Backbone Training Info


When the six meter backbone is operational, we take reports from county liaisons, who participate in local county nets.  They filter the reports and pass them to the backbone.

This is the ideal situation – however, we are all volunteers, so some nets may not be up during severe weather events.  If that is the case, here are some guidelines to follow:

  • If you are a spotter in the field
    • Please make your reports directly to your local county Skywarn net (see the Map for frequency information).
    • If your county net is not up, you may report directly into the backbone.
    • If the backbone is not up, call the National Weather Service office by phone using the unlisted number you were provided during spotter training.
  • If you are a county net control operator or liaison
    • Ensure reports meet the criteria – disregard them if they do not.
    • Pass spotter reports to the backbone net.
    • If the backbone is not up, call the National Weather Service office on the phone using the number printed on your spotter card.


As a liaison from your local county net to the backbone, you are responsible for relaying timely and high-quality reports to the backbone via the 6 meter repeater, DMR, or echolink where applicable. Below are documents to help counties interact with the NWS Backbone net more efficiently. For a copy of the Backbone Operations Manual, or to volunteer to work at NWS Cleveland, please use the N8ESG contact form.


Liaison Manual 107.35 KB 194 downloads


Storm Report Form 0.00 KB 361 downloads


The general procedure for spotter reports is as follows:  Individual spotters will report to their local county nets, and the local county net will report (via liaison) to the backbone.  If no county net is up, individual spotters may report directly to the backbone.

Cleveland Weather (the hams at the NWS office in Cleveland) is responsible for taking reports from all 30 counties in the county warning area.  Therefore, having an experienced liaison station for each county is very important to ensure that we receive reports with all of the relevant details, reducing the need to spend time going back-and-forth to ascertain additional information.

As a liaison, even if you do not operate the backbone net from NWS, you should be familiar with what we expect.  Please be sure to download the Backbone Operator Manual at the link above and review the “Taking Storm Reports” section of this document.  Please also review the storm report form.  You may wish to print copies to keep near your station.

Also, please never be afraid to check into the backbone.  If you are unsure whether you have all the information required, don’t worry – we will help you.  Our top priority is to get reports, and we will provide assistance when needed.

Checking Into the Backbone as a Liaison Station

  • Someone should always be listening to the backbone.
  • When the backbone net is up, we will announce it on the repeater and DMR.
  • Announce your presence by providing your call sign and county.
  • Please let us know when checking out.
    • Consult your local Skywarn Coordinator to be designated as a Liaison Station.

Please Listen!

  • NWS often requests information from the field, so keep your radio on and listen in case we call.