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MeshChat in Texas - Zone?

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N5MXI's picture
MeshChat in Texas - Zone?

Does anyone else have MeshChat set up on their node in Texas? If you do would you mind sharing the zone you are configured to? If there are enough nodes in Texas maybe it is time to create a 'Texas" zone.

David - N5MXI

We've done a lot in Oregon so
We've done a lot in Oregon so let me share a bit more from our experience.

MeshChat will cover the entire .... mesh that it's on.  Forget the Supernodes for a moment.  If you have 50 nodes that are neighbors of each other and can navigate among themselves, that is your local/regional mesh.  If you name your MeshChat "MeshChat" and 10 instances are on the same mesh, then they sync.

If you have 500 nodes that are in one mesh across many states (it may be possible some day) then you could have some be "MeshChat-TX" and then all the instances with that advertised name will sync and ignore other mesh chats.  Anyone on the mesh can see it however and post to it, it's not exclusive.

In Oregon we've started to have one "MeshChat" for the whole state (right now 16 instances) and many counties have their own MeshChat ...for example "MeshChat-MultCo" for Multnomah County.  That keeps the clutter down as we don't have to read everything all the time.  I can however read and post to any MeshChat in any county if I navigate to those links.  We try to keep two to three instances up and running for each "name version" so if one node goes down we don't lose the message database (ironic given the other thread).

I can not say that this is an
I can not say that this is an absolute, but generally what I have seen is the convention of using the two letter state postal code prepended to "MeshChat". So here in Florida, we use FLMeshChat for a zone name. I know that there is a TNMeshChat, AKMeshChat, GAMeshChat out there too. Those are the ones that I have visibility into. I am sure that there are other mesh networks that use the same convention, but I just don't know about them.

While I don't think it is MeshChat's responsiblity to enforce a zone naming convention, I certainly can see writing up a best practice with respect to naming zones that can help AREDN admins choose good zone names.

When I first started playing with MeshChat I was figuring that there would be 3 zones here in Florida: NFLMeshChat, SFLMeshChat, WCFMeshChat. I was figuring to break the state up by the ARRL sections. In starting to talk to other admins the breakup was a bit premature and so the move to the FLMeshChat zone to be consistant with other mesh networks.

If we later on break the zone up by region, then my preference would be something like FLMeshChat-NFL (ARRL section) or FLMeshChat-Volusia (county) or even FLMeshChat-Orlando (city). Again not sure if this should be a best practice, but would welcome others to comment on this. There are a couple of reasons for keeping FLMeshChat as part of the zone. Some mesh networks are interconnected with tunnels instead of supernodes so all the nodes can see one another. That means that one is seeing all the nodes and services across multiple states. If it was named MeshChat-NFL (is that a MeshChat for people that really like football?) that might be confusing. With the same idea of removing ambiguity MeshChat-Volusia may not mean anything to so someone 3 states away. Keeping FLMeshChat as part of the zone name provides users context. 

Those are a couple of my 2 cents and I welcome the thoughts of others.
I also meant to add a couple
I also meant to add a couple of other thoughts to my prior post.

I would say that generally things like county discussions and such should be put into individual channels in the zone. Unless the amount of discussion is so great that it warrants its own MeshChat instances.

One of the things I have written is an NWS alert script ( to post to MeshChat (actually just discovered and fixed a pretty big bug in it from N5MXI's post about purging old messages). Each county has the NWS alerts get posted to different channels (e.g. WX-Lake, WX-Volusia, WX-Flagler) and that seems to be best to keep the clutter down. Posting to the Everything channel is generally a bad idea ( I have considered a future feature to disable posting to Everything, but still making it viewable).

Something that will be available soon is the ability to set the default channel that a new user gets placed into on a instance by instance basis. So that would allow the administator to decide what channel a user sees first. So if you have different channels for different counties, this would be a natural way to direct your local users to a local channel. You can see the progress by watching issue #5 in the MeshChat repo. All the supporting changes are now down and it is just a matter of the final code to pull everything together.

