Mesh Comments Page

Leave us your question’s or comments, and one of us will get back to you.

Thanks Brad, Kevin, Mike

Updated Oct.18, 2014 kgs


Mesh Comments Page — 85 Comments

    • Morning Klaus
      I have been very busy this past summer so looking at my website has not been on my list. I know that we have been using the 440wifi’s for tunneling purposes for my remote flex station. I’m not sure what our future needs are going to be with these units now as I am moving my station. I will ask Brad what he is ding with his. email me va3kgs @

  1. 2015 begins with some encouraging news.
    Brad Ve3XNC and myself were able to communicate successfully through 7 Wi-Fi Mesh Nodes from Brads QTH to my QTH. Why 7 nodes? Because there is a large hill between Brad and I, the only way to connect to each other was to place Mesh nodes further away from the hill in order to get to the main Mesh node at Lookout Village in Fonthill. Our method of communications was using “Speak Freely” software. There was very little latency difference when compared to our VHF Simplex QSO. Next is to run HRD to control a Radio!! Stay tuned.

    Kevin, Va3KGS

  2. Kevin when are we going to figure out what is happening an when at ELC with the mesh stuff. I think we should put a Rocket with a dish pointed at Ron in Hamilton and an omni. What do you think?


      • That sounds like a good idea I think that I am inline with the Hamilton location. We could Probably get both locations with one dish.
        Do we have a rocket ready to go or do we need to order supplies from Mike?

        When did you want to get together.

        Also have you turned the dish at lookout towards your qth?


        • Hi Brad
          Busy Busy!! Not sure when I will get to Lookout and adjust antenna, soon I hope. My 440 MESH Antenna will be up shortly, then just have to wait for Mike to get his antenna back up, and then we can start to play again.
          Chat later

          • Kevin, do we need to order a rocket and a dish from mike for elc?
            Are we going with a dish and an omni at that location?

            Are we going to try another Rocket at lookout?

            Do we need any more omnis in Fonthill, plf has pretty good range and if one goes at elc


              • Update
                Brad and I have been working quietly in the background for the last few months when time permitted. over the few weeks we have made some good progress. We installed another 440 unit at another home in Welland (Called the Ve3MWS house) which is 5km away from my QTH, and almost in a direct line to Ve3CKO’s place in Port Colborne. We have made a good solid connection to the Welland house. Next move is to reestablish connection with Ve3CKO, and our Lookout Point (Ve3RNR) site. Brad is connected with his 2.4 to the Ve3PLF tower in Fonthill.

                We have also upgraded all the Wifi’s to the latest Broadband Hamnets V3 software.

                Hope to have a few more Wifi roads built soon!

                Happy New Year

                • 440 Wifi connection has now been made at 3 three locations. VA3KGS (Fonthill) to Ve3MWS (Welland) and back to Lookout Ve3RNR (Fonthill). Now from Lookout Ve3RNR we are connected 2.4G Wifi to Ve3PLF (Fonthill) and from there to Brad Ve3XNC.

                  Congrats to Brad XNC for get this stuff up and running. However, there is of testing and tweeking to be done over the next few months. Now waiting for Mike Ve3CKO in Port Colborne to re-establish his 440 Wifi connection to Va3KGS and possible Ve3RNR.

                  I will do a Google earth map to show our progress.



  3. Thanks for all the insight. There might be too much noise at the repeater site but I looked at the noise floor at the antenna feedline and it does not look bad. The uhf repeaters work fine on that antenna when they are connected with no problems. There might just not be enough signal getting over to the site. Just doing a comparison using a uhf handheld running 100mw the shot works fine. I need to do some testing on flat terrain with no obstructions.

    The software allows me to adjust 1x, 2x, 4x bandwidth and they say to divide the normal bandwidth (20mhz)by the number, so if I set it to 4x it should be on 5mhz bandwidth. I did look at the signal with the test set and it looks like it is putting out approx .8 to 1w when set to access point mode when it is transmitting so there is plenty of power getting out of the connector. I wish I had a 3rd radio, maybe one of the ones I have is deaf?

  4. The access point is connected directly to the yagy with a 2 ft jumper so there is minimal loss there. The other end I have tried a mobile setup to a 1/4 wave to see how far I can get before I loose the sig.. and at the repeater site I am plugged into a heliax feedline to the 10db gain antenna at 400ft. Maybe there is nothing left by the time it gets up the feedline but I can work mobiles on that same antenna for 70km when I have a uhf repeater connected to the same antenna and feedline so that is why it puzzles me that I cannot go 8km with a dedicated yagi at the access point.

