$2 Million prize for an Off-The-Grid Disaster Recovery Network: Is Ham Radio Gonna Play?

From https://wirelesschallenge.mozilla.org/:

How can we leverage wireless technology to keep people connected to each other and to vital information sources in the aftermath of a disaster where Internet access is unavailable or compromised?

The Off-the-Grid Internet Challenge seeks solutions that can provide connectivity in one of the most challenging situations: the immediate aftermath of a major disaster. When disasters like earthquakes, tsunamis and hurricanes strike, communications networks are often among the first pieces of critical infrastructure to overload or fail, leaving individuals disconnected from one another and from essential services and communications. With a total of $1M in prize money, the Off-the-Grid Internet Challenge seeks solutions that help individuals wirelessly access each other and information services like maps and messaging following a disaster.


Now that you’re sick and tired of ham radio after spending all night on a radio during last weekend’s Field Day, here’s another thing to keep you up at night.

It’s not very often that the people of the internet make a direct call to the nature of our hobby to do something novel to promote and advance how we communicate in disasters.

3 days ago, I found this in /r/darknetplan, a subreddit made for planners and developers of the decentralized internet of the future, where internet is shared through individual nodes (mesh net) and centralized services (like Gmail, or Facebook) became decentralized, where data is stored and shared via peer-to-peer connections rather than through a serverfarm.

It was then sent out via the APRS-SIG email list. This is when I realized ham radio has a pretty significant advantage: we’re already there.


Well, that was easy. We’ll take our $2 million now. 🙂

Just kidding; it’s not that easy. Applications are open for the $2 Million WINS Challenges until October, 15 2017. Even though AREDN seemingly has this in the bag, it’s up to you to actually bring it to light.

If there’s no amateur radio presence in this challenge, I think I’m going to quit the hobby. For real. I would do it, but I have a day job and a wedding to plan. Don’t kill the messenger!

With that said, while this competition is proceeding, I strongly suggest (or hope) the media barons of amateur radio (ARRL, AR Newsline, podcast media, etc) to talk about, support, sponsor, if not join forces with Mozilla and their WINS challenge. ARRL is in a very prime spot to get some facetime with one of the next generations of hams – those developing decentralized, off-grid wired and wireless networks.

Also, hi again; it’s been a while. I moved apartments, traveled a bit, and had a lot of ham radio downtime. I’m back though. I’ll probably start back up with the Phasing Line Podcast, if Marty still remembers who I am 😛

From K5ACL’s Blog: Slack Messenger for Radio Clubs

Slack! An excellent way for your Ham Radio Club to keep in touch!

K5ACL has a fantastic idea. Use Slack Messenger for your radio club’s business outside of meetings and nets.

I think a lot of amateur radio conservative types might not gel with the idea of using online chat for ham radio stuff (why not use a radio?!?) but it is the 21st century, and basically everyone has a smartphone on them always – not a radio.

Slack has been a super efficient way to chat and message surrounding a topic, and it can be a very effective and immediate way to get work done.

And it’s free.

Also shoutout to K5ACL’s Blog – really well written and informative stuff there. Follow his blog at https://k5acl.net/

edit: not everyone has a smartphone, but basically everyone does, and if not a phone, a computer will work too.

8 Days left for ARRL Scholarship Applications!

Nuff said. Go out and apply and get free money for college! http://www.arrl.org/scholarship-application

I’m told that so much money goes unclaimed, so it’s extremely likely that you’ll get a scholarship if you apply. So go apply!!!