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Author Topic: Weird question: Can you send bitcoins to somebody with a HAM radio?  (Read 2572 times)
Wilikon
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March 17, 2013, 04:22:31 AM
 #1

Back in the days, in some country in Europe, some would use a radio station to send small apps in BASIC language. You would tape the high pitched noise then play it back to your machine (Amstrad CPC most likely).

The point: from a paper wallet, to a radio signal, to a recorder, then back to paper wallet/online wallet at the other end. The signal would be coded, then decoded.
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March 17, 2013, 04:26:39 AM
 #2

Someone was looking into using audio cables to hook offline cold-wallet machines for similar transfers so if they found that to work HAM might too, sure.

And if they found it not to work, maybe they just didn't apply the full panoply of signal from noise tools to the job that folk using radio might or could.

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March 17, 2013, 04:32:50 AM
 #3

Found it.

http://arstechnica.com/business/2012/08/experiments-in-airborne-basic-buzzing-computer-code-over-fm-radio/


Seinäjoki, Finland was a tough place to be a budding geek back in 1985. Just ask Eero Tunkelo, a grade school student with a doctor for a father, a mother who taught sewing and textile design, and a newfound love for computers and programming.

"Computers were new, so anything you did, it was—wow!" he told me during a recent phone call. Such was Tunkelo's passion for the technology that he spent an entire summer working so that he could purchase his own Commodore VIC-20—an early home-oriented machine that ran Commodore BASIC 2.0 and predated the more advanced Commodore 64.

With his VIC-20, Tunkelo taught himself BASIC, then studied assembly language. He wrote programs that ran "straight to the metal," as he put it, but also came from the heart. One included graphics that celebrated his sister's high school graduation. But the young innovator felt isolated. "Computers were not as popular as they are now," Tunkelo said, and few schools had one.

Then came a remarkable radio show that changed the landscape for him and a generation of Finnish technology lovers—a show that literally broadcast code over the airwaves.
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March 17, 2013, 04:35:54 AM
 #4

Was a common practice here as well, games over FM radio. But anyway, you can whistle Bitcoins around if you want.

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March 17, 2013, 04:42:24 AM
 #5

hmm.. It would be easier with a Cap'n Crunch whistle maybe?  Grin
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March 17, 2013, 04:59:06 AM
 #6

hmm.. It would be easier with a Cap'n Crunch whistle maybe?  Grin

I still have mine.

Dankedan: price seems low, time to sell I think...
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March 17, 2013, 05:16:07 AM
 #7

I bet MoonShadow will drop by to tell you he already thought about that Grin
You should do a search on his threads, I remeber one talking about this subject.

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March 17, 2013, 05:35:17 AM
 #8

Back in the days, in some country in Europe, some would use a radio station to send small apps in BASIC language. You would tape the high pitched noise then play it back to your machine (Amstrad CPC most likely).
The point: from a paper wallet, to a radio signal, to a recorder, then back to paper wallet/online wallet at the other end. The signal would be coded, then decoded.

The misconception here is that when you send bitcoins to someone, your wallet talks to their wallet. That is false.

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March 17, 2013, 05:47:30 AM
 #9

This came up a while back.  It inspired me to use vanitygen to create a BTC address with my callsign in the front.  If your callsign was KB2XMA, you could get one that started with 1KB2XMA and just let people know you accept bitcoin as payment on the radio.

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March 17, 2013, 06:01:49 AM
 #10

PSY is right. This was discussed a while back:


To setup a ham radio packet station you need what's called a TNC:


Most of them come in solder kit form.

Plenty of HAM's operate VHF to ISP gateways and VHF relay stations so in reality, you are always able to get on-line with such a setup.

TNC's was invented in the early 1980'ies so HAM's could send Fascimiles to each other.

And the OP's annecdote about software over FM: There was a good weekly Dutch computer radio show where I sat with my tape recorder ready to push record when they broardcasted the modem audio, so I could get games free over the air!!! However there was often some Basic code parts missing because of static, so one would have to fill in the blanks, which was good for keeping your Basic programming skills up to date.