    • Well Klaus, Kevin va3kgs and Mike ve3cko are about 15 km away, they are both using horiz yagi at about 30 and 40 ft. They are able to connect. Now that being said, I am about 10 Km away from our club repeater site and I am not able to make a reliable connection. I hear the signal fine but there is to much noise at the repeater site to make the a connection. This might be a problem for you as well. On the 2.4 G mesh stuff the noise is also bad, at the top of the tower the noise level is 5 or 6 db higher then at ground level.

      When conditions are good, on a few occasions I was able to connect from my qth with a 6 element yagi to my mobile in the parking lot of the repeater site.

      Are you sure that your software is changing the bandwidth from the standard 20Mz to the 5Mhz. I also remember read something once that some software would cut back the power when the bandwidth was changed from 20 to 5 Mhz. (Not sure just something I remembered reading).

      Sorry if none of this helps


  5. Hi Brad,

    Looks like I need some help or suggestions on why these radios don’t have any range.

    I have the access point set up at my cottage up the tower about 40ft connected to a 7 element sinclair that is tuned to the low band 407 to 430. Swr at 435 is nearly flat so it should be good. The other radio I put into my car using 1/4w on the car roof. I got about 1/3 km before I lost the signal. Very disappointing test. The 900 mhz stuff does a lot better so there is something seriously wrong with my setup.

    I also took the second radio over to the repeater tower 8km away and connected it to a uhf ant. at 430ft and saw no signal at all from the access point 8km away. Again very disappointing.

    Do you have any suggestions on what could be the problem here?

    • Hi Klaus, I am not sure what the problem is, have you changed the bandwidth to 5Mhz on both units, have you checked the match on the hole 5mhz width. We here use 437.5 as the center frequency which means the channel width is between 435 – 440 Mhz your match need to be good over that range. The power setting should not be set more then 20 dbm in the software because the card has a 10 db offset.
      Lastly, what are the losses in the transmission line and what polarization are you using. We are using horizontal. When I did my testing has long as I was in the beamwidth of my antenna I was able to receive the signal a reasonable distance.


      • What sort of distance are you getting? I am using 7 element sinclair yagies that are tuned for the bottom of the band and the swr is flat over the 5mhz. I have tried various channels and none give me any distance to speak of. The 900mhz works far better so far so there is definitely something wrong. I set it at 20dbm and that is where they hit their max power. I measured the output and it is about 1w when in access point mode and transmitting. I am using vertical polarization at this time just because I have a uhf ant. at the repeater site and it is vertical and up at 400ft on the tower but I don’t receive any signal at all and it is practically line of sight at 8km distance. The purpose of these was to feed internet to the repeater site to be able to run irlp and echolink pc at the site instead of at home.

        So far these cards have been a disappointment.

  6. Got both the Avila boards working ok now with the Star v3 software. It was easier than I thought. Anyway I am off to the races testing. What freq are you guys using and did you see any interference when choosing a channel in your area? Are you using yagies (how many elements) or verticals and what polarization with the 430 cards?

  7. Sorry to miss you both times.

    I got the avila with star v3 working but like you say it is not an easy task and not flexible. I think I am considering the openwrt and blow this star v3 away even though it has a paid up license it is too difficult to use for what I want to do. If I install openwrt are there extra packages I have to install or will it do what I need right away?

    • Openwrt is the better way to go. As for packages yes there may be a few that you need to install like the ath5 driver. If you want the Mesh part of it to work there are some additional packages that need to be installed. When you get openwrt working I can detail the packages to install.

      Talk to you soon.


  8. Ok on all the comments. I will give the Star OS a try for now. I am interested in a simple ethernet bridge for now to do some testing and tie two sites together if I can get the link to go the distance and over the hills, trees etc. Right now the star os has a license but I don’t have a copy so once I change it I would have to contact the company to get it back as the serial is registered I think. I better keep it handy before I do anything drastic with it.

    I was thinking of ddwrt but that needs a license and more cash to lay for the two ends but it probably works the best or at least I am familiar with ddwrt. I have not used openwrt yet so that would be new for me but free.

    Not sure when you are available. I am usually around in the mornings as am retired up here at the cottage but do have the radio on when I am in the car. Let me know when you have time and I can make a point of having the radio on.

    • Brad, when are you available to have a short chat? I am having problems binding the ether1 port to the wlan port. I have the radio set up and connected to my wifi router using sr-2 radio cards for testing. I can log in via ssh but cannot pass traffic from the ethernet port to radio and vice versa. ??

  9. Brad, sorry sort of missed your comment of the openwrt software that you are using to run the cards. That is an interesting way to interface those cards.
    Like I said, I already have these routerboards made by Avila but they have this unwieldy Star OS V3 running in them with a commercial license so don’t want to blow it away yet and install something like ddwrt that I am more familiar with. I will give this software a few weeks for me to figure out and if not then will ditch it for something like openwrt. I thought open wrt could not set the 5 and 10 mhz channel width? Maybe I was reading some old info.

