You are here

Will Ubiquity PBE-M5-300 reach Mt Wilson?

32 posts / 0 new
Last post
Will Ubiquity PBE-M5-300 reach Mt Wilson?
I have a 27 mile run from the beach to Mt Wilson to complete a relay. I can occasionally connect a standard nanostation M5 to Mt Wilson. Is a PBE-M5-300 a good choice? They're running at $89 on Amazon.

Not sure what the difference is with the PBE-M5-400 but wanted to save a few bucks.

ke6bxt's picture
PBE-M5-300    5 GHz    150+ Mbps     20+ km=12.4 mi    26 dBm/22 dBi     5150-5850    dBm+dBi=48
PBE-M5-400    5 GHz    150+ Mbps     25+ km=15.3 mi   26 dBm/25 dBi      5150-5850   dBm+dBi=51
PBE-M5-620    5 GHz    150+ Mbps     30+ km=18.6mi    24 dBm/29 dBi      5150-5850   dBm+dBi=53
PBE-M5-620    5 GHz    150+ Mbps     30+ km=18.6 mi   24 dBm/29 dBi      5150-5850   dBm+dBi=53

The node(s) at Mt Wilson are M5 Rockets (27dBm) with 120 sector antennas providing 19 dBi of gain. dBm+dBi=46

The question here is not what do you need to get a signal to  Mt. Wilson but rather how far can Mt. Wilson get a signal in your direction.

Nice detailed chart! Now

Nice detailed chart! Now based on this, none can cover 27 miles?  I can see on the maps that those connections are being made though. I am actually able to occasionally connect to Mt Wilson on a regular NSM5.  Though it seems intermittent. 


nc8q's picture
PBE-M5-300 .vs. LHG-XL-HP5 el alia

"They're (PBE-M5-300)running at $89 on Amazon."

I found one for $78 on amazon.

Adding '$' to ke6bxt's matrix:
PBE-M5-300 5 GHz 150+ Mbps 20+ km=12.4 mi 26 dBm/22 dBi 5150-5850 dBm+dBi=48 $ 78
PBE-M5-400 5 GHz 150+ Mbps 25+ km=15.3 mi 26 dBm/25 dBi 5150-5850 dBm+dBi=51 $ 95
PBE-M5-620 5 GHz 150+ Mbps 30+ km=18.6mi 24 dBm/29 dBi 5150-5850 dBm+dBi=53 $198
LHG XL HP5 5 GHz 150+ Mbps 30+ km=18.6 mi 24 dBm/29 dBi 5150-5850 dBm+dBi=55 $ 80
Mikrotik ^

I have a PBE-M5-400 and a LHG-XL-HP5 in service.
I like the LHG much better and have another one to replace my PBE-M5-400.

Hope this helps, Chuck

Price is right on the
Price is right on the Mikrotik. Thanks for the heads up and your actual experience with these is appreciated. How far are you going with them?
K6CCC's picture
Antenna gain is your friend
Remember that antenna gain helps on both TX and RX.  Since your RX is going to be the larger factor, go for the larger dish.  If it were me, I would go with the larger Mikrotik.
Roger on that! Not tied to
Roger on that! Not tied to any brand. Will go with whatever works at a reasonable price. Definitely will consider Mikrotik
W6GSW's picture
Everything of course depends

Everything of course depends upon your site, the specific path and what works in your situation. smiley

That being said, there is a PBE-M5-300 in the South Bay, approximately 32 miles from the Wilson sector nodes.  Mesh status is reporting throughput of approximately 9.8 mbps.

There are a number of Rocket M5/RocketDish combinations operating in the same area.  These nodes report overall higher NLQ and throughput of 20+ mbps.

Gain will probably be your friend here.

Gary S. Wong

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

District Emergency Coordinator
Northeast District, Los Angeles Section
Amateur Radio Emergency Service

My situation is likely

My situation is likely similar to South Bay. So if a PBE-M5-300 works there then it will likely work for me too since I'm 27 miles away. Then at least I will have minimum device to compare against. So I should shoot for a device with a higher gain than a PBE-M5-300 to play it safe. Don't want to purchase twice.

nc8q's picture
shoot for a device with a higher gain
"wanted to save a few bucks."
Higher gain==higher SNR==faster data==shorter transmissions==less QRM==less TX watts per second.
Higher SNR may equate to lower average radiated power.
For the same price as a PBE-M5-300 you can get +7dB(m+i) with a LHG-XL-HP5.
For less cost the LHG-HP5 has more gain than the PBE-M5-300.

Hope this helps, Chuck
I'm convinced.
I'm convinced.

Though the XL is actually over $101 with tax and shipping....will mull it over for a few days
Now Using New Mikrotik (Fail)

I've installed a new Mikrotik LHG HP5 XL and sadly I'm getting less reception. Where the Ubiquity Nanostation M5 showed me Mt Wilson, the Mikrotik, showed Mt Wilson for a seconds and I never saw it again.

