Amateur Microwave Network

Rocky Mountain Ham Radio operates and maintains a fully-managed, IP-based, routed microwave backbone network currently spanning Cheyenne, WY all the way down to Albuquerque, NM. This system is built on unlicensed commercial 5 GHz off the shelf microwave gear in use on licensed Part 97 ham radio frequencies.  We have 50+ hops of microwave in two states currently and are always adding more. Our realtime network statistics are listed below. This is directly from our network management system. This includes devices in 3 states!

Sites226
Devices756

With only a few exceptions, this system is independent of the Internet and does not require any commercial Internet to function. If the Internet is down, RMHAM’s network will remain fully functional. We do utilize commercial Internet for failover purposes if one of our links becomes inoperable, but only until the problem is resolved.

Unfortunately, our network is not internally compatible with AREDN or HAMNET and direct interconnection is not possible for these systems.  We’ve tried.  We’re not going to try again.  They have their place, just not in this network.  Those technologies use up all available address space and is not a good fit for our fully routed network.

The system is designed to be robust and carry traffic from point-to-point along the network only. We are NOT an Internet service provider, only an “amateur radio common carrier” serving numerous points from New Mexico to Wyoming. This network cannot be used to provide commercial Internet services. If you need access to the Internet, you will need to look elsewhere or be prepared to provide a commercial IP feed at another location on our network. If you desire access to the public Internet for a specific task, you would need to purchase and supply internet at another site by landline or microwave.  Many groups have asked us to provide internet access.  Internet access has a cost.  We have to pay it, you will have to also.  We are NOT an Internet service provider.  If you need internet, you need to obtain internet and provide a place to feed it to us and via the network we can engineer a way to get it to you.

The network is designed to be a co-op, from the standpoint that it carries traffic from many different entities along the network terminating on many points elsewhere on the network. It is not designed to provide Internet access to residences and therefore should never carry commercial traffic.

RMHAM’s network is a secure, private system that can only be accessed via a physical connection to a Rocky Mountain Ham Radio access node by wire, fiber or dedicated microwave radio via one of our radio sites.

We build the network with backup routes and loops connected with “OSPF” routing protocol. Open Shortest Path First means that all routers on the network know how to access all other routers on the network dynamically and automatically. The route information updates in real time when a link goes down or gets congested. This is a fully self-healing network.

The locations currently serviced by our microwave network are most of the commercial radio sites from Cheyenne, Wyoming along the front range in Fort Collins, Longmont, Boulder, Denver, Castle Rock, Colorado Springs, Pueblo and Cañon City, west toward Salida, Leadville, Vail, Glenwood Springs, Grand Junction and south to San Antonio Mountain, New Mexico, Taos, Los Alamos and Santa Fe, Albuquerque and soon to be points south down to El Paso, Texas.

These systems are not free to install, nor are they free to operate. Only through the kindness and generosity of many hams along the Front Range and New Mexico has this network come to fruition.  If you want something for free, you’ll need to look elsewhere.  We do expect in-kind services of some kind, labor, materials, support etc.

If you have interest in accessing our network to feed your sites, please contact Doug Sharp K2AD (Colorado), Brian Mileshosky N5ZGT (New Mexico), or make yourself known to any RMHAM officer or board member at an event.

We have moved forward with expansion to the west. Our link from Vail to Grand Junction was completed by the end of 2019. The microwave coverage is from the North border to the South into New Mexico/Albuquerque and Denver, West to the West border!

New Mexico’s coverage is from Albuquerque to Santa Fe, to Taos to San Antonio Mountain.  We’re currently working on moving south toward El Paso.

The 2021-2024 plans at this time are to extend into the corners of Colorado and a significant buildout in New Mexico over the next 3-4 years.  If you’re interested in support, project management, and field work for these projects, please let us know.