WSR-88D Narrowband Communication Field Survey

348 Surveys were transmitted. Of that number, 149 responses were received: 75 NWS, 44 AWS, 11 FAA/CWSU, 17 Navy/MC, and even 2 from Corps of Engineers PUPIE sites.

[The following statistical references reflect percentages relative to the number of responses received for each question. For comments, if the same basic comment was given by multiple sites, the number of responses are given in parenthesis.]

1. How satisfied are you with the way WSR-88D dial communication access (i.e., requests for dial access to specific RPG(s)) is administered?


Field Recommendations:

  • NWS
    • Allow access availability on event basis (6)
    • Remove Regions from process to speed up access requests (3)
    • Speed up processing of access requests (2)
    • Need improved access to neighboring sites (2)
    • Had to wait 10 months for Region to implement access request (2)
    • Increase number of dial ports
    • Would like scheduled NBComm Authorized User List updates
    • Decrease number of sites accessed

  • AWS
    • Would like to be able to add/delete access on an as-needed basis through the Hotline, without having to wait to get a hold of AWS HQ (3)
    • Why is my dial access limited? (2)
    • Need additional dial ports to improve dial access

  • Navy/MC -- Why are some RPGs still missing Navy/MC access ports? (4)

  • FAA/CWSU -- FAA administration should devise plan to "borrow" NWS dial ports while awaiting delivery of FAA dial ports.

2. To what extent do PUP operators at your office understand how dial access is allocated among RPG dial ports?

TO SOME DEGREE77%66%80%60%

3. To what extent do PUP operators at your office understand dial access limitations imposed by port-sharing?

TO SOME DEGREE68%55%80%50%

4. On what percentage of dial attempts does your PUP have difficulty connecting?

Average of all responses19%18%25%27.5%

Have you contacted the Hotline regarding dial communication problems?



  • NWS
    • Have recurring problem with one or more particular site (10)
    • Contention problems with weather (8)
    • Frequent LINE NOISY (6)
    • Often can't connect (4)
    • RPG site reluctant to resolve problem (3)
    • Marked improvement last several months (2)
    • Dial-connection Lockups (2)
    • Frequent dial queue fill problems (2)
    • Frequent Hardware Disconnects
    • Occasional VME problems at RPG sites
    • SatCom problems
    • If initial dial fails, subsequent dials usually connect
    • Frequent "No Communication From RPG" responses with no product
    • Frequently can't connect on assigned port, have to change to RFCS port to connect

  • AWS
    • Frequent LINE BUSY (2- only with bad weather) (7)
    • Frequent LINE NOISY (3)
    • Frequent LINE OFF HOOK
    • Have recurring problem with one particular site (2)
    • Often must re-issue dial request 4-5 times before getting product

  • Navy/MC
    • Have recurring problem with one or more particular site (3)
    • Frequent LINE BUSY & LINE NOISY (3)
    • Often have to reset dial modem

    • Seldom use PUP for dial because of MWP workstation (3)
    • Frequent LINE NOISY (2)
    • Dial operations much improved over recent past
    • Satellite link leads to frequent BUSY or NOISY lines
    • Frequent TIMEOUTS

  • COE
    • Have recurring problem with one particular site
    • Lack of familiarity with our system precludes our being able to identify comm problems

5. Does your PUP utilize "looping" user functions for dial access to other RPGs?


6. Approximately how long (in minutes) do your dial out user functions typically remain connected to the RPG port?

AVERAGE (minutes)2.0*

How many products are typically requested?


* CAUTION! Several sites indicated that they request increased numbers of products with severe weather! That equates to longer a connection time, often in a shorter VCP (i.e., VCP 11 only 5 mins.)

ALSO - 8 NWS, and 3 AWS sites indicated they run Looping-Dial User Functions that stay connected to the dialed RPG for the length of the event. I did not count these responses as I (hope) believe they mis-interpreted the question. I hope they meant that the UF runs for the duration of the event, but that they exit out of the connection somewhere around the average connect time shown above.

7. Are you satisfied with the assistance you have received from the WSR-88D Hotline for narrowband communication problems?


What changes would you like to see in the handling of narrowband communication problems by the Hotline?


  • NWS
    • (4) Hotline should send out "bulletin" notifying everyone when a RPG is down
    • Need a Communication Documentation Notebook
    • Hotline should periodically issue a document consolidating "history" of comms problems and their resolutions
    • They have assisted in resolving immediate problems but have not provided a lasting solution

  • AWS -- No comments

  • Navy/MC -- Hotline should send out "bulletin" notifying everyone when a RPG is down

  • FAA/CWSU -- Would like to see Hotline more knowledgeable about Alaska SatCom problems and have the Hotline perform System Status Monitoring of Alaska systems

8. Does your site want the WSR-88D Hotline to proactively monitor CONUS RPG dial communication ports in order to identify and troubleshoot communication outages?


