UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE
NATIONAL OCEANIC AND ATMOSPHERIC ADMINISTRATION
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE
Fort Worth, Texas

November 15, 1997

SOUTHERN TOPICS


REGIONAL DIRECTOR

REGIONAL TRAVEL. On Wednesday, November 5, Steven Cooper, SRH MSD, and I spent the day with the staff of NWSO Shreveport, Louisiana. The trip was a continuation of our project to visit with all staff in the Southern Region for the purpose of discussing field perspectives on our postmodernization capabilities and how it relates to our current and future service programs. As has been the case at all sites, the conversations were very active and relevant. Many thanks to all who participated at the Shreveport office. Next week we will be traveling to Florida to meet with our people at Tampa, Jacksonville,and Melbourne.

On November 6, I had the pleasant opportunity to be involved in the presentation of a Holm Award to Mr. John Teeter of Prescott, Arkansas. The presentation was a part of the Prescott Kawanis Club meeting and was supported with television, radio, and newspaper coverage. Mr. Teeter has completed 31 years as the Prescott Cooperative Observer. The dedication of these individuals never ceases to amaze me.

DOC MEDAL AWARDS. The last issue of Topics acknowledged Southern Region employees approved to receive the Department of Commerce Bronze Medal. We have received word the list has been expanded to include Lans Rothfusz, NWSO Tulsa; Mac McLaughlin, SRH; Leon Safford and Brian Burgess, NWSFO Atlanta; Steven Rinard, NWSO Lake Charles; and Mario Valverde, SRH. Additionally, the Southeast River Forecast Center has received the Bronze Medal for their work during Hurricane Fran.

Also announced this week were the Gold and Silver Award winners. In the Southern Region, Silver Medals were approved for Gary Woodall, SRH, and the staff of NWSFO Little Rock, Arkansas.

Congratulations to all!

AWIPS UPDATE

THE LATEST NEWS. The field part of the Operational Test and Evaluation of AWIPS Build 3.0 has been completed. The report will be completed in the next week or so and will provide the Secretary of Commerce with additional information on whether or not to proceed with the AWIPS implementation. We are hoping for a decision before the end of November.

AWIPS ACTIVITIES. NWSFO Norman will be getting their satellite antenna the week of November 17. This is the first big step to their AWIPS installation which should take place the first week of December. The offices in Norman, Fort Worth, and New Orleans are all ready and waiting for their systems. Installation at Norman will be in early December, and Fort Worth and New Orleans will be in late January and early February.

PASSING THE TORCH. I (Cyndie Abelman) will be leaving Southern Region Headquarters, effective November 22, to take on new challenges in the world of hydrometeorology analysis and support. Mario Valverde will be taking over the formidable task of implementing AWIPS and removing AFOS (among other things). I have certainly enjoyed my tenure at SRH and meeting so many people. Thank you!

METEOROLOGICAL SERVICES DIVISION

MAR Services Update. When the Huntsville county warning area (CWA) responsibility is transferred to NWSFO Birmingham on December 2, 1997, the first phase of the MAR (not including ASOS) will be complete in the Southern Region. We still have some "tweaking" to do with CWAs because of the addition of the Fort Smith and Hytop WSR-88Ds, but these radars were not in the initial MAR plans for the NWS. The first phase of the MAR (MSD-wise) included the installation and commissioning of the WSR-88Ds, realigning the CWAs, and transfer of short-term warning and forecast responsibility to NWSOs based on the realigned CWAs. This short-term warning and forecast responsibility included short-fused warnings (e.g. TOR, SVR, FFW, etc.), and short-term forecasts (NOWs, TAFs, TWEBs).

