Rick Kirchhof holds the Amateur Extra call NG5V and resides in Austin, TX. He was first licensed in 1997 as KD5ABM. This was about the time of the F5 tornado in Jarrell, TX. He got a quick taste of what emergency communications could mean in dire times. He became active in Travis County ARES and also the Austin Amateur Radio Club. Travis county ARES was the developer of the ARCHES hospital communication program. Rick did the original installs in several hospitals and developed process scripting and network management tools for the network. That program is still in use and has been copied as a blueprint for regional hospital backup communications in a number of cities.
He worked for Dell for almost 15 years and wrote their original network card test procedures for returned service parts. Seeing the need for data comms in emergency response, Rick had been active in the original ARRL High Speed Multimedia working group along with several other Austin hams. When that group was disbanded, Rick and the others continued development. He and others formed the Austin HSMM development group which later published specific software for mesh networking using inexpensive consumer WiFi gear. That software is free and is in use by hams world-wide. It is available from Broadband-Hamnet.com
Rick currently serves on the board of the Texas Star Party, where he and fellow hams put up a portable WiFi Internet system for one week each year. It serves over 500 users and is the largest Internet cafe in West Texas. He is currently employed by a major TELCO and works in Austin. He is also an AEC with TCARES and is anxious to share the uses of broadband networks with hams in the West Gulf Division.