The Merrimack Valley Amateur Radio Association has received a grant award of $46,125 from Amateur Radio Digital Communication, a California-based foundation, to expand its current 7-node microwave network in southern New Hampshire. The project includes extending the New Hampshire network into northeastern Massachusetts and southwestern Maine as a bridge between states towards to the larger goal of a New England-wide network.
The project is a collaboration with the New England Digital Emergency Communications Network to provide microwave radio backup to DMR repeaters in New Hampshire that rely on the internet for primary connectivity between sites. Collaborating on DMR sites also increases MVARA’s capability to support local emergency management organizations with amateur radio operators and equipment.
The grant proposal was co-authored by Jay Taft K1EHZ, Bill Barber NE1B and Jennifer Herting KD2BEC. The microwave network is IP-based, so amateur radio operators can use applications that normally run on the internet such as email, file transfer, weather station data, voice over IP telephone, and video streaming.
Recently, two New Hampshire towns have expressed interest in having amateur radio microwave capability installed on municipal towers so amateur radio operators can backup town communications that normally rely on the internet.
The project benefits DMR communications such as SkyWarn nets when the internet is disrupted, and allows siting DMR repeaters where no internet exists such as the current node on Crotched Mountain in Francestown. The project also benefits amateur radio operators when backing up communications for various public and private organizations.
Jay, K1EHZ is available to answer any questions about the expansion plan and is a valuable resource for anyone looking to support further expansion of mesh networking in New England.