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Frostfest 2019

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Frostfest 2019
There will be a AREDN forum and Display Table at Frostfest thanks to the hamfest committee.

Look forward to a great presentation about mesh.  Thanks ALSO to the AREDN team for your support of Virginia.

K9CQB's picture
FrostFest 2019 After Action Review
At FrostFest 2019, AREDN was given a table in the corner where we could put up our ridiculously obscene masts that were bristling with antennas and a huge AREDN banner strung between them. We could be seen from anywhere on the FrostFest floor as we had the highest, probably most noticeable display. We had matching super-wide monitors mounted on arms on the edge of the table that displayed our mesh network and other demo slides. We were swarmed 15 minutes before the show even started and it didn't stop until after 2pm (the show ended at 3pm). We ran out of all 40 brochures in the first hour or so.

We had a large 2.4GHz mesh network setup at FrostFest. Here's a list of the equipment we set up:
   - 17dBi panel antenna with BaseBox 2 at the booth, 25ft tall on a mast w/Polycom VOIP phone
   - RocketDish RD5G30 w/Rocket M5 on mast (inactive)
   - 17dBi Omni antenna with Rocket M2 at the booth, 25ft tall on a mast (inactive)
   - NanoBridge M5 on mast (inactive)
   - MikroTik LDF 5 on an 18" DirecTV dish at the booth (inactive)
   - NanoStation M2 with webcam in the parking lot on N4CV's vehicle
   - NanoStation M2 with Polycom VOIP phone in a friend's table near the opposite corner of the AREDN booth
   - 8 different assorted MikroTik/Ubiquiti AREDN nodes displayed on the table with laminated description cards (inactive)
   - 5 MikroTik hAP-ac-lite (with civilian 5GHz WiFi access point) with GrandStream DP715 cordless VOIP phones 
       3 at the table providing VOIP, one was also providing a tunnel to the Hampton Roads AREDN network
       1 in a battery box near the forum classroom to provide VOIP service
       1 worn by K9CQB in a small pouch with a battery and cordless VOIP phone
Most common questions asked:
1. What can I do on this network? What are the use cases? 
2. Is there an AREDN network in my area?
3. How can I get started or what device should I first buy to get started?
4. How does this compliment/compare to Winlink, LoRaMesh, etc.
*The most enlightening response we saw was this: During a real emergency there would be hundreds of photos of missing people that folks are looking for as well as 'lost' children, handicapped, and injured people that cannot speak who need their loved-ones/friends who can identify and place them. Along with the lists of hundreds of names and logistics and repair manuals and orders, can our current Amateur Radio EmComm solutions do this?

**Special shot out to Gump KC5CG and his wife, Shelly, who stood at the table the entire time proselytizing for AREDN

We performed a number of demonstrations on command from curious attendees:
1. Webcam traffic (yes, we did people watching live - this is fun)
2. Navigated the AREDN network to show all the nodes and services, especially the tunneled nodes
3. VOIP phone calls 
*My favorite use case demonstration was: An attendee may ask what he can do with his smartphone or may ask for a VOIP demo. We would ask the attendee to download the LinPhone app on their Android or iPhone - this takes 30 seconds. Then we would have them join the 5GHz WiFi Access Point on our MikroTik hAP-ac-lite which has a VOIP phone on it (takes 30 seconds). We then have them open the LinPhone app and dial "sip:" (that's the IP address of one of the VOIP phones on our AREDN network) and hit "send". Then the appropriate VOIP phone would ring and we would answer it and talk to them. In less than 2 minutes a guy is on our network and talking to us with their smartphone. Everybody that tried it was absolutely blown away.

We were given the 11 am slot for the forum and I believe it was the most attended forum presentation of the day with standing room only. We were surprised at the turnout and the coordinators allowed us to go 20 minutes over on our time due to all of the questions asked.

*Special shot out to Darrell KF4HJW and his grandson, Jaden, who ran the forum audio and professional video. They'll post that video in multiple locations soon. Also special shot out to the rest of the forum speakers (see upcoming video).

Lessons learned: 
1. On our AREDN equipment it would be nice to be able to adjust power (dBm) and 'Farthest Link Distance' without rebooting the node (just hit 'Apply').
2. We need iperfSpeed (or similar) built into every node firmware so we can manage our networks without worrying about whether they have iperf on their node, or is it a compatible version.
3. We need business cards with generic contact info (website URL, email addresses of Virginia folks available to call, etc.) to supplement the brochures. They are cheap to make 200 of them - will fix for next time.
4. We need to put the new web address on the banner ( for folks to browse (this will soon be fixed).
5. We would've liked 2 tables instead of one - it was very crowded.

Image Attachments: 
One question.  You say there was a telephone connected locally, but the visitors called out to some other distant telephone. How does the local
telephone fit into this demo?

K6AH's picture
Wow, nicely done guys!
w6bi's picture
Super job!
Great job pimping the latest/best ham radio protocol!
K5DLQ's picture
Awesome job!  Great writeup! 
Awesome job!  Great writeup!   You should consider doing a writeup for QST Magazine on your experience at Frostfest.
Way to represent!!
KM4DC's picture
BZ to everyone who made that happen.
Thanks for the write-up.
WU2S's picture
Thanks to all
Thanks to all who helped present AREDN mesh networking to Frostfest. Well done!
The banner is on its way from the manufacturer to me and then to Damon in time for the Vienna VA Winterfest in March.

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