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In many areas of the U.S. it is very difficult to get any weather forecast:

  • Radio broadcasts generally don't have useful weather reports
  • NOAA weather radio is very useful, but large areas are not covered.
  • NWS radiofax surface and upper air charts only go to 115W. Potentially very useful for long term West Coast forecast, not sure how far transmission reaches inland.

At the moment, I can only think of receiving NOAA weather satellite images directly, but that gets me only raw image data.

Is there any other weather product available in the backcountry via satellite or HF?

I am looking for something like the NWS Zone Forecast and Area Forecast Discussion. Maps would be nice, of course.

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In the UK there is a daily detailed met office "shipping forecast" broadcast on MW and FM. Though this tends to concentrate on areas out at sea and not inland. It actually covers a very large area from iceland right down to Spain. It's a bit of an institution in the UK, been broadcast since the days of the empire – Liam Jan 8 at 10:15

The National Weather Service offers a REST Web Service to provide forecast data in XML format. You can request forecast data using latitude and longitude, start and end dates, and forecast data element.

If you have an DeLorme inReach satellite communicator, you're in luck as someone has already set up an experimental service to parse messages from it and reply with a forecast for your location.

Otherwise, setting up your own server to handle requests from your satellite communicator of choice shouldn't be particularly difficult.

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I've used HF/SSB radio aboard a sailboat in remote locations to receive weather GRIB (gridded binary) files of forecasts according to a model. You would subscribe to a service: Airmail or Sailmail (on a boat). The whole equipment set-up is complicated, heavy, needing a computer, 12v battery, antenna, radio, cables, etc. and wouldn't be sufficient for backpacking, but doable in the backcountry, given sufficient installation infrastructure. This is probably not the answer you had in mind..

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Interesting option. I found this page about NWS products via ham radio. nws.noaa.gov/om/marine/ham.htm – j.ste Jan 8 at 3:31

Some areas of the world have a radio service (usually HF) that broadcasts weather on a schedule and allows you to check in daily. If close proximity to a marine area you may be able to pick up a scheduled marine VHF forecast (although it will be marine so the focus is different), Alternately, you could get a Ham license and schedule a hookup with an operator to sent you a forecast.

Radios are small enough to justify carrying them - although HF still requires a long antenna to be set up before they can be used.

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