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Hardware Hacking Communications Portables Wireless Networking Handhelds Hardware

Shacktopus: Behemoth in a Pack 58

Chanc_Gorkon writes "Anyone remember the guy who built the Winnebikeo and the Behemoth bikes and kayaks? Well, he's at it again, but this time it's packable. He's taking lithium-ion batteries, solar cells, a Yaesu FT-817 HF radio, a Yaesu VX-6R HT, a Zodiac PDA, Linksys WET-11(older version) retrofitted with a Senao Long Range WiFi Card, cellphone and whatnot, and putting it all into something you can wear on your back. Basically, it's Behemoth in a pack. His website is up for the Shacktopus."
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Shacktopus: Behemoth in a Pack

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  • inph0z (Score:5, Informative)

    by DrunkenTerror ( 561616 ) on Saturday July 09, 2005 @02:07PM (#13021609) Homepage Journal
    Winnebiko [microship.com]

    Behemoth [microship.com]
  • Dupe? (Score:2, Informative)

    by ThyPiGuy ( 870924 )
    This sounds almost identical to... this... [slashdot.org]
  • Wish 73s to him. If I had money, and I had upgraded to Extra, I would probably want to do somthing like that. It is nice to see hams still working on high-tech wireless solutions.
    -Brian, KG4QXK
    • O Hanlon, Brian P, KG4QXK (Technician)
      10024 Green Brook Ct
      Manassas, VA 20110-3830

      not such a good idea to give that out, now is it?

      oh, and get a real license, morse isn't hard =P
      • Actually, when I went to upgrade to general, they messed up the code test, and so no one could upgrade. I actually do know code, I have just not bothered to upgrade.
        As for my callsign, yes, I know that the related info is readily available, but it has already posted on Slashdot and is trivial to get anyway. I am in college, though, so I am never at that address anyway, so it really does not matter (hint: KG4QXK/W3VC). So there you go, now people can find me if they actually care.
        73,
        Brian, KG4QXK
        • hey man, I'm just pointing out that it's not a great idea to post that kinda stuff on a highly viewed site. Your safety is your own problem ;)
          • Well, my e-mail address is on there, which makes it trivial to get my address (the one where I am, not the one where I do not live, which is the one that you posted), but no one has actually gone and posted it on Slashdot. Now, I would rather that you not do that, but then again, you did once. It would be possible that you could point that out without posting my address, too, you know.
      • All you need is a call. You can look it up in QRZ and many other online databases including the FCC's.

  • Any takers? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Infinityis ( 807294 ) on Saturday July 09, 2005 @02:18PM (#13021657) Homepage
    I find it funny that this story is so slow to get comments. It's like this guy is the weird guy that everyone knows but nobody wants to be friends with him. "Does ANYONE remember this guy? Anyone...?" And wo no one posts for fear of being associated with him.
  • He's using a hacked version 1 WET 11 for the Access point.

    Basically its a replacement of the stock radio with a 200mW Senao card. You can see here: http://shacktopus.com/hacks/senao-wet11.html [shacktopus.com]

    The one thing I see odd is that he is using both of the antenna jacks on the Senao card which were meant to be used in diversity mode with matched antennas. He is using a rubber duck on one and a directonal on the other.

    I know that there are numerous different diversity modes but my experience with this particular
  • I do (Score:3, Funny)

    by thundercatslair ( 809424 ) on Saturday July 09, 2005 @02:34PM (#13021724)
    He came though my town once, and while I was driving I saw him on his intense computer bike. I thought, I wonder if I can get raspberries cheaper at safeway or superstore.
  • by argent ( 18001 ) <peter@NosPAM.slashdot.2006.taronga.com> on Saturday July 09, 2005 @02:38PM (#13021743) Homepage Journal
    It's kind of weird how all the control is through serial ports.
  • by pongo000 ( 97357 ) on Saturday July 09, 2005 @02:42PM (#13021769)
    With the continuing death throes of ham radio, who exactly are you going to communicate with other than other hams on a pre-determined schedule (yes, I RTFA, and this is exactly what was done)? Who will be listening when an emergency comes around? In case one hasn't noticed, there is really nothing going on new and innovative in digital modes these days. And if you do find the occasional renegade website that talks about high-speed digital communications on the ham bands, good luck in actually finding another ham locally who is interested.

    Where were the ham radio operators during the London blasts, when the telephone/cell networks were reportedly overloaded and in some cases unusable? In fact, when was the last time ham radio was used in an emergency situation because other modes of communications were down? (If you doubt the death of ham radio, you might want to peruse this [eham.net].)

    These are just some observations from a long-time ham...one of the reasons I became inactive was because I could not find other hams interested in pushing the digital envelope. That was 10 years ago...and now, I'm afraid it's too late to catch up.

    This article was a good read from a nostalgic standpoint, but I don't see anything very innovative, at least innovative enough to spark my interests (again).
    • In fact, when was the last time ham radio was used in an emergency situation because other modes of communications were down?

      9/11
      Hurricanes last year
      etc

      it's used a LOT more than you realize
      • No, it's really not. Sometimes it appears that ham radio is providing important services, when in fact ham radio operators are simply present with no real emergency interaction and simply relegated to the role of passing routine health/welfare traffic.

        What role, exactly, did ham radio play in 9/11? I don't recall any major role played by ham radio that saved lives. I don't recall ham radio stepping in to resolve the inability of various NY agencies to communicate...

