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    Responsible (coordination): Swiss-ARTG, HB9CJD Dieter Riklin
    Contact (USKA): hamnet@uska.ch

    HAMNET (Highspeed Amateur Radio Multimedia NETwork) is a radio and cable based IP network developed and operated by radio amateurs. It serves as a powerful backbone for the already available infrastructure of the amateur radio service and enables IP connections. HAMNET has almost completely replaced the packet radio network that has existed since the 1980s. The network handles a number of other amateur radio services, including EchoLink, WinLink2000, instant messaging, VoIP, DATV/ IP ATV and APRS. It also serves as a feeder for the Mesh radio network (Amateur Radio Emergency Data Network).

    HAMNET (Highspeed Amateur Radio Multimedia NETwork) [1] is a network separate from the Internet and designed by radio amateurs to interconnect amateur radio stations primarily in the 5 GHz range and is used to exchange digital data in amateur radio. It is also intended to cover aspects of emergency radio operation (independence from the Internet and mains power supply) as well as experimental operating procedures. TCP/IP is used as the transmission protocol.

    Goals are:

    • Exchange of digital data
    • Support of emergency radio operations
    • Promotion of innovative, digital applications in amateur radio
    • Development of free hardware and software in the field of data transmission, modulation technology and routing methods
    • Replacement of the narrowband AFSK/ FSK packet radio network
    • Free user access with high bit rates into the HAMNET
    • Preservation and use of existing high altitude sites for Amateur Radio

    Since 2008/2009 the former Packet-Radio-Network in Europe is continuously being rebuilt and replaced by HAMNET links. In Switzerland, about 30 HAMNET sites are currently in operation. The total length of the links thus bridged is currently more than 600 km. A list of HAMNET sites in Europe is available in the HAMNET database [2].

    SWISS-ARTG together with the clubs HB9AM (community of interest Chestenberg), the USKA sections Lucerne HB9LU and Zug HB9RF are engaged in the development of a HAMNET network in Switzerland.

    HAMNET – the Internet in amateur radio

    The HAMNET is designed as a closed network, access from the Internet is only possible via a gateway. The HF link links used in the HAMNET are amateur radio systems which, according to the Radio Regulations (Telecommunications Act), may only be operated and used by licensed radio amateurs.

    Analogous to the Internet, the HAMNET connects radio amateurs with interesting applications:

    • SDR receivers and remote stations
    • Web servers with information about radio amateurs and technology
    • Weather stations, web cams and cloud storage
    • DX clusters, mailboxes, voice conferencing and information services for contest sites without Internet access
    • APRS, forwarding of APRS data to the APRS server (htp://aprs.fi)
    • Packet radio links between PR nodes (replacement of 70 cm and 23 cm link links)
    • Connection of D-STAR and DMR repeaters to the respective network
    • Echolink connections
    • SSTV and ATV, data transmission of digital picture and sound data
    • Voice-over-IP applications (SIP telephony, chat applications)

    The transmission of digital data in the HAMNET takes place via the TCP/IP protocol; this enables the application-neutral exchange of user data. The network nodes are identified using IP addresses from the AMPRNet [10]; the address range is reserved worldwide exclusively for radio amateurs. The range is assigned to Switzerland and the range is assigned to Germany.

    As known to many who have ever dealt with HAMNET, the official AMPRNet IP address range ( to is assigned to amateur radio. This corresponds to 16,777,216 IP addresses. It seems logical that Amateur Radio will never need that many addresses, even considered globally.

    The Amateur Radio Digital Communications [ARDC] had now decided to sell 1/4 of these IP addresses to Amazon in order to secure their tasks in the long run. As is well known, IPv4 addresses on the Internet are now taken and therefore valuable. After the sale, the IP address blocks and (this corresponds to the address space to now remain for amateur radio. That’s still 12,582,912 IP addresses.

    Nationally, IP addresses are allocated by the IP Coordination; in Switzerland, this task is performed by SWISS-ARTG [7].

    Who can use the HAMNET?

    The HAMNET is operated by associations that set up and operate sites with HAMNET nodes and establish the radio link connections between the individual nodes.

    Users have the option of connecting directly to a node site at 5 GHz. Or, if a direct connection to a site is not possible, via VPN connection (over the Internet).

    Roles in HAMNET


    Every licensed radio amateur is authorized. The connection can be established from the home shack or from the road.

    Licensed radio amateurs can connect to HAMNET in two ways:

    1. via a 5 GHz HF link to a user access point
    2. via an Internet gateway offering a VPN tunnel into the HAMNET

    When the connection is established, the user is assigned a temporarily valid IP address (DHCP) from the IP address range of the remote site; this is valid for the duration of the connection.

    5 GHz user access

    A prerequisite for a successful connection on 5 GHz is a free line of sight between the user’s own antenna and the user access antenna. Trees, masts or other obstacles located in the Fresnel zone also cause a significant attenuation of the user signal.

