Well – it’s been a while since I was on a farm operation :
… but that’s where we were bright and early Sunday morning – I dropped by Colin VE4CST’s QTH at 0730hrs and we met Jim VE4CY as we passed along and headed up the 7 mile ride to the site. Arriving at about 8:30am from the trip from the ‘peg to a farm operation out in Woodlands area which is about an hour north-west of the city from my area – we started the operation right away.
This is a great site in the area as it has a 100’ large silo with an existing RF infrastructure established which we are able to tag-along with and install some amateur radio RF connections. First on the list was to install the 2.3GHz and the 5.9GHz dual back-haul grid antennas and the 2.3GHz omni. Colin scaled the silo and Jim followed and Dan stayed on the ground.
Then looking from the homestead …
and from up-top:
After Colin setup the mounts and antennas way up, and Jim and Dan ran the cable through the barn into the control room (remember it’s a barn, so cleanliness is not the order of the day) — Colin setup the router and the wifi cards …
Colin was able to install the box and finishing up a few things on the way down:
We have a few more things to do with it – so it’s not 100% yet but another trip planned and list of things-to-do should cover it – we’re already gathering up pieces that are required to complete the job and spend another half day up there.
We will also be installing a larger 3′ dish on our primary site to provide the feed for this site – will be interesting to see how well it performs with the dual back-haul.
Was just shy of 6 hours spent at the sight and I don’t know if it was the fresh air or what, but man, was I tired — slept like a baby last night.
This was the wrap-up and finalization of a site that Colin had been working on for a few trips. It’s located in the St James area and has decent visibility/height to serve those around it. Derek VE4HAY, Colin VE4CST and myself met Isaac at the Bread plant. We were able to finish tacking up the long run of cat5e cable to the mount point.
Colin finished installing the new MicroTik router and wireless cards into the enclosure that houses the flat panel antenna. Also along with that was a nice 12dB 2.3GHz omni antenna.
Wasn’t too hard of a job, but took a few hours from start to finish – when all was said and done, Colin did the last bit of setup on the router board and away we went:
It’s position looks quite good for the local area — will have to make sure we get more hams active on it.
This site, and other remote sites like it, will be well-served when our new sector antennas come in – at that point, we can make a trip to our primary site and replace the antennas and adjust the frequencies – maybe even reduce our usage of the spectrum a bit.
Well .. it was great to get on the air no 2.3GHz earlier in the month. Had to have the antenna moved to the front of the house so as not to get interference from the roof. Not too close though so it’s totally visible .. good thing it works pretty good as the XYL did not know where it was located as she couldn’t see it.
I had to take some pics to show here where it was:
So – I can’t complain – if the XYL can’t see it very easily – all the better 🙂
In further support of the 2.3 GHz project, I decided it was time to learn the ins and outs of our current router we use to link our units all together — that would be the MicroTik line of routers.
So, William had a few spare units the group wasn’t using yet, so I popped by and he gave me a “black box” — inside was a sturdy black metal box with lots of holes in it 🙂 Further interesting was the stuff that was inside those holes … nine (yes, 9) ethernet ports in this little box!
While I do have a nice 24 port Extreme Networks switch in the rack downstairs, this little guy will be useful in linking up my 2.3GHz RF unit into the rest of the network. Along the way, I’ll familiarize myself with the inner workings, routing, firewalling/etc with this puppy .. lots to learn I’m sure .. but having already used the web-based admin section on another MicroTik router, I get the gist of it .. just gotta learn the itty bitty details.
I’ve know Cary VE4EA for a couple of years now – mostly regarding contesting. He is getting much more into remote-station operating and VoIP in a big way now it seems, and had some issues/questions to work out, so we were chatting a bit one day. I mentioned that he should join our little group and get involved with our 2.3GHz highspeed data project so, he bit and joined up.
Discussing with the rest of the guys, Colin chimes up that he can do the install that day – just needs a spare RF unit. Wow …. well, I had a couple in my basement but was heading out for the monthly MRS exec meeting that night. So, I left them on my door-step. After coming back from the meeting, I check the MicroTik routers to see if Cary had made it on yet – not yet, so I email Colin asking how are things with Cary .. just as I get it sent, I see Cary’s callsign pop upon the MicroTik! he’s on the air. Mind you, it’s after 10pm at night now .. and from what I understand, Colin was working in a light-restricted time of day – but was able to get him operational. Now, the aiming needs to be adjusted and possibly a better antenna to ensure the signal strength will be adequate — more to come.
So, once all done, Cary can do his remote ham operating and Ham VoIP over the group’s 2.3GHz data link. Nice. Another addition to our active user list.
It was a nice day and lucky for me Colin VE4CST had some spare time to come to my QTH and install (properly) my 2.3GHz radio on the roof. (I say properly, as my installation mount was not up to spec). After installation, it was determined the model should be upgraded to provide better signal quality. Being about 8 km away or so from the main site, a good antenna at the frequency is great. So, after all was said and done, installing mount, radio and running cable, splicing etc I have a nice 10Mbps RF connection over ham radio frequencies 🙂 Gotta love that! Our spectrum utilization is quite narrow at this point in time – we didn’t want to over-use the allocations just for us, just in case.
We needed to get to visit Walter VE4VB’s setup and verify some items. It had been intermittent it seems. So, we head on out towards his QTH – but on the way we need to have a bite to eat, so we stop in at a local east-indian restaurant — nice break.
Getting to Walter, we find him eager to see what we were going to do. Colin remembered the angle of the unit mounted to the tower would need to be adjusted, so a hunt was on for spare parts in Walter’s garage — we eventually find some useful tubing on the side and proceed to cut it down to size. Colin heads on up the tower and replaces the existing radio with a new(er) one and re-aims the unit.
Next, we had to re-wire the rj45 conneector to spec and re-work his router to ensure it’s all setup. After a bit of time, we figured things out and got them arranged just so. So, now, it’s a stable connection with full time connection for his ham functions.
On the way out, we were treated to some of his “buckets” of tomatoes he seemed to have grown — thanks Walter – and thanks Colin, for all your hard work!