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The Bay Area Mesh for Emergency Communication
May 9, 2023 @ 7:30 pm – 9:30 pm PDT
Immediately following major disasters caused by storms, wildfires, and earthquakes, amateur radio is often the only available local electronics communications system. Historically, trained Amateur Radio Emergency Services (ARES) operators have used portable, mobile, and handheld two-way radios, supported by radio repeaters, to communicate and relay emergency messages using voice. The primary activity of South County ARES (SCARES) is training emergency communicators to be efficient and effective in their support of public agencies during crisis situations. In recent years, ARES organizations have wanted to supplement their voice communications with digital communications to enable passing of text and VOIP messages, images, and video. The Bay Area Mesh (BAM) program is now implementing such a capability covering the entire Bay Area. It can be thought of as an emergency wireless Internet that uses commercial Wi-Fi devices modified to operate in bands authorized for Amateur Radio use outside of the normal Wi-Fi bands. This presentation will describe SCARES participation in the BAM program. and will demonstrate the BAM system in operation. It will also describe how others can participate in BAM deployment, including encouragement to do so.