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Near North Chicago Suburb

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KV3T's picture
Near North Chicago Suburb

Hey All,
KV3T here.  I've been experimenting with and trying to whittle my club down on AREDN for a few years now.  We did some show and tell at our field day a couple of years ago, but it didn't go anywhere.  As others in the flatlands know, trees are the enemy in this area.  But I have recently put up a small rooftop tower that may allow me to get a node something like +30' HAAT and am going to be doing so at my qth in Skokie.  I still have high hopes of luring in others from my club, NS9RC.  We are 200 strong and while we don't have mountains, I'm sure we have a mountain's height in towers amongst the club members, so with a little buy in from the members we could get a good network going up here.

I had initially planned on 5GHz a few years ago and got a couple of old NSM5s for testing.  My testing showed that 5GHz isn't where it is at in this part of the world.  Flat lands and trees.  So I'm not setting up a new Rocket M2 and working toward getting that in a permanent operating state.  I'm not there yet, but I'd like to get one of their MIMO 13DB omni antennas up eventually.  But for now I'll be using a pair of 9db antennas.

I'll also be testing with some of the cheaper GL.iNET hardware for local usage and testing.

If anyone else is in the area and wants to try to link up, lett me know.  I'm probably not going to be terribly active on this forum long term (maybe short term while I'm working out the kinks in my new stations), but I'm good on QRZ.


K5DLQ's picture
not clear on your intended

not clear on your intended band usage, but, i would STRONGLY suggest going with 5GHz band devices.


Hi Casey,

I'd like to connect sometime. I've been working with the 220MHz Radio Club in Chicago ( on getting an AREDN node up at a repeater site north of downtown on top of a 45 story building on the lakefront. I would like to connect with you and see if there are projects we could collaborate on. What would be a good way for us to visit?

KV3T's picture

Hey Robert,
I would love that.  I'm good on QRZ.  You can get my email address there.  I just looked you up and didn't see an email address for you there so check me out and send me an email.  That would be the best way.

There are projects we can collaborate on!

Assuming you are talking about the 220m repeater site at Wrightwood and Lakeview, that would be a FANTASTIC location for an AREDN node.  For what its worth, I just tried that repeater from my 5w ht in my basement and can get it with some crackling in Skokie 10 miles to the north.

Email me.

Great News!

Great news! More IL users! Too bad we are not closer! Keep at it!

KV3T's picture
I'm very excited to announce

I'm very excited to announce that the anchor node for this north Chicago mesh build out has been deployed. You can find it on the map as NS9RC-5G-PARKTOWER.  It is a 120 degree sector antenna pointed at 300 degrees and is deployed at roughly 520' agl, so it should cover north from the ohare to the lake front.  We have successfully tested a 5 mile link with marginal success at a site where we support a bike race, so this will service that command tent.  We aren't getting stellar performance, so there is much more testing and optimization to be done, but the tests were done on a pretty wet day.

I'm not quite able to hit it from my house (yet), so we have a tunnel setup to my house where I'm hosting a number of services, a website with documentation on what is available, a pbx, and a few other things.  Our next node is being planned, and will be a point to point link to Northbrook where there will be a sector pointed back down south.  There are already a few club members purchasing devices to start getting connected.  Hopefully this will catch on and we will get many more connected.  I will say, it is very challenging to make this work in this area, with trees higher than 60' in many places, but we also have many club members with towers higher.

If you are in the area, come by and give it a shot.  If anyone has any questions, my email is good on QRZ, but given the nature of the protocol, you should just be able to point to the node and you should be all set. 



Great to hear that the anchor node is up and running!
I am located near O'Hare in the Edison Park neighborhood.

Following with interest... is there info on the NS9RC website?
If not, does the club have hardware recommendations?

73 DE Art, N9THH (I am an NS9RC member)

WU2S's picture
May I help you

I have recently relocated near you and may be able to help you and Casey.
Please send me a private message by clicking on my callsign to the left of this message and we'll have a conversation.

Randy WU2S

KV3T's picture
Hey Art, see the info on the

Hey Art, see the info on the NS9RC

Email me your qth and I'll calculate a link.

The node was specifically designed to cover West to ohare as we have a group that has shown interest. Edison Park should have good coverage.

Art, I'll send you a message.

Returning to this thought

Picking this thread back up after a few months.  As a reminder, I'm in Edison Park and need hardware recommendations to set up a new node.


WU2S's picture
Hardware recommendations

The first step in selecting hardware is to determine what you want to accomplish.
Some examples of your goals:
1. Get started with AREDN and tunnel to other locations: Try an inexpensive GL-iNet AR-750 Creta.
2. Connect via RF to a local AREDN node. Plan the RF link before buying hardware. Use the Ubiquiti Link planner or Radio Mobile to help you see if you potentially have a clear path to the remote AREDN node. Remember that these planning tools do not account for trees in your neighborhood. Assuming that you can potentially establish a good RF link, the hardware you select will depend on the distance between the AREDN nodes and your budget. See the AREDN docs for more helpful information.
3. Experiment with a small local AREDN mesh that you control. Get a pair (or more) of GL-iNet devices and/or a Mikrotik Hap Lite to setup a small network at home. 

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