Last Updated: 2013-06-19 03:16:05 UTC
by Kevin Liston (Version: 1)
This weekend (June 22-23) the Amateur Radio Relay League and Radio Amateurs of Canada and holding their annual Field Day (http://www.arrl.org/field-day) exercise in North America. Amateur radio operators participate in an emergency preparedness exercise where they deploy their equipment outside the comfort of their home radio shacks and many operate on alternative/emergency power sources. Each year around this time, I realize that I've forgotten that this is coming up, and I hurriedly assemble my kit at the last minute and I try to fit in more than I can accomplish on my own. In other words, it's a realistic drill for me.
In the early days of the Internet Storm Center when large-scale scanning worms were threatening the basic infrastructure of the Internet we discussed falling back to packet radio as a communications option. Fortunately, those discussions remained theoretical and we didn't have to put it into practice. However, each year at Field Day, I'm reminded of the possibility that the right combination of disasters could fracture the Internet noticeably.
This makes me think of WinkLink 2000 (http://www.winlink.org/)
WinLink 2000 describes itself as "a worldwide system of volunteer sysops, radio stations and network assets supporting e-mail by radio, with non-commercial links to internet e-mail." Basically it provides e-mail service where the last mile is via amateur radio. It's used by ships at sea, and in emergency radio service when the local infrastructure is severely damaged.
I think this service would be very useful in an Internet-threatening scenario. Which is why I'm putting out the call to any readers who are also winlink-enabled. Send an email in to us (firstname.lastname@example.org) from your winlink account. Let us know if you'd be interested in participating in any Internet disaster response activities that we may have in the future.