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

Karl Fogel kfogel at
Wed Mar 13 11:46:10 PDT 2013

flane at writes:
>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.

Because it's related to the same problem domain, I'll point out:

The OpenBTS project is an open-source software-based GSM access point,
that allows people to use standard consumer GSM cell phones to
communicate in a network that anyone (with the right hardware) can set

(I'm not sure whether the burden of having the right hardware for
OpenBTS is lower or higher than the burden of having ham radio


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