I agree to Idea Cell site emulator for search and rescue
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Cell site emulator for search and rescue

I was out in the middle of the desert this weekend and thought of an idea for Search and Rescue in remote areas without cell service.


A small mobile cell phone site emulator that could be used in a helicopter, plane or drone flown over a search area. It doesn't need to connect to be cell phone network. It just needs to emulate a cell site for the person or people that they're trying to locate. If the lost party connects to the site, communication is established, the search team running the emulator will know it and the technical possibilities are endless from there. Text, phone, gps, etc.


It could be simple, cheap and small. It doesn't need to be a real cell site.

Submitted by in Apr 2014

Comments (8)

  1. How many hours of aircraft maintaince to how many flight hours? Aircraft fuel capacity equals how much air time? How much time is required for the airborne emulator?
    in Apr 2014
  2. Lee Idea Submitter
    I don't think you understand the concept. Questions about aircraft are irrelevant.
    in May 2014
  3. A small mobile cell phone site emulator that could be used in a helicopter? Questions about aircraft are irrelevant? What is a helicopter, plane or drone ?
    in May 2014
  4. Sounds like a great idea. As far as aircraft or any other vehicle carrying an emulator, it should not matter since it will pick up signals within a great area. I'm surprised something like this has not been explored and implemented.
    in May 2014
  5. Lee Idea Submitter
    Your questions are irrelevant because rescue teams are already being deployed to search for people when they're lost. There would be no additional cost for aircraft or maintenance. The emulator would reduce the amount of time they spend in the air.

    The search team could be one person in a car. Maintenance is usually limited to oil changes every 3,000 miles or so. My car has a 14 gallon tank and gets 30 mpg. I could search all day on $50 of 87 octane.

    I'd be more concerned with the cost to develop, design and manufacture the device which is likely worth the lives it would save.
    in May 2014
  6. Although public safety regularly use cell phones, smart phones, and other commercial wireless devices and services as a secondary form of communications, these devices and systems are currently not sufficiently suited for public safety mission critical voice communications during critical incidents.Public safety officials cannot depend upon commercial systems that can be overloaded and unavailable. Experience has shown such systems are often the most unreliable during critical incidents when public demand overwhelms the systems.Public safety officials have unique and demanding communications requirements. Optimal public safety radio communications require:Dedicated channels and priority access that is available at all times to handle unexpected emergencies.Mission-critical one-to-many group capability, a feature not available in today’s commercial cellular systems.Highly reliable, secure, and redundant networks under local control that are engineered and maintained to withstand natural disasters and other emergencies.The best possible coverage within a jurisdictional area, with a minimum of dead zones – even in areas where commercial cellular services are not economically viable. And, unique, ruggedized equipment designed for quick response in emergency situations. First responders must not be forced to dial, wait for call connections, or get busy signals when seconds mean the difference between life and death!
    in May 2014
    1. Lee Idea Submitter
      I don't think you're grasping the idea. When people are lost in the wilderness, search and rescue teams and deployed to locate them. Most people carry a cell phone and the emulator would help search teams locate the lost party. None of your reply is on topic or applicable.
      in May 2014
  7. Lee, this is already something that is done. In conjunction with traditional methods using existing cell towers to triangulate cell phone's position, standing up temporary cells has significantly lowered the "search" component of SAR.

    I also think this is off-topic for a FEMA-scale project. While we use NIMS and ICS within the SAR community, it takes something on the scale of the WA landslides to bring FEMA into the picture, and nobody needed temp cell towers there, just heavy equipment and shovels.
    in May 2014

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