Lowcountry Contest Club Mesh Networking Symposium

Update: I received a correction for the date of the symposium. It will be on Wednesday June 14. RSVP by June 11.

Did you know there was a Lowcountry Contest Club? I didn’t know there was a Lowcountry Contest Club. Apparently they’ve been around a while.

Anyway, word came to me that they’re holding a Mesh Networking Symposium June 1014 at the Fleet Reserve Association in Goose Creek.

The Low Country Contest Club (LCCC) will be holding a symposium on MESH networks for amateur radio at the Wednesday, June 10, meeting of the LCCC at the Fleet Reserve Association in Goose Creek, SC at 1800.  We generally arrive at 1800, order food/drink if desired at appx. 1830, and start the symposium shortly thereafter.  Note that there is no “meeting,” just the symposium. Directions, etc. are at the bottom of this email.

Terry, N4TLF, and I have been working for some time on establishing a 2.4GHz link between our houses, so we could further investigate the use of MESH networks in amateur radio.  We have finally managed to establish the link, and are currently working on ways to improve it, and also make the link available to others.

To make a MESH network really useful we need more participants.  To that end we are inviting interested members of TARC and CARS to attend the June meeting of the LCCC, and will have (for lack of a better word) a symposium on MESH networks that will address
equipment, software, and problems involved in making a useful MESH network in the Charleston metropolitan area.  We should have an example of a MESH network set up in the FRA building, and a demonstration of at least one possible application.

If you know of a ham that is interested please bring them with you.  They do not have to be a member of any club; only interest is required!

This is a growing part of amateur radio.  We think you will find it interesting, and hope that this will help to get a MESH network established here in the local area.

I assume they mean Saturday June 10 and that Wednesday is just a typo.

The symposium date is June 14. RSVP by June 11 if you want to attend.

Ham radio mesh networking is becoming a pretty popular thing these days with projects like Broadband Hamnet and AREDN using COTS wifi equipment and custom firmware. For hurricane and storm prone areas like the Lowcountry, having an infrastructure independent communication network based on a mesh network over the ham bands could be a very useful thing.

I’ll be out of town at Southeast Linuxfest when the symposium is happening, but if you’re interested in going, RSVP to W4MEL at <w4mel at arrl.org>

Coax to the shack

Spent the afternoon today getting the coax from the entrance panel through the conduit and into the shack. On the first attempt the string I was pulling the coax with broke, so we had to pull some more string. One of the contractors that worked on the house told us a while back that if the string ever broke, tie a new string to a plastic grocery bag, stuff it into the conduit and use a vacuum at the other end to suck it through. Worked like a charm.

With the new string run, managed to get both of the lengths of coax (RG-8X I believe) I had used at the old house through the conduit. One is 75′ and the other is 100′ along with a few extra strings in case we want to pull some more coax. Based on what was left of the 75′ coax hanging outside the entrance panel, it looks like the run between the panel and the shack is around 60-65′. That means there’s a good bit of coax coiled up in the entrance panel right now.

Entrance panel coax
Entrance panel coax

Still a fair bit to do at the entrance panel. I have to decide if I want to trim it (which would mean I’d have to learn how to terminate coax) or leave it coiled up inside the box. Lightning arrestor needs to be mounted, and I’ll have to work out a grounding scheme. Then I need to figure out how to hold the antenna up in the air.

At the shack end, there’s enough sticking out that should make it easy to work with.

Coax in the shack
Coax in the shack

I think I’m going to drill a couple of holes in the wall plate for some short SO-239 bulkhead connectors. Then it will be short jumper cables from the radio to the wall.

One step closer to getting the shack back on the air.

Cable entrance panel finally installed

It took a while longer to get to than I originally planned, but I finally got around to installing the coax entry panel to the side of the house. I even managed to do it without mangling the siding around the box too badly.

Entry panel installed
Entry panel installed

Almost looks like it was originally part of the house.

Next task is to caulk around the mounting box and the entry panel to seal everything up, then pull the coax through the conduit.

Entry panel installed
Entry panel installed

 

New on the bookshelf

Fresh new books for the bookshelf arrived today.

Grounding and Bonding for the Radio Amateur and More Arduino Projects for Ham Radio are the latest additions to the ham radio bookshelf.

More Arduino for Ham Radio
More Arduino for Ham Radio

A quick flip through them shows a good deal of useful information in both books, especially the Grounding book which is often a confusing topic for many hams.

Looking forward to reading them.

Logger project

Progress on my radiology equipment tracker has been coming along pretty nicely. After adding a bunch of new much wanted features, development on it has slowed down a bit while I figure out what else I want to add, and learn more to fix/refine what I’ve already done.

In the coding world, everybody says the best way to learn something is to work on projects that you’re interested in. In that spirit, I started working on a web based logging program using Laravel and PHP.

There are already lots of great logging programs out there, and maybe eventually this will become one. The primary purpose of this newest project though is to expand my Laravel/PHP/Javascript programming skills. Both PHP and Javascript have come a long way from the simple HTML add-ons they were when I first started doing web stuff, so in some ways it’s like starting over with new languages now. In the process, I’ll take the new knowledge I gain and carry it over into my equipment tracker.

The logger is still in the very early stages. I’m still working out the database schema, so there’s not really any working code yet.

For lack of creativity, I’m calling it AB4UGLogger for now. Feel free to following along, contribute, fork or make suggestions.