The next step of the MAR will involve the installation and commissioning of AWIPS and the transfer of the remaining warning and forecast responsibility based on what will then be known as county (parish) warning and forecast areas (CWFA). When this is accomplished, the NWSOs and the NWSFOs will become WFOs. Before this transfer of responsibility can occur, several steps must be completed. First, the "spin-up" WFOs must receive their additional meteorologist staffing. This additional staffing is still tied to the AWIPS delivery schedule, i.e., the plan is to have the five-person, senior forecaster unit in place four months prior to the AWIPS equipment delivery date (EDD) at a given office. The next step is the installation of AWIPS. Then, once AWIPS has been accepted for operational use, and the meteorologist in charge certifies that the forecast staff is ready to accept the added watch, warning, and forecast responsibility, the actual transfer date will be established. The additional warning and forecast responsibility for what are now known as NWSOs will include such responsibilities as winter weather watches and warnings, high wind watches and warnings, flash flood watches, zone forecasts, coastal waters warnings and forecasts (where applicable), fire weather forecasts, etc. Basically, except for hurricane watches and warnings, certain broad-scale aviation forecasts, and (for the time being) convective storm watches, all weather forecast and warning responsibility will be assigned to WFOs based on their assigned CWFAs once this next phase of the MAR is complete.

For planning purposes, we are estimating that the earliest this next transfer of responsibility could occur would be six months after AWIPS EDD at a given office. We are currently in the process of developing a checklist to assist NWSO MICs in certifying that their office is ready to assume the added warning and forecast responsibilities. This checklist will be similar to the one we developed prior to the transfer of aviation forecast responsibility. Beyond these fundamental requirements, the actual transfer of responsibility will be handled on a case-by-case basis. We will make every effort to keep you informed as this process moves forward.

FIPS CODES FOR SAME RECEIVERS. The toll-free number for the public to obtain their FIPS codes seems to be working fine. Offices have expressed success in using this number in their area. Check it out and see if it works. Spread the word to local television stations or add it to telephone recordings, NWR ID scripts, homepages, or anywhere. The number is: 1-888-NWR-SAME or 1-888-697-7263. On the web, a useful FIPS code table is located at: http://tgsv5.nws.noaa.gov/nwr/indexnw.htm. Quite a number of the new SAME receivers have been sold. This toll-free number and web location should be useful to your public, especially when a new SAME receiver would look nice under the Christmas tree. That's what I (Ken Graham) asked Santa for! Does the North Pole have a FIPS code?

UPDATED DIGITAL CONSOLES CONTINUE TO BE INSTALLED. Offices are expressing nothing but praise concerning the upgraded digital consoles being distributed. The upgrade will allow better interaction between the digital console and the SAME unit. When SAME tones are sent out, the 1050Hz alert tone will automatically be activated. With only several more key punches, the whole process is complete! There is NO change in the way routine broadcasts are done, only the warning process is simplified. For offices that have the upgrade, glad things are easier! For those still waiting, hang on, they are on the way! Updated instructions have been distributed, but if you need another copy, give us a call [Ken Graham, (817) 978-2367 ext. 148; or T. L. Farrow, (817) 978-2666].

NWR EXPANSION IN TEXAS. Once again, our NWR transmitter family grows with the birth of coverage in Bay City, Texas. A dedication ceremony was held on November 5, 1997, at the Matagorda County Fairgrounds in Bay City. Attending the ceremony were representatives from SRH, NWSO Houston/Galveston, NWSFO Austin/San Antonio, Lower Colorado River Authority, plus local mayors, county officials, and law enforcement. Hats off to the Lower Colorado River Authority for purchasing the equipment, the Houston/Galveston office which will be doing the programming, and T. L. Farrow for all the technical stuff. The Bay City transmitter has a call sign of WWG-40 and will operate at 1,000 watts with a 100-watt backup. If you are in the area, tune into 162.425 MHz. Counties covered by the broadcast include Brazoria, Fort Bend, Jackson, Matagorda, and Wharton. Welcome to the NWR family!

NWR EXPANSION WORK IN THE EARLY STAGES. Work has just begun on yet two more NWR expansion sites. Lower Colorado River Authority has begun work on placing a transmitter in La Grange, Texas. Elsewhere, the local community, county officials, and NWSFO Little Rock have begun work on placing an NWR transmitter in Yellville, Arkansas. We look forward to adding these to the ever growing list of NWR transmitters.

