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#49093 - 09/15/05 07:43 PM New Nextel DirectTalk service
Arney Offline

Registered: 09/15/05
Posts: 2485
Loc: California
Hi folks. My first post in the forum.

Nextel has recently rolled out their new DirectTalk service. DirectTalk is push-to-talk, like their famous DirectConnect service, but DirectTalk is not network-dependent. From their press release, the service uses 10 channels and 15 "privacy codes" in the 900Mhz ISM band, it is "digital" (which could mean different things), and they claim "up to" 6 miles range.

So, with one Nextel phone, you could have regular cellular service, DirectConnect, text messaging, I believe email, too, and now DirectTalk (with compatible models). DirectTalk communications can be one-on-one or group broadcast. Seems like this gives you a lot of options when communications are swamped with users or just plain knocked out, and it's all in one phone.

Has anyone used the new DirectTalk feature, particularly in an urban setting?

(I'm not affiliated with Sprint Nextel in any way)

Edited by Arney (09/15/05 10:47 PM)

#49094 - 09/15/05 08:00 PM Re: New Nextel DirectTalk service
groo Offline

Registered: 11/02/03
Posts: 722
Loc: Florida
The service itself sounds interesting.

I know that several major clients dropped Nextel like a hot rock in and around Orlando after the hurricanes last year (switch to Sprint). This from a Sprint sales person. Don't know exactly why, but the complaints had to do with availability and coverage.

This may be a non issue now (after the sprint-nextel merger).

#49095 - 09/15/05 08:10 PM Re: New Nextel DirectTalk service
Malpaso Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 09/12/05
Posts: 817
Loc: MA
<<Seems like this gives you a lot of options when communications are swamped with users or just plain knocked out>>

Not sure what you mean by this, but when communications are knocked out, they are knocked out. One of the few (if not the only) types of communication that is 100% reliable when commercial communications is knocked out are the Amateur (HAM) radio bands. See 9/11and Katrina for example.
It's not that life is so short, it's that you're dead for so long.

#49096 - 09/15/05 08:54 PM Re: New Nextel DirectTalk service
Arney Offline

Registered: 09/15/05
Posts: 2485
Loc: California
That's the appeal of this new DirectTalk service--it's not infrastructure-dependent. DirectConnect is network-dependent, so perhaps that is what you're thinking of.

If the person you want to contact has a compatible phone and is within DirectTalk range, even if phone lines are damaged, cell towers run out of battery backup, you're out of range of a cell tower out in the countryside, etc., you can still contact the person directly, simplex, if I may appropriate some HAM lingo. (I'm not a HAM btw).

For most people, particularly as EDC, it's nice to just carry a phone and get this added capability instead of needing to carry a phone *plus* an FRS/GMRS radio, amateur HT, etc. to have a network-independent way of reaching someone.

For relatively short range use, it seems like a nice option to have. Just wondering if anyone's used it in the real world yet.

#49097 - 09/15/05 11:03 PM Re: New Nextel DirectTalk service
Fitzoid Offline

Registered: 08/23/05
Posts: 289
Loc: WI, MA, and NYC
This sounds extremely cool. I wonder what exactly is meant by 10 channels and how the channels are shared. Are the signals multiplexed, so multiple conversations happen on a single channel? (This seems doubtful, given the network's point-to-point nature, but I have no idea.)

Is this intended for use where there is no coverage, e.g., in the mountains, or for use in cities, where you might be competing with 1,000,000 other people for those 10 channels?

Anyway, it's very cool and I'd like to find out more. (But for now, I'm not throwing away my Yaesu VX-7R.... <img src="/images/graemlins/smile.gif" alt="" />)
"When I read about the evils of drinking, I gave up reading." Henny Youngman

#49098 - 09/16/05 10:12 AM Re: New Nextel DirectTalk service
stormadvisor Offline

Registered: 03/14/05
Posts: 87
Loc: Ohio
Here is the url to the FAQ sheet for this.

Only those with direct talk can use this. How many other carriers will have this? Won't matter much if it is only Nextel/Sprint.

I do not like the digital stuff either. It only takes a little to for the msg to get garbled. FM is better. You can at least hear some of the msg with static invovled. Even better on SSB.

Can't change the weather. Might as well enjoy it.

#49099 - 09/19/05 03:38 PM Re: New Nextel DirectTalk service
harrkev Offline

Registered: 09/05/01
Posts: 384
Loc: Colorado Springs, CO
This feature sounds interesting, but not reliable.

The typical cell phone has around 1/2 watt or so of transmit power. This is about the same power as a cheap FRS radio. So, I would expect about the same performance -- maybe a mile or so in typical circumstances. You might be able to get 5 miles if you are in the middle of a desert.

I would rather use a good GMRS radio.
Darwin was wrong -- I'm still alive

#49100 - 09/19/05 05:16 PM Re: New Nextel DirectTalk service
Arney Offline

Registered: 09/15/05
Posts: 2485
Loc: California
Harrkev, would you mind elaborating a bit on what you mean by "not reliable"? Do you mean in terms of range?

I just think DirectTalk is an interesting option for people who want to have a means of short-range communications with people who may not want to carry a separate two-way radio as EDC, like a spouse or family members. My wife will not carry a FRS/GMRS radio in her purse, but she probably wouldn't mind carrying a Nextel phone with her, which could prove valuable in a situation where cell service is suddenly down or overwhelmed, like after an earthquake.

Still waiting to see if anyone's had any real world experience using it, though.

#49101 - 09/19/05 05:45 PM Re: New Nextel DirectTalk service
Eugene Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 12/26/02
Posts: 2823
Basically the power output of the cell phone/two way is going to be so low that it won't be a viable replacement for the downed communications infrastructure as you will have to be so closw to the person your trying to two way that you might as well jus thow the phone at them to get their attention <img src="/images/graemlins/smile.gif" alt="" />

#49102 - 09/19/05 06:51 PM Re: New Nextel DirectTalk service
Arney Offline

Registered: 09/15/05
Posts: 2485
Loc: California
you might as well just thow the phone at them to get their attention

Already got that covered. My EDC includes a baggy filled with smooth river rocks, just for that purpose. I try not to aim for people's heads. <img src="/images/graemlins/wink.gif" alt="" />

But, to get back to the short range issue, I never expected DirectTalk to fully replace the telecom infrastructure. It's not like I'm going to try and reach my emergency out-of-state contact with DirectTalk! <img src="/images/graemlins/smile.gif" alt="" />

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