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newbie + Redondo Beach (South Bay) Node

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newbie + Redondo Beach (South Bay) Node
Hey all.

I just got my tech license and call sign a few hours ago and I have completed the process of configuring a 5ghz Nanostation node in Redondo Beach. I have line of sight to Mt. Wilson while on the roof deck, but am not able to get any sort of signal. Although, it is probably stretching it with the distance. 

I am configured for trying channel 174, 10mhz, as I think I read someplace that my node has to be configured to the same Channel / Bandwidth pair for the Wifi Scan to work. Is that the correct channel / bandwidth pair? 

Also, I might have the opportunity to set up a node in Palo Verdes Estates which if I could secure the locaiton would provide a massive amount of additional coverage.  Not sure who I should be talk to about coordinating that kind of effort.

AE6XE's picture
Ray, Congratulations joining
Ray, Congratulations joining the ham ranks!   

I'll defer to Orv W6BI on the Mt Wilson node settings.   There was some local interference issues being worked though.   But yes, a NS at that distance isn't going to have enough gain to have a usable link regardless.   Yes, a "wifi scan" only shows 802.11 signals on the same channel width. 

PV is a strategic location, not yet reached.  If there is a private or other location you have access to, please separately contact me.  There are others in SoCal that would be willing to join up with investment to extend a backbone to this location if possibilities for sector coverage to the local area. Also, maybe out to Catalina at some point.  

South Bay Mesh Network - AREDN

Hi Ray,
I hope you have not given up on this.  There are 4 of us hams in the South Bay trying to get going on the AREDN network.
I have a weak connection to Mt Wison now with a borrowed Ubiquity M5-300a Nanobeam.  I have a 30 inch dish on order to hopefully improve my link.
Also Pete, AI6HJ in Torrance has a link to Mt Wilson.  AB6UI (Torrance) and K6UU (Redondo) are also trying to get the (5GHz) network working in our area.  We have not been able to link up locally yet.  So look us up on QRZ and send us an email or try here to contact us. We are also often found on the W6HA repeater.
You may be able to help us get the network working.
Thanks!  ron  AG6ST

Just moved to Long Beach
Hey Ron!

I had not been keeping up recently because I moved from Redondo to Long Beach. I looked at the map today and saw all those nodes in the South Bay.  WOW! Glad you could connect. I am connected to Mt. Wilson SE right now, sort of. I have a theory that the antenna that is up there might be blowing around because I get wild +-10db swings on the SE sector antenna. I'm at 24db right now, but will probably drop down to 10-14 in a minute.  

What we need to do is get a 3ghz from Mt Wilson to someplaces in Palos Verdes.  PV would provide amazing coverage for most of Southern Los Angeles, and is equidistant between all three major backbones. (Mt. Wilson, Pleasants Peak, and Verdugo).  I tried to start making some contacts up there, but wasn't very successful in getting a location secured.   

I am currently on the 9th floor of a condo building facing toward Carson / Torrance / Rendondo Beach. I think Redondo Beach is blocked for me, but if you are ever able to see downtown long beach odds are you would be able to hit my node. 


Yes, the channel is 174, BW
Yes, the channel is 174, BW 10. David KK6DA and Darren AJ6BL installed a new switch on Wilson which makes a world of difference! 

Ron, your node, AG6ST-1, on the wrong channel , as 177 is the southeast facing node, switch to 174.  Also, given your distance you do want to think about a high gain antenna like a Mikrotik LHG5 XL or better.

It is always a good idea to check channel assignments on the live map:

Also, consider building a local high-quality network, which then connects to Wilson.  I quote:
  • Remember that a multi-hop path through the network must have good signal quality on each leg of the journey. You cannot expect adequate performance through a series of poor quality links. For example, if you traverse three links having LQ metrics of 65%, 45%, and 58%, your aggregate LQ will be 17% which is unusable. The aggregate LQ should be at least 50% to have a usable path.

Hope this helps.

