Many amateur radio operators have dreamed of having a telephone tied to a repeater system. Going back to the original mobile phone that was an autopatch, cross-mode communications have been a mainstay of amateur radio. The ability to route a call directly to a station rather than inviting others to reply to a CQ is powerful. Many industries have realized the benefits of technology like radio-over-IP. So what are the modern parallels?
Hams Over IP is a "mega PBX" where amateur radio operators can sign up for extensions, bridge their existing VoIP infrastructure, and join a community of modern-day telephony nerds. The idea of being able to call into a repeater is neat, and it can be practical when you may not have an RF signal. Having a phone on your desk that can call both phones and repeaters is extraordinary.
They also have some interesting ongoing projects, such as their Discord bridge into their Allstar hub. This solution isn't new per se, as it's based on an existing Discord to DVSwitch Analog Module project. But the application is exciting because it opens up the wild world of having someone on an Xbox with Discord talking to a friend on an IP Phone and another on an amateur radio repeater.
In more practical terms, Hams Over IP is likely to be another experiment in communications that brings you closer to the digital space, this time with an emphasis on computing and networking. It's not a trailblazer, and it may not even be the leader in terms of daily users. But it is a rapidly growing exchange with an inviting community.
Using Hams Over IP via HamWAN is extremely simple. There are no extra steps! Plug your phone into your HamWAN LAN and follow all of their usual documentation. If you're not on HamWAN yet, that's fine too – you can also set up your device the same way as their Wiki explains.
Free Phones for Memphis Hams
To help promote local adoption of this project, Ryan K0RET is offering a sponsorship! If you're a ham in the Memphis metro region, you can get a free Grandstream GXP2000 IP Phone like in the picture above. Simple sign up at the Hams over IP website, register for an extension, and ping Ryan in the MemHamWAN Discord. Whether you're on HamWAN or not, he'll program a phone for you and give it to you. While supplies last!
HamWAN has played with SIP for years, and Hams over IP is the latest installment. There's always something new in ham radio to try, though. Experimentation is, after all, at the heart of ham radio.