or commercial broadcast for weather severe weather information.

I can attest that the Weller method did work for detecting lightning and strong storms.  There is enough energy at 54 Mhz (approximately channel 2) in a lightning storm to trigger a TV screen to turn white and flicker with the energy.  Although it was somewhat crude it worked well.  Fortunately I was never close enough to a tornado to see my screen turn completely white.  Today we have digital TV and cable in place so we are stuck watching the weather channel or a weather app on our smart phone.   Ahh… the good old days.

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