9. [CONUS NWS and AWS sites only.] If your site has used the Sprint help desk for a WSR-88D telecommunications problem, how satisfied are you with the service you received from Sprint?


Comments on experiences with Sprint service:

  • NWS
    • Slow response by Sprint technicians
    • Sprint has repeatedly told us that our persistent "LINE NOISY" messages are not their problem
    • Site ET indicates that Sprint technicians are not very knowledgeable
    • Recently lost all comms for 3 days - Sprint changed our circuit Ids and then they could not figure out what happened
    • Recently took Sprint over 2 days to identify and fix our line problem
    • Need guidance explaining how to obtain better Sprint service

  • AWS
    • Problem with dedicated line on bad weather days (3)
    • Sprint response time is to slow (2)
    • Sprint hotline operators act like they don't know they provide our service
    • Sprint shows no inclination to be proactive in maintaining my dedicated line, they treat us like we are any other business contract and do not appreciate the urgency of our weather data. On bad weather days our dedicated line goes up and down as often as 15 times a day - Need administrative pressure put on Sprint to improve my line quality
    • Have had much improved line performance last 18 months
    • Have found their service inconsistent
    • Have Sprint service up to base demarc, AT&T service from demarc to weather office. Often Sprint and AT&T try to pass the buck on who is responsible, resulting in long duration outages, especially on UCP link
    • Our dial line was recently inoperative for over six months

10. [FAA, Navy, Marine, COE, and OCONUS sites only] How satisfied are you with the service you receive for your WSR-88D communication problems? [N/A = No Responses]



  • NWS -- A lot of problems with FAA Alaskan sites

  • AWS -- No comments

  • Navy/MC
    • Have trouble resolving line problems because must go through base comms-to commercial Telco-to FAA managed RPG-to in house technicians
    • Continuous problem with our dedicated line
    • Cannot dial out on DSN during daylight hours because of line traffic

  • FAA/CWSU -- No comments

11. How many times each week does your PUP's dedicated line typically lose connection with your associated RPG excluding system reboots or other self-initiated causes)?


12. How often does your office perform PUP VME resets (actually pressing the white RESET button on the VME panel) as a result of FAIL lights being lit on the VME panel?


13. How often does your office perform "CDS" reboots (i.e. "PO OFF/ON" or "HA/INIT" from the "CDS>" prompt) of the PUP for the purpose of restoring communications problems?


14. What areas of WSR-88D telecommunications would your office like to see better addressed

  • NWS
    • Improve Dial Speed (6)
    • Feedback messages that concisely describe reason for unsuccessful dials (5)
    • NIDS Problems (4)
    • Explanation on RPG dial port assignments (3)
    • Software that describes "level" of reboot necessary to resolve specific comm problems (2)
    • RCM/PUES transmission alert (2)
    • Need comm line outage audible alarm (2)
    • Requirements for handling NAPUP and NIDS comms problems (2)
    • Need improved wideband performance (2)
    • AWIPS comms interfaces
    • Network (WAN) the 88D data
    • Improve dial functionality
    • Software developed to pre-empt dedicated line outages
    • Separate UCP System Status Log for Comm messages
    • Option to select another product when you select invalid product
    • VME/Micro 5 comms functionality
    • Means to remotely (from WFO) reset RDA/VME to restore wideband
    • Would like to be Associated to multiple sites
    • Need "dedicated" dial port

  • AWS
    • Increase dial modem speed (5)
    • Need additional products on Mode A adaptation GDCL, especially the .54 CR (2)
    • Need 56 kbps dedicated line
    • Dial speed could be increased if I had all the necessary Background Maps and didn't have to request them a couple of times a day
    • Almost weekly requests to service NIDS
    • An explanation on our line outage problems

  • Navy/MC
    • Would like instructional material on how to optimize dial capabilities/User Functions
    • If Navy/MC ports are not going to be installed on certain RPGs, need alternative method to access the RPGs data
    • Need additional products on Mode A adaptation GDCL
    • Software developed to pre-empt, or at least alert on, dedicated line outages
    • Improve dial speed

    • Most of my comms problems are from power hits - need UPS
    • Dial speed could be increased if I had all the necessary Background Maps and didn't have to request them a couple of times a day

  • COE -- Need fault recognition/message interpretation to determine nature of comm problems

15. [FULL-THREAD SITES ONLY] How often does your office typically receive requests from external users to perform RPG communication restorations?

Only Infrequently30% respondents40% respondents
Monthly20% - 1.5/month10% - 2/month
Weekly51% - 1.4/week50% - 1.2/week

18. [FULL-THREAD SITES ONLY] How often does your office typically lose the RPG-RDA wideband connection?

Only Infrequently21% respondents18% respondents
Monthly16% - 2.3/month36% - 1.6/month
Weekly63% - 1.4/week36% - 3/week