    I really want to use these 430 cards to see if I can run a link from my place near Huntsville back to the ve3mus repeater site.

    Thanks for your offer of help in the future. I have irlp and echolink available at this end as ve3kr-r or ve3mus-r. Really glad I found your site and able to discuss this stuff as we progress.

    73 for now.

    • Not a problem, i am here to help. I did try the star0s software and found it to be limited. It only allowed a access point to cliet connection as well I am not sure how multiple clients can legally identify their stations.

      As for openwrt, version 12.09 allows you to change the bandwidth to 5Mhz.
      A problem you might have with staros is that software is registered with the mac address of the radio card by changing the wifi card you may have to madify your licence. Also is you tryed openwrt and didn’t like it you should be able to reload the staros software without additonal cost.

      When I have a minute I will give you a call on your echolink repeater, is there a good time to reach you there.


  10. Hi Guys. Thanks for the reply. I have a couple of Avila GW 2348-2 boards including outdoor enclosures. I just am learning how to manipulate the Star OS V3 software. It is a bit crude and difficult to set up, not like the interface in a Ubiquiti or an Engenius. Presently there I have 2.4ghz cards plugged in and they are Ubiquiti SR-2’s. I ordered 2 Xagyl cards so they should plug right in as they are all Atheros based and look like 2.4ghz cards from what I reads so if the 2.4ghz cards I have here now work then the 430 cards should also work. These Gateworks are routerboards and work fine with poe at 24v. So far I have not been able to bind the radio card to the ethernet port so have to do some more experimenting.

    I was not aware that you could buy interface cards to plug these radio cards into a pc. That is very interesting as I have some thin clients that would do the job very nicely. What operating system and software do you use when you use these cards in a pc?

    So your network has the radios not at the antenna but in the shack and heliax to feed to the antenna?

    Lot’s of questions I guess. Sorry.. but like I said, really nice to see you guys doing this type of experimenting.

    • First off I suggest you use Openwrt instead of StarOs. Openwrt is free and more flexible. Openwrt is an operating system based on Linux; you can install it on your router board and/or an older x86pc. If you have two router boards I would not use a pc. Also Openwrt is used in the Broadband Ham-net mesh system, because of that you may be able to bridge the two systems together (430 MHz and 2.4). I have not tried that yet because my board only has one minipci slot. The only better program would be DDwrt but to get the functions that we need you would have to pay.
      As for the transmission line yes I use hardline to minimize the losses. The best solution is to have the routerboard outside with as little cable as possible. But the loss at 437 is not that bad with hardline and that fact that I am testing having everything in that shack makes it easier. Also almost everyone has a 440 antenna so it is easy to try different antennas.
      In conclusion, I found that Openwrt was the best software to use because of its flexibility and cost (free) once you get openwrt installed on the routerboard it is easy to get the 430 Mhx card to connect or even mesh together.
      If you need anything else pleases let me know


  11. Nice to see you guys doing so much experimenting with 430 and 2.4ghz. I have been playing with the 2.4 using the wrt54g’s and am presently ready to get a couple of Xagyl 430 cards. Can someone point me to any of your documented experiments you have done with these cards? What routerboard are you using and what software are the boards running?

    Unfortunately I am located in Nobleton Ont. and mostly in Huntsville Ont. way too far to connect into your system so am experimenting on my own up there but the terrain in Huntsville is very challenging for 2.4ghz so the reason for trying the 430 cards.

    Is there any documentation you have put together on how you set up the cards and what thruput you got using 5mhz channel width and at what distance. Anything in the way of the path?



    • Hi Klaus
      Brad Ve3XNC is our resident expert with the 437Mhz cards. My card is in an old computer, but had to buy a mini-PCI to PCI adapter card to fit into the computer. I know Brad also, purchased a small interface box from Xagyl to put the wifi card into, and runs it directly off 12Vdc. When ordering the card you will also need the coax pigtail to off the card to an N-connector. I will send Brad an email so that he can see your request above.
      Chat later

    • Hi Klaus, the hardware system i am using is an older x86 computer with one of the 430 cards and a minipci to pci adapter and on the other system is an alix Single board computer with a Minipci slot for the 430 card and a nice case. All can be purchase from xagyl. Dont forget the pigtail for the antenna conection and the compactflash card for the alix computer board.

      For Software I am using Openwrt 12.09. Both computers must be load with the openwrt program.

      I have not done a step by step procdure to load the software when you get that far or if you have some questions before I can talk to you on the radio or echolink and walk you through the process.



