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Mesh success in Salem, OR

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Mesh success in Salem, OR

We now have a functioning four node AREDN mesh network in Salem, Oregon.
We added a Rocket M5 120 19 dBi sector to our repeater tower at 
1800 feet which ties into another opposing Rocket M5 sector, a PowerBeam M5 300
and a Rocket M5 Omni 13. 3 nodes have NetGear GS108E VLan switches and WLAN connections. See AREDN map. 
We have a Citadel BBS/email service running on a Raspberry Pi 2B for Mesh use. 
All nodes are running iperfspeed as we test throughput, adjust aim, and find new station locations
At 22 miles we get 2.5- 3 Mbps on iperfspeed. 

Salem is very challenging terrain due to heavy tree cover. Our neighbor city, Keizer has a lower elevation and many trees, and cannot connect at this time. 
Most neighborhoods have fir trees 60 to 100+ feet tall in their yards!

We have been frustrated trying to connect neighboring hams with existing towers and masts. Trees prevent 5.8 GHz
connections beyond 400 meters. We have two neighboring hams on a 2.4 GHz link at 1 km, with about 6-8 SNR. 
They cannot reach our 5.8 mesh from their homes until others are added or a mobile link is placed. 

We are now using NanoStation NSM5 on mobile hitch mounted masts to survey coverage areas. 
We run WiFi scan and drive to find the green mesh connections. Streets adjacent to fields or open parks work best. 
So we are recommending new Salemmeshnetwork hams purchase NSM5 units for mobile or portable use with a power inverter. These actually work on the dashboard of the car at moderate range. (Everyone still wants to know what to buy to use at their house.) 

We have a newsgroup and are sharing information on
We have a weekly talk net on mesh networking  on our WA7ABU repeater, 145.290 Thursdays at 1900. EchoLink access is also available, search for WA7ABU-R
I am confident at this early stage we can deploy to key locations such as our hospital and EOC with mobile NSM5 stations and transfer large files
and forms with high speed. A 6 MB PDF file usually takes under 30 secs even at our marginal 11-13 dB SNR links. 

We have discovered an important rule:
“It is far easier to find a signal and park than to park and find a signal.”
A similar rule is don’t mount a mast until you have a signal. This is not VHF. 

If you are in the mid-Willamette valley we are looking for users and locations with LOS to Salem
and the surrounding hills. Please join us for testing on Ch 177 10 MHz




Congratulations on your build out!   I agree: having driven through the Salem area many times i can see how the hills and trees are a big challenge.  Unless you happen to be really lucky and have hams and/or locations at the top of every hill in the way, you have quite the challenge to overcome.  

For path studies, I use a technique I learned from a county agency: I keep an NSM3 with a portable AC inverter and Li-ion battery pack handy to do quick path checks.  

What uses do you have in mind for your AREDN system?  I'm in the middle of deploying VoIP telephones to our EOC's with voice and dial-up fax support.  All of our EOC's have analog POTS telephones as part of their inventory, so plugging one of them into an analog telephone adapter (ATA) on AREDN is an easy way to give EOC staff a familiar communications resource to contact other agencies and EOC's.  Faxing is for those occasions when someone brings in a piece of paper and wants to quickly send it to a remote recipient.  Fax on VoIP ATA's takes a bit of tweaking, which is what we're in the middle of working out. 


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