Posted by Deliverator on February 1st, 2006
Eric Butler and I showed up to Hacknight a bit early and were waiting close to an hour before anyone showed up. Hacknight has been canceled at the last minute a number of times in the past, but this usually results in a flurry of emails to the listserv. Between the two of us, we found Casey’s phone number and found out the story.
Turns out the new tower node, Node Atoys had gone down for some unknown reason. Matt, Rob and Casey did troubleshooting for most of the day, swapping radios, settings and testing various theories. In the end, a spectrum analyzer hooked into a directional antenna revealed a high power source of interference coming from the tower. It looks like it may have been a harmonic from some TV gear on the tower. The main transmitter on the tower outputs something like 16KW. That is huge when compared to the 400 mw output by Node Atoy’s Senao card. With the right antennas, sensitive receivers and favorable atmospheric conditions, Hams have been going hundreds or even thousands of miles on similar power. There is even a subculture devoted to the art of long distance RF communications on ultra low power, known as QRP. Of course, some people take different approaches.
Rob had a print copy of his new book, Wireless Networking in the Developing World. The earlier problems with Lulu’s interpretation of the PDF format have been corrected, so get your copies now! The book comes just in time for Rob’s trek to Trieste, Italy for a conference at which he has presented the last couple of years. It looks like he will be gone for about a month. Trieste sounds like a fun place to kill some time. Rob loves good coffee and his favorite brand is grown there. Last weekend at the ROV conference, I saw the submarine Trieste that went some 35,798 feet deep in the Atlantic and came back to tell the tale. By contrast, most military submarines can go something like 800-1000 feet deep, I believe. Don Walsh, one of the two men to make the record setting dive is going to be speaking at the Naval Undersea Maritime Museum in Keyport in a few weeks.
Eric and I are going to grab a 24 db parabolic dish from Casey and do some site surveys from the Eastside to see if we can connect to the tower. If anyone has a house that can see the towers on Capitol Hill and would like their home/biz to be a node on the Network, put yourself on the node map. We are happy to drop on by and see what we can see.