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East TN Mesh Network

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KM4TBQ's picture
East TN Mesh Network

About Us & Helpful Links

This is where we will discuss all issues regarding the East Tennessee AREDN Mesh Network that began Fall 2022. Please do not hesitate to send a Personal Contact Form for individual help with ANY aspect of participation in this regional AREDN group. Important updates will be posted here to keep everyone abreast to the network's status. We are documenting every step of the way, and will hopefully have decent quality videos that help new operators avoid the obstacles that surely await us.

Now, Let's Build,

Thomas, KM4TBQ


Links to Video Tutorials and Instructional PDFs:

-High quality, professionally-produced. Strongly recommend subscribing and
watching these videos:



-Low quality, but might have something you missed:


PDFs for printing out instructions, Scroll down to bottom left, Read The Docs:


KM4TBQ's picture
Progress Report #1

-60 nodes have been purchased, ~30 are flashed, configured and are online. These include: 
    - hAPac lites+TCs, AirRouters, GLiNets-150,300,750, (indoor routers).
    -Rocket M2s & M5s with Rocket Dishes and Sector Antennas, (outdoor, long/medium-range).
    -Bullet M2s with Omni and Sector Antennas, (outdoor, short/medium-range).
    -LHG 2 & 5 Dishes, (outdoor, long-range).
    -LDF 2 & 5 Dishes, (outdoor, long-range).
    -NanoBeam, NanoBridge & Nano Loco, TP-Link 210s/510s (outdoor, medium/short-range).

    -Netgear GS108Ev3.
    -Ubiquiti Edgerouter X.
    -Mikrotik GB260 GSP.

    -Grandstream GXP 1610, 1625, 2135.
    -Cisco CP 7942.

-Power Supplies:
    -LiFePO4 batteries and solar panels are currently being tested before large purchases are made. Most nodes will be 100% on solar/battery, but ALL will have battery backup.

-Site Aqcuisition:
    -Several MOUs are already "in-hand" for strategic relay-node sites, while talks are still underway for BackBone sites, (where verbal agreements were 
already made). Several non-HAMs have also agreed to letting us place nodes on their property in various locations around Knoxville, TN.

-Served Agencies:
    -Our group is currently drawing up presentations for various potential served-agencies/clients. We believe it is prudent to be fully operational before approaching any possible clients. Our group member who is also a Fire Marshal will likely carry these presentations out, because he understands the language and needs of these agencies we will be serving.

This localized AREDN Mesh Network is underwritten by Off-Grid Auxcomm Radio Club, but participation in the mesh network does not require club membership or participation. The primary goal of the mesh network is to aid our local Emergency Services in the event of a devastating disaster that disrupts normal communications. OGARC was founded on the heals of the horrendous Gatlinburg Fires of 2016, when our founder KA1TOM was deployed for over 18 hours to aid several agencies with digital communication at the refugee center in Gatlinburg. We were created out of pure necessity, and share the AREDN Founders' vision of community participation in public safety.  

Until Further Notice, We are operating on SSID: southmesh, 10 MHz so the SSID=   southmesh-10-v3

KM4TBQ's picture
Progress Report #2

Despite the fact that recruitment is still not even open yet, (as we are making sure to have all our ducks in a row before bringing new operators on-board), Tom, K1KY, has helped get us in-communication with adjacent AREDN members, and has graciously introduced us to Les, N4LPK. Les is no ordinary HAM like me, he is veteran HAM, a veteran firefighter and extremely experienced with mesh networking. We couldn't have asked for a better partner in the founding group, who undoubtedly will save us time, money and stress due to his extensive working knowledge of building AND maintaining AREDN networks. He was instrumental in the operations in Sarasota FL, and after personally meeting with him, I'm confident that he will help ensure that the EAST TN mesh will be a glaring success. Barry, K4BLB, is also very excited to have such an asset on the team. Barry is a very experienced, top-shelf HAM, and fully appreciates the value of good people.

Also, I want to thank Randy, WU2S, who has been extremely patient, helpful and professional while helping me navigate this highly-complex space. He responds very quickly to any and all inquiries I have regarding this venture. I'm sure he's got to be annoyed by all the noob questions, but he does a great job of hiding it. Without all these guys, there is no way we would be this far along with the project. People absolutely make or break an organization or project, and with guys like these, there's no way this will fail. I'm extremely thankful to all the work everyone has put in, and I don't take a single detail of it for granted. Thanks guys, sincerely.

Thomas, KM4TBQ     

KM4TBQ's picture
Progress Report #3

Mid-January 2023
-The majority of the nodes are now flashed with the current firmware and properly configured.
-IP phones are operational and PBXs are in the process of being placed online.
-East TN Network is now linked to the Middle TN Network, and in constant communication.
-Numerous battery tests have been performed and have yielded impressive results, (~92-96% efficiency (wH/aH) on LiFePO4 batteries IN COLD WEATHER!).
-Preliminary area mapping has been completed.
-Necessary support equipment is continually being acquired and tested, (tools, cables, POEs, switches, phones, cameras, solar panels, servers, etc.). 
-Two training videos for beginning AREDN are complete and online, accessible to new operators who are being recruited.
-Second-stage plans are being executed for node location acquisition, tower climbers, MOUs and contingencies.
-Planning meetings, (in-person and via telephone), are regularly taking place to ensure all core members share the same goals, vision and expectations.
-Website and credentials are under development and will be live within 60 days.
-Potential member-operators & member-site-owners are being vetted for partnership.
-Safety guidelines, SOPs, etc. are near completion, and will be accessible within 60 days.
-Several influential community leaders are now aware of the project and are in full support.

