Introduction: File Transferring in Emergencies

Picture of File Transferring in Emergencies

Next time you go to a place in the world without an internet connection to save lives, make sure your laptop has some software installed. Also take a digital sound recorded, 3.5mm male to make cable and the headphones.

In my previous instructable, I was transferring files via radio by using morse code.

It was not practical, but it was fun.

There are other, much faster ways to transfer files via radio, but that's for a future instructable.

I decided

Let's have a look at how can you transfer small files to your computer from anywhere in the world.

I am not talking about using the internet, I am talking about file transfer via ordinary phone to your PC at home.

Step 1:

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Before going somewhere far, you need to set up your computers.

Computer that will stay at home and the laptop you will take with you.

Computer that stays at home/office/lab

Turn on your computer, connect the mobile phone to the laptop's Line-In/Mic-In port via 3.5mm audio cable. Install an app of your choice that can automatically answer a call. I used "Auto Answer Incoming Call" for Android. Make sure you turn off the sound and vibration mode. Run the "CallTTY" program and change the mode to "ASCII-7" or "ASCII-8". Make sure your computer is not going to turn off or go to sleep.

Install a "Base64 Encode/Decode Utility" on the computer.

Computer that goes with you

Install "CallTTY" and "Base64 Encode/Decode Utility"

Now you are ready to take the flight!

Step 2:

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After collecting important data about "insert the subject", you might want to send it back home for your colleges to analyse.

If there is no internet connection, but there is a phone, it's your lucky day.

For this project, I used a small ".png" picture (1.17KB.)
Copy your file to the "Base64" program's folder. My file was "STF.png" Drag it on top of the "encb64.exe" file. Bas64 encoder will create a new file called "name.OriginalFileExtension.b64", so in my case "STF.png.b64" Newly created file, will contain a lot of symbols. Change the files extension to "txt", in my case "STF.png.txt".

Open that text file and Add a line at the top and a line at the bottom, containing text of your choice.

That text can help you to understand where code starts and where ends in case of any problems. It will also separate the information, in case you want to send more than one file.

I added "StartStartStartStartStartStartStartStart..." at the top and "EndEndEndEndEndEndEndEnd..." at the bottom.

Save it!

Step 3:

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Run the "CallTTY" software and change the "Mode" to the same your computer at home is set to - "ASCII -7" or "ASCII -8"

At this point you have a choice to use the laptop to send the information home or first, transfer information to the digital sound recorder.

I used a public phone, so it made sense to record information to the sound recorder.

Connect the sound recorder to your PC and press record..

Open the "STF.png.txt" file and wait until it goes through all the text.

It will make an interesting sound.

Step 4:

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When audio has been recorded, go to the nearest PayPhone and dial your mobile phone's number at home.

Once you hear that the call has been answered, start playing the sound until it finishes.

"CallTTY" program will record the sound via mobile phone and decode it.

I did some experiments and found out, that sometimes, it's better if you start playing the sound for a few seconds, then stop, start again, stop and on the 3rd time play all the file.

Not sure why, but my sound was decoded bad if I transferred it straight away. When I did this play a few seconds -stop, play a few seconds-stop, play it all technique, file was transfected perfectly.

It might be because my file was not 16bit mono as advised by "CallTTY". I also used unregistered version, registered version should unlock some features.

Now your colleagues can decode the file.

Step 5:

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On the computer at home, copy the information from "CallTTY" to the "Notepad" and only keep the text between "StartStartStartStartStartStartStartStart..." and "EndEndEndEndEndEnd..." lines.

Save the file in "base64" folder as "name.originalExtension.b64", in my case "pic.png.b64".

Drag the file on top of the "decb64.exe"

A new file will be created - "name.originalExtension.b64.out", in my case "pic.png.b64.out".

Rename the file, leaving only the original extension - "pic.png".

If information was transferred correctly, you should see your file.

It took me around 6 minutes to transfer 1.17KB picture.

If you need to transfer only a plain text (txt), you don't need to use "base64" utility.


nodcah (author)2014-12-13

Again, a very interesting instructable! =)

ShakeTheFuture (author)nodcah2015-08-09

Thank You Nodcah! I really enjoyed this one.

ShakeTheFuture (author)nodcah2014-12-13

Thank You Nodcah! I am glad you enjoyed it. Thanks for taking the time to leave a comment.

ShakeTheFuture (author)2014-12-19


If anybody is interested, here is another video about file transferring via radio or from the audio cassette. I did not make another Instructable as it's pretty much the same thing, just a different program (by the same guy). Speed is very good. I was sending code @ 1200 baud. It took me around 13 minutes to transfer 68.5 KB video.

