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SARNET - Florida's State Wide Connected Repeater System

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SARNET - Florida's State Wide Connected Repeater System

The Statewide Amateur Radio Network (SARNet) is a network of linked UHF repeaters that is run by the State EOC. Covers Most of the State of Florida
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SARNet - Receiving on the Lee County NX4Y Repeater in North Fort Myers, Florida on 444.225Mhz.  The Statewide Amateur Radio Network (SARnet) is a network of linked UHF voice repeaters that serve the State of Florida.  This network uses dedicated bandwidth that is separate from the internet. Statewide connectivity is achieved without the use of any commercial telecommunications services. SARnet does not use the internet, cellular telephones, or land lines.  This System is Used for State Wide Emergencies and is Monitored by Florida Emergency Management.   Weather Warnings, Damage Reports, and Incident Information can routinely be heard on SARNet.   More Information can be found here: SYSTEM INFORMATIONREPEATER MAP - This Stream Maintained By Ian J. Hickin - KO4EFS /  SWFLTech.Net & - The Southwest Florida Technical Team

How SARnet Works...
A SARnet local UHF repeater in your area SHOULD BE CONNECTED to other SARnet sites using a microwave radio network operated by the Florida Department of Transportation. The key to why SARnet works so well is that instead of using the internet, it uses dedicated bandwidth on a private microwave network.

How to use SARnet...
One of the great things about SARnet is that as an amateur radio operator you don't have to do anything different to use SARnet. When you key your radio on the frequency of a local repeater connected to SARnet, you are automatically talking on SARnet, all across the state of Florida! The only thing you need to do is keep track of the UHF repeaters in the state that are connected to SARnet so when you are traveling you will be able to find a SARnet repeater.

PLEASE NOTE: In general, long conversations and rag-chews are discouraged on SARnet. The network voice radio usage models that the FDOT is trying to investigate are short efficient communications between users (think professional public safety radio transactions). In addition, during long conversations you are activating SARnet repeaters all over the state for an extended period of time, subjecting a state full of your fellow hams to rag-chews that they may not have an interest in. In particular, long local conversations are encouraged to move off of SARnet and onto another repeater that does not activate SARnet.

How SARnet Really Works.....the Details.......  To help the FDOT identify what SARnet radio equipment is present at their microwave tower locations, SARnet sites are categorized by the way they are hardwired to the FDOT SARnet network equipment at those microwave tower locations. This hardwire connection is accomplished in one of two ways at the microwave tower: via a control station radio or via a repeater radio itself. To distinguish between the two types of equipment, and use terms familiar to the FDOT, the SARnet administrators use the station class codes defined by the FCC in Form 601 to distinguish between the two types of radios. The FCC calls a repeater an FB2 and calls a control station radio an FX1. If you want to learn more about the station class codes see page 78 of the FCC Form 601 instructions. The station class code for each SARnet site is given on the system status page, next to the site name.

If an existing local repeater (FB2) is connected via radio to SARnet then the radio that is hardwired to the SARnet network equipment is a control station radio (FX1) operating on the existing local repeater's frequency. This type of SARnet site is therefore called an FX1 site. Many of these FX1s are used GE MDX control station radios and a few are Hytera mobile MD782s. The FX1 is installed at an FDOT microwave radio shelter that is within the service footprint of the existing local repeater. The key to making an FX1 work is that the local repeater has to be configured to ensure that it does not send a CTCSS tone or DCS code when it IDs. That way, the FX1 on the SARnet won't hear the ID and transmit it all over the state to other repeaters via SARnet. It is also preferred if the repeater does not send tone during squelch tails or courtesy beeps. This shortens the overall delay in the network for local listeners and ensures that all SARnet communications sound the same.

For most SARnet sites, UHF repeaters have been installed at FDOT microwave tower locations in order to support the needs of local emergency management and public safety agencies who work with amateur radio operators, including agencies like ARES. These FDOT-collocated repeaters (FB2s) are hardwired to the SARnet network equipment on the FDOT microwave network. This type of SARnet site is therefore called an FB2 site.

NOTE: The State EOC and the FDOT have signed an MOU for SARNET! The State EOC is now the custodian of the SARNET service and the FDOT will continue to host the network that links SARNET repeaters together. This is a significant event and we thank the FDOT and the state EOC for their support and recognition of this important communications service. With the state EOC at the helm, SARNET will continue to support emergency events that impact the state of Florida. 

























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. These UHF repeaters were specifically chosen in part because the voice traffic on them is light. This helps ensure that long conversations and rag-chews are rare on SARnet since any SARnet traffic brings up ALL of the repeaters on the network. But always remember when using these UHF frequencies that the government has primary use of the amateur spectrum near 440MHz. See this discussion on the government use of the band.

The key to what makes SARnet work so well is that this network uses dedicated bandwidth that is separate from the internet. Statewide connectivity is achieved without the use of any commercial telecommunications services. SARnet does not use the internet, cellular telephones, or land lines.

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 inter-operable 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 much more likely to remain operational during a severe weather event like a hurricane that might cause disruptions to the internet, cellular telephone and other commercial communication services.

IS SARNET ONLY FOR EMCOMM?   - During Disasters They Restrict Access to Official Users Only! 
No. SARnet is a network of amateur repeaters owned mostly by non-emcomm affiliated hams. So it is not just for emergency communications. That being said, the creators of the network behind SARnet are active in public safety communications, both commercial and amateur, and they have an understanding of what SARnet can do for emergency communications in the state of Florida.

During a significant emergency event, SARnet may be called upon for support, through an official state emergency request, 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. During such an emergency, if a controlled net is called, it will be by hams working with the county and state EOCs, not SARnet personnel. We have enough to do keeping the network running.

This Stream Maintained By Ian J. Hickin - KO4EFS / StarShipAdventures.Net -  SWFLTech.Net - The Southwest Florida Technical Team