VERN & CAVERN Overview
VERN is an acronym for Volunteer Emergency Radio Network and the VERN project’s goals include community radio organizing tools, rooftop radio hardware designs powered by the Sun and free and open source software, including software defined radio components, that all form a ‘Community Communications Toolkit’. VERN is a human rights technology research and development effort from the CryptoRights Foundation, Inc. (CRF), part of CRF’s ‘Harmless Little Project’ (HLP) since 2014. We want any small-to-large group of people, from a family to a small nonprofit org, township or urban neighborhood community, to be able to unite for any public purpose and organize themselves through a privacy-enhanced radio mesh network. People who can talk to each other, even when normal communications media are unavailable, can overcome the adverse effects of powerful external events.
Update / June 2020: while we’re building the free text/audio/video chatserver for future meetings at VERN.org, we’ve made a temporary chatserver available with a private channel dedicated to the use of CAVERN participants at SmokePatrol.org.
CAVERN is the Cobb Area Volunteer Emergency Radio Network. The Cobb Mountain area in northern California is the location for the prototype VERN system. CRF is analyzing and experimenting with RF radio transmissions in the mountainous terrain around Cobb, as well as investigating methods for community organization with the Cobb community, which is still wrestling with the aftereffects of major wildfire disasters and future dangers from fires and other extreme climate & weather trends. The first radio mesh network prototype (alpha) nodes built by the Harmless Little Dev Team will be tested in the Cobb Area using components of the VERN project. And, because the first steps in creating a VERN in any community involve organizing the Community, CAVERN is working with the Cobb Area Council to develop communication protocols like regular Radio Check-Ins to prepare for emergencies, as well as educational and related public safety awareness events, public programs and other outreach methodologies. Dozens of Cobb area residents are CAVERN members already, llearning how to use basic handheld FRS, GMRS & HAM* radios to organize community preparedness, rapidly respond to natural disaster emergencies like wildfires or powerful storms and to follow up afterwards.
FRS: Family Radio Service (unlicensed, short range).
GMRS: General Mobile Radio Service (licensed, medium range).
HAM (certified amateur long range).