Ham Spread Spectrum WiFi Question

Maitland Bottoms aa4hs at amrad.org
Wed Jun 27 19:48:41 CDT 2012

>>>>> "AML" == Kirk Fraser <overcomer.man at gmail.com> writes:
AML> Hi,
AML> I'm newly relocated to a rural area without affordable internet service.  As a
AML> ham, I thought perhaps 2 meter with directional spread spectrum from town
AML> might enable me to get WiFi for non-commercial purposes.  Is there a circuit
AML> or plans somewhere I can look at that will enable me to get WiFi at a rural
AML> location via 2 meter spread spectrum?

Sorry to rain on your parade, but there is no 2 meter spread spectrum.
Current rules allow for spread spectrum in Amateur Radio only on
frequencies above 420 MHz. (There were 2 meter spread spectrum
experiemnts once - but they were done using what's called an STA, that
might stand for Special Temporary Authority, which actually isn't part
of the Amateur Radio Service.)

Certainly Amateur Radio communications travels over the Internet all
the time.  From the 2m band, this is most often done with 1200 baud
half-duplex packet radio, but Digital Voice at low bandwidths is
becoming more common.

However, the converse isn't so common. You'll need a control operator
checking the communications at both ends to comply with the rules,
such as making sure no prohibited communications occurs:
It's really easy to stumble across music and encrypted data on the
Internet, and those things are prohibited in the Amateur Radio

Oh, and under 2400 MHz it's not easy to find much spectrum in the Ham
bands. It is important to share the bands with other hams, and not
interfere with the QRP and satellite operations going on.

So, in general, your Amateur Radio digital network will have less
usability than a dial-up internet connection. That's still great, in
an emergency, but for everyday use not so enjoyable.

You like WiFi, so the good news it you can do WiFi in the 13cm ham
band. Check out http://hsmm-mesh.org/ Of course, if you use high gain
antennas and WiFi amplifiers to put your link into Amateur Radio
service then WEP and WPA need to be disabled. Just because Part 15
users must accept any interference that comes along on a legal basis
doesn't mean they aren't going to be mad at you for making
their WiFi not work.

AML> On non-commercial internet use, I mean for example, viewing Christian and
AML> political videos would be easier to do at home where time is unlimited, while
AML> relegating commercial work to free access at the library which limits access to
AML> an hour a day.  Or is there a ruling on the definition of commercial that
AML> enables purchase of products for a hobby but not for profit?

Yes. From the regulations on the link above:
"Communications, on a regular basis, which could reasonably be
furnished alternatively through other radio services."

If you want to pay lawyers to argue the merits of your personal
definition of "affordable" and the definition of "reasonably be
furnished alternatively" in the Code of Federal Regulations then go
right ahead. Let us know how that turns out.

Now I'm enough of a libertarian to let slide your comments about
sending religious and political videos over the ham bands. I've
even ordered pizza over the repeater's autopatch. But I must say,
my ordering pizza using the ham bands made some of my fellow
ham neighbors very mad at me. What we do via Radio Waves we do
in public - and before doing things in public we should probably
ask ousrselves how our mother would like us to act in public.

So, rather than make enemies while you hog our shared radio spectrum
from your "home where time is unlimited" - take all the money you've
saved by not spending it on unaffordable internet service and
invest in equipment and skills to move data over the ham bands
in an emergency. Do practice on an irregular basis with other hams to
be ready for emergency service and you could be a hero.
AML> Thanks much.
AML> Kirk Fraser

All that said, it seems a common way for hams to get internet
connectivity from "in town" to remote repeater sites is to use
commercial equipmment from http://www.ubnt.com/
Yeah, it's not Part 97, but then again you are allowed to encrypt your
link and safely use the Internet for email, banking or anything.


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