Is it really worth it?

I found the RTL-SDR.com website while I was looking for an inexpensive way to create a P25 scanner. Some how I fell into your world of Outernet, and I was immediately immersed in reading through this forum. I have been thinking of something to bring back country to pull data and I think this maybe it.

-Can you pull map information, not just weather and news (NGA, NGS, NADS)
-Can the Dream Catcher act as a regular RTL-SDR dongle to capture P25 transmissions, along with all the other fun/odd projects that are associated with a regular SDR dongle?
-One of the threads mentioned Skylark was able to access SMS, Twitter… true?

Also a hardware for an initial purchase question;
I have figured I need the Dream Catcher, Power Supply(Charger or battery), Passive Antenna (not sure what the actual difference between active and passive are), and a laptop or droid device to link the wifi too.

This technology is incredibly fascinating to me and I hope it can help me out for what I want it to do.

Dark Territory

I recently traveled on a 7 day Uncruises SS Legacy ship on the Columbia and Snake Rivers in Oregon, USA. The ship had no Satellite TV or WiFi. For most of the trip, we had no cellular coverage either.

HOWEVER with Outernet - - my traveling “gnome Lantern”, I was able to put the Lantern flat on the deck of the ship and receive traffic (I was at about 45 deg Latitude using the active patch antenna). I used a Smartphone with the HotSpot mode enabled, and connected my Lantern to the Hotspot. All my traveling friends (at least the “geeks” among us) could connect to my HotSpot and read the latest news every day!! :heart_eyes:

They all loved it - - and this was in the United States!! Ken

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I am in NC.

Is that all you can pull? Just the news?

What’s the difference between the active and the passive antenna?

Thanks,
Joe

After reading a lot more I have determined that what I am looking for is not available at the moment and will in the “future”.

Please tell me if I am wrong.

I am still very interested in this as a project.

-Can you pull map information, not just weather and news (NGA, NGS, NADS)

It will allow you to receive news and basic weather GRIB data that is on the Rotation.

you cannot though request your own URLS from the field AD-Hoc like internet. The data is set in advance and pushed to all the devices globally.

-Can the Dream Catcher act as a regular RTL-SDR dongle to capture P25 transmissions, along with all the other fun/odd projects that are associated with a regular SDR dongle?

Sure!, i have 3 Dreamcatchers running, one is outer net, one is Dump1090 and another is a broad range scanner. The thing that is great about the dreamcatcher is that the SDR is built on it, so the form factor is much easier to deal with. Although the Rpi3 is higher powered, you need to have an SDR hanging off of the USB port and thats not only “ugly” its hard to package… with mine I’m able to have a nice box and things are more reliable hardware wise.

Also a hardware for an initial purchase question;
I have figured I need the Dream Catcher, Power Supply(Charger or battery), Passive Antenna (not sure what the actual difference between active and passive are), and a laptop or droid device to link the wifi too.

to play with Outernet you can get the DreamCatcher and Antenna, the active antenna is much better. Mine did great taped into a window pointing “roughly” to the satellite. You can also have the DC connect to your own home wifi (or whatever) so its easily accessible.

I use mine while camping in the woods a lot (I’m in Bama) and whats cool about it is that i can’t get good cell coverage, but i have some basic information to look through so I’m not completely disconnected. (i use an orange joos solar panel and battery to power it)

So is it the solution to high speed internet access to the masses, absolutely not.
is the DC a 100% replacement for all the Rpi, micro project with SDR you could possibly want… no

it is a great project that will open up more doors. often a small project like this helps others see that something is possible. There are many areas that the whole system can be improved to provide more “localized” (by satellite feed) data thats important to those people.

the DC is worth playing with, i do like the form factor a lot, really make building a dedicated “appliance” much easier that a Pi and separate SDR zipped tied in a box…

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Thank you for the insight.

I am going to be buying a DC here soon.

After initial use, I have retired the equipment. The usefulness of the information available is very questionable and of no help in emergency situations or remote locations (e.g. power outage). It is at best a “toy” to play with. I would not recommend it.

Thank you for the reply, and I started to come to that conclusion.

Doesnt seem to fit what I would like for it to do. Maybe in a few years it will be there.

Still debating to spend the money and just “toy” with it.

