Last month, I was interviewed by NK News regarding the possibility of using inexpensive SDR dongles as a means for citizen journalists to receive and potentially send information across the North Korean border. Of course this is possible: digital communications over radio is becoming easier and more accessible all of the time.
While not yet as portable as an SDR dongle, Anonymous is developing a tool called AirChat which will allow long-distance communications via radio. AirChat borrows from Fldigi: a free application that decodes a variety of digital modes and has been used by amateur radio operators for years. Indeed, Fldigi is the same software you’ve used to decode broadcasts from VOA Radiogram and the new STF Radio.
Many thanks to the excellent Southgate ARC news site for this article about AirChat:
(Source: Southgate ARC)
The International Business Times reports that the online hacktivist collective Anonymous has announced that it is working on a new tool called Airchat which could allow people to communicate without the need for a phone or an internet connection – it uses radio waves instead
Initially the data mode software AirChat used code from ‘minimodem’ and then from ‘soundmodem’ sources but they say after suggestions from radio amateurs involved in the Amateur Radio Emergency Service (ARES), they decided to make it modular to use the Fldigi software, a broadly deployed solution for use with ham radios.
They say “So far we have played interactive chess games with people at 180 miles away. we have shared pictures and established encrypted low bandwidth digital voice chats. We have 3D printed over distances of 80 miles and transmitted medical orders at distances of over 100 miles.”
So far Yaesu FT-897D’s amateur transceivers have been used and the developers are also looking at using low-cost ($40) VHF/UHF handheld transceivers.
Read the International Business Times story
You can read about the goals of AirChat on their Github site and follow AirChat on Twitter with the hash tags #lulzlabs and #AirChat.
Anonymous has also posted the following video–a demo of AirChat: