October 18-20, 2019
Prime Produce, NYC

Brannon Dorsey

Website | Twitter

Brannon Dorsey is an artist, programmer, and researcher who uses technology and reproducible electronic media to navigate difficult terrain. He creates free software tools to create experiences that excite and empower individuals and collaborative communities rather than create passive users/consumers. Brannon's work encourages a digital literacy that celebrates the truly profound technological era that we now live in while remaining skeptical of the ways that this technology is being used on and against us.


Trust in Waves: An introduction to packet radio with AX.25 and elliptic curve cryptography

This hands-on workshop will demonstrate how to use cheap chinese radios in combination with audio modem software to create secure long-distance communication networks. We’ll start off by introducing the equipment and protocols common to packet radio as well as a brief history of the medium. Participants will encode digital data using audio to transmit messages over UHF and VHF radio frequencies using their own equipment and equipment provided by the instructor. Once the group has a foundational understanding of the technology and how to use it, we’ll introduce a new open source protocol and software package called Chattervox.

Chattervox is a packet radio chat protocol with support for digital signatures and binary compression; think IRC over radio waves. In the United States, it's illegal to broadcast encrypted messages on amateur radio frequencies. Chattervox respects this law, while using elliptic curve cryptography and digital signatures to protect against message spoofing. Participants will be introduced to the protocol by its author and have the opportunity to contribute to and influence its development. The protocol has received a warm and exciting welcome by amateur radio enthusiasts, but this workshop will mark one of the first large-scale use of the protocol by a group of activists, creatives, and curious mis-users of technology.

The Chattervox protocol was inspired by the Packet Radio Networks Workshop presented by Dennis de Bel and Roel Roscam Abbing at the first Radical Networks conference in 2015. Their workshop and liberally licensed Messing Around with Packet Radio zine inspired experimentation that eventually lead to the development of Chattervox and the opportunity to continue contributing alternative packet radio ideas to the Radnets community this year!

    Instructor will provide:
  • 8x Baofeng UV-5R VHF/UHF Radios
  • 8x Audio cables for connecting laptops to radios
  • 1x Audio to USB sound card
  • 1x Raspberry Pi
    Attendees should bring:
  • A Linux, MacOS, or Windows laptop (Linux preferred but not required)

The workshop will run Friday, October 18, 2019, from 4:45 pm - 6:45 pm. Tickets are available here.

Additional information

  • Github
  • Chattervox Examples, including:
    • Low-Fi Time Server: Broadcast a timestamp beacon at regular intervals
    • A weather broadcast station
    • Bash shell: Use chattervox to control a remote computer via Bash
    • Zork: Play the famous text adventure game over packet radio
  • Chattervox Keys: A central key server for storing and sharing Chattervox public keys
  • N-O-D-E Zine (DAT link)