Hamshack Hotline (HH) is a dedicated Voice-Over-Internet-Protocol (VOIP) network that is free to amateur radio operators around the world. The goal of the Hamshack Hotline is not to replace the traffic that is carried over RF, but rather augment it when conditions are diminished or otherwise busy. You’ll find phones in personal ham shacks, EOCs, club stations and mobile command posts.
The hotline is the brainchild of John Rogers, K1WIZ. He always imagined having a VOIP network dedicated just to ham radio operators. It’s been widely adopted by Emergency Operations Centers (EOC), ham radio clubs & Amateur Radio Emergency Services (ARES) groups — and individual ham shacks alike.
Why should you get a Hamshack Hotline?
I can already feel the ham radio purists glaring. There are many that say having a dedicated VOIP network is stupid, but that couldn’t be more wrong. Ham radio is not just about RF, and not just about radio frequency communication. Personally, ham radio is about communication. Getting a message from one person to another by any means possible using our technical skills.
Look at what’s happened in public safety communication that past two decades. Agencies have shifted towards digital in a huge way. Even local business are ditching analog in droves. The future of communication is digital, whether some hams like it or not.
The value of being on Hamshack Hotline can be simple. You’re chatting on HF and conditions fade out. You could call another ham and let them know conditions faded. You could use that line of communication to reliably experiment with your HF equipment without losing communication during that experimentation. However, the real value in my mind is in tactical situations.
Services like HH become powerful when used strategically by groups, organizations’ or pacts of individuals’. Don’t get me wrong, I love playing with VOIP and learning about it for my own education — but the true power is in organizational structures adopting the technology.
What you’ll find on Hamshack Hotline
There are many great features on HH. You have a phonebook of individual lines that you can dial. There is also a list of bridges where many phones can connect and interact on a single line.
The system not only supports voice calls, but also faxing documents if you have the necessary hardware.
The network is capable of linking between VOIP and RF. You’ll find the 94000 bridge links to the HH talkgroup on the DMR Brandmeister network (TG31688). There are numerous other bridges that are linked to RF repeaters around the world.
- Hamshack Hotline directory
- Hamshack Hotline worldwide map of phone locations
- Hamshack Hotline public bridges
- Hamshack Hotline RF links
How to use RF links
The HH service supports links to RF repeaters. When you’re on a RF link bridge, use *99 to key up and talk. Press # when finished talking to unkey.
If there are multiple people connected to the same RF link you’ll only hear other stations when using the keying method above. Each connection is independent and no audio will be passed between HH users unless they key up using *99.
Hamshack Hotline servers
Hamshack Hotline is made up of three “Standard” networks: HHUS-United States; HHEU – Europe; HHAP -Asia-Pacific; and one Experimental Network called HHX. All networks are integrated, so calls from any extension can call across all networks.
Hamshack Hotline supported phones
Hamshack Hotline provides support for various VOIP phones that range in cost and features. You can get a phone as cheap as $25 all the way up to $100. Here are the phones that are currently supported:
- Cisco SPA-112
- Cisco SPA303
- Cisco SPA-504
- Cisco SP-514
- Cisco SPA-941/942
- Cisco SPA-525
When purchasing a phone from the list above on eBay or elsewhere, make sure it’s unlocked, otherwise it won’t provision to the server.
Hamshack Hotline Frequently Asked Questions
You may us any SIP endpoint that is on our “Supported Endpoints” list. See this list for further clarification and reasoning.
See the Hamshack Hotline “Covenant” for clarification on softphones in the section entitled “Allowed Equipment”.
Yes! The service supports SIP and IAX trunking if your PBX also supports it. Just open a new trunk request via the helpdesk, and our team will be happy to get you setup and explain the details.
Easy – just open a ticket with our helpdesk and include your MAC address, callsign, & phone model. The HH team will take care of it and let you know when you’re all set.
Hamshack Hotline does not sell phones. Please acquire them from a source of your choosing. i.e. eBay, Amazon etc. Please check the warning in ‘Supported Endpoints’.
Hamshack Hotline is always looking for qualified help! Contact any member of the HHOPS team and tell us about you! Let us know your areas of expertise and they’ll see if there’s a spot for you.
There have been cases where connections have been challenging. We’ve found that sometimes rebooting your cable modem and then your router tends to solve this problem. If you have done this, and still have trouble, open a ticket with the helpdesk.
Absolutely! HH will give you a second number on request if you have another phone you’d like to hookup. Just open a ticket for it.
Yes! Please send a copy of your club call, or EOC verifiable contact, and Hamshack Hotline can establish a private or public bridge for your group.
Yes, but only when evidence of hardware purchase commitment is provided. If your group already has phones, we will ask you for more information about the phones and to document who they will be issued to – i.e. tactical position. HHOPS team will confirm these details with your group leader for accuracy and completeness.
Yes. Every Hamshack Hotline number has a voicemail box.
Yes, HH supports faxing and FEC FAX (T.38) using an approved ATA.
Yes, if you have a PSTN agreement with Hamshack Hotline. PSTN hosting on HH has a monthly maintenance charge of $5 flat. You can purchase your own SIP termination from a 3rd party and have it hosted on your line. This allows you to receive and make calls with a public phone number mapped to your HH line. You can even do simultaneous voice and fax on the same number!
The service area is largely defined by the quality of your internet connectivity. If your maximum latency is below 500ms, you should enjoy trouble free performance on HH. You can setup your phone at one location and it does not matter where you use your phone as long as the phone is able to contact our servers. You can dial *43 on your HH phone to access the echo test line. You can also dial 611 for the HHOPS team.