Overall, the EAST TN Mesh project is going very smoothly and is picking up a lot of momentum. Again, we have not even started to recruit yet, and over 60% of our problems have been solved. A huge thanks to Les-N4LPK, Tom-K1KY and Mark-N2MH for helping us navigate around and avoid countless rookie mistakes with their guidance. There's zero chance we would be this far along without their expertise.

Standby for further updates...

K5DLQ's picture
Looks like a great start!

Looks like a great start!

KM4TBQ's picture
Thanks buddy, it's pretty

Thanks buddy, it's pretty exciting. YOU helped make it happen.

k1ky's picture
Congrats Tom!

Looks like you guys are getting it together!  I have a bunch of nodes that we are getting ready for the Cleveland TN area. This will go a long way toward filling out our Statewide coverage.

KM4TBQ's picture
Fantastic... an exciting next

Fantastic... an exciting next few years awaits us. I hear your callsign mentioned often, K1KY, You are held in high regard around here. Good to finally run in to you. on the right mountains, Knoxville to Cleveland is only a few hops with dishes. Hopefully we will make good progress that I can post here. That way, we can coordinate with each other. Is "southmesh" the best SSID, or is there a newer/better one? feel free to email us for anything:


Thomas, KM4TBQ 

k1ky's picture
Yes, SouthMesh

Yes Tom - In order to connect via RF, our nodes use "southmesh" as the SSID.  We can take the further discussion and coordination direct.

East TN Mesh Network

Hi Tom:
I am interested in helping to expand the system in East Tennessee. I help to build and maintain the system in Sarasota Florida before I moved up here. I am in Kodak and currently I am tunneled into the KK4WAS server.  I certainly would like to see RF stations built for the Sevierville area so if there is away I can help with that then I am willing to help.  

KM4TBQ's picture

It looks like you will definitely be an asset then. Let me know if you didn't get my email response.


I did get your e-mail

KG7ERA's picture
Wanting to learn more

Hey all,I'm a younger guy (25) that just passed his general. I live in lafayette, which is about 35 miles west of cookeville and 50 miles north of nashville. I would love to learn more about this, and noone in the Macon Area Ham Group knows much about it.

KM4TBQ's picture

Congrats on your General. Fortunately for you, you fall into TOM's/K1KY's area, (Nashville). I would be more than happy to help you, but Tom is far more experienced in this realm. I don't know of many HAMs that have more AREDN knowledge than him, and he's extremely accessible. Send him a direct message on here, and I know he would be more than happy to help you get started. But, if for some reason he's busy or something, let me know and I'll do what I can to help you. I'm brand new myself, and can tell you that there is a plethora of knowledge in these forums, so if you put in the time, you'll learn a ton here. Keep me posted. 73
Thomas, KM4TBQ

KG7ERA's picture
I sent K1KY a direct message

I sent K1KY a direct message and look forward to hearing back. 73

KM4TBQ's picture
Good deal. If he's tied up or

Good deal. If he's tied up or otherwise unavailable, let me know and I''ll do what I can to help you out.

KM4TBQ's picture
Did Tom get you sorted out

Did Tom get you sorted out alright?

Status of East TN?

Is there actually a working mesh network in existence?

Our interest is in multiple aspects. A location, Buffalo Mtn, where we may be able to place a Winlink RMS gateway also needs internet access. Currently would no be available only via connection to a mesh network. We would also want to work on mesh connection to the EOC in Roane County to help provide that location with redundancy for internet connection.

So what say ye? Where are we? We need to look at possible linking points.

Happy New Year and 73 DE KI4FZT

nc8q's picture
A location, Buffalo Mtn, where we may be able to place a Winlink

"A location, Buffalo Mtn, where we may be able to place a Winlink RMS gateway also needs internet access. "
A 'RMS gateway' does not require Winlink® and not even MS-Windows©.
A 'RMS Gateway' does need internet access, but does not need to be on a mountain.
A 'RMS Gateway' can be a service anywhere on the local AREDN network.
If a 'RMS Gateway' service exists on a local AREDN network, it can be automagically detected by a 'Winlink® client' station.

73, Chuck

KM4TBQ's picture
The network is not installed

The network is not installed yet. We're getting all the equipment sorted out first, and you can track the project's status here on this page. We fully intend to link up with the Nashville group, so naturally Roane county would be one of the first hops as we head west. If you know of any property owners with suitable locations for placing a node, definitely let me know. We are supplying the equipment in order to make it easier for a property owner to say yes. Node sites are and will be the biggest hurdle of the whole project. We have a few fantastic locations under verbal agreement already, but we need more than just a few. 
Thanks or reaching out, and I hope we can make something happen. 73

Thomas, KM4TBQ

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