Wireless WAN communications for Civic Tech

HAMS are working on providing high speed TCP/IP networking on HAM radio bands

I got in touch with the local group on this and have their direct line if any one wants to reach out to them before VCC puts their bbs on APRS.

I think you mean AREDN

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I assume you have a ham whose callsign will go with that.

That might be them, I’ll have to double check before I head to the space tonight.

I know one of the committee projects is to put a micro satellite up in geosynchronous orbit over DFW and that’s going to communicate over APRS with a iGate and BBS running on the ground station.

APRS, is an automatic position reporting system that run on packet radio (AX25 protocol). It is limited to including some short text in its standard packets.

The underlying packet protocol (which would need to operate on a different frequency) can support what you want; however the bbs is already included in most on the tNCs used for this. The real problem is that there are very few nodes, so unlike the day, when you could use packet radio to communicate digitally over wide areas, it is only a gimick to give you access to an internet connection.

AREDN however; is a high speed protocol that allows linking local wifi networks into a larger scale WAN. the WAN allows connecting local Wifi hotspots that are 15+ miles away. With a handful of well placed nodes, an emergency network that covered the metroplex would be feasible.

At that point you just need servers with useful data in emergencies. An open data mapping application that can show addresses and other locations would be useful to emergency responders in the type of emergency where such a network would be needed. VOIP communications, email, etc. These are all services that civic hacking could help with.


Back then, Pat Hykkonen (NT5PH, Dallas RACES radio officer) frequented DMS and he was my consultant and judge of the hackathon. Also the previous chair Steve Rainwater was involved with the City of Irving emergency preparedness effort. It’d be interesting to see what all has changed since last time I looked at these sorts of things.

Last year, I did SKYWARN training at the Carrollton courts building and talked to their emergency director who said, from their standpoint, they like it when a real live company vendor with support & offering SLA can back up the product. This still leaves the door wide open for providing services for volunteer groups, but it might be hard to do a project a city depends on without it being under the guise of something like the Dallas Innovation Alliance too.

[Edit Moderator’s Note] This might call for a topic split since now we’re beyond talking about EFA and onto ham radio and such. :stuck_out_tongue:

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