The Survival Podcast Network > Citizens Assisting Citizens

Citizens Assisting Citizens Emergency Communications

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--- Quote from: nitehawg on February 13, 2013, 05:09:20 PM ---OK idelphic now that's an explanation that I can understand  :)  It also happens to be one of the ideas that has really appealed to us.  Now some questions.  How doable is it?  How close to the sourcing point would this have to be?  Would we have to be the sourcing point?  Ball park guess $500 million or somewhat less?

Again thanks, you're a big help


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Well - I will do what I can to figure things out,..  I will openly and right up front say that I won't be able to spec or build this by myself.  I'll see if I can't recruit some wise minds to assist with the project.

--- Quote ---1 How Doable is it?
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Anything is doable - as you refer to the Blue Sky theory.  However since much of this could be funded by the limits of our members and or DRT members,.. you have to respect the need versus costs.. I deal with this daily working for a Non Profit.  I'm expected to create 'magic smoke' and resolve issues with next to nothing as far as equipment or,...  I'm 85% self taught over the last 25 years in the computer field.. I do pretty well for the most part.  The other 15% is been learn from mistakes or just out right asking someone.. so..

Sorry for the side thought there - Yes it is doable .  I can't begin to give any specific details right off, but as a ham operator, I have always wanted to build a mobile command center for ARES / RACES - EmComm.  I've mentally designed several using RV's and Trailers over the last several years,..  Hmm Unimog or maybe CMXTerra 109 build....

If the DRT group is a Non-Proft, then that opens up grants, and other sourcing areas not otherwise available.  I use <a href="">Tech Soup[/url] for software and some hardware for my office.  It's pretty sweet to get Cisco equipment for 20% of the retail / commercial  pricing.

Lastly - it depends on how main stream equipment / software you are willing to go.  I use some 'non standard' but still off the shelf software and hardware.  I'm all about Open Source.  My office firewall is a Open Source system called Untangled.  I feel it's pretty powerful for the aspects you get in the free version.  You get a multitude of controls and features and you would have to spend quite a bit of money to get out of Cisco...  And it's easy to work with,..  I've been thinking of using it at home,..  I just don't.

--- Quote ---How close to the sourcing point would this have to be?  Would we have to be the sourcing point?
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This is a interesting area,.. since it can be both, and maybe should be.  You can get a mobile satellite systems installed on a suburban, so why not use it.  I don't think the downlink will be a issue,.. it's the uplink that will be slow.   But in a Mesh network system, you can route data to go a certain way... so if you are willing to do some trial and error, you can most likely manage to optimize it very well.

--- Quote ---Ball park guess $500 million or somewhat less?
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This is the tough one..  If you take off the shelf,.. nothing new,..  I say you could do it for a few grand.  But that is just a wild guess.  Keeping it simple, but self healing is important.  But there are ways to do a NASA level Mars (successful) Landing but on a limited budget.  It's about taking what is already available,.. and using it in a way it may not have been meant to.

Smurf Hunter:
Now that CaC is up, can this thread come back?

I have researched the HMESH ( and while each node can be built rather inexpensively, I am still looking for some anecdotal evidence of it being used in a localized grid/comms down emergency.

Basically there need to be enough nodes spanning far enough where one of them has internet connectivity.  Personally I think it'd be a neat project for $100 for a basic node (I have a ham license, so it's legal too), but unless I can reach other nodes, and so on and so forth, it doesn't really have much value. 

While I don't have the gear yet, I think getting setup for HF packet email, like winlink would be prudent.

Basically you use a modem similar to the dial up internet era, but instead of using landline phone networks, it's transmitted over ham radio frequencies.  On the receiving end a station decodes the RF back into the email text and then sends it out over the internet (assuming receiving station has an internet connection).

Here's a recent video that demonstrates sending an email from a backpack radio in the middle of the woods with no cell coverage, etc.

Now, this is painfully slow by modern standards and should be regarded as "one way" in an emergency context.  Seems appropriate for emailing HQ a SitRep, etc.

Canadian Prepper:
The Linksys modem most commonly used for setting up a Mesh node can sometimes be had for as little as $30, with the software required to reprogram it available for free. Even if a couple of ham groups converged to deal with an emergency they could at least use their modems to set up a LAN and share documents and forms for everyone's laptops. I saw that happen at a local meeting of several ARES groups who had them set up in their command posts and for the demonstration I witnessed.

The antennas to connect each of those nodes at farther distances probably raises the cost to about $100 per node, though if one has internet access at one point they could direct that to the rest of the MESH.

There's currently an initiative to set up several nodes with antennas in one of the urban areas adjacent to me. The few modems within a km of any of those nodes should be able to connect without needing the antenna, but more nodes connecting to those points via antennas will be needed to fill out the areas in between.

It's not the answer to everything but a useful addition to the larger communications package. The ability to share forms and information between computers alone would make it worthwhile, but if offers the potential to offer more.


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