Imagine instant cell-phone coverage anywhere. Or full streaming broadband video to any first responder or military personnel who needs it. Consider the implications of fully controllable unmanned vehicles swarming throughout land, sea and air. Can you imaging a situation where there is almost no practical limit to radio connectivity or the bandwidth available to anybody, anywhere? This is the Helikite communication revolution.
Radio waves hate the ground but love the sky. Free of the power-sapping earth, radio signals emitted from low cost, easy to use Helikites can travel hundreds of times further with extreme clarity. Allsopp Helikites has been in the forefront of high altitude radio-relay trials for many years, testing many new radio-relays and waveforms. The quality of reception has to be seen & heard to be believed. Low power, high-bandwidth, line-of-sight radio signals, such as Wi-Fi that only travel a few hundred yards on the ground, will easily & very reliably travel many miles when re-transmitted from radio-relays flying at good altitude on a Helikite. This is hard for even experienced radio operators to understand, as most are only used to the very limited line-of-sight achieved by masts. Our research & experience has proven a simple rule: “See and Speak”
3,000ft altitude in 3 minutes = over 20,000 sq miles coverage.
“See and Speak” means that, as a general rule, if you can see the Helikite in the sky, you can get reception. This holds good for Cell-phone, Wi-Fi, Mobile Ad-Hoc Radio Networks (MANET), broadband, video, VHF, UHF, HF etc. High gain antennas are seldom required. How far away the Helikite can be seen depends upon the terrain and local vegetation.
As a rule-of-thumb, in typical rolling English countryside, an altitude of just 600ft will give 6 miles range which equals about 113 sqare miles of coverage. Fly the radio-relay up to 3000ft above the sea & the line-of-sight is 80 miles, which will give an astounding 20,108 sq miles.
For most applications on land, flying at 1000ft for about 30 miles line-of-sight and 2,827 sq miles will do exceedingly well. This may see a long way, but it is nothing for radio-waves and easy for Helikites too. Consider the link-budget of a geosynchronous satellite phone. This tiny signal is travelling 22,000 miles to the satellite where the radio signal is minuscule compared to what reaches a Helikite from a Wi-Fi radio. A Helikite is like a hugely powerful, very low Earth orbit satellite, put up wherever and whenever required - by anybody.
Instant Long-Range Cell-Phone Towers
Helikites can lift phone tower. Pico-cells to create a mobile phone network capable of servicing thousands of Smartphones over hundreds of square miles. This will require a Helikite of 34 cu metres or over. Using the Helibase system transportable in a Jeep, these Helikites can be deployed in any weather, from a green-field site within 20 minutes. Smartphone applications can be used by the military, emergency services, disaster relief, music concerts, sports events, and unmanned vehicles. The ease of use and worldwide familiarity of mobile phones is a huge advantage in many situations.
Helikites enable the promise of MANET radios to be realised. Mobile Ad-Hoc Radio Networks are the latest type of software-enabled, high-bandwidth, military radios. MANET radios can send voice, data or video. Unlike mobile phone systems, MANET radios do not need a relatively large Picocell to organise their relays. MANET radios automatically organise themselves into a self-healing radio network. Originally envisioned to solve the problem of keeping contact with fast moving military units. In practice it has been found to be very hard to ground-based MANET radios in contact because actual terrain is often unforgiving and the loss of a single link can remove communications between two large but disparate groups of radios. Backpack Helikites from as small as 2.5 cu metres solve this problem admirably. The high-altitude Helikite “Key-Station” link is usually visible to almost all the ground units even when they are moving at speed. Helikites plus MANET radios are probably the single best way to instantly provide high bandwidth over land or sea. There is no technical set-up. Just turn on a hand-held MANET radio, set the channel, and clip the radio onto the Helikite webbing. The Helikite will automatically power it thousands of feet into the air to instantly create massive, secure, long-term, radio coverage. It really is that simple!
The tiny Lightweight Helikite, only 3 ft long, can lift a long-wire-antenna to 200ft within seconds. This allows radio operators to work half the world from a backpack. For emergency communications, jungle rescue, oceanic operation, the military, or just for contesting, Helikites are brilliant at getting a clear, powerful signal from almost anywhere. The fanciest masts and antennas are generally not nearly as good as a simple long-wire-antenna lifted high into the clear sky on a Helikite.
Allsopp Helikites Radio-Relay White Paper (.pdf)
Emergency Airborne Communications (.pdf)
Helikite Rajant Cconcept Demonstration (.pdf)
Helikite RF-Over-Fibre Radio-Relay Page 1 (.pdf)
Helikite RF-Over-Fibre Radio Relay Page 2 (.pdf)
Maritime Helikite Pictures (.pdf)
NETFORCE Overview (.pdf)
NETFORCE and BLUEWATER Cyberboats (Power Point .pptx)