Oh Really? Messing Around With Packet Radio
Oh’Really?’s ‘A Thing Or Two About Messing Around With Packet Radio’ is 36-page instructional zine on how to make TCP/IP (‘internet’) connections using walkie-talkies.
It is a persiflage of the O’Reilley series of software manuals, which tend to be about how to do code The Right Way™. This zine, however, takes a different stance and shows one of the easiest and quickest approaches to use this technique from the early eighties using contemporary devices and software.
The manual shows how to wire a cheap Chinese walkie-talkie using custom cabling to the sound card of a laptop. Then how to use software that turns the sound card into a modem and configure it in such a way that it is recognized as a networking device, like your Wi-Fi port. While the technique is very slow (too slow for today’s ad-infested over-jqueried web) it is an interesting way of dissecting the process of establishing a connection and building a network. All the discrete steps of what a network adaptor is and how it fits in a network are discussed and made visible. Aside from packet radio, there is just no other way of establishing network connections across several kilometers distance so cheaply and quickly.
The zine was released at Radical Networks 2015 as part of the workshop “Packet Radio Networks”.