David, I am running a MeshChat service at my QTH in Richardson, TX. Here is my setup:
— zone                      = “MeshChat"

— MeshChat device           = Raspberry Pi 3B (Raspbian Buster OS)

— MeshChat program on Pi    = meshchat_1.02_all.deb

— Pi connection             = LAN port on a MikroTik hAP AC Lite

— API on hAP                = meshchat-api_2.9_all.ipk

— 2.4 GHz radio on hAP      = WAN WiFi client to home network

— AREDN mesh radio          = NanoStation M2 (via hAP DtD port 5)

— gateway node              = n5cor-richardsoneoc (0.8 miles)

My gateway node is currently experiencing technical issues that result in my link to it
intermittent.  Therefore, my MeshChat service to our North Texas AREDN mesh is currently
intermittent.  I hope this information is useful to your efforts.  Please let me your

Thank you and 73,

Paul -- KA5TYW
N5MXI's picture
Texas - Meshchat

Hi Paul,

Thanks for your response. My QTH is Corpus Christi, TX. Our Meshchat setup is almost identical. I'm also using a MikroTik hAP AC Lite and an RPi. My reason for wanting a Texas-specific zone was to try and keep the message content more local. Unfortunately, there's not a lot of interest in AREDN yet (at least in South Texas) so maybe a TX zone is premature.

Some suggestions
Hi David,

Again, let's make sure you understand MeshChat.  It will sync with every other instance that has the same advertised name on ... YOUR mesh.

The physical location of each node that has the same ADVERTISED NAME does not matter.  They will sync and share messages.  So I do see the value of your naming your MeshChat as MeshChat-TX for now.  Your current reliance on tunnels means that any MeshChat on the actual mesh you are tunneled into will show up in TX which sort of defeats that idea that messages in an emergency are local traffic.

I don't want MeshChat from TN or from FL clogging up our local MeshChat ... it's not relevant.  We can always in non emergency times email each other and we can "chat" on the forum about anything.

My 2 cents, I'd go ahead and call it MeshChat-TX.  And remember, the syncing is from a LOGICAL membership to a mesh network which can be confused by tunnels.  If you made a MeshChat and then gave me a tunnel from your node and I installed and advertised on my station another plain old instance called MeshChat you'd get all the Oregon messages because the tunnel would make me part of your mesh.  Sort of defeats the purpose.

N5MXI's picture

Thanks, Ed

If you can tell me an easy to clean up all the "Hello World from API" messages at the top of every node list in the "Meshchat" zone then no name change would be necessary. I'm also guilty of causing some of the clog with my "test" messages. It would be great to have a way to purge unwanted messages from Meshchat.

73, David

Cleaning up old messages has
Cleaning up old messages has been discussed a lot on the forum.  It's hard to do when linked installations continue to do what they're supposed to do and go out to find the old messages and re sync.  The good thing is that it does go out and automatically re sync when you install the same instance.

Eventually all the flotsam goes further down the list and you can ignore it.  However, if you do want to clear a node completely of it's database of old messages the only way I've been 100% sure to work is to unlink the meshchat in the advertised stuff, delete the package meshchat X.X from the node, reboot.  Then re-install the package, reboot, then when the package appears in your advertised services list it will have a random name.  Change the random name to the correct advertised name, save changes, then reboot again.

If nothing else on YOUR MESH has that advertised name ... then it will be a clean install with none of the junk.

73  Ed

PS ... I might have missed a delete or reboot somewhere ... it can be tedious.  But if you persevere it does work.
There is not a good way to
There is not a good way to delete messages at this point in MeshChat. I have a few ideas for doing this, but it will be a couple of releases before that sort of functionality will show up in MeshChat.

The only real way to purge messages I wrote up in I would suggest going there and looking at the last two replies to get a handle on on the procedure. It is a bunch of work and it has to be coordinated across all the admins that are running MeshChat, but it will work.

Gerard, WT0F.

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