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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 red-bean.com
Wed Mar 13 11:46:10 PDT 2013


flane at pgm.com 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
up.

  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/OpenBTS
  http://openbts.blogspot.com/
  http://wush.net/trac/rangepublic
  http://gnuradio.org/redmine/projects/gnuradio/wiki/OpenBTS

(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
tranceivers.)

HTH,
-Karl



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