  12. Greetings, Fonthill meshers!
    During a road trip into Fonthill last weekend, I was able to connect to node VE3PLF-100. I have a Ubiquiti Nanostation strapped to the luggage rack on my van, and frequently ‘war drive’ like this.
    I was parked by The Quilting Bee store on Hwy 20, within easy sight of the node’s location, probably a couple of km line of sight. I had a 100% LQ link. I was also linked to VA3KGS-UB2 with a 94% LQ, and VE3XNC-b, with a 6% LQ.
    While several of us in Hamilton are interested in meshing, we’re kind of slow getting anything long range up in the air. Hamilton is a very different environment; noise levels are a real problem. Most test links I’ve tried over the city have noise floors at -75 to -85 dbm. Wifi scans in most areas usually show hundreds of AP’s sharing ch. 1.
    Modelling on Radio Mobile Online indicates we may have a shot at a link from our repeater site at Upper Gage and Fennel Ave., height above ground 260′, to your PLF node. We’d have to use Rockets, dishes, and diversity, but it should be a viable link.
    I have screenshots of your mesh status pages if you’d like ’em for QSL cards. I don’t know if this message board will allow me to paste ’em in.
    Please drop me a line and let me know if you’re interested in collaborating with the Hamilton club. We’re planning some more meetings during the summer, and I hope to organize a field exercise before our ‘Hamfest’ in October.
    Ron, VE3RTJ,

    Now let’s see what happens when I paste a picture here….

    Nope, no go. Let me know if you’d like the screenshots, I’ll e-mail ’em.

    • Hi Ron

      Thanks for stopping buy and checking into the two/three stations that you saw. PLF was about 700 feet north of were you were, and the KGS-UB2 was 200′ south of you. The KGS unit is presently point at Balls Falls near Vineland, so you were about 90 degrees to the right. Before the snow flies we hope to have another node up at EL Crossley High School in Fonthill. We will be glad to make a connection to your system when it’s up and running.

    • Hi Ron good to here from you. What you propose sounds great! Are you guys a club or are you doing it on your own? Also, I and maybe Kevin and Mike would like to attend one of your meeting to see how you are progressing with the Mesh stuff.

      Looking forward to hearing form you.
      Brad Ve3xnc

  13. Just an update

    I installed my TP-Links Omni (15db gain) at the top of my radio tower at 18 Meteres (~55′), with a length of 2 Meters (6′) of 1/2″ hardline to a Ubiquity Bullet, fed with a POE (Power Over Ethernet) cable down to the bottom of the tower.
    I cannot see either of the two antennas we have already installed here in Fonthill, which are at the PLF and RNR repeater sites, because I’m on the wrong side of the hill, and there are lots of trees in the way. However, on a Wifi scan I can see as many as 50 other residential Wifi stations! (Big deal). Later in the summer I will swap out the Bullet with a Ubiquiti Rocket, and install a TP Links Parabolic at the top of the tower just under the M2 2Meter Yagi and above the SteppIR antennas. This change will allow me to control the two TP-Links antennas.
    Enjoy your summer!

    • kevin i think you need to go to lookout and point the dish toward your house, remember that it is pointed at Balls Falls


      • Also I was able to raise my dish up another 5 feet. I am recieving plf-100 with at times 20 db s/n ratio. The data connection seems to drop in and out so I do not have a reliable connection. I Think there is a lot of noise at the repeater sites not allowing my connection. Not sure how to fix this


        • We need to see how Eric makes out with getting into the PLF unit from Port Weller. Maybe filter cans are required. do you have a direct line of site to PLF?

  14. Can any one give me a hand with setting up paclink and webmail server have them working but will not alouw me to log in to the server with the registered call signs I have entered in paclink. when finished I want to demo on the set up on mesh. any assistance would be appreciated.

    Malcolm ve3bgd

  15. Mesh update for Niagara Region

    Brad Ve3XNC and myself were back at Lookout Village to install a new Bullet “Va3KGS-UB2”. We can see Ve3PLF-100 Node. Also, we pointed the Parabolic towards Balls Falls to see if we can get a signal there for this weekends Field Day exercise. Going to Crossley High School to see what would be involved in putting up a Mesh Node at that Location. We invite anyone from around the Lake Ontario Shore Line to see if they can reach any of our Nodes we have set up and let us know.

    Thanks Kevin

  16. VE3PLF-100 went operational today at Fonthill. I did log into it but did not see any other nodes nearby. I did see quite a bit of activity on the WiFi Scan page.
    Reports on its coverage would be greatly appreciated.

    • Morning Eric
      It’s good to see that your 2.4G antenna finally got put up. All of us took a break to get house work done!! We will get back to lookout within a few weeks to replace the dead Rocket, and install the Omni 2.4G antenna. I will reconnect my home 2.4G parabolic and see if I can connect. Also, I will let Brad Ve3XNC and Mike Ve3CKO that you are now on board and see if they can connect. Thanks for your posting here and we will keep you and everyone updated. Let us know when and if you can get your Port Wheller site connected.

