Here is a Lora transceiver as loved by IoT fans everywhere – but this is one with a difference. Etalia has a power output of 1W which is QRP by amateur standards, but a heck of a lot of output for a Lora module. Coupled with a receive sensitivty of -137dBm and a built in web based messaging system, Wi-Fi and built in GPS this device was designed for RAYNET emergency use but has application everywhere.

Those of us who are licenced radio amateurs have the privilige of being able to use higher power like this legally. For more info about amateur radio see the Radio Society of Great Britain website.

So what exactly is Etalia ?

Answer: A high performance spread spectrum qrp data transceiver with Wi-Fi enabled browser interface for GPS tracking and short text message sending over 70cm amateur radio. Developed by GM4WZG.  

Aims of the Etalia project.

EtAlia is an open source hardware and software project released under GPLv3.  EtAlia aims to:

  1. Provide a simple means of exchanging short text messages between PCs, Laptops, Tablets and Mobile telephones without making use of any public telecommunications infrastructure.
  2. Explore the use of off-the-shelf popular LoRa™ IoT technology for a non-IoT application, taking advantage of the excellent RF link budgets to gain range and coverage over older established narrow bandwidth techniques.  One way to see it for those with a background in Amateur Radio is that EtAlia provides a kind of spread spectrum variant to AX.25 but without the bandwidth overheads of the packet switching layer.   For networking aficionados it is perhaps analogous to the use of UDP rather than TCP in a flooded Mesh configuration.
  3. Be reproducible, cheap, and very simple to operate.  The only end-user technical task is to connect to a power supply and connect an antenna.  EtAlia communicates with the user via a web application accessible over a local wifi (no internet connection is needed).  Amateur emergency radio groups often find that a barrier to entry for a technology is the diversity of products chosen by individuals and the lack of understanding of how equipment interacts.  EtAlia aims to overcome these barriers yet remain cheap enough to be provided through group funds.
  4. Interface with public networks should they be available in order to extend local emergency communications to the full wider community.  Gateways to both the Internet and to the cellular SMS network allow EtAlia users to communicate with mobile telephone and PCs anywhere in the world from a site having no public service available.

Prototype Web Output from Etalia System