February 28, 2017
Andy Parcel, KE5KOF, (repeater trustee for the new 220MHz repeater now under construction), Kevin Grantham, N5KRG, (trustee for the 900MHz repeater), and Dave Lane, N5GDL, (trustee for the new 440MHz DMR machine) decided that installing some strategic AREDN™ nodes would provide a “target” for hams wanting to experiment with the technology.
Experience with AREDN shows that the effective range is between 1/2 mile and 2-1/2 miles depending on terrain and trees. This means that, until there are enough hams with nodes up high outside their homes and businesses, it’s very difficult to find anyone with whom to “mesh.” Kevin noted, “If other hams install enough nodes to create a real mesh, everyone would benefit.”
Since the club has access to Carrollton’s Baylor Scott & White Medical Center (aka “The Hospital”) the group felt some AREDN nodes on the hospital would be of benefit. The hope was that by putting nodes on the hospital, at least hams within a couple of miles could mesh with the hospital, and thus with each other.
Aided by Dale Finley, KB5NFT, the group installed two nodes. One is a Ubiquiti® NanoStation®M which is a high-power directional (60-degree beam width) node provided by Andy. The node ID bears his call sign and a unique identifier, KE5KOF-ns2d-node1. This is pointed south with the intent to reach Andy’s, Dave’s and Dale’s houses. Kevin provided the other node, a Ubiquiti PicoStation®M2-HP. Its ID is N5KRG-pico2o-BSWCarrollton.
Andy has a Ubiquiti airRouter™ inside his home, and a Bullet with an omni antenna outside. Dale has installed a mobile node system—“War Wagon”—with several airRouters and antennas including a high-gain Yagi. He has a node at his home as well. Kevin has two inside airRouters and a large pile of outside-capable nodes ready to deploy. Dave has a NanoStation mounted on his chimney.
Well, how does it all play? Dave can barely reach the hospital (3.9 miles) but will probably lose that connection when the trees develop leaves. Andy can see it and the higher he puts up his antenna the better he can see it—probably terrain issues. Kevin, being at the southern edge of Farmers Branch, has no hope of seeing it.
It’s also possible to put a latitude and longitude into those nodes and post them on the AREDN website to let other hams know what’s nearby, and what they can mesh with. Plans are to do that soon.
The long-term plan is to put more nodes on the hospital and use either three 120-degree sector antennas or four 90-degree sector antennas to cover a complete circle around the hospital. One or more point-to-point links to other sites are planned.
Kevin has written an interesting background article about AREDN. Please go here to learn more.
Santa Fe Days in the Park
March 17-18, 2017
As in years past, hams worked Carrollton’s annual Santa Fe Days In The Park as “shadow” communicators. The task was to provide event staff with instant communications across Sandy Lake Park. To do that, hams closely followed their assigned department heads as they moved about the park. Clients reported excellent service from the radio amateurs.
Steve Darrah, KD5YPB, organized the event with support from MARS club secretary, Liz Brown, K5EMB. The event was managed as a public service net over a simplex frequency using HTs. MARS president, David Gilpin, K5GIL, served as net control operator.
Gilpin noted that this was excellent training should hams be called upon to use our communication skills in an emergency. Many of the operators are ARES and RACES members.
In addition to those mentioned above, thanks go to all who signed up to volunteer their community service: Mike Brown, W5MDB; Dale Finley, KB5NFT; Kevin Grantham, N5KRG; Arnold Krusemark, K0YVI; Dave Lane, N5GDL; David Lewis, AC5DL; Mark Little, KG5RPX; James McCormick, KG5KBP; Randy Morton, KE5EOT; Bob Mounger, AF5UP; Andy Parcel, KE5KOF and Ron Reeves, N5RR.
Santa Fe Days is a celebration of Native American culture and offers food, entertainment, prizes and a wide variety of arts and crafts from around the country.