      Cheers Kevin.

      • Kevin and Eric I am able to see ve3plf-100, I get a -78 signal with a -95 noise floor, this give me about a 17 db S/N. I am not able to log into the node. This could be a couple of reasons
        1. There is a lot of noise at the repeater site ( Eric what is the noise level?) causing my signal not to be strong enough, or
        2. The distance should be set to 11500 on the setup page of the plf-100 node.

        I will try to move my antenna tomorrow to see if I can increase my signal.

        Also what do you have at the repeater site a rocket or a bullet and what kind of antenna?

        I will talk to you guys soon

        Brad Ve3xnc

  17. Presentation Happened !!
    Well I have to say there was a lot of effort from Brad to get the IP tagging set up in order for the remote controlling of my IC7000 from the meeting hall. See this road map on what it took to combine both the 437Mhz and the 2.4Gz mesh nodes together. ( 437M to 2.4G Mesh Network Va3KGS ). A few other club members brought in their Linksys routers and where able to connect into the mesh (Eric Ve3EI, Ian Ve3ERL, Mike Ve3CKO, Brad Ve3XNC). There were two cameras connected to the mesh as well. Seeing what can be done with the mesh last night was only a few things that can be done and hope that these ideas will inspire others to jump on board. As one person said “We are building the road here in Niagara”. I hope that most of the amateurs in Niagara will help everyone else out by installing these wifi systems. Thanks to all that showed up to last nights meeting. And if you have any questions, post here or email me.

  18. Good morning all.
    Well….thanks to Brad’s hard work these last few days figuring out IP routing through all of our toys we got HRD to work on the Mesh Intranet. Only thing left is the audio connect to the radio and that’s a hardware issue I need to resolve. Using a SignaLiink USB sound card, and I believe my jumpers are wrong so that’s tonight’s issue if I have time, or as they say “The show must go on”. Meaning we are doing a presentation Thursday evening at the Legion here in Fonthill to show the Mesh networking capabilities.
    Till next time, Stay Dry.

  19. The World of IP !!
    Man this area is mind boggling! I guess the younger you are the more chance you have to grasp this stuff. Masking, DHCP, Nodes IP’s, Port Forwarding………. When I figure this out I’m going to do a presentation to the club members!!

    Anyways, I swung my 18 Element 440 antenna towards the meeting hall in Fonthill, and we were able to make contact and pass both audio and video data over the WIFI, using an IP camera and SpeakFreely. Now its a matter of getting routing through both the 2.4G and the 440M routers along with their associated IPs to get lined up so I can do remote controlling of my IC-7000 using HRD. 3 Days left before our presentation to figure this mapping route out. Thanks Brad for your assistance today.

    Just a note. The 2.4G at Lookout is on hold for a few weeks until we can get back up there to replace the Ubiquiti Rocket Wifi Unit.


  20. Lots of great information that Rob Va3ROM has past onto us, and we already looked into some of his suggestions. Mike Ve3CKO downloaded the Jitsi program. Hope mike tells us here how he made out!!

    Thanks again Rob for your generous support.


  21. Rob’s third email to me;

    IP cameras are a real b**ch. Depending on which you have. The 720p ones using H.264 video all seem to use QuickTime (usually) to display video and yet, no where in the instructions will they tell you that QuickTime itself has to be configured for HTTP and the port you are using 80 or 8080 (QuickTime it uses UDP by default!!!!!!!!). I spent 2 days trying to figure out why I couldn’t get any video connected to Internet or Mesh network until after hours of searching I finally found the answer. iSpy Connect and Server (both free) works very well once QuickTime is configured with most of these kinds of IP webcams and regular webcams. So I can now remotely access my Foscam IP webcamera sans Internet via my Mesh network. I need it at my camp to stalk and talk video/images of the critters that prowl around my campsite (no Wi-Fi, landlines, cell, hydro, etc). Just Ham Radio.

    The other IP cameras (usually 640×480) use MJPEG and unique ID # (not an IP address!!!!!) and proprietary program to find IP camera on the Internet or Mesh, and I can’t figure out how to get any other IP camera software to work with out an IP address.

    The foolproof demo guaranteed not to fail is to use a regular webcam, either built into the laptop or use an external USB one and connect it to the your Mesh using iSpy Server and iSpy Connect at the other end.. When we did our Air Cadet demo of the Mesh, the IP camera decided to play hide and seek and I couldn’t get it to work, and I forgot to bring my USB webcam, fortunately we had the Paclink webmail server working and could demo how we can send messages through the Mesh to cell phones and the WL2K system.

    BTW, all our technicians were upgraded to technologists so they rate higher than techs 😉 but the new techs are all trained on networking and the latest TCP/IP, UDP, HTTP, ad nauseam stuff.