Maybe they can use both Ku band and SDR?:confused:
Blockstream Satellite is designed to work with small antennas only 45cm or larger in diameter.
SDRs other than the RTL may be used, but it must be supported by the GNUradio project and be able to receive frequencies from 950MHz to 1450MHz.

probably you need a professional data plan then: https://satellitephonestore.com/bgan-service

I think that if one understands the fundamental idea of Outernet (to provide information, weather updates, news, etc) to parts of the planet that do not have access to this information, one understands it. If one wants satellite-based internet, with all of the expense and technology required, then one wants satellite-based internet. Outernet is not high-speed internet via satellite; the fundamental point of Outernet is to democratize information. If one understands that fundamental point, one must accept that Outernet is not designed for consumers who are accustomed to consuming information through cellular or hardwired ISP. The idea of Outernet is magnificent. Sometimes, there are technological snags, but if one considers that Outernet might allow someone in a remote location on the planet to receive news and information in their own language, information that might otherwise be denied to them, then one has to accept that using the Inmarsat for this purpose, and providing cheap hardware and software for the decoding of the signal, is a stroke of genius, and one of the few humanitarian gestures that the tech world has made to the developing parts of the globe.

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I want to take Simon’s comment another step forward

With the recent hurricanes and devastation in the Caribbean and the earthquakes in Mexico - - how could Outernet fit in?

Remote locations need Outernet - - YES, but how about pre devastation areas in the aftermath that all of a sudden have no connectivity?

This is an area needing further exploration. APRSAT messages are great, but don’t reach the masses that need to know “what’s going on”. Outernet can provide a helping hand here.

But how?? Let’s thrash this around in our Forum to see what more can be uploaded besides News and Weather. Ken

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Ken raises an excellent question: what new stuff can be sent out, now that News, Weather, Messages, and Wikipedia are stable.

One thing I have on my list is the NIST randomness beacon. Its a source of small amount publicly-proven-pedigree randomness, and is useful in certain security protocols where a disconnected source of randomness (like DC) is preferable over a network-connected computer. I am not sure if there is any interest in that from people here?

In anycase, what else - suggestions?

With all due respect, a source of randomness?? Who exactly is your target market for that? not only would using outernet as a source of randomness be impractical as it needs to be changing rapidly, its highly predictable since its observable by others… beyond even that anyone who needs a high quality source of randomness would certainly have access to a computer, likely internet in some form, and absolutely the skills to setup a basic static noise random source.

you’ve got 20mb to spend per day, don’t use it on anything your target doest need.

Your data transmission methods may be “optimized” but your data absolutely is not. you are blasting the same data to everyone regardless if they can even use it.

if your market are those peoples who do not or cannot have access to the internet, which you’ve stated it is, you need to do better that just “blasting to all”

Lets take some examples…

Weather – Why are you sending weather data for APAC to the Americas? you can increase your data optimization by focusing on the weather they need.

Wikipedia - you think someone whos stuck in a warzone in the Central African Republic gives a rip about JayZ and Beyonce? Wikipedia has good data no question, but your just slamming data through based on the top 10 of wikipedia pages from 1st world countries. Its like sending 3 tons of facial cleanser to a famine stricken country… WTF can they do with that? they need FOOD!
–Optimize your data to what people can use.

APRS / Ham Radio - im on the fence about this, only because it needs to be improved to send real info… one way message are important but who is the audience?

  • send materials people can use, books in text format,
  • health literature, how to **** there are mountains of this stuff
  • schedules for broadcasts,
  • info on health issues, (outbreak of ebola so people stay away),
  • NGO help station schedules,
  • Traveling Aid locations and schedules,
  • contact, location of International aid organizations and what they can offer.

This has all been stated before, you know this…

Chris

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Chris,

Sources of known randomness, with proven pedigree, are useful in many systems. If you want to know more, you could have googled “NIST randomness beacon” and understood what such a thing is useful for. “Highly observable by others” is exactly the point of such things. This isn’t even the only randomness beacon in the world.

A tip: whenever you find yourself saying that, it means you are being rude and should reconsider.

There is more to Outernet than has been imagined by you (with apologies to Ridley Scott) :wink:

Weather: does it keep the same boundaries as the satellite beams? Could weather phenomena possibly cross from one to another?

There are no Outernet users currently in the Central African Republic. Thats not how our rollouts work. Dedicated rollouts that have been done use customized file packages.

The current data set is a demonstration of things that can be useful. You are missing the forrest for the trees. If you have a positive suggestion, please make it - A source of data/info useful to people on the standard beams, or interesting to them atleast. And something we can source. Not “the next unpublished novel by GRRM”. If you have a better selection algorithm for Wikipedia articles, feel free to post it here.