A NEW NWR STAR SHINES BRIGHT. Larry Peabody, FIC at Austin/San Antonio, is the current SRH STAR working on NWR promotion and many other things. Larry has been very active in contacting newspapers and the companies that create their weather pages in order to have NWR frequencies listed. Larry is also making sure the telephone numbers that these newspapers list for weather lines are up to date. Larry has also worked on getting celebrity promotions for both television and radio concerning NWR . . . stay tuned! Other contacts have been the Texas Department of Transportation (digital highway signs), road atlas makers, and many others. If you have any NWR promotion ideas, thoughts, comments, or need to get a run down on the latest Texas A&M game, feel free to contact Larry at (817) 978-2367 ext. 187.

ONE FINE NWR SURVEY. Meteorologist Krista Villarreal and FIC Jesse Moore at NWSFO Fort Worth/Dallas, conducted a survey on their five NWR transmitters. These transmitters serve over five million residents of north Texas and extreme southern Oklahoma. The survey had some interesting conclusions. Great stuff! For details, see the attached copy of the survey report.

A LISTENER'S GUIDE TO WEATHER RADIO. Watch out TV Guide. Joseph Rua, NWR focal point at NWSO Lake Charles, has put together a useful guide for NWR listeners. Think about it, we throw many weather terms, meteorological explanations, and NWS rules and terminology at the public everyday on our NWR broadcasts. Joseph put together a listening guide for the public, emergency managers, or for anybody who listens to NWR. The guide includes NWR frequencies and coverage, severe weather terminology, FIPS codes, tropical information, marine weather terminology, general forecast information, and a whole lot more. Contact Joseph if you would like to have a copy. Teaching the public about what they hear on an NWR broadcast is just as important as getting people to listen. Nice job Joseph, keep us posted!

A LIVE UPDATE FROM THE PUP. We heard from MIC Ray Fagen and met. intern John Pendergrast at NWSO Midland/Odessa that the NWR console located in the operations area is a great success. The headset microphone with an extension cord allows for live updates while sitting in front of the PUP. With access to an AFOS ADM unit, paperless broadcasts can be conducted. The old NWR room was converted into a multipurpose room housing the Professional Development Workstation with Audiographics teletraining, a video editing area for SKYWARN, and video/book storage library. Hey, this room sounds like a nice place to get some peace and quiet. John has a write-up on the subject. Contact him if you would like to see a copy. Great job! Nothing like live radar updates to generate some excitement for our current NWR listeners and recruit new listeners at the same time.

MID-SOUTH AVIATION FORUM. Personnel from the Memphis Center Weather Service Unit (ZME) participated in the recently held fourth annual Mid-South Aviation Forum, an event cosponsored by the FAA and Mid-South Aviation Council. In addition to operating an NWS booth, ZME staff were major players this year in the forum planning process. This year's activities and features included "Operation Raincheck," a "Wings Program" safety check ride, aircraft static display, and the usual aviation industry-sponsored information booths.

Mike Motta and Larry Boatman did an outstanding job representing ZME and the NWS during the two-day event. They manned the booth, answering a number of aviation-related questions for the general aviation pilot community, and made a significant contribution to the "Operation Raincheck" segment at the forum. Mike gave a presentation on METAR and TAF to approximately 50 pilots.

ASOS SCP COLLECTIVE CHANGE. At 1700 UTC on November 4, NESDIS reformatted the Satellite Cloud Product (SCP). The new format breaks out each SCP collective by state. The collectives for the Southern Region will continue to be transmitted under the AFOS identifiers NMCSCPSR1 (for GOES-8-generated SCPs) and NMCSCPSR2 (for GOES-9-generated SCPs). The format change is a direct result of a field request during the GOES Assessment Project.

UPCOMING COUNTY WARNING AREA CHANGES. On December 2 short-fuse warning responsibility for ten northern Alabama counties will be transferred from WSO Huntsville to NWSFO Birmingham. The new northern Alabama WSR-88D at Hytop has been in operation for several months now and it is expected to be commissioned around the time of the county warning area change.

