Hams are fascinating people. They have tremendous command of the art of wireless networking, and are very conscious of their community, and the importance of its place in the world.
Particularly interesting to me is where Hams and their networking efforts interface with the Community Networks agenda of bringing ubiquitous wireless networking to the masses.
The HSMM project seems to be a tremendous leap in a very exciting direction. If Hams and Part 15′ers can leverage each other’s experience and resources, all sorts of interesting possibilities open up. Imagine a coordinated effort to use Part 15 networks as client endpoints, and aggregate traffic through high-power (and high profile) Ham repeaters. Of course, we’ve imagined it before, and have always run up against a couple of basic tenets of Amateur operations that forbid such matter-of-course elements as encryption, commercial traffic, rebroadcasting of music, and even basic unattended third party communications. If the ARRL is behind interconnecting Ham networks with the Internet, then I must have misinterpreted the rules. I certainly hope so, and it’s very likely, as I’m still studying for my Technician Class license.
I just wrote to the organizers of HSMM (I’m just dying for more details), and hope to hear back soon…
From: Rob Flickenger
Date: Wed Jan 15, 2003 5:48:12 PM US/Pacific To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: The "hinternet" Hi there-- My name is Rob Flickenger. I'm not a Ham (yet) but I am very active in supporting community wireless networks that operate under Part 15. In fact, I wrote a book about it  last year for O'Reilly. I found an article about the "hinternet"  on the arrl.org website, and I am very interested in your project. It sounds like we have similar, or at least, compatible goals in building a ubiquitous high speed data network. I write to you for two reasons. I am looking for a pointer to more information about your project, as there are a huge number of questions in the minds of Part 15 networkers. For example, how can Part 97 and Part 15 networks interoperate? How do existing Ham rules about third party traffic, encryption, and commerce apply to data transmitted on the hinternet? I have been working on building Part 15 data networks  with many other like-minded groups [4..8] for a couple of years now, with considerable success, and more than a little active interest from local Ham operators. Secondly, I am currently working on the second edition of Building Wireless Community Networks, and I would very much like to include up to date information about the state of your project. Do you have a mailing list, website, or other online resource regarding your project? I am studying for my first Technician license, and have been for some time. My barrier to entry has always been that my real interest is in high-speed Internet traffic, and as Ham privileges would do relatively little to help me develop data networks, I haven't given my study the attention it deserves. If Ham rules have changed in light of the HSMM project (or, perhaps, if I simply misinterpret the current rules) then I know many people who would gladly become Hams. I work with a dedicated group of people who have been passionately working on building free access wireless networks for schools, low- income housing, emergency services, and the general public. I believe that most, if not all of these goals are directly in line with the spirit of Ham communications. I appreciate any and all information you can point me to that will help us work together for the common good. Best regards, --Rob  http://www.oreilly.com/catalog/wirelesscommnet/  http://www.arrl.org/news/stories/2003/01/10/3/?nc=1  http://nocat.net/  http://freenetworks.org/  http://seattlewireless.net/  http://nycwireless.net  http://personaltelco.org/  http://bawug.org/
Should Ham networks be able to tie into Part 15 Community Networks (and ultimately, the Internet)?