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Hytop Radar (KHTX) back online following scheduled refurbishment

Photo of the NWS Radome located in Hytop (Jackson County), Alabama. (Photo: NWS Birmingham)

Heads up storm spotters and weather enthusiasts: The Hytop, Alabama radar operated by the Huntsville National Weather Service is back online as of Wednesday, August 7th. The radar was set to go offline for scheduled maintenance from Agust 5th-August 9th, but was able to be put back online early.

The outage as due to a scheduled refurbishment of the radar’s transmitter.

“Although the form, fit, and function of the transmitter will remain the same, old breakers and cables original to the radar will be replaced with modern fuses and new cables,” the National Weather Service explained in a Thursday press release.

“This will ideally help keep the radar operating smoothly for another 20 years.”

“This transmitter update is the second major project of the NEXRAD Service Life Extension Program, a series of upgrades and replacements that will keep our nation’s radars viable into the 2030’s.”

“NOAA National Weather Service, the United States Air Force, and the Federal Aviation Administration are investing $150 million in the seven year program. The first project was the installation of the new signal processor. The two remaining projects are the refurbishment of the pedestal and equipment shelters. The Service Life Extension Program will complete in 2022.”

Transmitter Refurbishment Consists of Three Separate Projects

The National Weather Service explained on its website that “past modifications to the transmitter improved reliability by replacing components with high failure rates, high repair costs, or both. Wholesale replacement of the transmitter is considered to be ‘cost prohibitive’.”

The transmitter refurbishment process will consist of three separate sub-projects:

  • transmitter backplane modernization
  • transmitter pulse modulator upgrade
  • transmitter chassis refurbishment

Additional details on these individual sub-projects are available on the National Weather Service’s Radar Operations Center website.

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