“What people can use”: and that is what, exactly? Peoples’ uses are varied, and specific applications of Outernet tech get customized to specific classes of people. Thats what we do, in collaboration with such classes of people, instead of trying to imagine ourselves, without any basis, what “people in the warzone of Central African Republic” need.

Let me get right on that: scotty, lets beam down some food!

Negative criticism is easy, everyone is a critic online.

Then why say it again, and with such force?

You are passionate about this, I understand - but raging against us isn’t helpful. Suggestions are always welcome, but constructive ones.

We are also a tiny team, and there is no one here who is a content editor - we just about manage to keep improving on and producing our tech, keep the network running, and manage shipments. Thats why we ask for help on content matters. Rageful responses just make it more difficult to ask next time.

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I understand what NIST does and what the randomness beacon is, my point is that its not necessary for a service like outernet… if you need it, your capable of other more efficient means.

With all due respect,
A tip: whenever you find yourself saying that, it means you are being rude and should reconsider.

Im trying to be civil, in a situation where we don’t know each other nor can we see each other. But heres another tip, you are rude, curt and condescending on this forum to the people who want to help you. You’ve done it to me many times. its your site, you can do what you want, but there are people here that want to help, and you’ve smacked them around… you’ve stated your a small team. There is an army of people who want to help, and its like pulling teeth to do so. Let people help.

There are no Outernet users currently in the Central African Republic. Thats not how our rollouts work. Dedicated rollouts that have been done use customized file packages.

it was an example dude, you claim the service is for those who are limited in resources… Can you imagine pitching this to NGO (which i know you have done and failed) and saying you can reach THOSE people…

“What people can use”: and that is what, exactly? Peoples’ uses are varied, and specific applications of Outernet tech get customized to specific classes of people. Thats what we do, in collaboration with such classes of people, instead of trying to imagine ourselves, without any basis, what “people in the warzone of Central African Republic” need.

dude you missed the point AGAIN! get with the NGOs in those areas, what information do they want to send? I promise though they will never give a crap about the wikipedia page of starbucks.

Let me get right on that: scotty, lets beam down some food!
Negative criticism is easy, everyone is a critic online.

you ASKED! shall i provide you with exquisite prose and platitudes to reinforce your existing views? or give my OPINION as you asked? and this is a real situation since you mention it… regarding haiti aid after the earthquake… federal Center for International Disaster Information director Suzanne H. Brooks: “I guarantee you someone is going to send a winter coat or high-heeled shoes,”. its first world mindsets applied to the third world… wikipedia is a good space fillter, why not optimize what articles are sent (protip: exclude entertainment data)

Then why say it again, and with such force?

force? you didnt like what i said, accepted, but force? that impression is proportional to the level you disapproved… next time ill put in a couple :slight_smile: or :wink: will that change it? jeez…

You are passionate about this, I understand - but raging against us isn’t helpful. Suggestions are always welcome, but constructive ones.

it was VERY constructive and i’m not the only one who has said it… its been mentioned here before… multiple times… You talk about the forest and trees, i am outside and i can see what this could be, you might be too close to see that… any successful business person will tell you differing perspectives provide optimal insight.

I am an advocate, i have 4 DC running as remote RF capture points, and they work great… its much easier to package and maintain than the RPI + SDR, but your failing at the one thing that makes you unique… the stream…

Currently, one of the RSS News Feeds is Med Line Plus Health News.

Would it be feasible to create a new Medical App on the Welcome Screen

where you could then proceed to download the entire Medline Medical Encyclopedia which is 12,023 HTML files at a total size of 116 MBits over a period of time. Then move the MedLine Health RSS feed into that App?

Don’t scream :sob: @Abhishek Ken

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NOW THAT IS WORTH WHILE CONTENT!!!

Bravo!, great great use of bandwidth!!

Chris

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Theve got a nice XML based data set that can be downloaded. The only (major dealbreaker) is the copyrights are mixed. Some us gov none to restricted non commercial… that will have to be addressed.

But this is excellent…

Hello Chris

I’ve thought about the copy write issue too.

The Med Line Plus Encyclopedia (though created by a company called Adam) appears on a US Gov web site as a US Gov service. It is also included in the WorldPossible Rachel data bases that are freely distributed and reproduced countless time around the world. That makes it public domain in my book, but I’m not a lawyer.

Wolfgang @wsombeck and I even have the entire Rachel data base installed in our Dreadmcatchers on a USB data stick.

@Abhishek is looking into both the copy write issue and how one might implement this idea. Ken