Internet Access via HF Radio
It is now possible to access the internet via HF radio. Although the access speed is slow, the arrangement is capable of providing email communications to very remote or mobile locations where satellite internet access is not possible because of ground infrastructure or cost.
Remote communities in the world with no telecommunications access can use HF email facilities to serve a wide group of people. Solar photovoltaic arrays (solar cells) can be used to provide power to run the communications and computer equipment.
Military and peacekeeping forces are finding HF increasingly useful for mobile email access as digital HF technology continues to improve.
The HF gateway may be set up by the organisation that has the remote stations, or one of several commercial HF internet gateways may be used (eg for marine HF internet access). In the former case, the HF transceivers and modems may be the same at the remote and base station. In the latter, the base station HF equipment and antennae are likely to be much larger.
A number of free amateur digital HF networks have recently been established. One free HF network providing digital message transfer and internet access throughout Australasia and the world is Winlink. This global radio email network provides email transfers with attachments, position reporting, graphical weather bulletins, emergency communications and low bandwidth internet access anywhere on the globe.
Material prepared by John Kennewell and Andrew McDonald.