[amsat-bb] Portable satellite terminals for disaster relief

Daniel Schultz n8fgv at usa.net
Tue Oct 27 01:14:54 PDT 2009

I came across this program on the BBC, rebroadcast late Sunday night in
Washington DC on WAMU FM: 

Digital Planet, October 20, 2009 

This organization, NetHope (http://www.nethope.org), has developed a small
$3000 portable satellite terminal for quick deployment to disaster areas,
providing voice and internet service through a commercial geosynchronous
satellite. They are called "Network Relief Kits". Amsat can pretty well forget
about attracting funding for a geosynchronous amateur satellite supporting
emergency communications when the capability already exists. 

It would seem that the only remaining justification for amateur radio in
today's world is for the education and self training aspects. I don't know if
"self training" as defined in part 97 carries any weight in today's world.
There was a time when most engineers started out as hams in their early youth,
but today only formal school based education carries any weight with employers
and funding agencies. What this will mean for Amsat's ability to launch any
future satellites that are larger than a Cubesat and in a higher orbit remains
to be seen. Where does Amsat fit in with NetHope and the other non
governmental organisations of the world?

Dan Schultz N8FGV

>From the BBC web site:

Network Relief Kits have been designed to provide immediate internet access in
remote areas. It is a small portable kit that fits into a back-pack, and has
provided a vital aid to workers who set out to help people after disasters.
The engineer and journalist, Mike Outmesguine, explains how to build an
internet relief kit.

Bill Brindley, the CEO of NetHope, joins Digital Planet to discuss how his
organisation developed the Network Relief Kit. Mr Brindley explains the
importance of collaboration between non governmental organisations and other
big business to further develop tools that will help in the restoration of
connectivity to areas that have suffered natural disasters.

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