Oliver K6OLI
South Bay Mesh Network - AREDN - Ch 177 Vs. 174

Hi Oliver,
Ch 174 is 10 dB weaker than 177 here, on the WiFi scan.  Has always seemed to be that way.  Maybe a local null thing.
I'm going to get set up so that I can aim the antenna real time while on the laptop, while up on the roof, maybe today or tomorrow.
AB6UI has a POE battery thing I'm going to borrow.  I'll try both freqs.

Hi Ron,
Hi Ron,

We have also noticed that 177 was visible when we hiked nodes up to Griffith Park. The LQ on 177 was fine, but the NLQ was always terrible.  On 174 we had good LQ and NLQ.
Please let us know about your test results, that information is extremely valuable.
Good luck!
Oliver K6OLI
South Bay to Ch174 MtWilsonSW Good Now

Hi Oliver,
Today, I put up the 30 inch Winegard 30 inch dish ($55 ebay) with the Mikrotik LDF5 on a 4 foot fiberglass mil surplus pole on a vent pipe (about 20 feet above ground level).  I put the mount pipe to the pole on upside down, so that it would aim at the horizon.  Worked great.  A nice neat easy install. It is working wonders over the Ubiquity M5-300a. I'm getting snr of 50 dB and 100% LQ and NLQ (60 to 70 mbps to ch 174 now) even with the power a couple of dB below max. I was barely able to connect with the M5 at about 11-14 dB snr with lots of aiming time.  I have not tried aiming the big dish other than roughly, but I must be pretty close.  It came right up.  The realtime OC map has not updated yet after a couple of hours.  I'm not seeing ch 177 on the big dish, not sure why.
Anyway, looking good so far!

Hi Ron,
Hi Ron,

That is fantastic news!  Welcome to the Mesh! And thank you for sharing your update, we will pass it on to David and Darren, too. They will be thrilled to hear about the impact their work and the reach their equipment has.

Oliver K6OLI
TorranceRedondo MESH

I made a large error in my previous posting.  The 30 inch Wingard dish did not perform nearly as well as I reported earlier  I had misunderstood the connection data because I had both the Ubiquity and the Mikrotik runniing at the same time on the same channel. The Mikrotik with the 30" dish actually is performing about the same as the Ubiquity M5-300A.  I still need to do more work figuring out how to aim the thing, so I may post more in the future about it.

Not really a " large error" :-)

Hi Ron,

No worries, that happens, and frankly I do not think that the error is "large", quite the contrary.

As Gary W6GSW points out your node experiences only 5.6% Packet loss to and from Wilson. 

6. K6ECG-LA-MtWilson-SW.local.mesh   0.3%  5096   22.3  84.0   7.2 1771.  82.0
7. AG6ST-1.local.mesh                5.6%  5096  822.8 1014.   9.9 9168. 897.7

With a little tweaking you can improve that, as you have already pointed out.  We all look forward to your results!

By the way, David KK6DA mentioned during our roundtable last Thursday night that he was thrilled to see you guys come online and working towards strong, stable connections.
Very cool!

Please keep us in the loop about your experiences!

Oliver K6OLI

SM6LNJ's picture
PowerBeam 5AC Gen2
Hi, I just bought 2 St PowerBeam 5AC Gen 2, and am not sure if there is any suitable software for them. Which software would fit these?

Best regards
SM6LNJ Peter
Image Attachments: 
Re: PowerBeam 5AC Gen2

Hi Peter,

Please refer to the Supported Platform Matrix here

From that it does not look that the PB 5AC Gen2 is compatible with AREDN. However, you can still use it for regular point-to-point IP traffic and experimentation, just using the original firmware.

Pretty much everything we do with AREDN works the same with Part 15 devices, as they are sometimes referred to in the US, the restriction is the number of clients is usually a maximum of 253, unless you put in a more professional architecture.

For our workshops I often employ an unflashed Part 15 travel router to train people how to use Winlink P2P, Linphone and video streams, for example.  The difference is only that people operate in the 192.168.x.x class of IP rather than 10.x.x.x, so everyone can participate and learn and then transfer the skills over to the AREDN world.

Hope that helps.

Oliver K6OLI


W6GSW's picture
Welcome to the Southern California mesh!

