Yeah, we use radios at work (and digitally trunked on some posts). What I meant though is that perhaps, as the Librem 5 will be a convergence device, it may be able to handle some sort of astrix/voip set up via mesh net and then that wouldn’t even be an issue. Anyhow, like I said before, I’m not a ham nor a computer scientist and so I would like to thank you and everyone else for contributing to this thread because it’s been, and I expect will be even more so, fun to see where it goes
Also @Gracefulhippo, you were asking about secured radio communications (sorry so late, had to go to emerge earlier)…
This is a bare link to the industry leader for the digital trunking I mentioned earlier in this comment. I’ll let you decide whether or not if you want to follow it (obviously with out the leading …)
No one is anonymous on a radio transmitter. People think they are anonymous and some of them are prosecuted nearly every month. People even go on the police bands to play around and taunt the police. They are not anonymous and they get caught routinely.
Here is how it works. Many repeaters have what they call ‘radio fingerprinting’. When you use a repeater, you key-up your radio and then give your call sign. The control operator at the repeater logs the user’s call sign and links it to your radio’s unique repeater input signal in their database. I have seen this demonstrated. The oscillator start-up image of two radios is never the same. For a small fraction of a second as the oscillator in the radio struggles to reach its frequency, it creates a unique waveform as seen on something like an oscilloscope. It’s the same every time on the same radio and never the same from one radio to the next. So a week after saying “ha ha ha, you can’t catch me” on the police frequencies, there is a police investigator with a copy of your radio’s unique oscillator start-up image, inquiring with it to the local amateur radio repeater owners. The repeater owners give the call sign of the matching image to the police, who give it to the FCC. I saw this technology demonstrated once at a ham fest. Every time I keyed-up my handheld radio, the resulting image was the same. Several people did it there and no two of the images from different radios were ever the same. I was even once locked-out of a repeater for “kerchunking” without identifying. After being locked out, the repeater simply wouldn’t respond in any way to my input signal. When I called the repeater owner to ask why I couldn’t get in to the repeater, he said I was locked out for kerchunking and agreed to unlock it for me if I promised not to do it again. I gave him my call sign and he unlocked it for me. Kerchunking is when you key-up the radio to see if you can open the repeater squelch (usually at a significant distance from the repeater to test the range of your radio) without giving your call sign.
Yeah, that is a big part of the reasoning behind digital trunking. Btw, you’re anonymous if people can’t hear you (I mean my boss and coworkers know who I am, but John q. public doesn’t). Look, I left a link in my previous post if you’re interested in a source outside of wikipedia.
Yeah, I keep a programmable Part 90 type-accepted VHF/UHF non-trunked radio mounted in my car. I volunteer for a few public agencies and it comes in handy just listening-in. I can transmit there but typically just listen-in since I don’t have the licensee’s permission to transmit using their license. But most of the channels are programmed with amateur radio repeaters, where I spend more time and do some talking. I don’t use it for GMRS, FRS, MURS, Marine, etc… other than to listen. After you’ve had your license a while, you come to appreciate the rules and the need to keep them.
Here in the Midwest with co-ops blasting rtk signal causing interference all over the place and the fcc not doing a dang thing about it, the whole “keeping the rules” thing is a bit laughable to me. I have literally seen the fcc turn a blind eye to stations causing interference counties away.
It looks to me like the FCC doesn’t bother going after ignorant violators or those who don’t threaten public services like police and fire departments or in legacy communications technologies like non-trunked VHF and UHF. In most editions of QST magazine, you’ll find news of some violator who taunted police on their radio system or who accessed a commercial or government satellite illegally, or who transmitted in the CB (11 meter) band using an HF radio at high power in a way that angers a lot of local people. Typically it’s the intentional taunting or the threatening of a sensitive resource that draws attention from the FCC. When they come after you with fines that exceed the value of your home, the results can be life changing. Typically the violator begs for forgiveness after they’re caught, and if they’re lucky they just lose their license and pay a reduced amount of $50k or so in a plea bargain. For the most part, no one cares if you use your baofeng handheld radio to talk on GMRS or Marine frequencies although there is no guarantee of not getting caught. As I get older, I keep the rules for the same reason I drive the speed limit and don’t run red lights. I joked in another forum that if you want one hand held radio that is legal to use on all frequencies, you need to carry a whole bucket full of hand held radios with you. From a technical perspective, all you need is one modified ham radio to cover almost everything. But to comply with FCC type-acceptance rules, you need a whole bucket full of radios (one radio for Marine, one radio for GMRS, one radio for commercial use, etc…). It’s much easier and the alternatives aren’t worth doing. Going back to the Librem 5, I don’t know if there are type-acceptance rules yet for cell phones or for accessing wifi or mesh networks. For the most part, the only way to access those bands has been by using commercial products that were intended to access those bands. But L5 modem swapping will for sure not allow for accessing any of the VHF or UHF bands because of radio type-acceptance requirements with only one exception. Amateur radio bands are the exception because radio (hardware) type-acceptance rules do not apply to the Amateur radio bands. Basically, radio type acceptance says that a radio is not legally allowed to transmit in to a given type of radio service band until after the FCC has type-accepted (approved) the radio that will do the transmitting for use in that specific radio service. One FCC rule says that (paraphrasing here) any one model of radio can only legally access one radio service type. They intentionally prohibit multi-use or multi-service types of radio from legal use. For example, they don’t want any radios out there that can access both marine bands and commercial/public service bands, or that can access GMRS and also any other radio service band from the same radio. Amateur radio is the exception. Any radio can be used to access the amateur radio bands, even if that radio is type-accepted for use in another radio service type. But most mainstream amateur radio experimentation and use does not yet go above 1.2 GHz (1200 MHz). Most of us don’t have any hardware that will go above 1.2 GHz. We can see a lot of spectrum space available above 1.2 GHz that is legal for us to use in very large spectrum slices spread-out throughout most of the different bands going all of the way up to visible light, if we could only get to some of them.