        Just showing up at the party doesn't
        • by lordkuri ( 514498 ) on Saturday July 09, 2005 @03:10PM (#13021895)
          http://september11.mrtmag.com/ar/radio_world_trade _center/ [mrtmag.com]

          Two dozen or more hams per shift are covering communications and logistical support for the American Red Cross as well as supplementing communication for the New York City Office of Emergency Management.

          you were saying?
          • OK, I've read the article. It's not clear to me exactly what the hams actually did, other than pass routine traffic. What role, exactly, did the ham radio operators play in saving lives?
            • If you equate the worth of HAM radio operators in saving lives then of course you probably won't be impressed with their involvement until they race into a burning building or pull people from a demolished building.

              The fact still remains that HAM radio is an excellend form of decentralized communication. In the event that there is some regional disaster on the scale of say, the December 26th Tsunami in SE Asia, then their aid in communicating relevant information to those impacted is important. That said
              • I'll concede your point that there are still areas of the world where the communications infrastructure is way behind the times (or even non-existant). But given a modern communications infrastructure, I seriously question the value ham radio plays in disaster efforts, especially when Nextel is able to set up a secure and reliable communications station, with encryption, and can provide phones to rescue personnel without the need for special licensing provisions, training, etc.

                Hey, I'm all for ham radio ma
    • In fact, when was the last time ham radio was used in an emergency situation because other modes of communications were down?

      2004 hurricane season in Florida.

    • Where were the ham radio operators during the London blasts, when the telephone/cell networks were reportedly overloaded and in some cases unusable? In fact, when was the last time ham radio was used in an emergency situation because other modes of communications were down?

      Where's anything else? It's one thing to proclaim the death of something; it's another to present a replacement for it. No one has offered a replacement for ham radio, yet they still say it's dead. Does no one see the need for eme

    • Andaman Islands. There _was_ a pre-arranged DXpedition to put the rare islands on the air. No one expected the tsunami - they handled virtually all the emergency traffic for four days solid and made something crazy like 100,000 contacts to do so. UK floods this year put out police fire and ambulance radio in one town - amateurs stepped in. London bomb - no - but UK amateurs aren't allowed to pass third party messages in the same way as in the US. Emergency planning officers in UK have amateur radio in their
    • Ham radio is not exactly in its "death throes". I used to go to Georgia Tech's excellent amateur radio station (W4AQL) at random hours of the day (between classes often) and have unscheduled chats with people all over the world. They're out there. Maybe not as many as there used to be.

      HFpack (http://www.hfpack.com/ [hfpack.com]) is a great source of HF contacts, with an emphasis on portable and low power operation. They have a very active and enthusiastic mailing list.

      Hams were a huge help after 9/11. They provided lo
  • As a QRP operator, I love to go out into the woods and just sit and operate. There's something about just throwing a wire up in a tree and using a battery powered radio to talk to people all over the country and even the world. This guy has the same idea, although he's taking it a step further with internet access and data logging. The one thing I don't quite understand is how the internet access is going to work. In the block diagram, he's got a yagi antenna for WiFi, but that doesn't mean internet ac
  • Tracking him live (Score:2, Informative)

    by k4hg ( 443029 )
    You can see his current location with this link [findu.com]. This is trasmitted via amateur radio, picked up by a local radio networks, and then forwarded to a server. You can also see the track he took on his current trip with this link [findu.com].
  • And hams can use up to 1500 watts of power...if they have a power supply that big while out walking.
    • You could do it, for several minutes.

      I've seen thermal batteries [fsu.edu] that could produce insane amounts of power for short periods of time. They are popular for applications like tactical missiles, where their characteristics are ideal.

  • I met Steve back in the 80's when he came through Austin, Tx on his first bike. It was amazing to see all the stuff he had on it. Keyboard on the handlebars, ham gear, solar power, multiple computers, etc. I was into BBSing at the time and Steve wrote me up in his book. I contacted him a while back to say hi and seemed to be doing ok. I know for a while he had an arangement with Sun for Nomadic Computing. He had the two bikes (huge and ridiculous), the kayak and I think he may have been working on a m
  • BEHEMOTH (Score:2, Informative)

    by SassyDave ( 557868 )
    If you're wondering why he named his previous project Behemoth:

    Big Electronic Human-Energized Machine... Only Too Heavy

    Source: http://microship.com/resources/winnebiko-behemoth. html [microship.com]

    Picture of the Behemoth: http://microship.com/resources/resourcepix/behemot hwisc.jpg [microship.com]
  • BEHOMOTH = Big Electronic Human-Energized Machine... Only Too Heavy.

    From the site:

    The bike is an 8-foot recumbent, meaning that I sit in a relaxed position with my hands on control grips at my sides and my feet latched into a crankset out in front. Behind the bike is a 4-foot yellow trailer with solar lid, flip-down communications bay access door, and numerous antennas. In front of me is a large control console contained within a smooth white lexan fairing, presenting a panel with three large LCDs and

  • I read about it in 73 magazine when I was a very young man. I remember being enthralled by the recumbent bike, and the integration of all that electronics into something he could use while mobile. ---KC2MMW
  • Forwarded the link to a HAM buddy of mine (we recently did Field Day at Mt. Hood), and he sent an interesting reply...

    (editted for brevity)

    Now if you want to see a really cool portable station, check this [qsl.net] out.... I e-mailed ... to let him know how cool I thought this was. He replied it was photos of a guy he had known back in the 50's. The trailer behind the car is a generator to power all the tube equipment. He was running full power out of the car, 2,000 watts in those days. The antenna was on a pn

  • I remember reading his dispatches on Compuserve or some other BBS (we both had TRS-80 100s) during the "Computing Across America" days (early 80s). Then I saw him several times at Sun Microsystems when he was building Behemoth in the bike lab there. I've been tracking his progress on and off ever since. Besides his books, newsletters, websites and news mentions, he was also featured in the cyberpunk hypercard stack.

    Steve was the first guy to make me see that it was possible to work and live without bein

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