posted on Mar, 9 2009 @ 10:07 PM
Setting up an 'off the grid' wireless computer network sounds good but it would require the cooperation of a fairly large number of people.
Generally, the wireless networks us normal people deal with are low powered and short range. You would need to coordinate all those involved to be
able to have any kind of decent coverage. If it is you purpose to gather news, I assume you mean beyond your neighborhood. Otherwise you could just
hop on a bicycle and go have a look yourself. Anything beyond would be difficult to maintain. Think of trying to get only 25 - 50 people to agree on
something, then follow through with it AND maintain it. That would cover a few blocks, or a neighborhood. Then in a sitX, depending on the type, you
would be dealing with any number of difficulties. Power outages, illness, fleeing people, etc...
Not to sound like a commercial for amateur radio but....
Study and get your amateur radio (ham) license. Get your tech license, learn a little then get your general. In a situation where the internet is
taken down we would also see cell phones useless and probably the regular POTS phone system either down or severely overloaded.
CB radio is only reliable for short distance communications. A few miles usually. It is possible to reach farther but not reliably.
Handheld radios such as FRS, GMRS or business radios are only line of sight communications. A few miles at best. Pretty much any radios that operate
at VHF or higher frequencies are not good for long distance communication. There are exceptions but the systems are set up for that specific purpose.
Your not going to run around with a handheld talking to someone 20 miles away without some sort of infrastructure or repeaters supporting it. They are
good for keeping tabs of what's going on in your immediate neighborhood though.
Amateur radio can fill the void when the other systems fail. You can reliably communicate over many hundreds, or thousands of miles. You can hook up a
computer to your radio with simple interfaces and transmit data. Communicate through satellites, set up a positioning system to track each other, for
whatever reason, etc... There is a lot you can do. Some people have the image of an old man tapping morse code in a cigar smoke filled room, and they
are still out there, but there have been many advances.
The tests are pretty easy with a minimal amount of study. The equipment can get a little expensive but you can get inexpensive radios and shop the
used market for deals. Learn enough and you can build you own radios for emergency, or everyday use. The antenna is really the important part anyway
and much easier to build for very little. A so so radio with a really good antenna will always be better than the best radio in the world with a
And to relate to the OP, the knowledge gained with ham radio would apply to any endeavor to set up autonomous wireless computer networks. Whether
sending voice or data, the principles of radio communications are the same.
[edit on 9-3-2009 by Primordial]