  22. my reply

    Hi Rob

    Thanks for your two replies. Myself I’m an Electrical Technologist and the other two are Electronic Technicians, are we equal?? The difference is that they are the strong ones in the IP world, so I have a keen interest to lean this stuff from them.(if only I was 20 again!!).

    I will look at your site and the suggested sites tomorrow, as I’m heading out to our clubs exec meeting shortly.

    Not enough time yesterday to test out the new IP camera from TENVIS. Maybe later tonight if not back to late.

    Follow along my Comments Section on this Mesh stuff to see how we are progressing. Again, the 440 Wifi equipment is an alternative for me as I cannot get the 2.4G to go through trees!!

    Cheers, and keep in touch.


  23. Rob’s second email to me.

    Just read your website Mesh material and not being able to use Skype. The program to use as a direct replacement for a Mesh is called “Jitsi”. It allows you to create registra-less SIP accounts and works great with the Mesh. That’s going to be in my part 3 article.

    Jitsi supports multiple O/S so you aren’t stuck with just using a Windows machine.

    The instructions for creating the SIP accounts is here:

    I found out about his program by watching some YouTube videos and heard this program mentioned.


  24. I had an email from Rob Va3ROM, on his experience with mesh networking. Rob also, has Part 1 on mesh networking in this months RAC TCA magazine.

    Rob’s email to me is worth repeating so I clipped it and pasted it here. This the first of three emails he sent.

    Hi Kevin,

    Thanks for your email and BBHN Mesh info on your part of the world. It’s nice to know that someone is reading my column and it keeps me writing! Didn’t realize that the PDF version was this early and I didn’t’ get any email notice about it being posted online. I’ll check out your website and see what I can “liberally borrow” 😉

    How I envy you guys in Southern Ontario have being on the cutting edge. In my part of the world, Hams are far and few between :) and it’s not easy to introduce new concepts and ideas when your average Amateur age is 50+!. Hopefully with the Mesh we can introduce the younger “wired” generation. But since most Hams use iDevices, I’m hoping that they will see the advantage of Mesh networks and how they can be used.

    My small Mesh group has already had two informal meetings and did a presentation to my old Air Cadet squadron at our 55+ Centre where we have the VE3SAO Ham shack. I cringed when the “older” 55+ guys did Morse code which I thought would go over like a lead balloon with the teens, but they actually found it interesting (it is digital, after all). We also showed off some simple BBHN Meshing, astronomy and PICAXE MCU programming. Am still learning the ropes about Meshing and my networking expertise is nil, so I try to KISS it with my various tutorials posted in my “All Things Digital” page on my website Feel free to download, use, pass around, critique, etc. From what we’ve learned from our 2 meetings is that for a club presentation we have to really KISS and not dump a lot of all that we can do plus the kitchen Mesh sink!

    We’ll have to stay in touch because I need brains to pick for some of the TCP/IP, port forwarding, etc. and the more complex Mesh router programming that just gives me a headache. I’ve attached some pictures of my mobile BBHN-MESH node & AP. Nothing fancy but it does look awesome enough to grab people’s attention at meetings. I’ve just finished drilling an access hole in the ABS stack pipe to slide the cables down the mast through my military surplus fibre glass masting (got from Bob Morton at Maple Leaf Communications but he sold out his stock and I do hope he gets more) but otherwise this is what I’m demonstration.

    The vertical and beam are overkill and rated for 50 watts which is an insane amount of power for 2.4 GHz and as IC pointed out to me, even though we can higher RF power than home users can, in most cases we shouldn’t! There’s a 5m USB repeater cable hanging on the beam that’s use for the $3 (Dollarama) webcam to power and control it from my Windows 8.1 tablet or laptop, and an JVC Adixxion GX-A2 POV action camera which has built-in Wi-Fi and can connect direct to my iDevices or through the AP to my control computer, and can record HD video/audio so I can stream selected video or images back to a Net control station. It’s designed to live-stream video to the USTREAM website, or upload videos to YouTube. These action cameras devices are so slick (weather proof and shockproof) and a lot of fun to wear. You can mount the JVC on your googles, helmet, handlebars, etc. Mine lacks GPS but the new Sony version (damn) just released this month has built-in GPS that’s recorded along with the video.Got my JVC with Airmiles and you may be interested in the new Sony POV action cam they have listed.

    Oops, starting to ramble!



  25. MAY is now here, and it’s raining, which is stopping me from getting up the tower to make antenna changes. So I went out and bought an IP Camera, so that I can test it over the Mesh system. (WHY!!) Only another headache into the world of digital. I’m glad I’m keeping my two Mesh Brothers Brad and Mike busy!! RAC TCA Magazine has an article this month on Mesh Networking Part 1 by Rob Mazur Va3ROM. I emailed Rob and in his response he gave us some pointers that he ended up resolving, and I will post some of those solutions and links that he recommends, along with his website. Stay tuned for the next update.

