Integrated Asterisk VoIP & Amateur Radio

Conversations around originating a webcast for conference, including cameras and mixers.
russellhltn
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Postby russellhltn » Mon Apr 23, 2007 11:25 am

rpyne wrote:Don't forget that channels 1-6 of the 802.11 2.4 GHz band are in the Amateur Radio frequency space.


Last I looked, it was only Channel 1 of 802.11B. All other channels have parts that go outside of the Amateur Radio allocation. I'd also question whether or not Amateur Radio can legally be used for Church "business". Emergency Communications, yes. Stake Conference - highly questionable.

I seem to recall a couple of hams that set a distance record found that once the link was set up, they could drop to power to get back into Part 15 compliance and maintain the link. It takes line-of-sight and directional antennas, but yes, it can be done.

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Postby thedqs » Mon Apr 23, 2007 12:00 pm

rpyne wrote:Don't forget that channels 1-6 of the 802.11 2.4 GHz band are in the Amateur Radio frequency space. With the right equipment, Hams can run up to 1 KW on those channels. With good antennas, 30 miles is easily doable with about 1 watt.


Hmm I didn't know that... :D :D I can just see myself now covering the entire Utah Valley with my own Wireless router signal (Blackflag of course). Though I would have to see if my computer's connection has to identify itself every 10 mins. ;)
- David

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thedqs
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Postby thedqs » Mon Apr 23, 2007 12:04 pm

RussellHltn wrote:Last I looked, it was only Channel 1 of 802.11B. All other channels have parts that go outside of the Amateur Radio allocation. I'd also question whether or not Amateur Radio can legally be used for Church "business". Emergency Communications, yes. Stake Conference - highly questionable.


Hmm ok so I'll be restricted to channel 1. That's ok. As for stake conference, maybe it could be considered a 2 hour long net?

RussellHltn wrote: I seem to recall a couple of hams that set a distance record found that once the link was set up, they could drop to power to get back into Part 15 compliance and maintain the link. It takes line-of-sight and directional antennas, but yes, it can be done.


Hmm just set up an auto rotating antenna to pin-point my position. Though I feel sorry for anyone who is also using channel 1 between my router and myself.
- David

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Postby rpyne » Mon Apr 23, 2007 5:42 pm

RussellHltn wrote:Last I looked, it was only Channel 1 of 802.11B. All other channels have parts that go outside of the Amateur Radio allocation. I'd also question whether or not Amateur Radio can legally be used for Church "business". Emergency Communications, yes. Stake Conference - highly questionable.


The Ham band is 2.390-2.450 GHz

802.11b frequencies are:
Ch--Lower--Center--Upper
1 -- 2.401 -- 2.412 -- 2.423
2 -- 2.404 -- 2.417 -- 2.428
3 -- 2.411 -- 2.422 -- 2.433
4 -- 2.416 -- 2.427 -- 2.438
5 -- 2.421 -- 2.432 -- 2.443
6 -- 2.426 -- 2.437 -- 2.448
7 -- 2.431 -- 2.442 -- 2.453
8 -- 2.436 -- 2.447 -- 2.458
9 -- 2.441 -- 2.452 -- 2.463
10 -- 2.446 -- 2.457 -- 2.468
11 -- 2.451 -- 2.462 -- 2.473

As for "Commercial Content", the rules on that changed several years ago:

Sec. 97.113 Prohibited transmissions.
(a) No amateur station shall transmit:
(1) Communications specifically prohibited elsewhere in this part;
(2) Communications for hire or for material compensation, direct or
indirect, paid or promised, except as otherwise provided in these rules;
(3) Communications in which the station licensee or control operator
has a pecuniary interest, including communications on behalf of an
employer. Amateur operators may, however, notify other amateur operators
of the availability for sale or trade of apparatus normally used in an
amateur station, provided that such activity is not conducted on a
regular basis;
(4) Music using a phone emission except as specifically provided
elsewhere in this section; communications intended to facilitate a
criminal act; messages encoded for the purpose of obscuring their
meaning, except as otherwise provided herein; obscene or indecent words
or language; or false or deceptive messages, signals or identification.
(5) Communications, on a regular basis, which could reasonably be
furnished alternatively through other radio services.

The only part of a stake conference link that would be questionable is the music and that should be alright because it is a digital transmission.

Since this thread started out with a general direction of emergency communications, the following is also relevant:

Sec. 97.401 Operation during a disaster.

(a) When normal communication systems are overloaded, damaged or
disrupted because a disaster has occurred, or is likely to occur, in an
area where the amateur service is regulated by the FCC, an amateur
station may make transmissions necessary to meet essential communication
needs and facilitate relief actions.
(b) When a disaster disrupts normal communication systems in a
particular area, the FCC may declare a temporary state of communication
emergency.
The declaration will set forth any special conditions and special rules
to be observed by stations during the communication emergency. A request
for a declaration of a temporary state of emergency should be directed
to the EIC in the area concerned.
(c) A station in, or within 92.6 km of, Alaska may transmit
emissions J3E and R3E on the channel at 5.1675 Mhz for emergency
communications. The channel must be shared with stations licensed in the
Alaska-private fixed service. The transmitter power must not exceed 150
W.

Sec. 97.403 Safety of life and protection of property.
No provision of these rules prevents the use by an amateur station
of any means of radiocommunication at its disposal to provide essential
communication needs in connection with the immediate safety of human
life and immediate protection of property when normal communication
systems are not available.

