NORTH BAY AREA MESH
Through our efforts, Sonoma and Marin will be better connected to the established mesh which serves San Francisco, San Mateo, and Alameda Counties. NBAM is an active partner with the Bay Area Mesh (BAM), formerly known as San Francisco Wireless Emergency Mesh (SFWEM). A project of the San Francisco Amateur Radio Club, BAM has successfully placed more than 200 mesh nodes in the central Bay Area. There is a parallel effort in Contra Costa County. The long-term objective is to provide a region-wide communications network, operated by ham radio volunteers, that will provide robust backup communication in case of emergency.
Our goal is to create a high-speed wireless network throughout the North Bay for use during disasters, emergencies, and large-scale community events. The network serves first responders, volunteers, community-based organizations, underserved communities and government agencies. Our mission is to build a “fail-safe,” redundant, reliable communications network for amateur radio operators. When power goes out, internet communications, cell phones, and landlines fail, NBAM mesh can serve as a life-saving disaster communication network.
NBAM is a committee within the Marin Amateur Radio Society (MARS). MARS has been an active nonprofit amateur radio Club since the 1930s with its own clubhouse (a retired fire station) in Mill Valley. Its FCC-licensed volunteers provide communications support to a dozen large-scale bicycle rides and footraces — including the fabled Dipsea — each year. The society maintains a linked net of mountaintop repeaters enabling voice-radio access to and from all corners of the county. Those repeaters are used by RACES/ACS in support of the Emergency Operations Center in times of disaster.
Working with Marin Amateur EmComm Support (MAES)—a 501(c)(3) non-profit EIN 84-1775411—MARS applied for, and received, a $92,000 grant from the Amateur Radio Digital Communications (ARDC) foundation to acquire the hardware necessary to extend the mesh into Marin and Sonoma Counties. This is the same funding source that BAM has been using to acquire equipment.
While extending the mesh, NBAM will be working with radio clubs and other organizations to increase awareness of the capabilities of the mesh and helping them to understand how it can be a part of their emergency planning.
Training and orientation programs for both ham operators and the public will be conducted. The goal of these programs is to acquaint individuals with the many ways that mesh can be used, give them the training on how to use the mesh, and help them to determine the equipment they should have. Having these programs is essential to maximize the utilization of the mesh.
NBAM is supported by a grant from Amateur Radio Digital Communications
JEFF YOUNG, KM6Y
ROB ROWLANDS, NZ6J
MICHAEL FISCHER, K6MLF
CURTIS ARDOUREL, WA6UDS
MEET THE STEERING COMMITTEE
Bob Salter, AI6EE Novato
Dan Sobel, N6HLZ San Rafael
Richard Mogford, AE6XO Jenner
Bill Hillendahl, KH6GJV Santa Rosa
Ken Brownfield AB6JR Novato
Ed Witts, KF6YDQ Bodega Bay
Bryan Brauer, AI6B Sea Ranch
Joe Fortuna, K6AWA Santa Rosa