The higher-gain dish makes all the difference.  It looks like you now have a good link with the southwest 5 GHz sector.

The link does sometimes exhibit long ping times and experience periodic bursts of packet loss.  You may be able to tweak the alignment and improve things.

                             My traceroute  [v0.87]

(                                              Thu Feb 28 14:30:05 2019
Keys:  Help   Display mode   Restart statistics   Order of fields   quit
                                       Packets               Pings
 Host                                Loss%   Snt   Last   Avg  Best  Wrst StDev
 1. localnode.local.mesh              0.0%  5097    0.4   0.4   0.3   9.9   0.6
 2. dtdlink.W6GSW-NBM3-14-231-218.lo  0.1%  5097    0.6   0.6   0.5  17.0   0.7
 3. W6JPL-RM3-PleasantsPk-p2p-JPL.lo  0.1%  5097    2.9   8.2   2.7 229.1  17.1
 4. KA6ECT-RM3-Pleasants-36-198-231.  0.1%  5097    6.0  15.1   5.8 514.1  21.7
 5. dtdlink.KA6ECT-NBM5-Wilson-62-17  0.2%  5096    6.0  16.1   5.8 486.5  22.9
 6. K6ECG-LA-MtWilson-SW.local.mesh   0.3%  5096   22.3  84.0   7.2 1771.  82.0
 7. AG6ST-1.local.mesh                5.6%  5096  822.8 1014.   9.9 9168. 897.7

There are two long 3 GHz links in the path, plus the 5 GHz link from Wilson to you.

You, and everyone else, are invited to participate at our monthly Activity Days, held the fourth Saturday of each month at Huntington Hospital in Pasadena.  While not exclusively mesh-related, we spend quite a bit of time discussing it.  Plus digital and other Amateur Radio and emcomm topics.

Its a bit of a trek from the South Bay, but its a good opportunity to meet other local mesh participants.


de Gary W6GSW

KA6ECT Trustee
Los Angeles Emergency Communications Team
Pasadena-San Gabriel Valley Emcomm Mesh

getting connection resets when hitting save button or reboot
i sometimes get a connection reset error screen when hitting the aredn save button or reboot button. Happens on all the nodes i tried recently, even an ancient one that hasnt been used for 2 years. Because that old nanostation didnt show the problem before, and it still has the old aredn firmware, I'm thinking now its a windows thing, or browser thing [chrome] any ideas? anybody else get this? and how did they fix it?
K5DLQ's picture
try a different browser
  1. try a different browser
  2. disconnect your CAT5 cable from your computer, close browser, try again.
ETX changes when i add a dtd node
so i did the vlan thing per and connected a 2 ghz nanostation for local distribution. when the rocket dish alone is connected to wilson, i get best case etx about 1.2 to 2.4. When i plug in the nanostation, i see it as a dtd neighbor [nice, that was easy!] BUT the etx shoots up to 8.2 to 10.4. Being a newbie, is this normal, or do i still have to configure more? Nothing is connected to the 2 ghz node yet.
K6AH's picture
Both nodes on 2 GHz?
If they're both on 2 GHz, channel -2, then they are interfering with each other.  To use multiple nodes collocated on the same band, you need to have channel separation.

Andre, K6AH
no, dish to wilson is 5 ghz link, nanostation is 2ghz

thanks for looking at this. No, the rocket dish to wilson is a 5 ghz link, the nanostation is a 2ghz machine.  when i dtd the 2 ghz machine, the etx on the 5 ghz path to wilson  degrades. both nodes are running nightly builds. I disconnected the 2 ghz node after that, but can reconnect it if you can troubleshoot remotely. Sounds like this might get involved though, I'll try to email you directly via your profile. Thanks again!

