"Unlimited" range communication

Hi!

I’m working on a remote controlled weather station project. The distance I need to cover is 200 km.

Currently I’m using 2 mobile phones - one at each side - for communication pusposes (serial comm.), but I would like to use a different protocol than GSM network. Internet is not an option, since it is not present at a remote location.

I’ve been doing a little research and came up with 2 other ways of communication - RF or satellite. Can any of these two be implemented in practice?

Are there any other options for “unlimited” range (or let’s say up to 200 km) communitation? Money is not an issue.

Cheers

Can any of these two be implemented in practice?

Both could. But, the GSM shield already does that.

Money is not an issue.

If this were true, internet would be available at the remote location.

PaulS:

Can any of these two be implemented in practice?

Both could. But, the GSM shield already does that.

Still, I'd be grateful for any practical example or application that includes controlling something with uC via long range RF/satellite comm.

PaulS:

Money is not an issue.

If this were true, internet would be available at the remote location.

"Local" ISP says no. The problem is this is the only cabin within 15 km radius. And i meant not an issue in sense that I'm willing to pay a bit more than an average GSM shiled costs.

I'm not sure how prevalent it is these days, but maybe packet radio could be what you're looking for: http://www.ampr.org

My comment was a hint that you should explain why the GSM shield is not suitable. Perhaps it was too subtle.

Finding suitable RF hardware with the range you want is going to be a challenge. Finding satellite-communications-capable hardware that is compatible with the Arduino, and that doesn't involve GSM, is also going to be challenging.

Are there any other options for "unlimited" range (or let's say up to 200 km) communitation? Money is not an issue.

PaulS has a point. GSM may be much less expensive that the radio alternative. I can get 2.4GHz radio transmitters and antennas from more than one supplier that can transmit that far IF the antennas are line-of-site. For line-of-site at 200km, each antenna would need to have a horizon distance of 100km (halfway). All you need is 2 towers 800 meters tall. That should make the cost of the radios relatively insignificant.

Lower frequencies don't require line-of-site, but for that range usually require a license for the stations and the operators.

If you think GSM is expensive, wait until you check into satellite. $)

wicket: I would like to use a different protocol than GSM network.

Different in what way? Do you mean you don't want to use mobile data (why not?), or just don't want to use the particular protocols you're currently using (which you haven't told us)?

People sending off unmanned sailing boat drones over the Atlantic use satellite thingies to regularly report back the location of the boats. Looking at the devices they use, some of them offer the ability to send short messages as well (battery status, weather data etc.). http://www.microtransat.org

Shpaget: People sending off unmanned sailing boat drones over the Atlantic use satellite thingies to regularly report back the location of the boats. Looking at the devices they use, some of them offer the ability to send short messages as well (battery status, weather data etc.). http://www.microtransat.org

Thanks for that link. I liked it, especially the last paragraph. :)

wicket: satellite. Can any of these two be implemented in practice?

They certainly can. That is how seriously remote weather stations, like mid-ocean buoys, all operate and, since your needs are apparently identical, why don't you just copy what your Weather Bureau has been doing for the last forty years or so? You would then get a pretty good idea of how bad an idea using a GSM really is. You are also likely to get a better view of how much of an issue money isn't - particularly since, if you want your own satellite network, you might be asked to contribute to the cost of the rocket..

Is there a HAM repeater nearby? You might be able to get a HAM license and use that.

PaulS:
My comment was a hint that you should explain why the GSM shield is not suitable. Perhaps it was too subtle.

Finding suitable RF hardware with the range you want is going to be a challenge. Finding satellite-communications-capable hardware that is compatible with the Arduino, and that doesn’t involve GSM, is also going to be challenging.

Finding the satellite-communications-capable hardware is relatively easy. It’s finding it at a good price that’s difficult. My internet access is through satellite, and since I chose the 10 Mbps package, it’s about 80 bucks US per month. I can get it at under $50.00/month if I want the 2 Mbps option, but that’s still pretty pricey.

Of course, all that would have to be run on power generated at the site if it’s as remote as it sounds, which may be an even larger problem than the satellite access.

If the OP could find enough sites between him and the cabin, a series of perhaps 10-20 Ubiquiti WiFi repeater nodes might do it. One of my early plans to get high speed access here was to have a few Ubiquiti nodes, selling access along the route. Luckily, I didn’t have to do that.

Ok, thanks to everyone.

Basically I was just wondering if there are amateur friendly alternatives to GSM communication. In conclusion, RF can/should be used for smaller distances and satellite comm. is used where there are basically no other (GSM) alternatives.

I'll stick to GSM. :)

what about a rock block iridium modem http://rockblock.rock7mobile.com/

It's controllable via AT commands, so if you've worked out how to interface to a GSM modem you can interface to this to. I think there's even a arduino library available for it. Can't remember the exact price, i think it was less than £200 for the modem, £6 a month for a subscription and 12 pence for a 50 byte message.

cheers

Hmm, very interesting product, I’ll definitely look into it.