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Toronto joins the Golden Horseshoe MESH

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VE3OY's picture
Toronto joins the Golden Horseshoe MESH

Greetings all!

It's time to bring the Toronto (GTA) area into the Golden Horseshoe MESH.
After doing a lot of reading and looking at maps of current nodes (both BBHN and AREDN),
I decided to bite the bullet and purchase a couple of NanoStation M2's.

One is already configured and on the air at 43.703809, -79.422269 facing west at 130 feet AGL.
It is configured to operate on channel -2 @ 10 Mhz width.
This is in the heart of mid-town Toronto, on top of an apartment building.
At some point in the future, there will be another M2 node facing east and perhaps an omni later.
The main purpose of erecting these nodes is to "fill in the gap" between east and west.

Already I can hear the Brampton node VE3PRC, but not very well.

It's pushing the M2 to it's limits trying to span a 27km distance.
I suspect that a NanoBridge or AirGrid is in the near furture, to make the link work properly.
In the meantime, I'd like to hear from any of the other node operators about setting up a tunnel.

That's all for now ... more to come ... stay tuned!
73 de Matt

Congratulations on getting
Congratulations on getting your node up!

Just a note, the AirGrid is a single chain device (like the bullet) so the NanoBridge or a Rocket+Dish would be the direction I would go if your looking to increase the link quality.

The dual chain helps increase link speed and increase signal quality.

I've heard a number of reports over the years of a NanoStation M2 outperforming the AirGrid even though it has less antenna gain because of the second receiver onboard the unit allows pulling the signal out better.

You may even want to arrange for the link to be on a different band if possible if your going to have a 2nd radio feeding the local area you really do not want two radios right next to each other on the same RF channel as they can interfere with each other (local transmitter on side A covers up the receiver on side B, lots of discussion on the forums about this to give you more info as to the issues.) It will still 'work' with two radios on the same channel at the same site, it just may not work as well as having isolation.
K5DLQ's picture
you might also test with 5Mhz
you might also test with 5Mhz channel to squeeze out a bit more performance on the Nanostation.
VE3OY's picture
Excellent advice!
I appreciate any help, especially from those with experience.

Right now I'm in the "proof of concept" phase.
Once I have a line of communication opened up with some of the other local node operators,  I'll know more.
It's possible I may choose to make the link on 5GHz, so that I can offer an omni on 2.4 for local users.
Time will tell ... and so will my HAM budget.  wink

Here is an oddity!
Just as a test, I rotated the M2 so that it was horizontal.
I'm aware that these antennas are dual polarity.
I found that the LQ and NLQ levels increased noticeably!
I don't know if this is because of freznel zones, line of sight, or antenna polarity.
Whatever the answer, it allowed for a connection to the distant node.
Anyone have a comment or idea??
I would be concerned about a
I would be concerned about a loss of weather proofing integrity having a NanoStation on its side.

There are no seals on the unit, any water that gets in past the cap could end up right on the PCB.

If the signal improved when rotating my first thought would be that something else in aiming changed (compass heading or elevation, this also includes the beam path differences by rotating since the coverage is not exactly the same on the two antennas )
AE6XE's picture
Lower receive noise level
The verticle beamwidth is a lot less than the horizontal on a NS. By rotating the device, it now limits the sources of other noise and coverage area on the ground. It would be expected to increase throughput rates. Compare TxMbps for better measure of the impact. Joe AE6XE
VE3OY's picture
Vertical vs horizontal

Interesting thoughts guys ... thank you.
I failed to mention that the M2 is inside out of the elements, on a window mount.
This is temporary while testing/planning.  At some point the hardware will be moved up to the roof.

Currently, I'm operating the M2 in a horizontal position which has allowed for a stable link.

Not bad for 27 kilometers!

I'm re-thinking the link though.
I seems to me that a better method of creating a robust mesh would be to erect a backhaul link on 5 GHz,
and erect a 2.4 GHz omni for closer-in general access.



K5DLQ's picture
agree.  backhaul of 5G or 3G
agree.  backhaul of 5G or 3G would work nicely
Hi Matt, good to have you on
Hi Matt, good to have you on board.  You, Ian and myself need to get together over a Timmies ASAP to discuss some forward planning,

73, Bob VE3CWU
Get Together
Hello Bob,
 I'm in the Durham Region area and was wondering do you have monthly get togethers?
Hello Gavin, no monthly
Hello Gavin, no monthly meetings scheduled at this time . If you would like to get together to discuss things drop me an email. bob at rcflier dot com. 73
Get Together
Matt et al,
If there is a budding GTA interest/working group I'd be interested in participating.  I have two AirGrid M2 units (one destined for a Winlink V/UHF hub that's been operating from the Royal Victoria Hospital, Barrie for more than a decade) but to date have been less than successful generating a local interest group.  From RVH it's LOS to the York Region Admin Building (YR EMO) at Newmarket and the VA3BAL repeater at Ballantrae.  My limiting factor is that I disappear for the winter at the end of October.
Ian Snow VA3QT
Barrie, ON
VE3OY's picture
Hello Ian.
Hello Ian.