When both are connected are you seeing Current Neighbors as (dtd) 100% 100% between them on the mesh status screen?
DtD is 100%
yes, dtd neighbor from the 5 ghz node is lq=100%, nlq=100%, and to confirm, remoted to the 2ghz node and saw the 5 ghz node at lq=100%, nlq=100%. There is no display of TxMbps for dtd nodes?
LQ dropped to 1%

Well, after a few days of being connected my LQ to the SE Sector Mt. Wilson antenna has not gone above 4%, despite having 24db and 65% NLQ.  Not sure what happened, I haven't adjusted anything on my end as far as I am aware.  Perhaps the cloud cover is impacting it, but it seems like there is another issue. 

update: moved the antenna slightly, went from 22db to 16db, but was able to get OSLR entries. Perhaps the 22db was a signal bounce? Unfortunately, within about 4 minutes the LQ dropped back down to almost 0. Really strange. 

LQ, SNR update rate, Antenna pointing tips
i see something perhaps similar. LQ/NLQ doesnt seem to update until you hit refresh. I have seen it display low after periods of inactivity, and only jumps up when i actively run data, by accessing someones web page, camera, or start an iperf session. I heard that iperf results can be misleading somehow [dont remember the details] Also- SNR updates real slow and bounces more than a few db for me. It has a um, feature where if you are moving the antenna, and totally lose lock, it will show the last good reading instead of zero snr. I can tell i lost lock when the SNR shows the same number for a while without bouncing around...they should have a lock lost indicator, snr update indicator, or manual update button. Then there is this delay in locking back on to the signal when moving the antenna back on target. For the higher gain antennas the main beam is only a few degrees wide, and you have to move the antenna real slow [I mean really slow with the current snr measurement update rate] or you could miss the main lobe entirely. The next peak could be an antenna sidelobe where you can lock on to the signal but at really reduced performance. I tried the nightly with the tone SNR, but the tones bounce around as the snr bounces, so i cant correlate which antenna movement direction corresponds to improving snr. When i unknowingly move the antenna too far and lose signal entirely i get a nice steady tone that would make you think your connection is stable, when in fact you are not connected at all. The snr tone needs more averaging, or maybe a slider to reduce the tone change per db of snr change. I seem to average better by eye than by ear. maybe a bargraph display would work even better than a numerical snr display for averaging. Hang in there and spend some quality time with the antenna pointing, then see if more data traffic improves the LQ display Another thing to think about is local reflections might fool your antenna pointing. I had a panel antenna on a adjustable length pole on the flat part of the roof. As i was taking it down, the SNR actually went up. Strange. Every foot i lowered the antenna i would get an SNR peak or null. Even with MIMO there was multipath off the flat roof. I had to relocate the antenna onto the sloped part of the roof so that the roof slopes away from the front of the antenna for more predictable performance.
W6GSW's picture
Wilson 5 GHz nodes

The Wilson 5 GHz sector node names refer to their orientation from Wilson.  The "southwest" node is on 174 and is nominally pointed at 225 degrees.  The "southeast" node is on 177 and is nominally pointed at 135 degrees.

Ray, your node has a low-quality link to the southeast node on 177.  I would look for the southwest node on 174, which is pointed more in your direction.

Because the existing direct RF link is marginal, the best path from Wilson to your node routes indirectly through the tunnel connections.

I have only been able to very
I have only been able to very occasionally see the west sector node and never above 88DB.  I see the east sector antenna at 75db.  Are they right next to each other, or maybe I am not looking in the right spot?
re tunnel: I ended up just using the tunnel since my connection is so poor. I also wanted to see if I could tunnel in and adjust my antenna based upon the signal SNR page from the mt. wilson node.  It was a bit helpful, but didn't quite get me there. I also moved my antenna outside my window with similar results. 
K6CCC's picture
Hi Ray,  I saw you were on
Hi Ray,  I saw you were on the IRC last night and wondered if you had managed to get a path.  It would seem odd that you are getting the SE panel better than the SW.  Should be the other way around.  At least for now you are in via a tunnel (as am I from home).  Maybe we'll chat with you on the "net" tonight...
Definely nothing on SW.  I am
Definely nothing on SW.  I am due South East of Mt. Wilson. I would find it very odd if I was able to get the SW sector antenna. Like I said I only rarely see it at about 86db.

