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Underground Radio™

Discussion in 'Amateur Radio News' started by G4TUT, Aug 9, 2006.

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  1. G4TUT

    G4TUT Ham Member QRZ Page

    Underground Radio™ revolutionizes subterranean emergency rescue capabilities

    Vital Alert Technologies Inc has signed two exclusive licence agreements with the Los Alamos National Laboratory for Underground Radio™, a technology that will provide Through-The-Earth Communication™, (two-way voice and text) for first responders, rescue and security teams, underground miners and the public in critical emergency situations around the world.

    Underground Radio, originally developed by Los Alamos for the Department of Energy, is being commercialized by Vital Alert Technologies for use by emergency rescue crews in urban centres and by the mining industry.

    “The new technology is a breakthrough in digital and wireless communications,” said Joe Miller, president and CEO of Vital Alert. “As a pre- and post- emergency warning, evacuation, and rescue communication system, it solves RF (radio frequency) radio failure problems and eliminates systems downtime complications in difficult environments such as subways, tunnels, skyscrapers, and mines. The new technology will also greatly enhance the ability of mining companies to protect their workers.”

    Underground Radio is a through-the-earth communications mechanism that offers high-level security to critical government, industrial, military, commercial, and public infrastructure. It can also be used to respond to threats of terrorism and natural disasters such as hurricanes, earthquakes, and fires. It uses very low frequency (VLF) electromagnetic radiation and digital audio compression technology to carry voice and text data. The VLF signals also can transmit tracking and location data for radio users in the case that they are unable to respond.

    “This is a technical solution to the problem of voice communication in underground areas. It is also inexpensive to build,” said David Reagor, the principal investigator of the Los Alamos team who originally developed the technology.

    Funding for Underground Radio came from the US Department of Energy’s Office of Industrial Technology and from Laboratory Directed Research and Development - a program in which a portion of the Laboratory’s operating budget is used to fund outstanding, emerging or innovative science and technology.


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  2. KA5S

    KA5S Ham Member QRZ Page

    Not really new.


    Cortland
    KA5S
     
  3. W1XZ

    W1XZ Guest

    Great news...I will put on my vest and start digging my antenna hole...please forward this to the station in Cutler, Maine.
     
  4. ZS2BL

    ZS2BL Ham Member QRZ Page

    Quite right, this is nothing new - the Heyphone, which was designed by fellow British amateur John Hey, has been around for years - and is considered the industry standard in underground emergency communications. Read all about it at http://bcra.org.uk/creg/heyphone/introduction.html
     
  5. KQ6XA

    KQ6XA Ham Member QRZ Page

    If this "Underground Radio" project actually ever shows up as a product, it might be useful for cave radio. For many years cavers have been using various LF and VLF frequencies (audio, 3kHz, 32kHz, 185kHz, 76kHz, 110kHz, 136kHz, etc) SSB and CW beacons, with loop antennas for radiolocation (DF) and wire antennas laid on the surface or attached to earthing rods for communications. Using low power on 185kHz SSB, the range is more than 2000ft through rock. More recently, digital texting with more sensitive data demodulation methods has enabled more compact and lower-powered comms.

    In many caves, even 7MHz works very well for through-the-rock communications. I've had really good success using small 2Watt 7MHz SSB HTs into whip antennas or quarterwave wires laid in the cave passage or on the surface. With this, we have communicated from one cave to another cave about 1km away.

    73---Bonnie KQ6XA
    [​IMG]
    WEBSITE: EXPEDITIONCAVE.COM
     
  6. AB8RO

    AB8RO Ham Member QRZ Page

    Bonnie,

    185Khz falls into the part 15 1750 meter band. The remainder of the VLF  frequencies listed do not have an amateur or part 15 allocation that I'm aware of.  Are you using part 15 for 185Khz? Are there other allocations specifically for what you're doing? Does that equipment have to be certified? Finally, if you're using part 15 for 185Khz, does the antenna limitation affect you very much?

    tnx,
    Daryl
     
  7. K8AG

    K8AG Subscriber QRZ Page

    Maybe they can do BPL through the ground and leave the airwaves for us hams. ;) Gotta love that ionosphere.

    73, JP, K8AG
     
  8. KM6MB

    KM6MB Ham Member QRZ Page

    Nothing so far is revolutionary in so called "underground radio"
    When I was serving my apprenticeship as an electrician with the now defunct National Coal Board in the UK during the 1960's, they were ploughing millions of pounds into research for a radio system that would operated in coal mine roadways. All failed!!
    The Mines Research unit at Bretby did finally come up with a VHF loop antenna system set up along main roads that worked "in a fashion" It has been improved upon to where it is "just satisfactory" and is in use world wide in coal mines.
    As for a system that can reach depths of 3000 plus feet and through various strata, including carboniforous ironstone formations, I have my doubts any will be devised with technology we already have. Most of the worlds worked coal seams are well below 1000 feet, in Europe 3000 feet.
    Communications underground in working mines are essential for production, being able to contact key personnel is critical, so if a system were feasable, I'm sure the multi national mining companies would have devised one years ago... Production =$$$$$$$$
    I as an electrician and also a leading hand, I was many times out of communication range, ie not near telephones or intercom systems when I was needed urgently, which cost my employer downtime, a radio could have reduced some of that downtime.

    Just my 2 cents worth.
     
  9. KK4ZY

    KK4ZY Ham Member QRZ Page

    mainly for W1XZ :

    Yeah, Cutler, ME, was, at least while I was working on submarine comms, the main transmitter for the "Broadcast" for the SSBN community. That was from 1980 to 1993. I worked on SSBN comms, most of it at Kings Bay Naval Submarine Base (in Southeast Georgia). The "Broadcast", consisting of all of the administrative messages for the submarine community, would run continuously, and was transmitted in several modes and freqs, including RTTY and spread spectrum. As far as underground transmissions, I don't really think VLF is the way to go. What would really work would be ELF. While I was at Kings Bay, the Navy installed ELF gear on submarines and began a long term test/normal usage program. Now ELF (the Navy was using a freq of 60Hz) WILL go through the ground. For our test receiver shore side at Kings Bay, we actually were using a buried antenna. Perhaps the "underground radio" would be more reliable if they used ELF! I could go on all day about submarines (the best job I EVER had!), but I guess this is about all that directly concerns the topic of this thread.

    Cheers and 73,

    Ed, KK4ZY
     
  10. K4YDI

    K4YDI Guest

    Bury my HT with me. [​IMG] DEEP
     
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