I'm a late-comer to Bob's creation (the Golden Horseshoe Mesh), but am trying to bring Toronto into the fold.
Currently there is a sporadic assemblance of mesh nodes in Toronto, which lack solidarity and organization.
I've got a node set up and working on 2Ghz, and have tunnels set up with Niagara and Mississauga.
I'm hoping that Bob and his crew can offer a 5Ghz link for me to connect to before the snow flies this year,
but time and bodies will dictate whether that becomes a reality.

I've followed with interest what the York gang has done in the past and while there are no immediate plans
on linking to stations north of Toronto, I'm open to the idea.  A connection using a tunnel is possible too.

I also have some equipment which I'm willing to donate to create some usable links.
In particular I have a few NanoBridges and NanoStations (M2 & M5) available.
What we are in need of are quality sites to install them at.
I've been trying to contact a few repeater managers to see if we can piggy-back on their sites.
Time will tell.

Anyways ... good to hear from you, and hope we can expand together in the future!


Contact Info

Please send me your contact info,

Got my nanostation online
i just got my Nanostation M2 online and working. Right now it's just sitting inside my garage and configured to talk to my bbhn nodes while I experiment with it. Are there any tunnels in the area I could test with and access?  Unfortunately I think I'm the only one in Burlington using one, so I will have to figure out how to get one mounted somewhere and point it towards another station. 

Im interested in helping out with a group in the GTA to figure out best practices for deploying in the Toronto and 905 area. 
VE3OY's picture
Hello and welcome Chris!

Since you are in Burlington, I would suggest you send a message to Bob (VE3CWU) because he has nodes that overlap your location.
It's very possible that you can "jump on the bandwagon" over-the-air.  He operates most of his equipment on channel -2 (with a 10 Mhz
bandwidth).  Your NS2 will have no trouble going to channel -2 if you have the AREDN firmware loaded.  There is coverage all the way
around the Gloden Horseshoe, so you should be able to see activity.

If you need more help, send me a message and I'll help as best I can.

Thank you for the welcome!
Thank you for the welcome!

I will check in wiht Bob to see if he has sites that reach my area.  I found his call sign on the AREDN map, but when I do a search on Airlink of my place to where the node is located, it shows its an obstructed path, so I doubt I will be able to reach him.  

I just ordered another node today, so I will try getting it set up and perhaps do some vtun connections in the short term.  Eventually I plan to have a permanent RF link at my house, but will have to wait to see who close to me may also connect up.  Then I want to have some remote and deployable nodes ready to demonstrate for emcomm purposes.

VE3OY's picture
You're surrounded!


Just to let you know that there are nodes to both your east and west.
Hamilton and Oakville both have active nodes.

Things to keep in mind:

- Airlink is a great tool, but there is a better one ... Radio Mobile Online (
- While a clear path is indeed going to get you the best results, a little bit into the "fresnel zone" (google it)
will still give you a workable link.
- there are several different maps showing working nodes around the Golden Horseshoe.  Bob ( or I ) can provide you
with a KMZ file you can import into Google Earth.
- You will need to set your SSID to "BroadbandHamnet" to see and connect to the nodes in our area.
- You will need to set your NS2 to channel -2 (2397) with a bandwidth of 10Mhz.


VE3WZW's picture
ONTARIO Canada community and

ONTARIO Canada community and all Canada
Follow here ::

*** please find LOCAL AREDN conversations in this FORUM subgroup ( ONTARIO Canada ) or at the Groups-io. 

Greetings to all.
As many would know I also have been in this space MESH for many years.  Going back to the days of BOB setup of the dishes on top of the repeater building with JIM for the Mississauga Amateur Radio group.

Over the last few years we are having group ZOOM meetings weekly about Mesh or AREDN and face to face 

typically at a coffee shop for an hour in the grid square ( range.

Like many of us I too hope to build the local area Canada, and in total all of Canada however small regional groups may require feedback from many to grow larger.

I also have the 5G dishes units in the center of TORONTO Canada  [ hwy 401 / DVP - land mark toronto ]  facing East and West.    With numerous recent chats (5 years) with Matt VE3OY about the subject going back to 2018.

15years / real-time contact TWITTER ::

AREDN Mesh Network

CANADA discussion. (groups-io)

see wiki   (a fantastic groups w/ZOOM calls)
MAP:     (created link)
Firmware downloads:     (created link)
Compatibility hardware:    (created link)

another small blog, yes one of many.


HAMSHACK HOTLINE (VoIP telephone aredn)  --  HHUX //  HHUS // HHX   (using some ATA)

we are all over the place and not connecting.
* started 1998

mE (A.)


ONTARIO Canada community and all Canada
Follow here ::

*** please find LOCAL AREDN conversations in this FORUM subgroup ( ONTARIO Canada ) or at the Groups-io.


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