TELECOM Digest OnLine - Sorted: Re: New Long Range Cordless Phones?

Re: New Long Range Cordless Phones?

Robert Bonomi (
Sat, 26 Mar 2005 14:13:49 -0000

In article <>, Dave
<newsgroups@dave!!!christense!!n.o!!!r!!!g> wrote:

> If I set up another computer with Asterix running, this kludge isnt
> going to be terribly cost effective. The rate for the additional
> electricity (38-43 cents per KWH) will negate the advantages.

> The other problems with sourcing VOIP from a provider in Alaska is
> that a) all high speed connections are metered and b) no VOIP carriers
> offer TN's in the 907 NPA, and being in a small rate center the odds
> of having a local TN are even less.

> Other then costs and time involved in getting a tech class ham
> license, can someone estimate what the costs and legalities involved
> in setting up a mobile radio system with a (pseudo-encrypted) PSTN
> gateway? Then I could 'legally' do what these devices do. The
> terrain is pretty open and flat and I have a barn that I could mount
> my equipment on which is above the treeline. At least if i'm going to
> burn additional dead dinosaurs I can have a higher 'gee-whiz' factor.

There's a matter of finding an "available", legal, radio channel to
operate on. Given that you're out in the boonies, this may not be a

You've got some recurring costs for license fees, etc. to the FCC.
There's an annual "regulatory" fee that will be maybe a couple of
bucks; might be as low as $0.40 or so. (looks like between $.08 and
$0.26 per radio per year)

Then there's the license fee, itself; Looks like $55-$155. "depending"

I think that's good for 5 years. "Renewals", for like period, same cost.

Then, there's the equipment cost.

Buying new, you'll spend beaucoup thousands. On the used/surplus
market, you can probably find equipment in the low hundreds.

Transistorized gear uses a few tens of watts on standby. Maybe a couple
of hundred when actually transmitting.

Good antennas make a *BIG* difference in range. They, cost, too.

The higher in the air you can get them, the better, of course.
Depending on _how_far_ up in the air, you may have to worry about
legal requirements for lighting, at night. Those requirements are
*no* fun. Aim for "just under" that 'lighting required' height.

The interconnect to the PSTN is fairly simple -- In the ham radio
community, it's called an "autopatch". There are various kinds of
'access controls' possible, so that you, and nobody else, can enable
the telephone interface.

Generally, they let you *originate* calls from your radio, only.
Except for 'mobile phone' service, there are legal issues with a
transmitter going on because the phone rings.

"Pseudo encryption" is problematic. The law requires you to announce
the station call-sign "in the clear" at the beginning/end of any
period of activity, and at stated intervals during activity.

Technically, minimal 'speech scrambling' is relatively trivial. I'm
*NOT* sure about the legal issues.

Going the 'ham radio' route has its problems, too. It's, legally,
*strictly* 'recreational'/'hobby' usage. Something like calling a
pizza joint, to place a pick-up order, is technically illegal. 'In
the clear' transmission is required at all times.

> Or should I just say forget this idea and go back to Iridium?

I'd suggest trying a "better" roof antenna on the cell-phone.

Speculating -- you've got an 'omnidirectional' antenna, like a 'mag
mount' one for a car. just mounted way up in the air.

A directional "beam" antenna, pointed at the cell tower, can make a *lot*
of difference.

> Tony P. wrote:

>>> I'm living in a rural Alaskan town and traditional cell service is
>>> spotty to none, even with an old bag phone and roof antenna so I was
>>> thinking that this could be an interesting approach to local mobile
>>> phone service.

>> I highly doubt that it is legal in the U.S. However, modifying your
>> 802.11 gear and using say a PalmOS type machine with an 802.11 card
>> you could probably cobble together a VoIP solution that has a linear
>> range of 11 miles or so, depending on what type and pattern of
>> radiator you decide to use.

>> From what I've read about these units they operate in the amateur
>> radio band so I take sort of strong offense to that.

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