Does anyone have contact info for K6UU?  I see he has a node in redondo now. 
K6CCC's picture
You are not SE of Wilsonyou better
You better check a map.  I plotted you to Wilson a while ago and according to Radio Mobile from your Long Beach address, your heading to Wilson is 12.68 degrees true or you are 192.75 degrees from Mt. Wilson.
That is correct. I spent a
That is correct. I spent a few hours trying to find channel 174. I can see the antennas and the observatory, so I know I am pointed in the right direction. I actually know the exact tower that node is on. However, it is really hard to aim a 28inch dish! A few centimeters off and there is no signal. :). After much trial and error I was eventually able to see 174 SW, but could not get above 11db SNR. I suspect that I might actually be too high. I am about 100ft above ground level, or 140ft above sea level and am at the far edge of the range. I have a 3ghz dish coming today. If I am able to connect that will be great as I will be setting up a few nano stations to provide local coverage. Eventually, I will move the 3ghz dish to either the roof of my complex, if I can get permission, or see if the local club has a better location, ideally on Signal Hill. I actually had an idea of calibrating my electronic telescope mount and putting in the coordinates to aim the dish, but the problem is that I have to calibrate it off of stars, and I can't see any from my place.
K6CCC's picture
Good point
Assuming there is some downtilt on the sector antenna at Wilson, you may be well above the pattern.
bigger dish pointing headaches
Similar headaches here with pointing the bigger dishes, I got frustrated after only 30 minutes of fiddling with the dish pointing before i said yeah, good enough. Just touching the mount with the wrench will microflex the mast enough to misalign the antenna, then when you let go, it springs back, and you have to recheck snr to see if it springs back into alignment, or overshot centering, or if the pointing adjustment made was not enough. usually i do rough az adj, then fine el adj. then fine az adj again path profiler says at your 100ft height you should point +12 deg az and +1.6 deg el to hit wilson. Does anybody know how high the wilson antenna is on its tower? The lat/lon advertised are probably not exact either. Which mount came with the mikrotik?, or ? If its LHG, dump it and use the solidmount with the fine az/el adjust hexbolts. To fine adjust with the LHG, you have to loosen the mounting bolts to move the antenna, then the whole antenna weight flops down so you have to use one hand to hold and direct the antenna, other hand to watch the SNR display, 3rd hand to tighten the mounting bolt. 4th hand to hold on to the ladder. at 100 ft its always breezy. be careful the loose dish doesnt catch the wind and torque you. Boresighting: try using another node set on minimum power about 100ft away. practice peaking the antenna SNR, and adjust your optical sighting device to see the remote node [lol, i have used a short pvc pipe nipple mounted on the dish rim to look thru as a sight] Alternatively you can set the node bandwidth to 20MHz, and you should see regular wifi hotspots on scan. Pick a wifi that you know the location of and you can see. then peak RSSI on that location and align the optical sight on it
Torrance noob reporting in.

Hello guys,  hope I'm not hijacking this thread...  im a mesh noob from south bay as well. 

I'm a network engineer (Cisco CCIE R/S) and interested in joining the mesh from Torrance.  Trying to get my bearings and decide on what equipment to purchase and the generally the best way to connect to the mesh.  For now I'm pouring through the FAQ and information scattered through this site and the forums.

I've checked my address on heywhatsthat and appears I have decent line of sight to Mt. Wilson, from what I read on this thread thats the way to go?  

Any feedback or direction would be appreciated.  Feel free to contact me direct on my email which is on


Chris - KM6HVO

hi chris!
hi chris! Ya, it seems we cant connect directly from QTH node to node. too much stuff in the way. we get better luck all pointing to wilson and connect using 1 hop. From where I'm at, a 400mm nanobeam dish sometimes gives marginal results where it takes some time to connect, or even times out. If i was going to buy again, i'd try something beefier. I saw this thread where they talked about hardware selection. I think they were leaning toward the the Mikrotik LHG XL HP5, but i didnt see any responses on how that device actually performs yet. Numbers look promising at 55db EIRP though. Make sure you look at the XL model with the 29 db dish instead of the 24 db size, and let us know what you picked and how it works!

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