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[liberationtech] Can HAM radio be used for communication between health workers in rural areas with no cell connectivity?

Ali-Reza Anghaie ali at packetknife.com
Wed Mar 6 12:08:25 PST 2013


I'm assuming privacy issues are of minimal concern given the other problems
at play here - I could be wrong but bear with me.

Trying to think of lowest-cost, reliable, easiest to expand and re-deploy
without a telco or other licensing.

I wonder is a low-bandwidth text HF APRS (
http://www.aprs.org/aprs-messaging.html) option with a laminated deck of
shorthand medical terms would be a reasonable remote field option? About
as rudimentary as you get but considering a worst case scenario - it might
just work. -Ali



On Tue, Mar 5, 2013 at 9:15 PM, Sky (Jim Schuyler) <sky at red7.com> wrote:

> Since "HAM" (amateur radio) is real radio, not phone, an Android app
> wouldn't use it directly. The app might -control- an amateur radio
> remotely, and there is software available to do this. However, I'm not sure
> what benefit it would bring to this project.
>
> In the US, amateur radio operators must send all information in "clear
> text," and encryption is illegal, thus you would not want to try to
> exchange medical info because you'd need to encrypt it. In other countries
> it -should- be illegal to transmit medical info in the clear, so I'd
> suggest avoiding this.
>
> Also, "high frequency" amateur radio doesn't have sufficient bandwidth to
> transfer much digital information. VHF/UHF does in theory, but in general
> amateur radio operators restrict their bandwidth and the maximum usable
> transfer rate is under 9600 baud. i.e. very slow.
>
> -Sky  AA6AX
>
> - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
> Sky (Jim Schuyler, PhD)
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> On Mar 5, 2013, at 5:47 PM, ITechGeek <itg at itechgeek.com> wrote:
>
> Depends on what information you might be transmitting and the specific
> laws of the local country/countries involved.
>
> HAMs have to be licensed through the local countries licensing
> authority (in the case of the US would be the FCC).
>
> Under US you could probably get away with allowing them to coordinate
> if it is non-profit in nature, but you would not be able to discuss
> any medical information that would allow a third party to possibly
> identify the patient.
>
> And some countries are very restrictive on who can get HAM licenses
> due to the potential to get around their propaganda controls.  Also
> rules can change based on frequencies being used cause lower
> frequencies can transmit further.
>
> Can you provide the country or countries involved?
>
>
> -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> -ITG (ITechGeek)
> ITG at ITechGeek.Com
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>
>
> On Tue, Mar 5, 2013 at 8:07 PM, Yosem Companys <companys at stanford.edu>
> wrote:
>
> From: Dr. Tusharkanti Dey <dr.tusharkantidey at gmail.com>
>
> Dear All,
>
> I am proposing to set up a ICT based health project in tribal areas with
> poor infrastructural facilities with poor cell phone connectivity due to
> unstable signal strengths. i have learnt that HAM radio software from
> HamSphere is downloadable on android phones.I would like to know whether
> these android phones with HAM radio software installed can be used for
> communication used for voice communication between health workers
> themselves and with head quarter staff. Will it be legally permissible and
> what technical requirements will be needed to set up such system. The other
> alternative of setting up of mobile signal boosters or long distance WiFi
> hubs are currently not affordable to our limited resource organisation
>
> Thanks,
> Dr.Tusharkanti Dey
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