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Why Are All the LED Lights Flashing on My WR120 Weather Radio?

One of the most common question we get asked: “My WR120 weather radio has all LED lights and NOAA flashing. It also gives out a beep every now and then. What does this mean?” When the LED lights on your WR120 weather radio are flashing, may be telling you it’s not properly set up. Don’t worry — it’s an easy fix!

WR120 weather radio and NOAA Weather Alert Radio

Why the LED Lights are Flashing on Your WR120 Weather Radio

The flashing of the lights and occasional beeping of the unit is typically caused when the radio has not received a Required Weekly Test (RWT) for more than ten days.

How to Turn Off the LED Lights: The Quick Fix

To turn the lights off, locate the ON/OFF switch on the right-hand side of the radio. Turn it OFF, then ON again. This should clear the flashing lights.

Remember, a NOAA Weather Radio must always be ON to function properly. When ON and plugged into the wall, it will silently monitor the NOAA radio signal. The radio will automatically alert you when the National Weather Service tells it to. Always leave the button in the ON position.

How to Turn off the LED Lights: Set Up to Receive Required Weekly Tests (RWT)

If the lights are flashing on your WR120 weather radio, then radio is telling you it has not received a Required Weekly Test. You need to check your radio’s set-up and signal reception:

  1. When you press WEATHER/SNOOZE, do you hear the Voice of the National Weather Service? Is the voice clear, or is it partially static? If you hear some static, you may need to extend the antenna, or move the radio to a different place in your house where signal reception is better. You want a good, clear signal free of static so the radio can receive alert tones and activate automatically.
  2. When you press WEATHER/SNOOZE do you hear nothing but total static? Press MENU and look at the display window. Press the arrow up or arrow down until you see SET CHANNEL. Press SELECT. Arrow up or down through the seven NOAA channels/frequencies until you find a signal that is the clearest and most free of static. Press SELECT to monitor this channel.
  3. It is possible for your radio to receive a NOAA channel that is too distant from you and is not designated to serve your county. In other words, you could hear a NOAA broadcast, but your weather radio would never alert you. Your flashing lights, or the display message CHECK RECEPTION might indicate your radio is tuned to an incorrect NOAA channel/frequency for your county.
  4. How do you find the proper NOAA channel/frequency for your county? Call our Midland Customer Service line at 816-462-0459 from 8am-4:30pm Central time, Monday through Friday. Tell them what state and county you live in and they will help you find the proper channel.
  5. Or, if you have internet access, go to the NOAA’s County Coverage List. Click on your state, and locate the name of your county. If your county is listed just once, there is only one NOAA channel/frequency that serves your county and you must use SET CHANNEL to tune to that particular station. It will be listed by its call letters, and its frequency. Use SET CHANNEL to set your radio to monitor that frequency, then press SELECT to “lock it in.”
  6. If your county is listed more than once, it means there are multiple transmitters that serve your county, and they are identified by call letters and frequency. Using SET CHANNEL and the up/down arrows, find which of these channel/frequencies gives you the strongest, clearest signal with the least static. When you have decided on the proper one, press SELECT to “lock it in.”

How to Improve the Reception and Signal of Your WR120 Weather Radio

radio telecommunication towers standing tall above forested rolling hills at sunset

In extreme cases of weak signal strength an external antenna is needed. This antenna will plug into the red port marked EXTERNAL ANTENNA on the back of the radio.

Selecting a County to Improve Reception

Another cause of a “CHECK RECEPTION” or flashing lights message: You have not told the radio what county you live in. To check this setting, press MENU, then use the up/down arrow to scroll through the menu items. When you come to SET LOCATION, press ENTER. Use the up/down arrow to display SINGLE. Press ENTER. Does the name of your county display?

  1. If “yes”, press SELECT, then press MENU twice.
  2. If the name of an incorrect county displays, press the right arrow key, then the down arrow key to erase the displayed county. A series of “hash marks” across the screen indicates you have erased the county. Press SELECT and “01 EMPTY” appears, indicating slot #1 in your radio’s location folder is “empty”. Press SELECT. When “USA” appears in the display, press SELECT.
    • For Canadians, press up arrow until “CANADA” appears, and press SELECT.
  3. Using up/down arrows, scroll through the list of states until your state appears. Press SELECT. Using up/down arrows scroll through the list of counties until yours appears. Press SELECT. You have now told the radio to activate for only your county. Multiple counties can be inputted under the MULTIPLE, not SINGLE option. Remember, the more counties you program into the radio, the more often it will go off. You can back out of the menu by pressing MENU twice, or wait a few seconds and the radio will do so automatically. If you need to delete a county, it’s easy with these

Once you have properly programmed the WR120 weather radio for your home county, and have programmed it to monitor a NOAA transmitter that is dedicated to covering your county, the radio will operate on its own. If you have done these steps and you are still receiving “CHECK RECEPTION” messages, poor signal strength is the issue and the purchase of an external antenna is called for.

LED Lights Still Flashing?

The flashing LED lights could also be caused by weak or failing batteries. Although the AA-size alkaline batteries are for back-up power and are only used during a power outage, those alkaline batteries must be replaced once a year or they will leak acid and possibly short-circuit the radio. This acid leakage could also cause the LED lights to flash. Be sure to put in a fresh set of alkaline batteries once per year, and keep the radio plugged into the wall at all times. We suggest you purchase Energizer Lithium batteries because they contain no acid and will never leak. Use Lithium batteries in your weather radio and they’ll last for years, requiring replacement only if you have power outages that drain the electricity from them. Cheaper alkaline batteries, on the other hand, must be replaced once a year whether their electricity has been used or not.

We at Midland Radio Corporation are very proud of our quality products and we stand behind them. If you ever have an issue or a simple question, feel free to call us at our headquarters in Kansas City at (816) 241-8500, or contact us on our website. NOAA Weather Radios save lives!