This county warning area change will complete the transfer of short-fuse warning responsibility from the Southern Region spin-down WSOs to the NWSOs/NWSFOs. However, additional adjustments in warning responsibility may be made as part of an ongoing service evaluation. As an example, Choctaw and Pushmataha counties in Oklahoma will be transferred from NWSFO Norman's forecast/county warning area to NWSO Tulsa's forecast/county warning area on January 20, 1998. Franklin County in Arkansas will be transferred at the same time from NWSFO Little Rock to NWSO Tulsa. These changes are based on the installation of the new WSR-88D in Fort Smith.

CHANGES IN MARINE PROGRAM. Coastal marine forecast zones will be reconfigured along the U.S. coastline on December 2. These new marine zones will be used in coastal waters forecasts, special marine warnings, marine weather statements, combined tornado/special marine warnings, combined severe thunderstorm/special marine warnings, short-term forecasts, and public information statements.

HYDROLOGIC SERVICES DIVISION

Palmer Drought Index. As of early November, soil moisture levels revealed extreme drought conditions over southern Florida, with unusually dry soil moisture conditions prevalent over southeastern Louisiana and extreme southwestern Texas. Meanwhile, wetter than normal soil moisture was prevalent over Arkansas, Mississipi, New Mexico, and Texas and most of Alabama and Georgia. The first two weeks of November were highlighted by several synoptic scale weather systems moving across the Lower Mississippi Valley and the Southeast states, which served to further moisten this increasingly wet part of the Region.

October Rains. NWSFO Atlanta service hydrologist Gary Butler says the first 15 days of October were dry across northern and central Georgia. However, by the time the month ended, northern Georgia received an average of nearly 2.5 inches of rain more than the October normal, with the central part of the state receiving about 2.25 inches above norrmal. A narrow band of eight- to nine-inch amounts was recorded in a five-county area from Rome to Helen to Cleveland, with Rome topping all other reporting stations registering 9.2 inches of rain for the month.

More Wet Stuff. Heavy rains also fell across southcentral and southeastern Oklahoma during October. NWSFO Tulsa service hydrologist Al Hong reports that over six inches of rain fell over the area, with the Oklahoma Mesonet site at Webber Falls registering 9.29 inches for the month.

NEWS FROM OUR HYDROLOGIC SERVICE AREAS

Presentation Idea. NWSO Midland hydrologic focal point T. J. Turnage has been editing video he and NWSFO Lubbock service hydrologist Steve Drillette recently shot on a field trip through the western part of the Midland HSA. T. J. is creating a video which shows the river forecast points and gauge sites sequentially. He plans on showing the video during an upcoming station hydrology seminar. The Midland staff can also look forward to a hydrology drill T. J.'s been working on.

NEWS FROM OUR RIVER FORECAST CENTERS

SERFC Receives Bronze Medal. Hurricane Fran was the worst recorded natural economic disaster ever to occur in North Carolina. The category three storm, which made landfall near Cape Fear on September 5, 1996, was responsible for severe flooding and 27 deaths throughout the mid-Atlantic Region. Numerous record river levels were established as widespread five- to ten-inch rains occurred over Virginia and North Carolina.

Nearly half of a million tourists and residents were evacuated from the coasts of North and South Carolina as a result of NWS hurricane warnings. Press reports from Reuters News Service stated that 4.5 million people in the Carolinas and Virginia were left without power. Besides sustained winds of 115 mph, the storm surge and high-water marks in some coastal areas of North Carolina and Virginia exceeded those of Hurricane Hazel in 1954, which until Fran, had been considered the benchmark hurricane for these localities.

The SERFC, along with several Eastern Region NWS offices, were recognized for efforts in the early forecasts of the disastrous impacts from Hurricane Fran. Through proactive hydro-meteorological coordination and the issuance of timely and accurate products, they alerted emergency management officials and the public to expect major coastal and inland flooding and hurricane-force winds. Congratulations to the staff at SERFC for receiving the Bronze Medal.