People simply mailed audio cassettes in to the radio show with small programs and games they had made or typed in from Basic gaming magazines. (So yes, mass file sharing existed before the internet)

Must have been between 1981-1983. It felt as cutting edge then as Bitcoin does now.


 
 
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March 17, 2013, 07:39:08 AM
 #11

Fascinating concept

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March 17, 2013, 08:15:48 AM
 #12

Out of curiosity, what is the estimated/average bandwidth one could expect from such a device. This is an awesome concept!

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March 17, 2013, 01:24:56 PM
 #13

This is awesome.  Anybody out there want to try to experiment and see if it works?  I am willing to build one and run it.
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March 17, 2013, 01:36:42 PM
 #14

Quote
1200 bps AFSK node controllers on 2 meters (144-148MHz) are the most commonly found packet radio. For 1200/2400 bps UHF/VHF packet radio, amateurs use commonly available narrow band FM voice radios. For HF packet, 300 bps data is used over single side band (SSB) modulation. For high speed packet (9600 bps upwards), special radios or modified FM radios must be used.

Custom modems have been developed which allow throughput rates of 19.2 kbit/s, 56 kbit/s, and even 1.2 Mbit/s over amateur radio links on FCC permitted frequencies of 440 MHz and above. However, special radio equipment is needed to carry data at these speeds.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Packet_radio
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March 17, 2013, 02:39:10 PM
 #15

Absolutely. To send a bitcoin with a HAM radio, first transfer the bitcoins into a new address. Write or print the private key. Now put the HAM radio along with the paper containing the private key into a cardboard box, seal the box, and send the package to the recipient in the mail.


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March 17, 2013, 02:41:41 PM
 #16

There have even been investment projects proposed around this concept for bitcoin.
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March 17, 2013, 11:48:01 PM
 #17

So is it possible to encrypt HAM radio broadcasts sop that sending bitcoin private keys would not be picked up by others?


The whole packet radio is fascinating, I wonder if it had been adopted more if we wouldn't be have to rely on ISP's and if the internet would be a more decentralised p2p infrastructure.

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March 18, 2013, 12:03:32 AM
 #18

Why don't you send the transaction?
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March 18, 2013, 12:19:55 AM
 #19

 Grin Grin Cheesy Grin

I am very glad my little "delirium question" does create some conversation.

Keep in mind that every time we (humans) believe something is impossible, Nature reminds us who's really in charge. I am not a HAM radio amateur but yes, if there is something that keeps us from paying our internet connection I believe a true backup (maybe slow and using "old" tech) should be available, as long as some can still have access to power one way or the other and maintain it.

There was this whole discussion about opening some of the frequencies back to the public (because TV stations here in the US switched to digital TV) a while back. Not really sure what happened but all of the big US telecom wanted a bite of it because of high speed internet.

If you have a powerful enough amp you can pick up and/or send messages from and to anywhere in the world and we are not talking about sending Hi Def youtube videos.
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March 18, 2013, 12:52:45 AM
 #20

Grin Grin Cheesy Grin

I am very glad my little "delirium question" does create some conversation.

Keep in mind that every time we (humans) believe something is impossible, Nature reminds us who's really in charge. I am not a HAM radio amateur but yes, if there is something that keeps us from paying our internet connection I believe a true backup (maybe slow and using "old" tech) should be available, as long as some can still have access to power one way or the other and maintain it.

There was this whole discussion about opening some of the frequencies back to the public (because TV stations here in the US switched to digital TV) a while back. Not really sure what happened but all of the big US telecom wanted a bite of it because of high speed internet.

If you have a powerful enough amp you can pick up and/or send messages from and to anywhere in the world and we are not talking about sending Hi Def youtube videos.


Is it because of the frequency used that prevents faster bandwidth then? Obviously the different frequencies have different realistic broadcast ranges, but as the internet relies on a packet switched network you would not need a broadcast range of over a few miles because others would relay your traffic like IP routers do. Satalite/ Mobile phone /TV broadcasts have a better bandwidth. If every nerd in every country had a device that can send / receive IP over HAM or some better frequency we would not need ISPs and the internet would be very resilient against government intervention.

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