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FXC is my node, situated on the north side of the hill on Eastfield Road in Croydon South - One of the Mt. Dandenong foot-hills. Check it out in LocFinder.

At my roof's apex, I have excellent coverage to the east, mainly between approximately 50 degrees and 130 degrees from north. Having said that, though, I'm planning on going higher eventually..

It's been pointed out to me that I also have coverage over a section of train line between the Ringwood East and Croydon train stations (on the Lilydale line). If you're desperate, this will mean some people may be able to get a wireless connection for a few seconds as they pass on the train :)

I currently have:

I need...

The Plan

When I've acquired an access point, and the mast, I will hook it up to the omni on the roof and start properly testing my hotspot. I'm probably going to have to ditch the omni eventually and go to someone like a panel antenna due to the limited vertical beamwidth (I'm on a steep hill :). We'll see, though.

This access point will initially be used for people linking to me, to begin with, however later on people who are more serious about their connections will be wanting point to point links. Hopefully they will help me pay for the setup cost this end.

In future, if I finally get off my arse and get my amateur radio ticket, I will hopefully try to build up the funds for some sort of tri-truss or box-truss tower, which would have space (and strength to take the wind loading) for more antennae than a meer mast has. If I plan well, a modest tower should let me reach above my neighbours to the west, and quite possibily over to many nodes in the south.

The house is 'well connected', with a now unused 10-pair multicore from Telstra (think: ISDN, xDSL, etc), several Optus phone lines, and both Optus and Telstra CATV cables, and excellent north-bound LoS for satellite reception. My point? FXC is available for any sort of shortcuts. I believe there would need to be several shortcut gateways across Melbourne to keep traffic and latency low, and redundancy high. If Internet Access Internet access becomes a possibility on MW, then FXC could also play host to one of the routes to the net.

I'm currently looking at connecting to...


Mon, 3 Mar 2003: External linkD-Link have failed to release their 802.11g-draft gear so far, so I'm having a re-think about holding out for the G's.. Last weekend I was hoping to run cat-5e and power to the top of my pantry cupboard, however Victoria's fine tradition of squeezing a plethora of seasons into one day put things on ice, so to speak (yes, har har - sorry). You have to admire this state's ability to change so rapidly between blue skies, rain, and hail, all within the one day. Did I hear it was snowing on the alps..?

Wed, 26 Feb 2003: Damn! Due to people dropping out of my TIB bulk offer for External linkHills 25dBi parabolic grid antennas, I've had to forego my own order for one of these to save money. Hopefully I'll be able to do another bulk offer, and then finally get my hands on one of these beasties. Fortunately, it seems, my plans to see if I could link with GHO using the 25dBi antenna would have been delayed anyway, since it appears GHO isn't going to be up by the end of this month.

More delays, more delays -- It seems that External linkD-Link are also plotting against me! Their External linkannouncement telling Australia that they are going to release 802.11g-draft gear this month still has not come to pass. Like External linkSaddam, I suppose, they have until the end of this week to act, or the world will be disappointed! Well okay, I'll be disappointed - Nobody else seems to care much about 802.11g! *sob sob*

I guess I could go and grab a mast while I'm waiting. I'm planning to mount a 6-metre mast just below my roof's apex, running the feed line conveniently down to the top of my pantry. In one corner on the top shelf I'll install a pair of RJ45's and run one or two Cat-5e lines down to my patch rack in my "server farm room" (I love calling it that!). Oh yeah, and I'll install a power point and a bit of extra ventilation in there too. There's enough room on a small shelf in the top of the pantry for me to put a handful of access points along with a power board and my old 300VA External linkSola 310 UPS. With a new battery, that thing would run access points for yonks!

Mon, 27 Jan 2003: Found a pole! Well okay, two poles. One is just an old broom handle (1.3m tall), the other is a length of 20mm box-steel (2.5m). For now, I'm going to use the broom handle, since the steel requires extra reinforcing I can't be bothered with right now. I added bits so that the broom handle can be added to the triangle-thingy when it's been secured on the roof. All seemed fairly secure, even in the gusty wind, but I think I still will make a few more modifications. Unfortunately my workstation I tested from is on the bottom story of this two-story house. Running the cable out of the window and up onto the roof didn't allow me to place the triangle-thingy very high on the roof.

Omni electrical-taped to the broom handle, and cable in place, I went climbing on the roof. I could see only one SSID, "belmer", and although it had disappeared from site-survey within half an hour, it was originally reported with pretty decent signal strength. I ran out of day-light, so I'll do a proper test after I've modified the triangle-thingy and am able to test along with BJD (3 mins walk from here).

Sun, 26 Jan 2003: Designed and built a temporary mounting triangle thingy for an antenna on my roof. I needed something that could be light (to carry or hoist up onto a roof) but also could hold ballast (such as a sandbags, or bricks). It needed to be robust enough to cope with a 2m pole in moderate wind, and be easy to transport if other people wanted to use it. It doesn't scratch metal roofs, and has a wide enough footing to distribute weight well. Since my roof is pitched at 30?, I decided on something along the lines of two right-angled triangle frames joined together, and a pole attached on the vertical side.

I had some scrap wood left over from cutting down an External linkIkea 'Sten' shelving unit, so I needed to calculate how long each triangle's sides needed to be cut to. That stuff I knew I'd never use at school (I think they call it 'maths') turned out to be handy in the end -- A few far-side calendar pages of SOHCAHTOAs and unknown value solving later, and it was all worked out. I will use this triangle thingy on my roof for more MW tests soon, when I can find a good pole and some easy to carry ballast...

Wed, 22 Jan 2003: Tested everything with the newly re-terminated cable. All looks well for initial tests with BJD/BJE, and possibly FKU.. While I'm waiting, I really should build a temporary mount for the antenna so I can plonk it on the roof, running the cable out a window.

Tue, 21 Jan 2003: Finally cut off about 7.5 meters of my RG-213/U, and reterminated the cut end with a female N-connector (after finally finding a good quality one at External linkJust Communications in Ringwood). Now I finally have a Male-N to Female-N cable. Yes, it's awkward, but it's good enough for now. I thought I ordered a pigtail with a Female-N connector on the end, but I probably forgot at the time..

Sun, 19 Jan 2003: Tested my omni with the External linkAlloy GL2422VP, the pigtail from Vak. Despite being awkwardly crammed behind my computer, it worked happily.

Fri, 17 Jan 2003: Finally received my RP-SMA to Male-N pigtail from Vak (through TIB). It worked out cheaper than me making one.

Mon, 4 Nov 2002: Received my External linkSuperPass 8dBi omni antenna (from TIB).

Fri, 20 Sep 2003: Initial test, using External linkAlloy GL2422VP card and a (borrowed) External linkD-Link card of some description, with default antennae. 11Mbps maintained for ~250 meters, line of sight, using PBCC (802.11b+)

Wed, 18 Sep 2002: Received my External linkAlloy GL2422VP (from TIB).

Version 7 (current) modified Tue, 03 Jul 2007 23:12:13 +1000 by gummAY
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