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October 2014

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DELARA News is published on the web as the monthly newsletter of the Delaware Amateur Radio Association in Delaware, Ohio. 
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delara news Delaware Amateur Radio Association, Delaware OH   VOL 33  NUMBER 10 
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MESH at the County Fair

MESH Applied: Delaware County Fair

Our group of MESH-ies has proven the ability of MESH to handle multiple video feeds. With that in mind, our friend Captain Scott Vance of the Sheriff Department asked if we could improve their security for the fair. They have a ‘light tower’ type unit with video and thermal cameras, but were not able to successfully control it from the Command Vehicle. After some planning meetings, we decided to mount Bob’s weatherproof camera near the Rt 23 entrance, and to adapt the Sheriff Department’s tower-cam to carry information over MESH back to the Command Vehicle. They were going to get some additional cameras on loan from Homeland Security to cover more areas of the fairgrounds. We spend some time plotting locations, and checking specific mounting requirements.  One of those issues (mounting a camera on a telephone pole) prompted Bob, W8ERD, to develop his own “mount anywhere” assembly.  (Click these pictures for larger images.) The bracket can be attached to a telephone pole, other size mast poles, even antenna towers. On one side, a short mast holds an omni-directional 2.4 GHz antenna, the other short mast is designed to hold the weatherproof camera enclosure. Very nice! We decided that an omni-antenna node atop the stadium in the center of the fairgrounds would easily give us height and location for a central hub, to relay signals back to an M-2 Nanostatoin (Ubiquiti) mounted to the Command Center. The camera on the tower-cam was an IP-based unit, easily adapted to the MESH system.  Eli was able to make the adjustments. On the day before the fair, a large group of DELARA MESH folks gathered to begin the install, thinking we would have several mounts to do. We were surprised to find four cameras already mounted around the fairgrounds!  Homeland Security and the Franklin County department had been busy, bringing their own array of cameras.  This made our job much easier.  Bob, W8ERD, Steve, K8SWH (with donuts!!), Joe, K8MP, Joe, N8ZGL, Stan, N8BHL, Eli, KD8RBH, Seth, KD8YUB, Brad Belville, KD8RBG (I hope we got everyone!) all worked to put up the system. We started setting up the tower-cam while another team set up the hub on a convenient handrail atop the stadium.  Once the field work was done, Eli sat down to do his magic and make everything work. We were located in the radio room toward the rear of Command, with two monitors set up to watch the IP then the thermal camera. The great news is the system performed flawlessly, left in place for the entire week. It allowed complete control of the cameras, at greater speed than they’d ever had before. It compared favorably to the commercial units used by Homeland, which were also displayed inside Command. Amateur Radio operators can become positioned as technical experts, willing to help our served departments with new technology and solid advice.  As a result of this work, we’ve been asked to help spec equipment for a major update to Command. We enjoyed meeting with Sheriff Russ Martin during our setup.

MESH Background

You all know what a WIFI router is- they’re everywhere and we depend on them for a connection to the Internet. The lower frequencies used by these devices (in the 2.4 and 5.8 GHz range) fall in the amateur radio frequency bands- so we can re-flash the firmware and turn them into essentially amateur radio data repeaters.  These “Nodes” form a self- recognizing, self-directing, seamless network with very large data capacities, up to 30 Mg. The network can carry telephone, live video, data files, pictures, essentially anything you can do on an Internet connection...only without any Internet! Broadband-MESH started by using older versions of the Link- Sys WRT-54G router. Later, routers by Ubiquiti were included in the firmware. These are designed to be used outdoors, transmit much higher power (.6 watts) and operate Power-Over-Ethernet for convenience. From a simple browser, we can see what nodes are available and what ‘services’ such as video cameras are available. (Click for larger image below) This is an exciting new facet of amateur radio- and as usual, it’s on the cutting technological edge! For more information, Google “Broadband Hamnet” or go to http://www.broadband-hamnet.org/   

Actor Tim Allen Gets His Ham Ticket For

Real

Actor and comedian Tim Allen now not only plays an Amateur Radio operator on television, he is one! Allen got his Technician ticket on September 4, but did not release the news until this week. In his weekly ABC comedy TV show "Last Man Standing," Allen plays Mike Baxter, KA0XTT, and the show, which starts its new season October 3, has featured ham radio in some episodes (Allen's TV wife Mandy Baxter is KF0XIE). "Last Man Standing" producer John Amodeo, NN6JA, told ARRL that the agreement with Allen was that "we would not publicize his license until he approved it." Allen subsequently revealed to Tom Medlin, W5KUB, for one of Medlin's webcasts that he had passed his Technician license test but, per Allen's request, did not mention his call sign, Amodeo said. The call sign has since been disclosed elsewhere. "The Amateur Radio operators on the crew of 'Last Man Standing' are delighted that Tim has taken and passed his Technician exam and received his own, real call sign," Amodeo said. "It took more than 3 years to make it happen, and it started with Tim's personal interest in radio technology and his request to make the Mike Baxter character an Amateur Radio operator." The ham shack on the show is a working station. Tim’s real callsign is KK6OTD. - ARRL Letter
© DELARA News, the official monthly newsletter of the Delaware Amateur Radio Association, Delaware, OH
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