Thunder Eagle founder Daniel Gropper has always chased the weather and has been actively involved in community service and Emergency Response.
As an amateur radio operator, volunteer fireman, National Weather Service (NWS) Skywarn coordinator, NWS trained cooperative observer and storm-tracker, and telecommunications specialist for the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and for the U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services (HHS), Dan has pursued his interests in weather and emergency communications with a passion for many years.
As a Fireman in New York
In the late 1970s Gropper became a fireman in New York. While others might read or watch television, Gropper studied the emergency communications equipment in the fire department’s dispatch office.
Becoming Part of Skywarn
In the late 1980s, Dan joined Skywarn, a group of NWS trained volunteer weather trackers who report to the NWS in real time about the conditions they observe on the ground. This is called “Ground Truth.”
While serving as a Skywarn coordinator for the Baltimore/Washington, DC NWS Forecast Office Gropper noticed that fire departments and other emergency services were not receiving the severe weather alerts transmitted by the NWS. He searched for technology that would work, but could not find any that would place these time critical NWS severe weather alerts on existing communications, while being able to alert without disrupting.
So he designed his own specialized radio/receiver equipment that would place weather alerts on fire/emergency radio channels without disrupting existing communications. He has patented this radio and others, along with software and ancillary equipment. As part of his efforts, Gropper rewrote the Skywarn Manual. He received a national public service award from the NWS for his work with Skywarn and for training others in emergency communications practices. He received a similar award from the Baltimore/Washington NWS forecast office.
In 1993, Gropper founded Thunder Eagle, Inc.®, which produces these state-of-the-art weather radios and communications systems.
Gropper continues to serve as a member of the NWS’s Cooperative Observer Program (COOP). He measures the weather in his own backyard, using temperature sensors, a wind gauge, a barometer and a rain gauge, and sends his observations to the NWS each day by 8 a.m.
Honors and Awards
In September of 2006 Dan Gropper was awarded the annual NOAA - National Weather Service national Mark Trail Award for his continuing assistance in expanding and improving the quality of the NOAA All-Hazards Radio Network thereby supporting their mission of saving lives and property through the timely issuance and dissemination of alert messages. Shown are NOAA Administrator, Vice Admiral Conrad C. Lautenbacher, Jr., U.S. Navy (Ret.), Brig. Gen. D.L. Johnson, U.S. Air Force (Ret.), Jack Elrod, Mark Trail's creator, and Dan Gropper.
In October 2008, Gropper was awarded the NOAA Hero award, given in honor of his twenty years of volunteer service to the National Weather Service's Warning Dissemination and SKYWARN Programs, as well as his commitment and significant contributions to preserving and protecting the environment.
In July 2011, Dan was interviewed by VivaTysons magazine about his history and the founding of Thunder Eagle. Read the full article here.
In October 2022 Dan was awarded the very prestigious NWS John Campanius Holm Award for being a
volunteer coop observer for 27 years and for supporting NWS operations. Listen to the wonderful award presentation HERE.
WE110 – Stand-alone Receiver
WE110 Receiver -
AE120 SAME-EAS Decoder
WE105 Receiver -
Translates Alerts to Text
MRI-100 MultiRadio Interface
FipsServer Custom Weather Website
SP100 SignPrinter Interface
One Line LED Signboard
Two Line LED Signboard