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Rambler said () (edited )

I'd recommend everyone who wishes to participate in decentralized communication to obtain their amateur radio license, General class or Amateur Extra. (Though the entry-level technician class is a good point of entry)

With no internet or cellular connection you can literally communicate around the world. You can send packets of information that are decoded to reveal text that you read, and respond to via software.

There are some limited functionality radio based mesh nets in existence too, including email over radio.

I've sent/received basic data packets (FT8) to all 50 states, 70+ countries and all continents. These packets were sent back/forth that just contained my call sign, the recipients call sign, grid square, and things like a signal report but other digital/packet modes allow you to have full blown chat-like conversations. My favorite operating mode that no one ever wanted to use was Hellschreiber / HELL MODE:

But, FCC rules state you can't send encrypted radio traffic over the amateur airwaves. And, the FCC is known to swing the hammer of justice on people who violate the rules on the amateur airwaves as well... But I'm not for sure how they'd respond to a LOT of people doing something like this all at once for something like a large scale project. But data at most amateur frequencies is incredibly slow, even for text.

But back on the topic of traditional mesh nets: I believe NYC has a large city wide mesh net and some smaller ones localized in other areas of the country as well.