Hey folks, it's Joel. I'm getting ready to leave tomorrow morning for Houston, as part of a team of volunteers working with CU Wireless (under the auspice of the FCC and FEMA) to establish wireless communications networks in the Gulf Coast region. We're in need of equipment and supplies in the Houston or Baton Rouge area.

If you're in Houston we really, really could use your help (or if you are a corporate agent outside of Houston, we could use your help, too). I'll list what we need after the jump (preview: it includes a bitchin' van, preferably with a wizard on the side).

Okay, so right now my deployment team consists of me and Jacob Appelbaum. We have a tentative two-stage plan (plus a bonus meta-plan).


Part 1

Tomorrow night we're heading to the Astrodome to help a community group establish a low-power (read: normally pirate), FCC-approved FM radio station to broadcast public service information.


Now these folks have the FM transmitter ready to go (and all the necessary paperwork) but have been told by the administrators of the Astrodome that they will not be allowed to broadcast unless they can personally provide 10,000 Walkman-type radios (I presume that means with headphones) for personal refugee use. I know that sounds like a lot of bullshit, but that's what they told me. I will confirm the details of this bizarre requirement myself tomorrow night.

In the meantime, if you are a corporate or retail outlet that has the ability to provide a large quantity of FM radios and/or batteries, please contact me immediately so that I can begin to help them negotiate this requirement.


So that's the first thing.

Part 2

This isn't set in stone yet, but I'm currently negotiating a supply drop with the employees of DirectNIC, the last operating ISP in New Orleans. (If you haven't heard of these guys, I wrote about them for Wired News here.) They are currently operating under the mandate of the Governor of Louisiana, who has asked them personally to stay online. We're going to try to help them do that, by delivering supplies, followed by the establishment of wireless communication throughout the downtown New Orleans area.


To do this, we'll need the use of a vehicle from the Houston area. I know that's a big request, but that's what we need. If you can provide that (and I can probably pay you from my pocket a reasonable fee) then please let me know. We also need immediate access to the following (with more to come as requests from the DirectNIC folks come in):

* A chemical toilet (it's apparently getting pretty raunchy in that building; 27-stories only allows so many fresh johns).
* Diesel fuel. (I Know, it sounds crazy to me, too, but they need it and it's worth asking, because you guys are resourceful.)
* People to assist transcribing radio feeds to text on irc.freenode.net #interdictor-help (ability to type would be great).
* Various other supplies. DirectNIC is compiling a list of things they need that should be sent to me in about 24 hours.


This part isn't set in stone, but should be soon (especially if someone can provide a vehicle; especially, as noted, one with an air-brushed wizard on the side [you know how we roll {d20s}]).

Part 3

Lastly, we need a big fat wildcard asterisks of gear, including old laptops (with good batteries), walkie-talkies, basic electronics components (there is an excellent list of supplies here, and food/water/basic sustenance needs. It is my intention to stay as self-sufficient as possible, while remaining as safe as possible—we don't need another hero (we don't need to know the way home).


If you're in the Houston (or even Austin) area and can contribute to our teams, we'd really appreciate it. I'll be posting updates of some of the things going on here on Gizmodo, as well as pictures taken by Jake or me.

And if you'd like to join in with the CUWireless division of the Part-15 group and are a qualified engineer, please let sign up. If you're in Houston, we'll try to add you into our immediate group.


None of my Gizmodo emails work anymore, so if you need to contact me, feel free to use any of the contact info on JoelJohnson.com.

Talk to you guys soon. Thanks in advance for any help you can provide. I think we're doing a good thing here.


Update: 1:19AM EST: I just remembered one last thing. If anyone has access to antibiotics and/or anti-infectious disease vaccines (or knows where we can get them in the Houston area), that would be a great thing for us as well, because I really, really can't hang with bleeding from my eyes or brain.