3D Printing Easy-to-Assemble Custom Antennas for Emergency Communications
HAM radio enthusiasts played an important role in the Nepal earthquake response, relaying important messages to the army and police during search and rescue. However, their impact could have been amplified if there had been greater radio coverage of the earthquake affected area. Many ground stations were destroyed in the earthquake, leaving some locations unreachable.
In a new initiative to increase radio coverage across Nepal - even in the event of vital ground stations in the network going down - a Field Ready team is working to help radio enthusiasts to communicate via low orbit satellites. The antennas required for this kind of communication need to be much more powerful than those used to communicate ground-station to ground-station, and one thing that affects antenna efficacy is accuracy of construction.
Radio enthusiasts and schools generally only have simple tools available – rulers, hand-powered drills, nuts and bolts to assemble the antennas – and the results from antennas built this way can be disappointing.
Using a 3D printer, Field Ready can create custom parts that allow antennas to be assembled quickly and accurately, without the struggle to drill holes in exactly the right place using nothing more sophisticated than a school ruler.