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Mobile Communications

One community project that would make a difference is a mobile phone cell. It would cover the local area and provide existing mobile phones, 2G and degraded 3G, the ability to set up their own networks.

Previously, the cost of these units was about £50K, well out of the range of ordinary people but lately, as usual, prices have been coming down and here is a pirate product that will masquerade as a cell tower and perform the communication tasks you want. Grand total including the laptop $1.5K. All you need is the software and that is being developed now. Soon, it will be an affordable option and probably come pre packaged. Set up your own local communications system. They are already in use in the third world and I’m sure a few people have them as local exchanges out in the wilds in the West.

6 comments to Mobile Communications

  • Skvez

    It has another concerning use.
    Up to now someone breaking into your home could phone your landline from a callbox to tie up the line thus stopping you calling for help, provided they’re still paying to connect to you they’re holding the line open, you can’t drop the call to call out. (If you hang up and pick up again they’re still on the other end)

    On the other hand a mobile phone could always drop the incoming call and then call out.
    With this technology the fake cell-tower could accept the call but not route it anywhere leaving you cut off.
    Any isolated premises could therefore be attacked with the victim having no way to phone for help.

    Although I suppose calling for help was a false comfort anyway as no-one would show up in time to help.

  • Skean Dhude

    Skvez,

    That is correct but why bother with a £1.5K solution that would cause a detectable wide area disruption when you can get a localised jammer for £30 and stick it outside your victims house.

  • Lightspeed

    A few thoughts:

    Electrical power will be the big problem in most disaster scenarios.

    Its best to think of self-reliant solutions.

    A community based radio communications system would be more sustainable than a mobile phone cell as the cell would require substantial power to run both teh receivers/ transmitters and the associated computers.

    Currently available on the internet are small walki-talkies( search for Boafeng UV-3R) These are low cost (£30.00) low power, wide band receiver transmitters that are capable of communicating with kids and neighbours PMR446 radios, Local radio amateur services, Coastguard, Air-sea rescue, mountain rescue etc. They also have integral FM broadcast receivers and a flashlight. I have one in each of my Bug out bags.

    Being low power this sort of radio ( and PMR446) are suitable for adaption to run off AA or AAA or 12v DC This gives multiple possibilities to keep the units on air, long long after mains power has stopped.

    Unfortunately I do not think it will be too long before Ofcom clamp down on the sale of this sort of unit as as they are capable of transmissions that could interfere with Search and Rescue frequencies….which is why they could be invaluable in times of disaster…….

  • Skean Dhude

    Lightspeed,

    Welcome. That is the sort of information we need. Any idea the best place to purchase and the prices we can expect.

  • Lightspeed

    SD, Thanks. I’ve been lurking here for a while now. Great site and very much in tune with my way of thinking. Thank you. I am pleased to be able to put something back in.

    Answering your question, the UV3Rs are available on e-Bay both from UK and Hong Kong. Necessarily the UK supplier is slightly more expensive due to VAT and extra handling costs.

    The model to go for is the Mark II, which is identified by its dual line display. Reason for this being the better buy are as follows:
    * Mk II has a single dual band antenna that will work efficiently on all frequencies
    (as opposed to two separate antennas on the Mark I, thus more to lose / break)

    * Mk II has 1500 mA Hr battery as opposed to 1200mAHr on Mk I

    * Mk II has more extensive menu system for better in field programming (computer programming
    cable just makes you reliant on computers, which again are a major draw on what could be a
    precious power reserve.

    Expect to pay in the region of GBP 30.00 from Hong Kong and GBP 40.00 from UK suppliers inclusive of delivery costs. Expect 2 to 3 weeks for delivey from HK. I have found these traders to be 100% reliable.

    Good Accessories:
    For disaster comms use I’d recommend the following accessories that can be chosen as lowest cost package deals from the HK e-Bay Traders:
    * Hands free headset (essential for covert operation and usually supplied Free of charge in
    the package)
    * Car Power supply (get the one where the USB plugged cable can be detached from the cigarette
    lighter plug and used with any USB charger)
    * Additional rechargable batteries

    Just to confirm that I have absolutely no connection with teh suppliers of these radios, I am just a very satisfied customer.

    If anyone purchases this radio and would like more info on programming or on how to build low cost off-grid charging systems please let me know and I’ll post additional information.

  • Skean Dhude

    Lightspeed,

    Thanks for the input. I’ll have a look at them later. They certainly are more affordable than I thought they would be although I am surprised at the difference between suppliers is that way around but I suspect it is more to do with our taxes.

    As far as the programming and building of systems I am interested, have you thought about making it an article?

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