Satellite Internet and Phones

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L13
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Satellite Internet and Phones

Okay so communications are not high on the if the SHTF list of things to do; but I believe comms are still important.

If you have PMs, food, water, currency, electrical power, and weapons all taken care of then you might be interested (like me) in satellite internet and telephone.

I have only just started to look into such possibilities but already I'm encouraged, here in the UK there is a company called Tooway using the Inmarsat system that looks promising and, are currently offering  10meg internet starting at not much more than landline broadband and connected directly to the backbone; you have to buy a dish and modem but it ain't too bad at £200.

My thoughts are that given a crisis the already very stretched electrical system will give out quickly, that then includes mobile and land based internet and telephones.

Okay so that means a lot of networks will not be available, but plenty have their own electrical generating capacity including satellite uplink stations.

Now which of the important sites have this capacity and how long it would last will take some serious research.

Any thoughts and knowledge on the subject would be greatly appreciated.

Edited by admin on 11/08/2014 - 06:06
atlee
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smoke signals

How about a short wave radio?

I invested in a blanket and a book on smoke signals. The way the American Indians communicated before the internet.

I am also working on long range hollering. 

Don't get to eager for SHTF. You may be waiting a long time. Perhaps a lifetime.

BlackHawk
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CB Refurbs

A friend and I are buying and refurbing CB radios and also have one pretty fair ham radio, purchased at yardsales. CB's go for about $3 each trucker Buddy. What's your 20 Leeroy, Limeytown?

L13
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Thanks atlee, the shortwave

Thanks atlee, the shortwave radio concept is worth a mention.

Don't be too quick to dismiss the idea, I work in the electrical industry and can see how flaky it all really is.

If the networks go down it may create havoc all on its own.

And I'm not waiting for the SHTF scenario to happen in fact I hope never does.

Theres no harm in planning for the worst while hoping for the best.

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That's a roger on the

That's a roger on the Limeytown good buddy.

I sure miss my old Multimode 2, what a machine!

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Satellite internet

I live in a rural area, so have some experience with this as satellite internet is my only real option. We use a company called wild blue, and they give pretty good service. About 1.4 Mbps download. They have a monthly quota however, which you cannot exceed or they slow you way down. You won't be watching Netflix on your satellite connection.

However, if you have regular DSL or landline Internet access, I don't know why you would also want satellite. Do you think your phone lines will get cut or interrupted somehow? In a total mad max scenario, I don't know how useful the internet will be anyway. Will the servers at the other end remain operational? You will probably rely more on tv and radio for news of what is going on.

For local comm, two way radios or CBs are the way to go, like the previous poster suggests.

I looked into satellite phones and have some limited experience with them. The ones that I have used were a bit buggy.

One cool thing that doesn't get much notice is the SPOT GPS messenger. This uses gps and satellite communications to send out calls for help if needed. This would be useless in a large scale disaster, but I carry this with me when I am in places that cell phones don't reach.

I am in the process of looking into and getting a ham license, which is the way to go for long distance communication. Check out this book:

http://www.amazon.com/Communications-Survival-Self-reliance-Michael-Chesbro/dp/1581604114

The author recounts a story of using shortwave radio to communicate with friends in new York on 9/11 when the phone lines were down. A bit extreme and unlikely maybe but I can't see how else one could do this besides HAM radio.

I agree with Atlee that a real end of the world scenario is probably unlikely though.

Hope this helps.

question
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Just want to follow

Just want to follow thread

thanks

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L13
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Thanks Eric_2 No I don't have

Thanks Eric_2

No I don't have a landline or DSL I rely on 3G mobile internet and I can tell you it's expensive and unreliable, and all this from the one of the largest UK providers.

A Sat based system really might be a viable alternative for me, plus you can take it with you on the move with Voice over IP also available.

The Ham idea is a complex subject but also very interesting.

Eric_2
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I see, well satellite is a

I see, well satellite is a pretty good option then. My system at least is not designed to be prtable, as the dish is fixed and would have to be realigned with the satellite if moved, which can be tricky if you don't know what you are doing. But I think they have portable satellite units for RVs and the like that are designed to be used on mobile platforms.

Yes, ham is pretty much a last ditch option, but an option nonetheless. It should be noted however that you can get shortwave receivers just to listen, inexpensive and requiring no license. This is helpful and interesting for global news. If you want to transmit that is where it gets into the license, antennas, etc.

atlee
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satellite

I was only attempting to add some levity. I think it is a great idea to be prepared.