  26. Weekend Update
    Brad and I were not getting any 2.4 signal from Lookout, and the noise floor on the 440 was real high making it not that good. Investigation on the 2.4 equipment found that water had gotten into the router. Yes its dead! I did the rice revival trick and no breath of hope. So we need to replace it. On the 440 side, Brad and I moved over to the Legion to see if we could get a 440 contact back to my place. We did make contact and its signal was low. My plan right now is to swing the 18 element 440 antenna from pointing at Mike towards the Legion this coming weekend, and continue testing. We will also try to install a new 2.4 unit at Lookout. For those that don’t now were I live in Fonthill, I am on the east side of the hill which is the opposite side of where the repeater tower is, so I cannot see either of the two signals here at my place. Therefore, I will need to rely on others to get their mesh equipment up and running for me to get into the mesh.



  27. I was informed this past week that there will soon be another 2.4G repeater install at a high location here in the Fonthill area. This is great news for us as we start to bring this new communications to the Niagara Area. Thanks Eric (Ve3EI) for this information. We are looking forward to the new connection.

  28. Morning
    Another beautiful day in paradise! I programmed my first Ubiquiti Bullet yesterday and found that the guidelines to do so on the Broadband-Hamnet “Firmware Installation Instructions” is not where you want to be. Brad directed me to another location, and I posted it above in my Intro Section. Followed those instructions and everything works. I placed it outside on 15′ post and I picked up 27 stations on a Wifi scan!! On the Linksys unit that is up on my tower at around 35′ only gets 7 units. What the hell!! I guess I will only use the Linksys on the ground for local connection now, and use the Ubiquiti Wifi’s for up in the air.

  29. Morning
    Well the Easter Weekend has come and gone, with no chocolates!! However, after the third trip up the Lookout Village Tower I was able to get the 440-HO co-phased antennas halfway-up the tower. On all three trips I was faced with some good winds up there. I guess the idea is don’t look down or out!! Just off the roof line of the Elevator Machine Room we mounted a second 440-HO antenna for future testing of Wifi. Also, we pointed the 2.4G parabolic towards Niagara Falls (Easterly from tower). Ve3CKO and Ve3XNC can now see the 440 signal at Lookout. I can not see the signal as I don’t have an antenna looking up the hill from my place yet. Brad and Mike will continue with testing and tweaking setting throughout the week. Next weekend I will try to get an antenna pointed at Lookout. Although I’m only 1Km away from Lookout, I’m on the opposite site of the hill from the tower. That sucks!!

  30. Evening everyone. Well we were back to Lookout today to make some antenna adjustments. Brad was now able to see the 440 antenna, And Mike still cannot see the 2.4G even when it is pointed to Port Colborne. From Lookout we could see my place at 2.4G, but not from my place back to Lookout??? Monday I will attempt to get a 440 yagi pointed towards Lookout from my house.

    Cheers, and stay Tuned!!

  31. Spent 4 hours today at Lookout with Brad and our two boys. Beautiful day, but to windy, and a touch to cold standing in the wind for so long. Only able to put the 440M and 2.4G antennas at around the 20′ point of the tower. The parabolic is on the south side and the 440 on the North side. Both are set-up horizontal. We will spend some time on Sunday and Monday to see if we can communicate with the new installation.


  32. Morning all, just an update for you.

    Brad, Mike, and I, (“The Mesh Brothers”) have been working hard to get this 440 WIFI up and running these past few week. Today I will complete the assembly of the structural support system for the antenna’s that will be installed at the our Lookout Village site this weekend. Brad will be co-phasing the 440 HO antennas and programming the Ubiquiti WIFI unit. Mike will climb the tower!! The plan is to prep the site in order to hoist the antennas to the top of the tower this Monday (weather permitting). Saturday’s, prep work will be to install the antenna’s 15-20 feet off the roof line to ensure that how we are going to secure the antenna structure, to ensure what we are installing to the tower will be long lasting. Also, being at this preliminary height, it will allow us to continue testing of the 440 system, and introduce into the mix the 2.4G WIFI equipment. Plan is to point the 2.4G parabolic to Port Colborne first. Final position of the parabolic is still to be determined, however, we are anticipating that it will be directed towards North St. Catharines, Port Wheeler area. We are installing a TV rotator onto the parabolic for ease of turning it from the roof !!

