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Afghans Build Open Source Internet From Trash

Ratbert42 National Science Foundation Grant (140 comments)

Wait, which "National Science Foundation" gave them a grant for this? The U.S. one? Anyone else a little confused by that?

more than 3 years ago

King Wants To Sell Out Ham Radio

Ratbert42 Re:You'll miss them in a disaster (309 comments)

Exactly. Relatively few hams ever touch 420-440MHz. I've been a ham for 15 years, Extra class, done disaster relief, done SSTV, PSK, etc. and have never once transmitted or received there. Not saying it wouldn't be missed, but it's not a hobby-ending apocalypse.

more than 3 years ago

Amateur Radio In the Backcountry?

Ratbert42 Re:VHF/UHF are mainly line of sight (376 comments)

I've carried a VHF/UHF HT on a couple backpacking trips in the Smokies. Even having every repeater in the area programmed in (including all the non-ham ones I could find), I was usually out of coverage of everything. I could sometimes "kerchunk" one on a ridge, but any emergency use would probably require a lot of hiking and trial and error. (Now that's with a decent "rubber duck" antenna. A good directional antenna could help with that to some extent, especially if you know the bearing to the repeater, but can't cut through a mountain.)

I would seriously consider just renting a decent PLB and learning how to best prevent small emergencies from becoming large ones.

more than 4 years ago

Amateur Radio In the Backcountry?

Ratbert42 Re:HF/low power (376 comments)

A 5-watt HF rig just doesn't cut it for reliable SSB (voice) communications, especially with portable / compromise antennas. There are some good semi-portable 100-watt rigs, but they're not anything I would want to take backpacking. The best solution seems to be some smaller 20-watt or so commercial HF radios like the Vertex VX-1210 that could work, but they're not cheap. You could combine a 5-watt radio like the FT-817 with the HFPacker amp to get 35 or 100 watts, but the combined package isn't terribly rugged. The ideal place to research a lot of portable HF options is the "HF Pack" website / email list (hfpack.com).

Even if you did get a decent HF setup that you're comfortable carrying, there's a learning curve to operating. You'd want to understand what bands work best at different times of the day, what nets are available when, and how to work a net. That's assuming that there's a net in that area like Southcars that could serve as a good point of contact if you had an emergency. Calling CQ or breaking in on random hams could get you help in an emergency, but having dozens to hundreds of scattered receivers and ears listening at once gives you a lot better chance of making contact.

Of course all of this is assuming that any emergency would still leave you capable of operating the radio. Dialing a sat phone or setting off an EPIRB / PLB is a lot easier than setting up a portable HF station and making a contact even if you have two arms and all your brainpower intact. Imagine doing it with a broken arm or leg, concussion, hyper/hypothermia, etc.

more than 4 years ago

Time To Ditch Cable For Internet TV?

Ratbert42 Re:I've canceled mine (321 comments)

For sports, you can try ESPN 360. My ISP doesn't carry it, but my neighbor's does. Justin.tv carries a lot of sports coverage and ESPN and others don't seem to mind enough to take down the streams.

more than 5 years ago

New Nintendo DS to Include Camera, Music

Ratbert42 Re:To kill demand for R4, SuperCard, M3, CycloDS, (261 comments)

Absolutely what I was thinking. If they beef up the encryption and can break the pirate cards, it's worth it to Nintendo. They just need enough of a carrot to get people to upgrade and I don't think a little-used camera and MP3 player are enough.

more than 5 years ago

Tufts Tells Judge, We Can't Tie IP To MAC Addresses

Ratbert42 Re:What, me change MAC address? I wouldn't do that (419 comments)

One of the IS guys at work came by, checked the number on my ethernet port, then asked if I was the f*cker that changed my MAC address to DE:AD:BE:EF:CA:FE. Yes I was. B00B1E5.

more than 6 years ago


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