    Various programs [8] are available on the Internet for calculating link distances. Thus, properties such as link attenuation or the expected signal field strength at the receiver can be calculated quite accurately.

    Products from Ubiquiti [4] or MikroTik [5] are frequently used. These suppliers offer a wide range of WLAN modules, antennas and mirrors. Those WLAN modules that are integrated in an antenna or mirror are interesting. The network cable is routed directly to the antenna, eliminating the coaxial cable (and the associated cable attenuation (Fig. 2).

    Conventional WLAN technology (notebook, router) cannot be used because our frequencies and the allowed bandwidths cannot be adjusted.

    Dedicated radio amateurs can also set up a powerful system themselves. The basis is a power-saving ALIX board [6] from PCEngines, one or more WLAN modules Atheros DCMA-82 and the operating system OpenWRT (Fig. 3, page 32). A commercially available flat antenna or a mirror serves as antenna.

    Thomas Ries, HB9XAR has created a comprehensive documentation and provides the necessary software including the driver extensions for HAMNET on his website [3]. This solution runs very stable, is expandable, tested and in operation at several sites.

    VPN access via internet

    Not all radio amateurs have a line-of-sight to a HAMNET user access and therefore cannot establish a 5 GHz link. The Digital Radio Club HB9DR offered with support of SWISS-ARTG for licensed radio amateurs an internet gateway with VPN. Unfortunately, the HAMNET connection to HB9DR has not been working reliably for some time. The SWISS-ARTG has therefore decided to discontinue this service.

    At the Dreiländersysoptreffen of February 11, 2023 in Engen, the new HamCloud VPN service was presented by IP coordinator DL, Jann Traschewski DG8NGN. SWISS-ARTG recommends that interested parties use this service to access HAMNET via the Internet.

    Further information and instructions can be found here: HamCloud Offered Services In The HamCloud

    Network operators / nodes

    The HAMNET consists of sites and of radio links (between sites) that may only be operated by clubs. These are to be coordinated and must be licensed by OFCOM like any other unserved installation. The frequencies for the link connections must be applied for and approved by the frequency coordinator. The following information is required for this purpose:

    • Address of the Technical Director and the President (name, call, postal address, tel. and e-mail).
    • Location (name and coordinates [CH1903+] , altitude above sea level) – Location partner (name and coordinates, altitude above sea level)
    • Frequencies already used and allocated at the site
    • Planned commissioning
    • -> E-mail: qrg@uska.ch

    For the HAMNET nodes as well as for the link connections IP addresses from the HAMNET area are necessary and are assigned by the IP coordinator. For this purpose the following information has to be addressed to the IP coordinator:

    • Address of the Technical Director and the President (name, call, postal address, tel. and e-mail).
    • Location (name and coordinates [WSG 84 [lat/lon])
    • size of the planned network (/24 to /27); for links (/29)
    • For new projects, a brief project description
    • Planned commissioning
    • -> e-mail: ip-coordination@swiss-artg.ch

    Process description Order HAMNET IP address: HAMNET ordering process 2022 11 12

    Typical hardware of a node

    • Node computer (e.g. MikroTik Router RB3011)
    • Power supply with Multi-PoE adapter
    • Link Device MikroTik QRT5 or Ubiquiti

    The node computer is basically “only” a network router, but compared to the home routers it is completely programmable and can be adapted to the specific network situation of the node exactly, so that the routing between the links works perfectly.

    The link device is powered via PoE, has a network connector and includes the antenna and a pole mount.

    Approx. 500-600 Fr for the first link, each additional one plus approx. 200 Fr, plus 19 inch rack, cables, etc.

    HAMNET node configuration: HAMNET node configuration MikroTik Router 2020 07 23

    Network operator / Link connection

    For a new link connection between two nodes, usually the two operators concerned bear the costs for the link device each party itself. The frequencies are defined (see above) by the frequency coordinator.

    HAMNET Link Device Configuration: HAMNET Link Device Configuration MikroTik 2022 08 31

    How do I connect to a node as a user?

    To connect to a node in my region one has to contact the respective operator and ask for the connection parameters.

    Required equipment:

    • a 5 GHz access point (e.g. from “Ubiquiti NanoStation 5AC Loco | Bridge-Set | airMAX ac / 450MBit+, weatherproof, 10km” or “MikroTik SXTsq Lite5”.
    • Costs 50-100 CHF, this device must be configured with the connection parameters.

    Technical – What is HAMNET (frequencies, modes, modulation)

    On the technical side, the link connections and the connection to the access point are IEEE 802.11a/n (a or n) connections.

    Bandwidth: The bandwidth is defined together with the frequency coordinator. It will be based on the HB9-HAMNET band plan 2015. A new band plan is in preparation.

    QUESTION: how many MBIT fit through the bandwidth or depending on the distance through the link?