Legacy weather radios sound an alarm anytime an alert tone (1050 Hz) is received, regardless of the affected area. Most new weather radios are equipped with Specific Area Message Encoding (SAME) technology. These radios can be programmed to produce an alert for one or more counties for certain events.
Not all radios that include SAME technology are alike. Some basic weather radio units with SAME technology are hard-coded to alert for any received SAME code. If there is a desire or need to suppress unwanted SAME alerts, look for a radio that supports selectable alerting of events. For extensive information on weather radio features and manufacturer information, please see the NWS NWR Receiver Consumer Information page. Details concerning SAME technology can be found at the NWS NWR Specific Area Message Encoding (SAME) page.
Each NWR unit will have specific setup instructions. To ensure that your NWR is ready to receive alerts for your area, the following steps are recommended:
- Choose an NWR unit that has the desired features. In particular, consider whether the radio should receive all alerts or needs to be programmable (selectable alerting).
- Set the NWR unit to the correct frequency, based on county. Refer to the programming information section, below, to ensure that you select a radio frequency providing alerts for your county. Some counties are served by multiple radios. To help determine the best frequency for your area, consider the NWR coverage maps.
- Program the NWR unit for the county code or multiple county codes for the area that you want to receive alerts for, again referring to the chart in the information section, below.
- For units that support selectable alerting of events, make sure that only the event codes that you are interested in receiving alerts for are enabled. A list of active SAME event codes is located at the bottom of this page.