National Weather Service Office in Jacksonville's radar is down for maintenance

Routine upgrade caused further mechanical issues

By Rebecca Barry - Meteorologist
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A team of Radar Technicians from the National Radar Operations Center from Norman, Oklahoma working around the clock to repair the Jacksonville radar.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - The main two radar sites that we use to monitor rain in Northeastern Florida and Southeastern Georgia are currently not functioning due to mechanical issues encountered while making routine upgrades. The same upgrades have been delayed for the Tallahassee radar site until the Jacksonville and Valdosta radar sites' mechanical issues are resolved. 

The KJAX 88D Doppler Radar remains down after installation of a new signal processing system called the Service Life Extension Program or SLEP. Mechanical problems developed during the SLEP upgrade in mid March, causing the radar site to be non-operational until further mechanical issues were addressed. 

An engineering team from the Radar Operations Center determined that the bull gear broke on the radar which is a major component of the radar. The Radar Operations Center technicians have coordinated on the radar restoration time line with local management.

The National Weather Service reports that a team of NWS Jacksonville Electronic Technicians from the National Radar Operations Center from Norman, Oklahoma began repairing the mechanical issues on Saturday, March 18th. The team estimates the repairs will require 12 to 14 hour workdays for the next 9 to 10 days, including weekends, for the radra to be operational again. The team estimates the radar will be fully functional by the end of the month. 

Technicians are also repairing the Department of Defense KVAX Moody Doppler radar near Valdosta which had motor and transmitter problems earlier. The new part needed is a klystron which is a type of transmitter which strongly and coherently amplifies a reference signal so its output can be precisely controlled in
amplitude, frequency and phase. This is a critical element for Doppler Radar. The Moody Doppler radar is likely be down through mid to end part of next week as this part is delivered and installed.

During the down time, adjacent National Weather Service Doppler Radars for weather coverage are: Tallahassee, Tampa, Melbourne, Charleston, and Macon/Warner Robbins Radars.

The Jacksonville WSR-88D is more than 20 years old and part of a network of 159 operational radars. The radars are supported by three federal agencies: National Weather Service, United States Air Force, and the Federal Aviation Administration.

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