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Your opinion: Wireless "phone patch" via Cellular.

Discussion in 'Amplitude Modulation' started by N6YW, Sep 25, 2016.

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  1. N6YW

    N6YW Ham Member Volunteer Moderator QRZ Page

    A few years ago I was a net control operator for the Collins Collectors Net on 3895 khz.
    One of our members, Werner Vavken WB6RAW was on vacation and traveling without
    HF in his vehicle. To facilitate his checking into the net, I called him on my cellphone
    and used the speaker in the phone to transmit his received audio, into the microphone.
    We used the term "break" to disengage between RX & TX, thus allowing him to copy my
    receiver audio. It worked very well and it was such a hoot not having to deal with a traditional
    landline. It was novel to be sure and quite effective.

    So, this begs the question. Is it true wireless even though certain landline channels are used
    throughout the system even if the original signal was wireless? The cellphone being
    essentially a radio on both ends of the conversation being interfaced with another radio
    (HF rig) is pretty much wireless don't you think? The next question is, what would be
    the interpretation (in your minds) of the FCC rules as it relates to the amateur service and this
    use of cellphones depicted in this story? Werner is a ham, so he isn't really third party traffic
    is he? Certainly an unlicensed person would have to be announced as third party traffic.
    I am curious as to your opinions on this. Interpreting the rules in this case is interesting.
    73 de Billy N6YW
     
  2. KC4YLV

    KC4YLV Ham Member QRZ Page

    Ideologically? Not 100% ham radio. However, it could be argued that we've done "not 100% ham radio" for years, with landlines. Patches to end users don't really bother me. What does bug me is using non-dedicated networks for permanent links. Think Echolink and IP connections between sites. I have more or a problem with that.

    I mean even back in the 60s - if you did a long distance phone patch, 2800 of that 3000 mile telco haul was probably done over Long Lines towers, installed and built by hams, just while they were on the clock instead of as a hobby.

    The lines have always been just a little blurry, and with the onset of easy Internet linking it only gets more blurry.
     
  3. KA0HCP

    KA0HCP XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    "Wireless"? That is unimportant.

    Cell phones are "Common Carriers" regulated by the FCC. You used it just as the regulations permit. No difference from using a land line.
     
  4. W2VW

    W2VW XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    First you have to find a cell phone that has decent audio.
     
    WA3VJB likes this.
  5. K4KYV

    K4KYV Premium Subscriber Volunteer Moderator QRZ Page

    As far as I know, ham radio phone patches were never illegal under FCC rules, at least post-WWII. What was "illegal" in the eyes of the phone companies, was the use of "unauthorised" attachments to the phone lines. I believe this was only a violation of telephone company policy, not FCC rules, and hams did it anyway and rarely if ever got into trouble. I remember going round and round with my local phone company over RF chokes I put in series with my phone line to kill the interference from my ham transmitter that rendered the phone unusable while I was transmitting. The telco repairman would discover them on the frequent occasions when the phone was knocked out of service by lightning. Kind of like "illegal" extension phones in the house back when the phone company charged an extra monthly fee for each extension (the secret was to disconnect the ringer in the "illegal" extension; ringer current was how the Telco was able to determine the number of phones attached to a line). This became a moot point when telephone service was deregulated, allowing customers to legally purchase and use their own phones.

    A grey area back in the 70s and 80s was "auto-patch" over vhf repeaters. Remember the great controversy over the legality of using the amateur radio auto-patch to call in a pizza order from the car so it would be ready by the time the customer arrived?

    Back then, major phone companies like Bell and General Telephone did not offer phones for sale to customers; they were strictly distributed as rentals. Technically, if you had your own Western Electric phone, it was stolen property, but they were widely available and often seen in second-hand shops because local phone company technicians did not always bother to recover every single phone when customers discontinued service or moved away, or the building was demolished. That explains the scarcity of antique 200 and early 300 series phones; the phone companies' official policy was to recover phones no longer in use, and when the model was discontinued, destroy them and recycle the materials. I recall seeing decals "Bell Telephone property, not for sale" attached to older phones.

    When operating a phone patch, now completely "legal" under telco deregulation, it would be irrelevant whether the telephone end was landline or wireless. But in this era of wireless phone service, unlimited long-distance calling and internet, how often do you hear anyone run a phone patch over the air these days?
     
    W2VW and N6YW like this.
  6. N6YW

    N6YW Ham Member Volunteer Moderator QRZ Page

    I haven't heard a phone patch in years, other than when I did so mentioned at the beginning of this thread.
    As to the audio quality of the "patch" that I performed, it was good enough to get the job done. The fun part
    was coming up with a quick solution to Werner's dilemma of not being able to check into the net.
    At the time, I was using a Samsung Galaxy III and the audio was great.
    The point I was trying to make had to do with the so called "patch" being wireless instead of LL.
    Essentially, there were no twisted pairs involved. And, I'm sure the FCC could care less but to that end, I am
    curious as to what the rules deem as 3rd party traffic in the case of cellular phones as mentioned.
    It was a fun exchange and those who participated in the net had a lot of fun with it. I even encourage
    everyone to key up at once and say hello to Werner. It was hilarious and everyone laughed.
    I love this hobby.
     
  7. WA3VJB

    WA3VJB Ham Member QRZ Page

    Sounds like this was a few years ago.

    As a technical exercise:

    These days, you might do better to bring your phone's audio through the board & connect with him through Skype or any similar messaging app. That way you could eliminate the acoustic coupling degradation, and maybe attain higher sampling quality for that directly-connected audio.

    A number of people have brought "guests" into their AM QSO's through a mixing console, sourced via live chat platforms to good results.

    Many on here will also have heard & worked a prominent AMer who has a vacation home in Mexico. From there, he controls & passes audio with his home station that is nearly indistinguishable from when he's at the desk in Barrington Hills.

    By contrast, there have also been folks who use narrow-audio FM handhelds and control tones to remotely key up and knock down their AM transmitters. The audio quality is marginal and, for my listening, not worth the trouble.
     
    Last edited: Sep 26, 2016
    N6YW likes this.
  8. N6YW

    N6YW Ham Member Volunteer Moderator QRZ Page

    If I had the time then, I would've brought the audio out of the phone through the ear jack and into the console so the other guys
    could hear him better but it was a spur of the moment idea. It worked.
    I now have an Autogram IC-10 console which has many mixing schemes built in, very flexible. I can't wait to get it wired up!
     
  9. W7TFO

    W7TFO Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    Hybrids-R-us....

    Maybe the UTC LS-140?

    73DG
     
  10. N2EY

    N2EY XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    It's just a phone patch. Only difference is the use of a cell phone rather than a wired one.

    However it WAS a third-party situation, because he wasn't in control of the station.

    It wasn't a remote-control situation, because he wasn't in control of the station.

    73 de Jim, N2EY
     

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