Paper calls for emcomm digital networks

Fierce Homeland Security, a website for domestic security leaders, reports:

In a paper (.pdf) dated Jan. 24, the National Institute for Standards and Technology (NIST) Visiting Committee on Advanced Technology says unlicensed spectrum in the 2.4 gigahertz to 5 GHz spectrum, television white space and possibly even 60-100 GHz spectrum could augment the planned national broadband network….In addition, the network should incorporate Internet protocol packet switching technology to permit ad hoc network formation, the paper says. “Use of the Internet Protocols does NOT necessarily imply use of the public Internet,” it emphasizes.

This is just what amateur radio operators do when we set up nets in response to an emergency, although are networks are usually voice-only.  Why aren’t we doing any digital networking? Well, for one thing, there’s currently no commercial equipment available for purchase, and many of those involved in ham radio emergency communications are just not interested in investing the time and money required to get a digital network like this up and running.

I’ll say again what I’ve said before. We need a group like AMSAT that’s devoted to advancing the state-of-the-art in emergency communications. Unless someone really takes the bull by the horns, amateur radio is going to fall farther and farther behind in this area.


  1. Dave N8SBE says:

    If you ask Jay, WB8TKL, he will point out that we already have such a digital network. The entire state of Michigan is covered. See:

    He has demonstrated this at the last several ARROW field days, using the network to send our field day messages to the section mananger, etc.

  2. Have a look at HSMM-Mesh:

  3. Some folks with the Lockheed Martin ARC in Fort Worth, W5SJZ, have been setting up HSMM-MESH routers for emergency personnel to find a network from an emergency site. You can see some of their progress on the W5SJZ yahoo group. I don’t know if it pertains to your emergency communications post though.

  4. Kent ve4tux says:

    PSKmail already addresses some of the requirements required to establish ad-hoc digital networks with email and limited internet access (

    And it doesn’t require expensive equipment, just a little bit of learning.

    Kent ve4tux

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