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VIOP for emergency comms

Postby The_Earl » Tue Apr 24, 2007 12:26 pm

I have thought a bit on VOIP for emergency comms and an emergency computer / comm platform for disaster prep.

You would only need an emergency comms system when the standard comms systems are not functioning. This means a SERIOUS interruption of systems built to be very redundant. These emergencies are rare and often widespread. The same disaster that makes existing systems non-functional makes it very difficult to maintain emergency comm systems, since primary providers pay a lot of money to make sure their systems work always.

I do not think that VOIP is a good fit for a number of reasons. The first, VOIP is point-to-point and real-time. In order to complete a call, you need someone on the other end, a working link, and an address for that end. If we compare VOIP to TCP/IP, you need a TCP address.

VOIP technology currently does not have the equvilent of DNS, ROUTED, nor DHCP. These technologies allow quick deployment of TCP networks and easy navigation of them.

You could create a pre-planned set of VOIP routes (dialplans and interconnects), you could even build a lot of redundancy into those networks, but if things do not work out exactly according to the plan, you have chaos until you can reformulate a plan.

As well, in a disaster area, bandwidth, reliability and redundancy are likely limited in the disaster area. It would be much better to off-load large portions of the network services to places off of the disaster area network. This would allow better coverage, since the disaster area would only be responsible for 'last mile' type connectivity, not providing services on the network itself.

Other technologies like Email, IM, Forums and the like are much better suited to emergency situations. Most people already have an IM name and an Email address. These systems are also fault-tolerant, distributed, and available out of most disaster areas. Web mail systems in particular are often HUGELY redundant systems in a geographic large area.

Hurricane Katrina showed some interesting information about emergencies and emergency comms. One project specifically set up wifi and TCP to shelters and staging bases for rescue / recovery teams.
http://www.radioresponse.org/wordpress/
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/09/08/AR2005090802058.html

Another project is building a Linux based firmware for auto-meshing wifi networks
http://www.cuwin.net/manual

These are great, but I think they work best AFTER the initial few days. Buried in the comments and blogs are things that were needed ASAP.

A few things I think a shelter system should have:

Registration DB: A database of who/when/where people are. Included people last seen, known dead, missing, skills, medical needs, etc.

Resource DB: A database of what you have, what you need, where things are

GIS: A mapping system to show where things were, are and where they are going to be.

Web Server: A local page that shows pertinent info. FEMA numbers, Shelter info, Weather, whatever needs to be available to people coming in.

Anyway, I have an idea for a liveCD type system that would work well for a shelter. I need a place to start organizing my ideas and getting critiques of them. I started a disaster prep area at LDSOSS.org. I will copy this post out there for you to pick apart.

I think this issue is still really young, and needs more of a discussion off of the Tech forums.
http://ldsoss.org/index.php?title=Talk:VOIP&action=edit

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k0nod
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Postby k0nod » Wed Apr 25, 2007 6:31 am

As to ID's for "Hams" sending data on the 802.11 channels, you can set your call sign as the SSID broadcast. This should suffice under "Ham" rules.

russellhltn
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Postby russellhltn » Thu Apr 26, 2007 11:47 am

rpyne wrote:The Ham band is 2.390-2.450 GHz


Dang! I must have slipped a decimal point and was looking at the 24GHz allocation. :o

Looks like we're good for Channels 1-6.

rpyne wrote:Sec. 97.113 Prohibited transmissions.
(a) No amateur station shall transmit:
(5) Communications, on a regular basis, which could reasonably be
furnished alternatively through other radio services.


Every 6 months considered "regular"?

Then there's this:

Sec. 97.113

(b) An amateur station shall not engage in any form of broadcasting, nor may an amateur station transmit one-way communications except as specifically provided in these rules; nor shall an amateur station engage in any activity related to program production or news gathering for broadcasting purposes, except that communications directly related to the immediate safety of human life or the protection of property may be provided by amateur stations to broadcasters for dissemination to the public where no other means of communication is reasonably available before or at the time of the event.

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Postby russellhltn » Thu Apr 26, 2007 11:53 am

Shifting back to emergency communications, the most overlooked aspect (IMO) is power. Many emergencies involve power failure. All our fancy tech is only good as good as our power plans. Once you start talking about a computer, you just about have to be talking about a generator too. (Just try power a computer for 3 days on battery power alone - and not counting on full sun.)

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thedqs
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Postby thedqs » Mon Apr 30, 2007 11:29 pm

RussellHltn wrote:Shifting back to emergency communications, the most overlooked aspect (IMO) is power. Many emergencies involve power failure. All our fancy tech is only good as good as our power plans. Once you start talking about a computer, you just about have to be talking about a generator too. (Just try power a computer for 3 days on battery power alone - and not counting on full sun.)



You have the supplies for 3 days of computer power? (Mine will run out after about 15 mins (on a UPS)) (Of course my PDA will run for about a week without recharge)
- David

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Postby russellhltn » Tue May 01, 2007 3:55 am

Theda's wrote:You have the supplies for 3 days of computer power?


I wish. But if I had this puppy, 3 days of power would be quite do-able. Take a look at the fuel burn rate.

But my point is we have to consider what our power options are. If our tech is only usable when the power stays on, then we're not really equipped for an emergency. Even if we get a large car-sized battery, that's still doesn't give us a good run time. Not if we're powering a notebook computer. Good point o the PDA.


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