According to everyone's comments, the Mt Wilson Rocket dish is pointed at 225 degrees. So the inverse of that is 45 degrees. Someone positioned exactly opposite would have a 45 degree heading towards Mt Wilson.

Just to show how close I am, I compute the heading to be 50 degrees or so, or 230 degrees inverse. So I'm within 5 degrees of where that Rocket dish is pointing. I'm 27.1 miles away based on Google earth.

I have not yet seen the polars on the Mikrotik so I don't know how narrow the nodes go. I'm also using the angle piece to make sure it's pointed upwards slightly but to be honest, I got my brief signal without the angle piece.

At this point, I don't know where else to point since there's likely no node pointing along the coast. Everyone is likely pointing to Mt Wilson. If this doesn't work, maybe I'll just point it south somewhere and maybe someone will link to it.

Disappointing results. I might reverse it as well and use the original Nanostation M5 that at least got occasional connections.

At the moment I have two nodes connected. 4 miles apart. Both NS M5's and then a dtd with the Mikrotik.

Anyone in the Southbay that wants to connect? Or alternatively, I could point to Santa Monica. Just follow the coastline. Channel 174 10bw (I'd have to reposition the antenna first though)



K6CCC's picture
If the NanoStation is able to
If the NanoStation is able to weakly get Wilson and the MT is not, you are likely not pointed right or not configured right.  It is pretty tight on the pointing.  By comparison, the NS is broad as a barn door.
I moved it in millimeter increments all around and watched the results.  No go. That's why I went to a map and plotted it to be 49.6 degrees or something like that so I wasn't guessing. But I don't know the tightness of the polars vertically. I could play with the vertical angle. I just used the included angle insert. Could be pointed too high.

Mt Wilson did show up briefly. So it has to be configured right.
I read just now that the beam
I read just now that the beam width of the LHG HP5 XL is 6.3 degrees. Yes that is awfully tight. Especially vertically. Unfortunately, LA doesn't give us clear days to see through Mt Wilson till November. Would have been nice to know what I'm actually aiming at.
There are apps for that...
we have used either Peakfinder or Theodolite very successfully to aim nodes, especially when visibility was next to none. Maybe those or something similar might help?
Oliver K6OLI
nc8q's picture
clear days to aim dishes

We have trees and there is no way to see tens of miles in our area.
However using the tool,, its satellite view,
a few nearby landmarks, and the extremely handy audio SNR tool in 'Charts',
I have been able to aim narrow beam dishes.
I have one of the (DtD connected) nodes set as an AP, I connect my cell phone via WiFi,
I enable the audio in 'Charts', put the cell phone in my shirt pocket, and
adjust the pointing of the dish. I achieved a 13.5 mile link using these tools.


nc8q's picture
Could be pointed too high.

Specs say 6.4 degrees. Could be -3 dBi or -6 dBi.

My math may be off, but I figure if a flat earth, at 5 degree (the slug) up-tilt and 27.1 miles,
there would be at 12,471 feet elevation difference.

Assuming a spherical earth, now at apparent 5.4 degrees up-tilt, you could be pointed too high.

I hope this helps, Chuck

K6CCC's picture
Magnetic or True?
Stupid question department.  Assuming you used a compass while outside pointing the dish.  When you plotted it, was it magnetic or true heading.  If true, did you adjust for magnetic?
Yes, you would be amazed how many people forget about that when they don't do it often.  Around here, the difference is several times the beamwidth of the dish...
nc8q's picture
Stupid answer department

No compass.
I zoomed in at each end with a 'satellite view' from 'HeyWhatsThat'.
My end indicated to point just to the right of my neighbors evergreeen.
Good thing as his evergreen is higher than my dish! My dish is 49' agl.
At the other end (~100' agl, 2.6 miles) I pointed +/- between two AM broadcast stations towers.
Guessing about 2/5ths the the left of WHIO and about 3/5ths to the right of WING.
Then I used the SNR tone tool in 'Charts' to tweek. :-|
I have a row of 70' evergreens about 200 yards away that my signal passes through and blocks any optical view.
In the first 1.3 miles of the path my LOS is 50' agl with many 70' trees.
There is no 'optical' view that spans end-to-end.
Today I swapped a PBE-M5-400 at 46' with a Mikrotik LHG XL at 49'.
In theory a +4 dB improvement. In practice an observable improvement.


AE6XE's picture
When I mount antennas at a
When I mount antennas at a site, I print out a full 8.5"x11" picture of a GoogleEarth point-of-view, looking down the line between the 2 locations.  This picture helps to orient the antenna with the terrain features.   I've found this as effective and sometimes better than using a compass--no math or conversions to make.   
The alignment is direct with close in and visible land features, e.g roads, buildings, hill profile, etc.      When using a compass, there is tolerance-error to determine a fixed point to aim for.  With a picture of the googleEarth with a line over the terrain, I find less error with the fixed point I identify to aim for.
nc8q's picture
Around here, the difference is
~3 degrees 54'. According to my circa 1970 US Geological Survey paper map.
I'm lined up
I'm now lined up to Mt Wilson. It shows up intermittently with 7% LQ 78% NLQ.  Lucky for me the skies suddenly cleared and I could see the mountains. However, I wasn't certain where to point. The topography from here doesn't quite match what I see on Google Earth.

