IRESC uses the Internet to provide speech communication. The circuit can be between just two points, or a conference of many. Participants can be located anywhere in the world that has a connection to the Internet, even if that connection is a slow and basic one (such as via a telephone line). Each participant takes part using a computer fitted with a microphone and a loudspeaker (or headphones). Just about any computer can run the necessary software and, in the case of a laptop for example, can be transported to temporary locations where a communication’s point is required. Virtually all IRESC members have such facilities.

So far, this would seem to be the same as other public ‘VoIP’ networks such as Skype. However, the IRESC system is a private network. Only licensed individuals have access, providing a secure and interference-free environment.

The licensees are radio amateurs (also known as ‘radio hams’) and this is where the IRESC provision is hugely enhanced for its intended task in the field of emergency communications. At many locations on the globe, IRESC network points connect not just to simple computer-based stations, but also to powerful two-way radio transceivers owned and operated by our members. This allows users, out in remote locations or disaster zones where there is no Internet, to use radios to gain access to the IRESC speech circuits. The radio system could be a VHF or UHF repeater system, where participants use walkies-talkies over a limited geographical area, or shortwave systems which can cover large regions and can cross-country boundaries.

International Radio Emergency Support Coalition (IRESC)

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