Perhaps one could have the perspective that the modem has the necessary certifications (if indeed it does). The Librem 5 is not itself a radio. However that is the kind of logic that does not sit well with the bureaucrats.
By way of analogy, I can plug a USB dongle into my laptop and the USB dongle will access the cellular network, and has the necessary certifications to do so. My laptop never had certification to use the cellular network. What is the distinction between plugging in an M.2 card and plugging in a USB dongle? and where is the boundary if there is a distinction?
Continuing the analogy, I can of course plug in a second USB dongle that operates in a different band, and again the USB dongle may be appropriately certified.
However this discussion may be hypothetical because for it to have any practical relevance a suitable M.2 card must exist !
The use of such spectrum would require power levels that I personally don’t even want to be around to be of any use, regarding a mobile device that is. Then there’s the issue of battery life because for any useful power levels it would quickly drain the battery whether it be a 2000mAh or a 3500 mAh
Sorry, I’m not challenging you it’s just that I have had some concerns about some of my issue and I’ve pretty much always been given the line “If the quartermaster says it’s safe; It’s safe”. I don’t need an explanation or anything (seeing as I’m going waaaay off topic here and don’t want to take up your time) but some search terms specifically related to what you commented about being uncomfortable with commercial grade (because there’s a whole mess of FUD about everything else online!) would be greatly appreciated Also, it may turn out that using the Librem 5 on ad hoc networks would actually be a bad idea for similar health reasons (?). I dunno, I’ll look into it for my own curiositys sake on my own time. What am I looking for ?
My elementary understanding of it comes from a buddy who is a ham and it comes down to the physics of the signal. The higher the frequency the more power you need behind it to push the signal to a usable distance, hence the reason why most cell phones operate in the frequencies they do today, these companies know how to get the most out of their devices. Do I want a mobile device in the gHz frequencies next to my head trying to send a signal to a tower several miles or more away? No thanks I don’t care to microwave my brain, the current frequencies used for cellular communication is bad enough and I try to limit that.
Ah, okies, I thought you were speaking of commercial grade radios. Still, y’know, someone posted some stuff a while ago here about consumer cell phones and I must say my own exploration of that has been quite worrisome Thanks though
I would imagine what you’re using for a commercial radio isn’t an issue. It more than likely isn’t more than 5 watts and probably in the 460ish frequency range (MHz), that and I doubt you’re really transmitting a whole lot.
A few years ago I was setting up a pair of ubiquity nanostation m5’s (5GHz) and they were at full power as I had just unpacked them and set them up. I had them setup in my shop in separate corners pointed towards each other, for some reason or another I briefly stood in between them just for a few seconds. In just that short amount of time a got a slight rf burn on my chest (these are rated to roughly 12 miles under ideal conditions). In short for light and moderate HT use I wouldn’t worry too much, the more you’re exposed to higher frequencies at higher power then there’s cause for concern.
High power in the higher GHz frequencies? That’s literally how a microwave oven operates to cook our food from the inside out. I have even heard that 5G cell towers where they are in use now, are getting accumulations of dead birds found around them. Microwaves tend to be used as focused in one direction, compared to lower frequencies that tend to spread out and go everywhere (relatively speaking). 5 watts at 5 GHz sounds dangerous to me. 500 watts at 28 MHz, not so dangerous. Some of the AM brodcast radio antennas between 500 KHz and 1500 KHz are close to neighborhoods and transmit up to 50 KW.
For reasons of FCC radio type acceptance requirements, I doubt that the Libren 5 will ever transmit legally below the GHz frequencies with exception of Amteur radio which is totally feasible and likely down to potentially as low as 50 MHz. In the mesh, wifi, and cell phone ranges, using the Librem 5 there is probably imminent if the FCC will license it. But why wait for type acceptance on those bands when very close by (in the RF spectrum) in each case, there is an Amateur radio band where development and actual use can begin right away without waiting for any additional licensing being needed. If we build a killer app there, commercial manufacturers will license it for consumer use… eventually. The key is to find the right modem and getting it on the m.2 adaptor to the Librem 5, and then writing the software to make it work.
Yḱnow what, Iḿ going to chalk the whole thing up to a momentary lapse in expectations on my part (so ¨my bad¨ ). Farther reaching, I expect itś also a growing pain of mixed company. Purism did not limit their market to only computer people like pine did and I expect thatś where a lot more confusion with peoples deportment is going to stem from as more and more non-technical users become involved ( ‘normal conduct’ in the IT community is a great way to fall up the stairs in many others). I’ve read Poetterings observations and have been trying to keep in mind that there is a unique culture to IT workers in my communications here. I lapsed in that and will try not to let it happen again