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Lasers and the Amateur Radio Service

Discussion in 'Discussions, Opinions & Editorials' started by W5WPL, Jan 21, 2013.

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  1. W5WPL

    W5WPL Subscriber QRZ Page

    In a recent article on the web I saw that NASA sent an image of the Mona Lisa using a laser to a space probe orbiting the moon.
    Has anyone been experimenting with this mode of laser communications?
    Very interesting, but the only way I can think of using this mode for DX is to have a satellite like the old Echo satellite from back in the early 60s.
    And how would you aim it? Better know that math young man!! Fun to imagine it anyway.

    Article link below:
  2. KB1NXE

    KB1NXE Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    "You know, I have one simple request. And that is to have sharks with frickin' laser beams attached to their heads!"

    Sorry, it was in me, striving to get out...:D
  3. KT1F

    KT1F Ham Member QRZ Page

    Not quite the same thing but some people have experimented with modulated light communications.

    These guys in Tasmania, Australia have worked across 167 km with visible light.

    I know it's debateable whether or not it's really ham "radio" but it sounds like fun.

    I guess you don't need a license.
  4. K3JEN

    K3JEN Ham Member QRZ Page

    Our licenses authorize for all frequencies above 275 GHz, and both infrared and visible light fall into that category, don't they?
  5. WY5V

    WY5V Ham Member QRZ Page

    The spectrum in which LASERs operate is in spectrum authorized to the Amateur Radio service. In the old days we were relegated to "200 meters and down" because that spectrum was considered unusable. Well that's about to change on the low end.

    Anyway, take a close look at the bands allocated to the Amateur Radio service. it is actually open ended on the top. The last "band" listed is in the GHz range and simply says "Above 275". Far Infrared (FIR) runs from 300 GHz (1 mm) to 30 THz (10 μm)

    An incandescent light bulb transmits broadband energy that stretches from the infrared into the visible light spectrum. That is about from 300GHz to about 800 THz.
  6. WB2WIK

    WB2WIK Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    We have communicated within club groups and contest stations using LASERs that were modulated by Morse Code. The contest rules usually stipulate "capable of real communications" (like more than a mile) and "received via electronic detection" (not by just watching a light flash), so we accomplished that as a club "project" and listed the band as "474 THz."

    It counted.:p

    Never went for the "big DX" (like 2 miles or more), though.:eek:
  7. K8ERV

    K8ERV Ham Member QRZ Page

    Isn't that the area occupied by the national debt?

    TOM K8ERV Montrose Colo
  8. WY5V

    WY5V Ham Member QRZ Page

    That would be TBk - Terrabucks. :-(
  9. KA9VQF

    KA9VQF Ham Member QRZ Page

    A few years back I used a pair of laser pointers to build a data link between my trailer house and the house. Its around a mile from my house to the trailer. I have a 30 or so foot tall TV tower at the trailer and used my 2M beam tripod at the house. I could just see the TV tower at the trailer from the roof at the house.

    It was a project I think in Pop Com magazine but it could have been in QST.

    It took a lot of fooling around to get them pointed at each other and the slightest puff of wind would cause one or the other to move enough that the connection was lost, but even so it did 'work' surprisingly well for home brew, until the leaves popped out in the spring.

    Of course at that time I was still on dial up from my ISP so speeds were pretty slow even when I could make the contact.
  10. K0BG

    K0BG Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    Laser communication devices aren't new. There was one used as far back as 1973 by the cable company in Overland Park KS, because the highway department wouldn't let them go over or under I35. There are several across the Denver Fed Center that date back to about the same circa. Fact is, you can buy transceiver kits that use solid state laser diodes.
  11. KT1F

    KT1F Ham Member QRZ Page

    Does it really "authorize" above 275 GHz or is it more a matter of "we don't care, that's out of our hands (bands)"?

    So long as you're not doing something dangerous like pointing at aircraft or your neighbor's windows then I think anyone is permitted to do these light beam experiments.

    Most of the activities seem to be hams so they probably use ham callsigns but I don't think they have to.

    CQ CQ CQ de Fred the Flasher
    Last edited: Jan 21, 2013
  12. K0RGR

    K0RGR Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    Back before they changed the contest rules, you could use 'visual detection' for light QSO's and we tried this several times between mountaintops in the Bay Area. We made it work once over the Silicon Valley, and tried it between our hilltop in the South Bay and one in Petaluma - we could see big lights up there, but not the one doing the Morse Code. I always wanted to try that with a laser and electronic detection that could pick out the laser from all the background lights.
  13. N2EY

    N2EY Ham Member QRZ Page

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