A couple of things I learned. As far as alignment goes, one millimeter makes a difference. The wind is blowing so my pole is shifting a bit which account for the loss of signal. The tilt angle will need tweaking.

I was able to slowly get the Status page of Mt Wilson. Lots of nodes showed up but not enough bandwidth to connect. 

I will update more later.
So to continue the story of
So to continue the story of my progress, all of our tips were truly helpful. Every single one.

For a heading I plotted it out using my iPhone compass (not a real compass). I didn't have a compass handy at my house. Fortunately it does come with a True North setting and sure enough it was off enough to make a difference.

I did verify that the Google Earth maps and the HeyWhatsThat both computed a heading of 50 degrees. But to be honest, the dish is on a pole. There's no easy way to accurately aim it from my level. 

Then while I was fiddling with this, the sky cleared and I could see the mountains. But Mt Wilson doesn't stand out among the many mountains facing me. I used GoogleEarth to show me a profile of the mountains as I see it and unfortunately it didn't match exactly. The mountain view was hazy. 

At least now though I had the ability to mark the peaks and compare it to landmarks as was suggested as well. Using the landmarks and verified using Google earth, I was able to approximate the location. But 1mm off from where I saw the Mt Wilson node show up and it disappears. It's marked now on my pole and I also know where it is roughly without seeing the mountains.

The hard part is figuring out the elevation or the tilt of the dish. Instead of tilting the dish, I just tilted the pole until the signal showed up. I have to figure out how to make this steady. Maybe I can't use the (painter's) pole for the dish. I need something more stable.

At times, I was able to get LQ 30% and see all the nodes. And then sometimes, the signal disappears. So the elevation must be hit or miss. I wish it were a bit more reliable than this. Maybe someday someone will make a closer backbone that I can reach.

Anyway, everyone's tip helped in some way so thank you all.

Next step is to mount it on a more stable platform.

AE6XE's picture
I suspect the Mt Wilson 5GHz
I suspect the Mt Wilson 5GHz sector has a very narrow vertical coverage area and does not get sufficient SNR reaching out that far at that altitude.   The low LQ % would indicate as such (or the alignment is off).    The Pleasant Pk links going to both Pasadena area (3GHz) and San Bernardino area (5GHz) hold steady as a rock on SNR all the time -- we've not yet found environment impact, inversion layers, etc.   These are both ~40 mi links in the LA basin.   I've monitored the link when a heavy rain front come though with buckets of rain, and still didn't notice an impact. 

We are in hopes of someone finding a good tower-cell site in PV area to provide coverage.  If/When one is found, I'd put up a P2P 3GHz Rocketdish to point to PV from Pleasants Pk.

K6CCC's picture
Glad you are making progress.
Glad you are making progress.  I would suggest something more solid than a painters pole.
Yes, thanks. Looks easy
Yes, thanks. Looks easy enough. I don't need height anymore. I actually have it at my chest level so I can just mount it on a 2x4. And I actually had a good connection to Mt Wilson and many nodes BRIEFLY....LOL. The wind probably shifted. 

But good LQ and NLQ and was able to check out many nodes for the first time.

This is my backbone connection. I have two separate nodes already running.
AA7AU's picture
Keep in mind that, with

Keep in mind that, with longer distances and larger differences in altitudes between ends, dynamic air inversion levels can have very real effects on the actual microwave path and vary in time. LOS is a nice concept, but think of it sometimes thru a prism, or how a shaft of light appears to change direction at the water-air interface, especially when there are waves on that surface. Your optimum path may vary in time, it is likely not fixed.

Just a thought,
- Don - AA7AU

Anybody with a recommendation
Anybody with a recommendation on an adjustable mount for a Mikrotik LHG HP5 XL dish?  To a wood post.
There is the Mikrotik QMP-LHG which looks like it will mount to a wall or post. I have not tried it. There is also the "QME" which I do have couple of and could work however it might be too wide for a 2x4. Also they make a "SOLIDmount" which allows for fine H/V adjustment without flopping around like a u-bolt-only mount. However it's still designed for a pole. I would try some 1.5" EMT or even galvanized pipe with a floor flange or two, depending on what you can attach to. Ian
nc8q's picture
recommendation on an adjustable mount for a Mikrotik LHG HP5 XL

Image attached.

Image Attachments: 
This style worked very well.
This style worked very well. The one I got is thicker than this but I was able to align it to tilt up. Thanks.

Theme by Danetsoft and Danang Probo Sayekti inspired by Maksimer