Amateur radio is commonly used during and after a disaster. FreeSWITCH provides the ability to bridge users with multiple different communications capabilities, and makes a perfect hub to bridge together people with mobile phones, VoIP connects, and traditional phone lines. The ability to connect amateur radio to FreeSWITCH makes it a valuable tool for Search and Rescue (SAR), disaster response, etc.
After Katrina hit, New Orleans had limited communications, even the police had problems communicating with the different agencies that were responding. After the World Trade Center towers fell, mobile phone networks were horribly disrupted and unable to deal with the large volume of traffic they experienced. In addition, individuals with a mobile phone had a difficult time contacting rescue personnel and coordinating the rescue operation. Amateur radio operators helped in both of these situations, and with the addition of FreeSWITCH even smaller scale operations can see an increase in communication.
Many of these techniques will directly apply to commercial radio systems, unlicensed radio systems (FRS/GMRS/etc), and other radio systems. Always check the laws before connecting a radio to FreeSWITCH. The laws vary by region and are too numerous to list here and maintain that list for accuracy. Generally speaking, the radio itself is legal to connect, but transmitting, particularly if its a licensed band, is not legal. You are responsible to ensure you comply with the laws in your jurisdiction.
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Radio Interconnection Projects
- fs_rpt.pl - Perl script that will connect a radio into a conference, allow for radio users to place phone calls (autopatch), and allow conference chatter to be relayed out the radio port. This could be fashioned into a full repeater if desired.
- mod_echolink - module to interface with the Echolink.org network
- Ettus Radio is a software-defined radio system (open-source) worth looking into.