This works great with radio transfer. All the amateur radio operators can send files all over the world, without the internet connection. This is not going to work over the phone, at least not at these speeds and this exact method.

If code is larger than 10 KB, it's better to split it in more pieces before sending it. When I tried to send a large file, "TrueTTY" had problems playing the sound. You can split the text file with a software called "GSplit".

jdenslinger (author)2014-12-16

I would like to see a USB acoustic coupler method. Would save on some parts and time, and enable live, albeit slow, connection to the home computer, which with internet sharing turned on, could even have the potential to give live internet to your laptop - over payphone.

i am working on one right now.. :)

Slow is right. You might be able to load a page per hour by that method.

Cool! I had no idea what is an acoustic coupler. Very interesting thing.

badsaddamdotnet. (author)2015-09-07

so im guessing with an FM transmitter and receiver you could basically have an FM dial-up kind of modem port.. this is really cool.

安陳 (author)2015-08-13

WOW hahaha Im guessing this was how internet first started

ShakeTheFuture (author)安陳2015-08-13

Yes, I guess it was.

PlentyOstuff (author)2015-08-08

Very cool

Slappylamaface (author)2015-08-05


ottawafm (author)2015-01-12

lol! That's funny! Goooood one! When was the last time you seen a pay phone! lol! :]

jwilliamsen (author)2014-12-16

OMG - this takes me back to the days of the TRS80! LOL

Very creative! Might be a sneaky way to transmit security codes or passwords ... except I think the NSA probably runs everything through enough quantum computers to catch it.

Now, what would be very interesting is to take that audio string and push it's frequency into the inaudible range - say 18KHz+, then play it at the same time as a conversation was occurring. Then take that recorded conversation, filter out the audible frequencies, re-range the audio back to the audible, and see if it could be decoded. I guess the question would be whether or not the microphones and speakers could effectively capture that.... ;)

I had to google what is TRS80 - wow, that looks like a nice computer for that time.

Yes, mic would probably fail at picking up the sound. I was playing around with another program (TrueTTY) made by the same person/company.

It's a software for amateur radio communications.

I was able to reach much faster transfer speeds, but it did not work via phone, only via radio.

Turns our phone companies cut some HZ.

I transfered 68.5Kb video via radio in around 13min (I will publish follow up instructable)


Gelfling6 (author)ShakeTheFuture2014-12-19

It's amazing where, and how far the computer world has come in the past 50 or so years.. LOL! Everyone thinks the Internet started back in the 1980's, when it was actually older than 1970's, when the military started what they called the ARPANET (Advanced Research Projects Agency Network), which was actually conceived around 1963 (around the time the first Doctor Who Episode aired on the BBC, and I was born in late July.) The reason most telephones cut down on the frequency, is most calls are already being converted to different frequencies, and multiplexed across less wires, or even laser (welcome to the Fibre Optics).. Yes, I remember the original TRS-80 Model 1. I had one, a Color Computer-III, A Model-100, three Model II's (the BIG Business machines), and one Model-16 (a II, with a XENIX co-board.) Now, we've reduced phones down to pocket sized (so much for Dick Tracy's wrist Radio). Computers down to the size of out old Cell phones..

ShakeTheFuture (author)Gelfling62014-12-21

Very interesting!

What happened with all those computers you had? Did they end up in the bin? Technology is progressing so fast, that it's hard to keep up and really appreciated it. Fast progress has become a normal thing.

imark77 (author)jwilliamsen2014-12-18

"I guess the question would be whether or not the microphones and speakers could effectively capture that...."

NO not the question

Telephones: Bandwidth (THIS IS)

In order to allow more long-distance calls to be transmitted, the frequencies transmitted are limited to a bandwidth
of about 3,000 hertz. All of the frequencies in your voice below 400
hertz and above 3,400 hertz are eliminated. That's why someone's voice
on a phone has a distinctive sound.......

And yes Don't forget the salt.

nalipaz (author)jwilliamsen2014-12-16

Data URI encoding (base64) is certainly not an acceptable transmission of passwords or any other sensitive data. Easily decrypted and recognized. Perhaps if it were changed to use a password hash and a real encryption algorithm then sure this could be used for that.

nerocon (author)nalipaz2014-12-16

Don't forget the salt.

Raphango (author)2014-12-18

James Bond should learn with you! =D

Awesome project!!

aberman3 (author)2014-12-14

We've been doing this in Africa for decades. We however find it quicker by tying messages to our Tigers and letting then courier the messages through the jungles.

ruviwije (author)aberman32014-12-16

But... but... you don't find Tigers in Africa.... they went on vacation to South Asia and never returned. ;) Perhaps you meant a cheetah. I hear that they can deliver mail at 70mph.

ndeclares war (author)ruviwije2014-12-17

A tiger? In africa?


