I noticed this thread over in the wilderness/survival section, but I figured I'd throw this out here. This feels like more of a resilient-homestead topic than a wilderness-survival one.
Are folks on this board interested in roll-your-own telecommunication systems? Amateur and two-way radio systems, independent village-scale telephone systems, resilient low-energy data networks, and the like?
I'm new to this board and fairly new to permaculture, so I'm in listen mode when it comes to most of the topics here - but as a computer engineer by trade and an avid radio hobbyist I've got knowledge and experience in this area that some might find useful. I'm looking into putting together some resources myself to push back into the permaculture/resilient lifestyle community, and I'd love to start by having some good conversations here.
When we lived in Anchorage, I got my Ham radio license and started messing around with as many different things as I could in that realm. Anchorage had a great club with plenty of gear, so I didn't have to buy my own. When I left, the club was building a city-wide HSMM Mesh network using old routers from Craigslist and Ebay modified with high-gain antennas, ad-hoc firmware and POE. My interest stayed mostly in HF Voice communications, as that would be useful to the most people in a situation where phone systems were rendered inoperable. That said, I built out a pretty cool box with a router, battery backup, 12 dbi antennas and kept it when I moved. I'd like to find somebody around here who would like to set up that sort of network. My voice setup currently leaves a bit to be desired. I have an HF Vertical mounted on top of the metal roof of my shop, which I though would be a great ground plane, but I can't get it to tune for some reason. SWR stays around 4. I can hear some distant stations, but nobody can hear me.
Location: Northern New York Zone4-5 the OUTER 'RONDACs percip 36''
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Location: Huntsville, Alabama, USA
posted 4 years ago
Interesting stuff. The Lantern device is basically just a neat little package for receiving Outernet, which may be a great tool to have around if you feel Outernet is useful. The upside is that there's a fairly impressive array of educational and reference material available for free; the downside is that despite the claims of "free data forever," the reality is that the data you will get is what someone else chooses, and "forever" means "as long as we can profitably maintain this complex system."
I'm a huge fan of sneaker-net when it comes to maintaining a digital reference library within a community. Simple is good for that sort of thing. In fact, I deliberately try to steer people away from the mindset of "how do we keep doing Internet things without the Internet." If connections to the Internet become unavailable, unaffordable, unreliable, or just undesirable for some reason, there are a whole bunch of things provided by that commercial infrastructure that we simply won't be able to replicate. Community life will re-organize to do without FaceTime and Snapchat.
I'm interested in thinking about high-value use cases and procedures for infrastructure-independent telecomms, not just ways of extending Internet and cell phones. SHTF scenarios are worth considering, but are only one end of the spectrum. If we're simply somewhat decoupled from global infrastructure, by choice or by circumstance, what and with whom do we really want to communicate? Which kinds of systems are worth maintaining and which are excess baggage? What really helps us get the important things done and contributes to community life? Then, what tools can we bring to bear whose utility doesn't depend on a third party's profit stream? HF radio, IP telephony, local two-way radio, open source electronics and software, even non-electronic signaling systems. Fun stuff, or at least I think so. What's the best solution? "It depends..."
Location: The dry side of Spokane, USDA zone 6ish, 2300' elevation.
That's the beauty of the ad-hoc network. One node can go down and the rest of the network stays up. If you back up your reference library on multiple nodes, it will always be accessible. Nodes can even act as cross-band repeaters, utilizing different frequencies to cover different distances, terrain, atmospheric conditions, etc. We were even building portable nodes that could be thrown into a vehicle and driven to a hilltop to temporarily extend the network. The only caveat is that most of this occurs on the microwave band and the high-gain antennas can concentrate the power enough to cause injury.
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