    • Hi Bryan

      Thanks for this information. I did not know there was IP Subnet allocation for Amateur Radio. We will read up on it and see if it applies to Private networks, or this is just when you jump onto the www.
      Hope to here you on 2FM or playing with this mesh stuff.
      Chat later

    • Hi Brad
      Good to here back from you. There are a lot of things to think about on a tower climb to install equipment. Only want to climb it once! Also, back-up plans for cables incase the ones there don’t work, and structural support hardware . Clearances from other antennas in the area……Also, while I’m up the tower I need to look at adjusting the Club’s repeater antenna. So the plan is to install a Ubiquiti Rock M2 into a 10×10 PVC Box onto the backside of the TP Links 24db Parabolic. The TP Links 15db Omni will be mounted above the parabolic, and both of these will be controlled by an old TV rotator. Now there still is the stacked 440 HO antenna’s to be mounted to the underside of the support bracket. All sounds easy until the actual install happens at the top and you only have to hands up there to maneuver all of this weight around!!
      My biggest fear is the weather, and its got to be warm!!


  33. Kevin. Great information. I will do a little more digging. I use several Mikrotik routers and Ubiquity routers for my network at Port Weller (St Catharines Marina). There may be a problem at Port Weller as I have a wireless AP for the boaters (on ch 6 I think) and am concerned that a 1 watt unit running on Ch1 may desense the AP?
    I have been a Mikrotik Dealer for almost 20 years as that is how most of my wireless networks are built.
    Eric Meth – ve3ei

    • Hi Eric
      The only way to know is to set up a parabolic and point it to Lookout. The Ubiquity power level can be turned down if required. I looked on Google Earth and there is nothing in the way between the two locations. The distance is 13.8Miles which would be nothing for us to make a connection. We have a portable parabolic that could be brought out to your place for testing. We decided that there will be a parabolic installed at Lookout and pointing into St. Catharines, and we might as well use your location as our point of interest.!!
      Visit this site often as we are chatting most nights on 144.190 SSB, and playing around with the WIFI stuff, and posting anything new here.

  34. Sounds good Kevin I don’t think I am going anywhere that weekend. We need to find someone interested in connecting with the 2.4 Ghz before then. They will need a clear shot to Lookout and some good height.

  35. Rain stopped this morning so I was able to get to the top of my tower and drop the antenna down about 4 feet. I figure that the antenna is now around 7 feet below the TH7-DX antenna. Brad, Mike and I started to test around 6pm and were not having any luck, so we all ran away to do house chores!! We figure that the poor to no connection is due to the ridge in Port Colborne that sits between us is reflecting the signal.
    Now I came back just after 8pm and found that the two WIFI units have synchronized making a solid contact. Mike nor Brad are around for the excitement!!! I guess its would be fair to say that we mark this day as being the first 3 ham operators to successfully connect 440 WIFI in Canada currently at a distance of 10 miles or 17 KM, and this was done between Port Colborne and Fonthill!!
    Stay Tuned again!!

    • Kevin after you and Mike left I started playing with the settings. I change a few and it started to work. I wanted to make sure the connection stayed up before getting exited and telling everyone. The connection stayed up at least until I went to bed. I hope it is still up tomorrow. If it is, the next step is to get me connected though our Fonthill site.

      • I was on at 7am today and it was still up and running. It’s 6pm and we are still connected. It looks to me that everything is good. Next is to connect some of our 2.4Ghz units at Mikes and at my place tonight (I hope). Thanks Brad for working behind the scenes!! Lets set our sites on Easter Weekend for the Fonthill (Lookout Village) installation of the 440 & 2.4 WIFI units.

  36. Well today Brad and Mike worked hard to find out why its either Mike or myself who is causing the drop outs. At the end of the day today, it looks like its me, and it could be the height of the 440 antenna, as it might possibly mounted to close to the Hydgain TH7 HF Beam. I will lower the antenna 6-8 feet in a day or so(if weather is good) and then we will continue testing.
    Stay Tuned!!

  37. Saturday, I moved the 440-18Elem yagi to the other tower, and placed the antenna around the 42′ mark. We were now getting 15-24dbm SNR between Port Colborne and Fonthill (10 Miles). However, our stations were not synchronizing to each other. One would call for a while then the other one. Indeed puzzling at this time (midnight). Both Mike and Brad were connected through regular internet into my computer and Mikes computer trying to resolve. Sundays plan is to have Brad’s WIFI Radio in the area to see if the problem is at my end or at Ve3CKO’s.
    Chat later.

  38. Continued on Friday night Mike was climbing out onto his roof to fine tune his 440 antenna, while Brad was remoting into both of our computers fine tuning power levels, and trying to get “SpeakFreely” to work. I need to get my 18 Element 440 antenna up onto the high tower!! Lets see what gets done this weekend.


  39. 440 Testing is continuing despite the cold weather!!
    Brad Ve3XNC, and Mike Ve3CKO and myself are teamed up to get this Mesh Net up and running so that other have something to connect to. Keep visiting these posts for updates on our progress.
    Add your questions or comments and we will do our best at answering them.

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