What is SARnet?
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.
Why was SARnet Started?
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 interoperable 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 using dedicated bandwidth on a network that is much more likely to remain operational during a severe weather event like a hurricane.
Is SARnet only for EmComm?
SARnet is a network of amateur repeaters. So no, it is not just for emergency communciations. That being said, the creators of SARnet are active in public safety communications, both commercial and amateur, so they have an understanding of what SARnet can do for emergency communciations in the state of Florida. Currently, the Duval County EOC conducts a brief check-in net on Friday mornings starting at approximately 0900 on SARnet and any amateur that can access SARnet is encouraged to check in (late check-ins are ok too).
During a significant emergency event, the SARnet may be called upon for support 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.
Statewide Amateur Radio Networking in Florida: http://www.sarnetfl.com/
For more information visit SARnet link below