Link Your Local Community
-become part of a new wave-
Help connect your local IoT and micro-networks using the power and range of Amateur Radio. Connect your local networks to others.
The Emergency Ham Network can benefit Ham Radio in many ways. One of the main advantages is that it can provide a way for non-emergency messages such as who is safe and wanting to let loved ones know, through to potentially lifesaving requests for medicine or help. It can also lower the tension and anxiety of the general public during an emergency that has taken down the Cell Phone and local internet by providing a pocket of cell phone text messaging.
Amateur radio operators use their training, skills, and equipment to provide communications during emergencies when all else fails. Hams serve our communities when storms or other disasters damage critical communication infrastructure, including cell towers, and wired and wireless networks. Amateur radio can function completely independently of the internet and phone systems. An amateur radio station can be set up almost anywhere in minutes.
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Emergency Ham Network 2.0
I proposed the Emergency Ham Network motivated to provide some level of support to the general public when things got broken. I was sure that first responders and such would have communications, but there might be a period where local information and connectivity for ordinary people would not exist. The internet backbone is resilient by design. The main weakness is the last mile to my house. If that breaks, I lose all contact. If my local tower fails, I lose contact. Can radio, the Emergency Ham Network, substitute for the last mile for all people in a district so that they continue to connect for emergency information and essential communications? I imagined that if sufficient Ham Operators could organize to have a low data rate digital link together, they could share important emergency information and maintain a local collection of community Wi-Fi networks. Then anybody with a cell phone and a suitable browser could connect and exchange information.
Almost as an after thought I felt the plan needed a role when there was no emergency and so proposed using it as a gateway for the IoT and other Part 15 systems. This seemed a great way of providing a base load, keeping the network busy and operational and perhaps getting a few younger members to join Ham Radio.
Now, one year later, I wonder if the focus of the whole proposal should be shifted, so that a prime role or selling point is serving that group of IoT/STEM experimenters. So, now I plan a re-launch to see if I can garner more interest with Ham operators providing a service to Part 15 devices, offering them more range and opportunities.
Frequently Asked Questions
Just to help get us all on the same page.
Think of the EHN as a volunteer network provider. Providing the IoT and STEM/Hobbyists an alternative to Cellular networks or the Internet. Using a collection of EHN gateways linked through existing Ham Radio Networks people could send their information locally or throughout the world. The EHN would become the modern equivalent of the Phone Patch. Users would connect using Part 15 licensed equipment which would connect to their local EHN gateway. This gateway would be able to provide access to other local users but also link to other gateways across Ham Radio networks. The EHN gateway is a new development of open-source software running supported on multiple platforms. This software would be responsible for converting formats and protocols as well as ensuring all incoming traffic was de-encrypted for transmission in the clear on the ham Radio frequencies.
Originally the motivation was to provide local communities with some access to communications during an emergency. This is still possible and may prove useful, but the Ham Community didn’t see any need for the investment. Using the network as a service to the public for those interested in electronics and experimentation has proven to be a better justification for the investment.
The Emergency in the name is less relevant for use as a volunteer service provider, but its too late to change and the name does succeed in getting someone’s attention and the original aim of being there when the last mile fails is available.
Yes, right now we are still in the planning phase. But if you are interested in becoming one of the founder members, just contact us using the form below. To be successful we need critical mass and a mix of experts, experimenters, operators and supporters. There is no charge for joining and members will have access to the planning and architectural documents. In the future we expect members to pay a small administrative fee to help cover costs.
This website has been live for just over a year, the early planning and concept of the EHN has been developing and has shifted from being an emergency service to an enabler for those interested in expanding their reach as hobbyists. At this time we are looking for supporters from the Ham Community, those teaching STEM and users of the IoT. If we get sufficient support or a core team of enthusiasts, we will continue to experiment and produce prototypes. Locally we will trial Ham Networks and link Part 15 technologies. The clock is ticking and if we do not achieve 100 members by mid-2024 the project will close.
As soon as critical mass is achieved and a team of "experts" can be established the EHN should be able to clearly specify the interested interfaces to the existing ham Radio systems. A candidate list of Part 15 systems would also be required as would their most popular protocols. Then a top level specification of the project could be written with the necessary supporting documentation.
Once the overall goals of the project have been established the specification of the gateway can begin and a prototype built. This would allow some proof-of-concept trials to begin and the establishment of a forum for early adopters.
If successful I see its whole portfolio being shared through an Open Source or Creative Commons license. The establishment of a recognized set of local and national leaders accountable to their peers. And an eventual move to becoming a corporation registered as a 401(c).
Consider joining, but immediately you can help spread the word to help us see if this proposal is achievable and what support there might be. So, send details to other operators in your circle, like us on our social media channels and generally help get the word out. Equally if you think we are mad/delusional, tell us why.
Get in touch
We want your feedback
I am US Licensed Radio Amateur N2DH who wants to connect with others to build out a digital network across America. Using Mesh Networks and Packet Networks.
Newark, NJ 07107