New Data Aquisition Application. Judi Bradberry and the SERFC have developed a local application, called RR7, that is used to filter out unwanted station data received through the NMCRRANKA AFOS product. NMCRRANKA is used by the FAA to send ASOS SHEF encoded message collectives from their ADAS communications systems. The RR7 application will serve beneficial to those offices (primarily RFCs) endeavouring to obtain ground truth data for stage II and stage III precipitation processing. The application is available via the Southern Region data server by downloading the following files: rr7_src.tar.z and RR7.README.

FFG for SJU. The SERFC recently began transmitting Flash Flood Guidance for Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands via the AFOS pil ATLFFGSJU. The product will be available by late morning, every day.

SCIENTIFIC SERVICES DIVISION

ERRONEOUS ASOS 0.01" PRECIPITATION REPORTS. Condensation associated with fog or dew can occasionally result in erroneous ASOS reports of 0.01" rainfall amounts. TDL Office Note 97-2 (October 1997) reports on a new quality control procedure which helps to correct these reports before they affect the verification of precipitation forecasts. The multistep procedure looks only at 0.01" observations, compares surrounding observations, examines 6-hourly reports, and looks at dew point depressions, if necessary. Tests showed the automated procedure agreed with all but one of 60 cases where the ASOS observations had been manually corrected for the problem at local sites. In other words, if the report had not been changed, the algorithm would have caught it 98 percent of the time.

How large is the problem? It varies with season and location, of course, but during April through December of last year, the AEV database contained 9,169 observations of measurable precipitation. About 17 percent of those (1,522) were 0.01" amounts. The QC algorithm identified 263 of the 1,522 as caused by condensation, and changed them to 0.0. Thirty-nine of the observations were indeterminate and were changed to "missing." Overall, about 20 percent of the ASOS reports of 0.01" were corrected. Contact SSD (or TDL) if you would like a copy of the TDL report.

WEB SITE PRAISE. The NWSO Tallahassee home page is one of only two weather-related Web sites that Cruising World magazine cited in their recent summary of useful marine-related sources. The NHC home page is the other. They like Tallahassee's "Weather Information Superhighway" (www.nws.fsu.edu/wxhwy.html) and their Interactive Marine Observations (.../buoy). They note that the former links to all the best weather resources, from local reports to real-time satellite imagery; the latter allows users to click on a geographic area, then a weather-reporting buoy or station, and get the latest readouts of weather conditions. "Extremely clever and useful," they say. "The webmaster here, [forecaster] David Faciane, is one talented fellow." Good work, Dave.

After adding a special "comments" link to their Web pages, NWSO Tulsa received the following in just two days:

It really helps to be able to get the forecast while I'm at work. (I've got NOAA weather radio at home.) Also, the statistics are fun to read when I have a free minute.

I wanted to let you know how much I enjoy your clickable forecast for Fort Smith, Arkansas. I enjoy having the radar, forecast, and model output on one page. Thanks for putting together a very useful project.

I don't normally respond to questions like "Do you find this product useful?," but in this case, I am so pleased with your site that I wanted to say OUTSTANDING! It has everything I am usually looking for in one place. Thanks!

I find the digital hourly forecasts to be useful in planning the day's activities. At worst, it is excellent info-tainment! Keep up the good work at NWS-Tulsa!!..My tax dollars are well spent at your place.

If you would like to see examples of what the NWSO Tulsa is up to, check out: http://info.abrfc.noaa.gov/pub/wfotulsa.

NEW LIGHTNING TECH MEMO. NOAA Technical Memorandum NWS SR-193, Lightning Fatalities, Injuries, and Damage Reports in the United States, 1959-1994, has been distributed to all offices. The authors are Brian Curran (NWSFO Fort Worth) and Ron Holle and Rául Lopez (NSSL). Among many other summary statistics, the authors point out that the number of lightning-caused casualty and damage events is less variable from year-to-year than other weather causes. For this reason, lightning is the most constant and widespread weather threat to people and property during the thunderstorm season. Most incidents involved one person. Males were killed by lightning 5.6 times as often as females, and they were 4.9 times as likely to be injured as females.

