SARNETFL Statewide Amateur Radio Networking in Florida. - EDC Pro

SARNETFL Statewide Amateur Radio Networking in Florida.

If you're a Floridian then you know how communication can go out at anytime during storms. Here is a network for emergency use if you're a licensed user.



The Statewide Amateur Radio Network (SARnet) is a network of linked UHF voice repeaters that serves the State of Florida. The repeaters are operated by their local trustees and the network that connects them together does not interfere with the local use of the repeaters. These UHF repeaters were specifically chosen in part because the voice traffic on them is light. This helps ensure that long conversations and rag-chews are rare on SARnet since any SARnet traffic brings up ALL of the repeaters on the network. But always remember when using these UHF frequencies that the government has primary use of the amateur spectrum near 440MHz. See this discussion on the government use of the band.

The key to what makes SARnet work so well is that this network uses dedicated bandwidth that is separate from the internet. Statewide connectivity is achieved without the use of any commercial telecommunications services. SARnet does not use the internet, cellular telephones, or land lines.

The state of Florida Department of Transportation  is continually investigating new IP technologies for use in improving its own voice radio network and to meet its mandate to provide inter-operable communications with other state agencies and public safety entities. Instead of using their live voice radio network as an ongoing test bed for these new IP technologies, the FDOT has partnered with the amateur radio community to use their radio systems throughout the state as part of a test bed to support the FDOT's research. The benefit for the FDOT is that they gain valuable knowledge about how to install, operate, troubleshoot, expand, upgrade, and maintain a sophisticated IP radio network. With SARnet, the FDOT can conduct their research without jeopardizing their live voice radio system and creating potentially unsafe and counter productive conditions for the FDOT personnel who work on the state's highways every day. In exchange for supporting this research, the amateur radio community can talk across the state using the same amateur radio equipment they use everyday. The fact that the FDOT network that connects these amateur radio repeaters together is a stand-alone carrier class microwave network means that SARnet is much more likely to remain operational during a severe weather event like a hurricane that might cause disruptions to the internet, cellular telephone and other commercial communication services.

No. SARnet is a network of amateur repeaters owned mostly by non-emcomm affiliated hams. So it is not just for emergency communications. That being said, the creators of the network behind SARnet are active in public safety communications, both commercial and amateur, and they have an understanding of what SARnet can do for emergency communications in the state of Florida.

During a significant emergency event, SARnet may be called upon for support, through an official state emergency request, and radio traffic in and out of an affected area may become heavy. Under such a scenario, It is hoped that all of the local repeater trustees in the affected area will agree to let their repeaters continue to be used as part of SARnet. During such an emergency, if a controlled net is called, it will be by hams working with the county and state EOCs, not SARnet personnel. We have enough to do keeping the network running.

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