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Sector antennas at a high, inaccessible site

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Sector antennas at a high, inaccessible site

Our group is just starting to deploy an AREDN mesh network in our community.   The geography is such that there is one site which far surpasses every other location for LOS connections.   This is a mountain which is up over 3000' and is visible from almost everywhere.   Most of the connecting locations are down almost at sea level.     I'm assuming several sector antennas with some down tilt in their mounting would be appropriate.

The one, significant limiting factor to the site is that 4 months of the year it is virtually inaccessible without a helicopter (expensive) or a snowcat (don't own one).  The site does have power provided by diesel generators. 

In that circumstance what is the minimal installation that would work and would be unlikely to require maintenance during the winter.   From my limited reading it seems like a power supply,  a POE injector and two antennas cabled together would be the simplest configuration.  Are there other considerations like remote resets that might bring other hardware into the mix.

I'd appreciate your guidance and suggestions.


K6CCC's picture
.Assuming that two sectors

.Assuming that two sectors covers the intended area, you pretty much have the minimum.  If it were my site, I would use a battery charger (or may two for redundancy) charging a couple days worth of battery feeding the POE injector.  If primary power to the site is generators, I can easily see power interruptions as somewhat common.  Part of that depends on how they run the generators (you did state multiple).  Most likely they run one for some amount of time, and then switch to the other for a while.  Very likely a short outage during the transition.

The ability to remotely reset can be highly useful.  Lots of ways you can access the remote control (via ARDEN, some other radio, cellular data (IF THERE IS RELIABLE COVERAGE THERE), but you don't want to lose your site because the remote control lost connectivity, so you need to think about that too.

AA7AU's picture
We have a mtn top site up

We have a mtn top site up here in Idaho above town/valley at 9200'+ which is inaccessible more than half the year (without using a snowcat/snowmobile/etc and a very long trek). We found that having a separate part15 link (dish-to-dish) gave us more ability to get to the "back side" of the nodes for control/reset/WAN/etc -however- that does not speak to the power issue. I agree that a good set of heavy-duty battery with grid- and/or solar- charging is a good idea, just remember that solar panels are also snow-challenged.

Overall, although this is also our primary 2M site, we deployed only what was necessary (in our case 2.4, 5.8 nodes and VLAN switch etc) and kept any other services back down in the valley where we could reach and maintain them.

But ... I may not be an expert on this because right now our mtn top mesh went down Dec 9th and we won't get back up there until late-June or more likely early- July. One soon learns the lesson of humility when working with mtn tops.

Good luck,
- Don - AA7AU

Much thanks for the advice.

I really appreciate the pointers on setting up this sort of site.   We will likely be utilizing two 120 sector antennas but still intend to keep the installation as simple as possible.   Our second shared sector site went live in the last week so we are starting to get some basic experience.    Since the snow won't be gone for a few months we have time to plan.   We are also hoping for a redundant site at a lower elevation so not all the eggs are in one basket.
Chris - VE7TOP

K7AZ's picture
Starter Project: 5.92 GHz 120 Degree Sector @1450 feet

Seeking advise for setting up a Rocket M5-Ti radio paired with a 120 Sector antenna linked to interweb via a Ubiquiti ER-X router.  I have several M5-Ti radios but have an alternate Rocket M5-GPS radio if the Ti version wont fly. All this will be on top of a 1450' elevation hilltop.  Goal is to link to AREDN via interweb at first and then link via Point-Point to an adjacent AREDN site.       

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