NEW SSD STAFF. Ken Waters, WSO Guam, has been selected for the techniques development meteorologist position in SSD. We welcome Ken and look forward to his expertise in many areas adding to our service capabilities. Ken has been a forecaster in the Pacific Region and served as a SOO for the Guam staff.

Leslie Carnahan has joined the SSD and Hydrologic Services Division staff as a temporary secretary/editorial assistant.

KUDOS FOR SPECIAL ISSUE. Dr. Louis Uccellini, Director of the NWSH Office of Meteorology, recently sent a memo to the Regional Director, complimenting the authors responsible for papers which comprised the special Southern Region (September 1997) issue of Weather and Forecasting. Twenty-two SR forecasters contributed to ten papers in the special issue, and additional papers were authored by faculty and students at the Texas A&M and Florida State cooperative institutes. We have attached Louis' memo to this week's Topics, and we add our own "well done."

NEW SATELLITE METEOROLOGY CBL. The latest COMET computer-based learning (CBL) module is "Case studies using GOES Imager Data" (SatMet2), a continuation of SatMet1 ("Remote Sensing Using the New GOES Imager") has been distributed to all offices. Three case studies are included in the module, offering a wide range of exercises: lake effect snow, boundary interactions and convection initiation, and tropical cyclogenesis. The two major cases from SatMet1 are also included so the learner can review all the cases in one module.

The instructional approach for this module should be to select which case is of interest for your office, review the case, and review the Chapter 6 materials or tables as necessary. COMET designed the module so that most of the review can be done without needing to go to SatMet1. A Web-based component of SatMet2, consisting of four minicases, will be available on the COMET homepage via the "What's New" link in early December.

Comments on this module should be directed to the developers, Tony Mostek (NWS Satellite Training Leader, mostek@comet.ucar.edu) or Sherwood (Woody) Wang (Instructional Designer, woody@comet.ucar.edu). Your comments and feedback are appreciated and help further refine COMET's development efforts.

"EVERIFY" FORECAST VERIFICATION PROGRAM. Dave Eversole (NWSO Mobile) has developed a powerful automated forecast verification program which runs on UNIX platforms. Attached to this issue of Topics is Dave's overview of this "Everify" program. The program itself is available on the soosac ftp server.

FLORIDA MESONETWORK. At the initiative of NWSO Tampa Bay Area, federal, state, and private organizations throughout Florida have begun pooling their weather observations into a cohesive network with a centralized collection and dissemination system. Charles Paxton and Andrew Nash from NWSO Tampa Bay Area have summarized the results to date of this collaborative effort in a technical attachment.

SYSTEMS OPERATIONS DIVISION

SYSTEMS INTEGRATION BRANCH

REMOTE ACCESS SERVER. A Remote Access Server has been set up in SRH for the purpose of allowing field offices such as CWSUs to call in and gain access to the Internet. David Blake spent many hours working out the routing details to achieve this goal. The system will soon be moved to the computer room and tied into four telephone lines for final testing and evaluation. After passing the tests, instructions on how to access the new system will be sent to the appropriate field offices.

OBSERVATIONS AND FACILITIES BRANCH

FEDERAL WIRELESS TELEPHONE SERVICE (FWTS). Many sites are beginning to receive the new FWTS cellular telephone conversions. New service is a pretty straight forward process. Once the order is placed by the Designated Agency Representative(DAR)for FTS2000, Gene Witsman at SRH, it takes about five to ten working days before the new phone arrives on site. All new phones are Motorola M2900 bag phones and are being ordered with a laptop interface and a spare battery. There has been a backlog on the interfaces and this item may not arrive with the new phone. FWTS is attempting to catch up with the back orders.

The conversion from existing service to FWTS is a little more tricky and FWTS is still shaking out the process. Normally, you will receive an information package from FWTS once they have completed the conversion. You will either work directly with FWTS to reprogram your old cell phone or they will have you contact the local FWTS carrier. Here is some other information that will be helpful to ensure a smooth turnover.

