The mesh network is in the process of being upgraded in two ways:
All nodes need upgrading to the latest software AREDN v188.8.131.52
A backbone needs to be developed to reduce mesh traffic, by isolating sub-nets.
Mesh users around Wellington have been asked to provide access to nodes to allow the upgrading to take place. Most nodes are now operating on the latest AREDN release.
We have found that over the air upgrades are not always reliable, so it is best to do these in situ. Note that if you wish to purchase a Ubiquiti node, most are no longer compatible with AREDN or BBHN (no longer under development). The AREDN team will release a new version of the software in the new year that should be compatible with the newer Ubiquiti products.
The backbone links between Mt Field and Mt Climie, Mt Climie and Kaiwharawhara Hill (Ngaio), and Kaiwharawhara and Johnsonville (ZL2TBU) will be moved to 5.8GHz off-mesh links over the summer. Colonial Knob backbone connections to Mt Climie, Mt Field and Johnsonville (ZL2TBU) will remain on 2.4Ghz due to restrictions on use of 5.8GHz at Colonial Knob. However, it is planned to move these off mesh to reduce traffic loadings and improve throughput.
The committee had a working bee on Saturday 30 September and can now report that the temperature control system is complete (just the cowlings need to be painted and mounted and the filtration system installed). In addition, the station is running off batteries with the solar charging system under test.
We spent most of the time upgrading Ubiquiti nodes to AREDN v3.16.1. Further work to recover dead mesh nodes and to run out software upgrades on the Wellington mesh network is planned over the next fortnight. There will be a further working bee over Labour Weekend to upgrade the network and begin to install a backbone (non-mesh) between significant nodes, so as to partition the network and reduce unnecessary hops.
On Queen’s Birthday Monday, a bleak and dreary day in winter, Bernard ZL2BD, Doug ZL2AOV and Mike ZL1AXG met at Bernard’s QTH to test the use of our RemoteRig units over the mesh network.
The Remote Rig devices (Radio and Control units) were configured with the radio end with a fixed IP in the address range of the mesh node. The control device was configured to acquire an IP address using DHCP and connect to the fixed IP address.
The two mesh nodes can be seen on top of the white boxes with an air gap in between in the photo to the left. The RemoteDX Inc transceiver, an ICOM IC7100, can be seen on the left hand side of the work bench.
No problems were encountered. The test was concluded successfully as indicated by the power meter showing power out on TX (see photo). The IC7100 control head controlled the remote txcvr over the mesh in both TX and RX modes and there appeared to be no glitches with the audio feed.
The test was extended to see if the control head and RemoteRig control unit would work through Bernard’s own mesh nodes. This further test was also successful. Further mesh tests will be conducted over the next week or so.
More work to be done!
Remaining tasks to be completed before the remote station build is complete and field deployment is possible include:
finalising construction of the environment control system (Doug ZL2AOV & Bernard ZL2BD)
finalising SCADA control software and testing (Frank ZL2TTS)
upgrading of the amateur broadband network to cope with bandwidth and security requirements i.e. backbone formation and upgrading of mesh node software on all nodes (Mike ZL1AXG to lead upgrade with a series of working bees)
Check out the Documents page from time to time for the latest Remote DX design documentation. This includes all current documents from the full design report to “as built” reports. The currently available documents are listed below:
QHUG has been looking for a new site for some years without luck.
However, in the last 12 months considerable rethinking has gone on.
Firstly, it was realised that we did not need to necessarily pursue a large site with several hundred acres of antenna farm, but rather we could get by with more compact high-gain HF arrays (e.g. Four Square Arrays) for the lower bands.
Secondly we realised that we didn’t need to travel a long way out of town to operate in a contest or DX. We could simply build a compact remote site and transport signals back to Wellington over a high speed data network.
This website is dedicated to describing the project build for the new remote site.
It will keep you informed about:
Project developments and the timetable of work
Project teams and their activities (e.g antennas, off-grid power, mesh data network)
All the key events in the life of the project will be documented here, culminating in the return of ZL6QH to the major HF contests!
Once our build of a remote site has been completed we will set up a new website with a new name that is more focussed on our new core mission. In the mean time, check out how the ZL6QH remote station is progressing here!