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another option for simple

another option for simple communications are the FRS frequency Radios. Like the Walkie Talkies folks use at Sports events. The  COBRA brand is good quality.  Have re charge batt. that lasts on for days. Max distance model some how claim 32 miles, but in dense forest and hills I get about 2 miles.  Many can be set to same channel. 

    Overall very helpful for private communication in localized area. Found Newest Cobra model on E bay for around 55$ for the pair. Well worth it for many uses. Batteries last for years. I am ordering my 3rd set, some over 5 years old, all still working great. Could be charged w/ solar easy.

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Short wave

I like the shortwave idea cheap and would keep you informed.Those cobra radios are for the money, very good and you could daisy chain a message, might work quite well.I am going to get some.Thanks Guys good thread.whats the range on a cb.

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yodeling

atlee wrote:
I am also working on long range hollering.

That's called "Yodeling". The Swiss have had lots of good ideas. You should see some of their mountain horns.

As for radios, you can build a working radio (transmit and receive) with incredibly primitive parts. I want to say a wire and some rocks, but that's exaggerating a little. Not much though, or so some have claimed. You're not going to be doing voice with it, but Morse code should be doable.

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Interesting topic and good

Interesting topic and good discussion. 

However, I believe that the logic may be slightly flawed.  The satellite systems that are available are pretty good in locations that do not have a 'wired' infrastructure for service.  That's why they are offered.  Much the same as Direct TV  and DishNetwork for TV programming.  Satellite Internet services are available from several different companies in the US and Canada.  Companies like WildBlue, Skyway and HughesNet provide the service with restrictions and at higher costs.

Data rates are better than most dial-up services.  But there are still limits.  I believe that you will find that those carriers will have data thresholds for uploading and downloading (total amount of data).   Their service speeds may also vary.  Premium service download speed is about 1.5 - 2.0 mbps and upload speed is about 256 kbps  (there is a difference between kbps and mbps).   Additionally, there are usually limits on the total amount of data that you can send or receive per month.  What's a kbps or mbps?  search for  kbps vs mbps

Finally, the most important thing to remember is why you (a very generic you) may not be satisfied.  If things get bad and your basic communications is in the toilet, what makes you think that having a satellite internet connection will make things better for you?  If the web site you want is down because the city where it's located is having __________  (fill in the blank).   If the satellite that you communicate gets hit by a ______  you don't go anywhere.  If the downlink receiver, server or gateway from the satellite breaks you never get to the internet.  If there's a political or large scale social problem remember that the government can shut down service.

There is a cool factor if you are out in the boondocks and need to make that trade or buy more to stack (got mail service?) 

If you already have internet service (reasonable assumption?) and you are not using a dial-up service you are spoiled because of the speed.  What is your speed?  Search for an Internet Speed  checker.  The results could be surprising,

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Eternal Student wrote: As for

Eternal Student wrote:

As for radios, you can build a working radio (transmit and receive) with incredibly primitive parts. I want to say a wire and some rocks, but that's exaggerating a little. Not much though, or so some have claimed. You're not going to be doing voice with it, but Morse code should be doable.

Just ask McGyver. McGruber!!

Eternal Student
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atlee wrote:Just ask McGyver.

atlee wrote:
Just ask McGyver. McGruber!!

Heh. While you might not get rescued in 20 minutes, the concept is pretty sound. Supposedly one could tune in the BBC with a long wire and the right primitive tuning. For transmitting, the early days of radio used spark generators, as these could make enough RF noise to transmit. Gotta wonder if flint and steel would be sufficient.

My point here is that people have forgotten what the early days of our technologies were like, and that you can accomplish quite a bit with very little. Think back to what people were accomplishing 100+ years ago with the "primitive" tools available then.

Regarding the original point about satellites, I think people are just spoiled by the modern day internet. Satellites might be of some use, but I'd expect the old style phone system to reassert itself.  Our phone system is built using late 1800 technology, and not much has changed with the two wire POTS system. Sure, the central offices have changed, but most here probably haven't seen the old mechanical switches that were used before then (in some places, up until the 1980's!). Extremely reliable, all mechanical and very low tech.

Now consider that the original Internet was built with a bundle of 16 of these wires IIRC, and achieved the astounding speed of 1 Mbps. Really primitive tech by todays' standards.

Also consider that the precursor to modern messaging was built during the 1980's, and involved dialup modems over phone lines. 1200/2400/9600 bits per second. You could literally send email around the world by everyone dialing up their "next door neighbor" and passing the message along. Bandwidth sucked, sure. But it worked quite well. This network is still around, btw. It's called the Usenet. Or check out google groups for a perverted modern view of it.

