Multi-Use Radio Service (MURS)

In the Memorandum Opinion and Order and Second Report and Order (pdf) released May 23, 2002, the Commission updated the service rules regarding five Industrial/Business Pool VHF frequencies known in the PLMR community as the VHF “color dot” frequencies. These frequencies were moved from Part 90 to Part 95 and became a new Citizens Band Radio Service (CB) named the Multi-Use Radio Service (MURS). The Commission defines MURS as a private, two-way, short-distance voice or data communications service for personal or business activities of the general public.

Licensing

No licenses are issued for this service. An entity is authorized by rule to operate a MURS transmitter if it:

What is a MURS Radio, it’s the new version of the old Citizens band (CB Radio) at a higher frequency. However, unlike CB Radios of old, MURS can be used for other things beyond mere voice communications, except for transmissions of “images”. The first that comes to mind is a wireless drive way alarm systems. Although there is a limit on output of only 2 watts, there is no limit on antenna gain. Antenna height is limited to 20 feet above structure or 60 feet above ground, whichever is the greater.

Freq. List:

151.820 MHz

151.880 MHz
151.940 MHz
154.570 MHz
154.600 MHz

Hand held MURS have a range from anywhere between 2 miles and 8 miles, whereas base station to base station can reach up to 20 miles. (depending on terrain)

These are not HAM radios, which are meant for long range communications, these are the radios you use to scout with. It is important to note that data and voice transmissions are permitted on these frequencies. This give rise to the possibility of using encrypted voice communications using MURS. You can not alter the circuits of the MURS radios themselves which are regulated by the FCC, however, like using echo mics in the 70’s, I see no problem with using altered microphones which contain circuits within them to encrypt voice to data transmissions. Double key encryption would be the preferred method of choice here during TEOTWAWKI, with trusted parties previously sharing keys. Since you can run an entire Linux distro from a USB 4gig pen drive, hard core GPG/PGP data encryption transmissions should be a breeze. Something to be submitted to the open source/patent groups?

I am pretty sure that a lot of the HAM radio programs available for debian/linux distro can be used in some fashion for use with MURS, I’ll poke around with this as soon as I can. Another idea I have has to do with a secure telephone system, now you can not connect your MUR to a telephone network, but as long as the telephone equipment meets the FCC rules there should be no problem with using them exclusively on MURS radios. The FCC has now established an entirely new, Part 95-based certification procedure for manufacturers wishing to enter the MURS market.

Anyway, MURS have made it to my shopping list for this year. I’ll keep you posted on what else I come up with for taking full advantage of the system.

– Wolfe

Last Light by Alex Scarrow

Last Light has to one of the more recent books I’ve read to make it to my mental list of must reads. The reason I would include this has more to do with setting of this novel then anything else, the plot wasn’t that good.

The story opens up with the main character being a civilian engineer working in Iraq when all hell breaks loose, the end result is the end of oil. This story is really about Peak Oil, and the only fiction in this book is the trigger, at least we the readers, and the author hopes that the trigger is fiction, giving us a little more time.

The story is only a medium to the real story going on in the background, survivalists will love this story. The characters are just there to entertain, well we are told what would happen if the world oil tap was suddenly shut off without warning.

The author I think is not making an extraordinary claim as to the consequences of a sudden oil cut off towards food riots, lack of drinking water, and the other end results. In fact he makes an important note, that oil equals the same as each of us, even the poor, as having 96 slaves each:

Well, say you’ve come home from work and you want to wash your office shirt for tomorrow. You’d shove it in your washing machine, and then put it on the fast spin-dry afterwards, wouldn’t you? And maybe you want a cup of tea whilst you’re waiting, maybe put on the TV, and throw a frozen dinner in the microwave. Well in slave terms, that would have required a slave to take your shirt, chop wood to make a fire, to heat the water, to wash it. You’d probably need another slave to go hunt or gather the food for your dinner, another slave to chop wood and build a cooking fire, to boil the water for your tea, and cook the food that the hunter-slave brought in. Still more slaves to entertain you in place of a TV set. And let’s not forget the four or five slaves that carried you home from work on their backs, instead of the car you drive home in. Anyway, you get the point right?”

Imagine us without the slave of oil, that’s the premise for this book. And IMHO t’s not so much a work of fiction, but a warning of the future.

– Wolfe

Mental Update

OK, so I know it’s not only been awhile since I did any real updates, and it’s also been awhile since I have updated you all on what is happening on our plan to get out of here and onto the farm. So …

In order to start off the year on a good foot, I redid my blog template, and plan to make a renewed effort to post more often. But as to what has happened recently let me give you a bit of a run down.

First, not in any particular order, Christmas sucked. I don’t think I have ever been as depressed in my life before. There were a lot of reasons why this last yule time bit the big one, not the least of which was the lack of funds to encourage the kids to be ‘good sons’, but the other main reason it sucked was because it also meant that we would not be on the farm by New Years.

There is also been the matter of dealing with the fact that I have had a very narrow mind about where we should live. To be honest with myself, the main reason we are currently planning to move to Ontario, rather then staying in British Columbia, is due to the fact that my own parents live in Ontario, along with my brother and sisters.

Family can be a funny thing. You can get along great at a distance, but up close sometimes things don’t work out.

There are things about Ontario, and in fact Canada in general that bother the hell out of me. With Obama in the US now trying to turn that great nation into another Canada, it leaves me with a great desire to find a place somewhere on this Earth which isn’t ruled by the mass of sheep known as socialists.

How much we leave our current residence dictates what will happen next. If there isn’t enough for the farm, we have Plan “B” to fall back on, which primarily includes a boat. If on the other hand, fate would have us end up with a little more then we need, the question arrives in my head, should we leave Canada?

I have, even when I was a child, that Australia and New Zealand would be about a safe a place as anywhere. The reason I have thought this is because I figured, growing up in the cold war, that they were far enough out of the line of sight to be ignored. At least a little more then Canada, or the USA.

In recent years I’ve learned that a countries location does not protect itself from strife, and other issues, but rather it is the people themselves that tend to protect that country from issues that could be labeled only as potential hazards. As I explored this idea, I found out to my dismay that there were only three countries that were truly republics. That being the USA, Northern Ireland, and Paraguay.

So one of the things that bothered me, and I tried really hard to ignore it, was the fact that if it wasn’t for family, I’d likely run away from Canada faster then cat with it’s tail on fire.

So I have made a mental list of “what if’s”, and given myself a resulting set of answers. At this point, we are still heading east. But there are options if this or that. We shall see what the new year brings.

Wolfe