Amateur Radio Digital Communications (ARDC) is a California-based foundation with roots in amateur radio and the technology of internet communication. Our mission is to support, promote, and enhance digital communication and broader communication science and technology, to promote amateur radio, scientific research, experimentation, education, development, open access, and innovation in information and communication technology.
ARDC got its start when Hank Magnuski, KA6M, was assigned the class A 44/8 netblock of 16.7 million IP addresses for use by licensed amateur radio operators worldwide. Today, this block, known as AMPRNet or 44Net, includes more than 12 million IP addresses in the 184.108.40.206/9 and 220.127.116.11/10 address spaces.
44net is devoted solely to amateur radio use. Radio amateurs use 44net networks to set up radio-based networks using packet radio, 802.11 (Wi-Fi), and other technologies on amateur radio frequencies to exchange data using IP protocols. Local and regional radio networks are interconnected over the internet using a mesh network of tunnels between gateway systems.
Amateur radio operators have done a lot of good work using this resource, including providing emergency communications and experimenting with digital communications. One example is the Highspeed Amateur radio Multimedia NETwork (HAMNET). HAMNET is an autonomous network that uses commercial wireless devices to connect many regions in Europe.
Managing this address space is still one of ARDC’s primary functions. To request IP addresses and join the network, go to https://www.ardc.net/joining/. To learn more about 44Net, go to https://wiki.ampr.org/wiki/.
Our grant program
In 2019, we realized that radio amateurs would probably never use the entire block of addresses and decided to sell one-quarter of them. We also changed our organizational structure from a nonprofit corporation to a private foundation and established a grant program, using the proceeds of that sale to fund the program.
ARDC makes grants to projects and organizations that are experimenting with new ways to advance both amateur radio and digital communication science. Experimentation by amateur radio operators has benefited society in many ways, including the development of the mobile phone and wireless internet technology. ARDC envisions a world where all such technology is available through open source hardware and software, and where anyone has the ability to innovate upon it. To see examples of the types of grants we make, go to https://www.ardc.net/grants/. For more information on ARDC’s grant program, including how to apply, go to https://www.ardc.net/apply/.