So again, you can get a lot of bang for the buck with a low energy state environment if you know what you are doing. Keep that in mind if you find yourself in a SHTF environment.

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Eternal Student, pretty good

Eternal Student, pretty good about the 80's.

However, the beginnings actually date to the 50's & 60's with  AUTODIN, AUTOVON and ARPANET.   Early communications typically ran at about 300 baud and that speed demon of 1200  baud really wasn't there until the mid-1970's. .  In those days line noise seriously impacted communication speed.  Also, a lot of the equipment used acoustically coupled modems, you know,  the phone handset sat in a cradle (mid 1960's).   In the early 80's the majority of digital service was 4800 and 9600 baud not because of modems but still because of we were still using voice grade circuits.  Special line conditioning (at premium costs) allowed transmission speeds to 14.4 and 19.2 kbps.  Those speeds were considered to be screaming.

And time and technology are always on the move.

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Couldn't have said it better

Poorboy & eternal student, you guys are right on with your desciptions about the evolution of the Internet etc. I was trying to articulate more or less the same point earlier, but you said it much better than I could have.

Satellite is fine if you have no other options, but I don't know that It is any better or any more robust than other forms of access, except perhaps using your cell phone as leeroy, the original poster, seems forced to do.

"the Internet" has become synonymous with everything that people do on the computer - shopping, downloading music, facebook, watching YouTube, checking stocks or weather forecasts, etc. But I read somewhere that the most used function is still email. In a disaster scenario, 90% of those other features may vanish, but most people will want to send email to communicate with others at a distance. Since the internet was originally designed to operate in a decentralized way, hopefully email will remain up during times of trouble. If you can get on the Internet somehow or some way, then you will at least have email.

About a year ago, I purchased an old panasonic tough book laptop on eBay for about $200. This is stored in a metal, waterproof and hopefully EMP proof ammo case. It has a plain analog phone modem on it. My satellite ISP also provides a dial-up access number to use as backup if the aatelllite goes down. So, worst case scenario I can still access email or basic web browsing. It's all about redundancy!

(Besides, in a real emergency you'll be more concerned with trying to stay alive, not updating your facebook status or playing World of Warcraft!)

And, the more I look into ham radio the better I like it as a real tool in an emergency. You can send email over shortwave, and also do various forms of "text messaging". Of course it requires more technical knowlege and equipment than just logging onto the Internet, but it is all quite doable.

At the end of the day, each person must decide what level of communication they want to achieve. If you just want to talk to your neighbors, get some cb radios or the little walkie talkie radios they sell at walmart. A scanner will let you monitor local police and emergency services. A shorwave receiver gives you world news. And ham radio gives more options for voice or data communication over a long distance.

Be advised of one thing though - if your friends and family rolls their eyes when you tell them about stacking silver or storing food, they'll think you've totally lost it when you start talking about getting your ham radio license! In my case I've always had an interest in radio, I used to listen to shortwave bands, etc. Getting a ham license was something that I've wanted to do anyway, so even if I dont ever use it for a disaster communication system, I will just persue it as a hobby.

I hope this helps and if I'm missing something here, please let me know.

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Eric_2 You also have some

Eric_2

You also have some interesting points to ponder, particularly the EMP issue.  The metal ammo box solution is also quite valid providing what's inside is electrically isolated from the box itself.  In fact it's also feasible to have an EMP proof room without having to spend a fortune.

Lots of interesting information concerning EMP is available should one be interested in a little searching.  If there were to be an EMP incident the commercial networks more than likely will be toast and that includes dial backup systems, server farms, cell phones, cell towers, cable systems, etc.   I seriously doubt that many (if any)  operations have any protection built into their systems  concerning this issue.  

Something interesting to read about is Starfish Prime which occurred in 1962, use EMP as part of your search to weed out the junk.

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Communications are VERY

Communications are VERY important.  Do not underestimate the force multiplier that is the internet.  It's not just for communications, but you can learn how to do ANYTHING, and you can get real, unfiltered news, often straight from the source.

The internet is probably the single most important thing you can have access to during a crisis.

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Re: Couldn't have said it better

Eric_2: You raise a number of good points. I especially like your idea of the toughbook. I don't know what kind of batteries it has, but one thing you have to watch out for are Lithium-ion batteries. Li-ion batteries have a very limited lifetime. About 3 years, whether you use them or not. One would think that a spare set would be handy, but they really aren't. The chemical reactions in them cause them to degrade over time, even if you don't use them. Ni-cads are better in this regard.  Add in a solar charger to your Ni-cads, and you should be good to go with your emergency laptop.

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