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Google’s Project Loon uses radio-equipped balloons to deliver internet access from 12 miles above the earth.

It currently uses WiFi bands at 2.4 and 5.8 GHz which are available for anyone to use, but Project Loon is now testing LTE to provide as much as 22 MB/sec to a ground antenna and 5 MB/sec to a handset, reports Wired.

Google’s use of licensed LTE frequencies in northern Nevada required consent from local wireless broadband operators and that it its tests didn’t take place within 25 miles of an LTE base station operated by AT&T, Verizon and T-Mobile.

Perhaps spectrum coordination could utilize a technique used by 12/14 GHz LEO satellites that shut down their emissions when near the equator to prevent interference with geostationary satellites.

The Navy’s ship-based LTE network goes 20 nautical miles using a tracking antenna. LTE Release 11 now uses multiple antennas to suppress interference and improve range and throughput.

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Kymeta’s flat antenna steers the beam electronically. No moving parts.

The Navy’s Common Unmanned Surface Vessel (CUSV) is operated by similar command-and-control technology that powers Army UAVs. They can be controlled remotely from 10 to 12 miles away from a command station on land, at sea, or in the air.

Christenson shipyards in Vancouver is working with Oregon Iron Works on a secret autonomous vessel for SAIC and DARPA. It can follow enemy submarines for months and travel thousands of miles — without any crew.

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DARPA expects to test the operational unmanned vessel prototype in mid-2015.

The FAA has approved the first commercial use over land of the Insitu ScanEagle, a fixed-wing UAV, which often flies over the Columbia River Gorge. It was developed in Bingen, Washington, just across the Columbia River from Hood River, Oregon.

The Coast Guard hopes to begin purchases of unmanned aerial systems by FY 2016, with small UAVs deployed from its National Security Cutter fleet, such as the Coast Guard Cutter Alert, based in Astoria.

Aerovel, from the founders of Insitu, is now creating Flexrotor, a next-generation vertical takeoff drone. Aerovel’s 40lb VTOL has Hawaii-to-West Coast range and can be launched and retrieved from an unmanned boat.

Stephen Burtt co-founded Aerial Technologies International in Clackamas, Oregon. Their drone system can fly for up to 25 minutes and is used to help farmers monitor crops or help first responders to monitor oil spills and fires. He has mounted a GoPro cameras on their drone that eliminates images of the drone from 360 degree video panoramas.

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Wilsonville’s HoneyComb drone will spot areas of distressed crops and count trees.

The Columbia River is the largest river in the Pacific Northwest and the fourth-largest river in the United States. The average width of the Columbia River is one mile and the average width (Rim To Rim) is 3 miles. The Columbia River is 1243 miles long (7th longest in the US).

The 700 MHz LTE public service band (FirstNet) might be utilized for mutual benefit. It’s a dedicated LTE network for first responders.

LTE-A cells, with a range of 5-10 miles, could provide ubiquitous broadband. A dozen Quadcopter landing/recharging zones could be located near ports every 8-12 miles along the river. Flying at 100-300 feet, Columbia River drones would be provided with constant broadband connectivity for telemetry and live video.

Timely, cost/effective aerial surveillance would provide railroad, vessel and highway monitoring, saving millions in gas and personnel annually while providing increased safety and security.

Tech Town Portland from Uncage the Soul Productions on Vimeo.

Domestic commercial drones could be a $13 billion industry by 2017, creating 70,240 jobs, according to the AUVSI.

Here’s my Drone proposal for the Columbia River :)

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