Here in North America, we tie our mess-ages around the necks of bears. We then send them off with a bear hug, or ride them bare back until they reach their destination.

We may also tie it around the leg of a Kiwi bird or a Dodo, or failing that, put them on the back of a snail. I hear there is also research into encoding messages directly into the DNA of bacteria and allowing them to spread "naturally" until at some future time they colonize the habitat of the untended recipient.

jwilliamsen (author)aberman32014-12-16

LOL - Carrier Tigers. I'll bet getting a message is a scary event - lol

bishopp14 (author)jwilliamsen2014-12-16

You've got mail! RUN!!!!! Aaaarrrrggghhhh!!!!!

jwilliamsen (author)bishopp142014-12-16

Yeah - in Africa, you only send messages to people you hate - LOL

bishopp14 (author)jwilliamsen2014-12-16

Gives a whole new meaning to the term "hate mail" doesn't it!

omikeo (author)2014-12-16

cool stuff, must be the way the old modems worked eh, the old dial up days and even couplers, in HS we were connected to a honeywell mainframe in minnesota with a phone coupler, thanks for sharing

Tess Lucetram (author)2014-12-16

Very cool stuff. How long before we can send ourselves a la the Matrix? LOL

wobbler (author)2014-12-16

I am unfortunately old enough to remember into the distant past when this was still in the distant future. I presume you'll be putting up an Instructable for mailing paper tape, audio cassettes and 8" floppies next for when the phone goes down? It was all so futuristic back then when clouds were what you looked out for in case it rained!

Got to go, my teletype has just finished printing out a nude. I started it going in 1972.

ShakeTheFuture (author)wobbler2014-12-16

No, I am not planning to mail audio cassettes. I am aware that this instructable is not practical, but it's not about that.

It's all about having fun and trying something new/old :)

wobbler (author)ShakeTheFuture2014-12-16

It might not be practical now, but just wait until the Internet Apocalypse! They'll be desperate for it then, showing them how it was done old-school pre-dotcom. I just hope the phones are still working or we might need to bring out the string and baked beans cans.

Snidely70448 (author)2014-12-16

Try googling acoustic modem. It's an old technology that predates computers by a couple-three decades. About 1960 my father's office had a fax (facsimilie) machine that could send images to another fax machine over the phone lines. It converted light and dark places into different tones.

tsturtevant (author)2014-12-16

I'm having trouble finding one part. The payphone. Your work is impeccable and the photos are great. Only needing software and no traveling hardware is key. The home hardware is simple enough. Joking about the payphone. Good job.

Mielameri (author)2014-12-12

Whoa, so cool. Analog and digital worlds collide!

PurplePeople (author)Mielameri2014-12-12

They always collide. Your smartphone converts analog to digital and vice versa at the microphone, the speaker and headphones, the accelerometers, and pretty much anywhere there is a human interface. For posterity, I present you with a state of the art internet modem from the early days of portable computing.

Very cool. Interesting to see how technology is progressing.

I saw a Youtube video, where somebody found a very old (wooden) modem and hooked it to PC. I can't find the video,but that was impressive.

qcombus (author)ShakeTheFuture2014-12-16

I'm guessing this is the video you're talking about.

There's a very similar one at my school

ShakeTheFuture (author)Mielameri2014-12-13

Thank You Mielameri!

shizumadrive (author)2014-12-13

I nteresting. most (if not all) of the payphones have been removed from what I've seen

inklayer (author)shizumadrive2014-12-16

Lots of payphones in prisons but no access to laptops - LOL.

ShakeTheFuture (author)inklayer2014-12-16

Depending of a prison.

There are some luxury prisons with computers.

If you need to send a file, you could always read it or say it over the phone.

It's actually a great way the keep info. Memorise the base64 file's code and you have a digital file in your head.

When you get out of prison, restore it from the memory.

Only problem, you have to have a very good memory to remember all those symbols.

Not impossible :)

Indeed. Payphones are almost gone. Soon they be a history. Some of them have been replaced with internet phones.

nalipaz (author)ShakeTheFuture2014-12-16

I would guess that there are still payphones in remote parts of the world.

thokzn100 (author)2014-12-13

lol like "africa" we do have the internet wifi and all that stuff

ShakeTheFuture (author)thokzn1002014-12-13

It was just an example :) I am aware that there is internet. I was going to write Antarctica, but that's probably too extreme. I wrote Africa because it's a big continent. I might as well say Earth :)

I should have been more specific, but one thing is look at the internet coverage map, other thing is to actually visit those places.

Do you know any specific place where this could be a reality? No internet, only phone line?

cool, good idea for faraway place behind civilization, good job

About This Instructable




Bio: Innovative Projects, Diy's, Life Hacks
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