It is amazing what can be used as an antenna for communication usage in times of need. Flag poles, ladders, barbed-wire fences, and bed springs are just a few examples of things that can be used as an antenna if the need be. Some things may work better than others, but if the "field-expedient" method works well enough, it's a success.
Speaking about wireless communication in rural areas, be sure to check out Smari McCarthy in this video http://blip.tv/file/1701435
on the build-out of wireless
infrastructure in Jalalabad, Afghanistan using the Fab Lab at http://fabfi.fablab.af/
. (Thanks to LucasG for the reminder!)
Similarly, that seldom used household device contains parts that could be used elsewhere if needed, even if temporarily. Using what you have on hand, whether materials or human resources, can save time and frustration when options seem lacking.
Sharing knowledge of the things we find that work will enable others to find similar options and work-arounds when their resources don't exactly match yours. Just because we may think we have unique problems and unique resources, the stories we tell can bring insight, if not solutions.