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

flane at flane at
Mon Mar 11 14:59:08 PDT 2013

Thanks to Ali-Reza for reposting Dr. Dey's reply.

If you are looking for lowest-cost short to medium range communications 
using ham radio, Android phones are not the answer. You still need VHF 
or UHF radio hardware.

There are at least 20 radio manufacturers in China that make small 
variations on a common design of VHF transceiver, that can be bought for 
less than USD 50 each (often much less). Radio repeaters can be built 
using these same transceivers. There is also a huge surplus of 
transceivers in the US that have been made obsolete by the FCC's narrow 
band mandate, that you can buy for a few dollars, particularly 
interesting for higher power mobile radios. Shipping will be your major 
expense there unless you are able to do a freight container full at once.

The biggest problem in most countries is almost always getting legal 
permission to use amateur radio for other public purposes. Solve that 
problem for your group, and find out what frequencies and power levels 
are permissible, and the technical issues are much easier.

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