Transportability of Old Cell Number: FWTS will try to transport the old number into the new service. This may not always be possible, so be prepared in case you receive a new cell number when the FWTS service starts.

Billing: You should not receive any billing from the local cell phone service provider once the FWTS service begins. All billing will be centralized, meaning that it will be included in the monthly FTS2000 billing report to the SRH DAR. If you do receive a bill from the local provider of FWTS, please fax a copy of the entire bill (front and back) to Linda Matthews-Hood at (206) 526-6660.

NOTE: Use of cellular telephones designated for the ASOS program is limited to ASOS program-related calls only.

If you have any questions concerning the FWTS cellular telephone service, please call Gene Witsman, SRH DAR, at (817) 978-2367 ext. 129.

FEDERAL CALLING CARDS. FEDCARDS remain the preferred method to make long distance calls while on travel or in the field. When using the FEDCARD to make a long distance voice call, you should ALWAYS use the 1-800-433-3273 access number to place calls. This ensures that the call will go via FTS2000 routing. There is another 800 number for computer and data purposes. This number should be used for any computer data calls: 1-800-633-6354.

AUTOMATION OF UPPER AIR REPORTING FORMS B-29 AND B85. We have the forms in their final draft version. The two forms were posted on the Elite Federal Forms FTP Internet site on November 14, 1997. The address is ftp://www.elitefedforms.com. Once you are at the site, select "customer." A second list of files will appear. The forms are contained in the Winzip file named "geneb29.zip." All upper air sites are encouraged to download and begin using these forms as soon as possible. We are still planning to begin using these forms on December 1, 1997. Detailed instructions will be distributed before the end of November on how to electronically transmit the form data to SRH. Very little training should be required for the HMTs to utilize the Informs package to make entries on the form.

INTRALATA LONG DISTANCE CHARGES. Due to a change in the Texas law several months ago, you will probably notice long distance charges again appearing on either your local telephone bill, or you will receive billing from one of the long distance carriers. Gene Witsman is working with FTS2000 to get this problem remedied. There is also a problem with the 1010387 access code being accepted by some of the local telephone companies. We expect to get some kind of resolution very soon.

TELECOMMUNICATIONS. Over the past several weeks we have had considerable problems with the different telcos and FTS2000 getting the NWR dedicated circuits installed properly. Several variations were initially installed and, in a couple of cases, telco has had DC current on the circuit (this does wonders for the SAME and ROAMS equipment!).

Because of the SAME and ROAMS equipment, only one kind of circuit with very specific parameters must be installed. If telco shows up and tries to install any other variations, you should have them install the circuit as ordered. With FTS2000 interstate circuits, they may come into your sites as a four-wire circuit with a two-wire handoff before the demarc. The circuit should always be two wire at the NWS demarc. If there are any problems, feel free to call Gene Witsman at (817) 978-2367 ext. 129.

The specifications are: two-wire, voice-grade analog circuit with no signaling, 0dB transmit, -10dB receive loss for entire circuit, no AC or DC voltage, with 600 ohm impedance to the demarc panel.

Under FTS2000, you will generally see a PL- or FD-type circuit. The third letter will be either "D" or "E" (intrastate or interstate, respectively). The fourth letter will always be a "J" under FTS2000. The SWBT, GTE, and Bell South circuits will almost always be a PLPA-, PLNJ- or PLPC-type circuit for NWR purposes. Each company has its own variations. If there is any doubt, please call Gene Witsman at (817) 978-2367 ext. 129.

Inside wiring is always authorized. It is preferable, but not required, that our electronics staffs complete the wiring from the demarc to the RJ11 jack location. It is strongly recommended that the circuit be checked for voltage before hooking up any equipment. This is especially true if a period of time elapses between the circuit installation and equipment hookup. Those friendly telco engineers sometimes try to help out at the wrong time and change the engineering on an already installed circuit.

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