What is happening on and from the AREDN: Mossel Bay Mesh Network?
Herewith an update on what is happening on and from the Mesh. The website might seem inactive but rest assure behind the scenes lot is happening lately. Cryptic summary of what is happening lately:
- I am currently still working on the establishing of a new “Backbone” to further extend the mesh network in Heiderand, Mossel Bay. This will be an ongoing project. The mesh might be offline from time to time as work continues on the “Backbone”.
- Unfortunately I was not able to bring the Ubiquiti Rocket M5 back to life after static/lightning damage. The lack of funds prevent me from installing the Ubiquiti Sector Antenna until such time as I can buy a new Ubiquiti Rocket M5 or alternatively someone donate/sponsor a Rocket M5. This radio will be the kingpin in the Mesh backbone and need to be sourced at all cost.
- I have been playing around with SVXLink software and a new Raspi Pi 3 connected to a Motorola two way radio. The software and hardware works great to establish a radio network link that can be added to the AREDN: Mossel Bay Mesh Network. I am still looking into incorporating SVXLink into the mesh network once the “Backbone” is fully established. For those not familiar with SVXLink:The SvxLink Server is a general purpose voice services system, which when connected to a transceiver, can act as both an advanced repeater system and can also operate on a simplex channel. One could call it a radio operating system since it sits between the hardware (transceiver) and the applications (modules) and handle basic system services as well as input and output.SvxLink is very extensible and modular. Voice services are implemented as modules which are isolated from each other. Modules can be implemented in either C++ or TCL. Examples of modules are:
- Help — A help system
- Parrot — Play back everything that is received
- EchoLink — Connect to other EchoLink stations
- DtmfRepeater — Repeater received DTMF digits
- TclVoiceMail — Send voice mail to other local users
- PropagationMonitor — Announce propagation warnings from dxmaps.com
- SelCall — Send selective calling sequences by entering DTMF codes
- I registered as and AllStar user way back in 2012 but never really got to play with it until recently. I setup Asterisk/AllStar on a Raspi Pi 3 and setup a Radioless Node. I am currently still busy tweaking the setup. Tests are being conducted on a daily basis to fine tune the Node. I am also looking into incorporating Allstar into the Mesh Network once the “Backbone” is fully established. For those not familiar with Allstar:The AllStar Link network consists of a number of large (and small) individuals and groups who wish to provide efficient large-area communications to the Amateur Radio public in their respective local areas. This is done by providing a local VHF or UHF repeater system controlled by a Linux-based computer system running the open-source Asterisk PBX telephone switch platform along with the app_rpt repeater/remote base controller/linking software module (which is included in the distribution of Asterisk) connected to a high speed (broadband, such as Cable Modem or DSL) Internet connection.The computer system running Linux/Asterisk PBX coupled with the app_rpt module makes a powerful repeater/remote base controller capable of controlling many (like up to hundreds, theoretically) repeaters and/or remote bases per computer system. It provides linking of these repeater and remote base “nodes”, with “nodes” on other systems of similar construction anywhere in the world, over the Internet via its IAX2 Voice Over IP protocol. It also, of course, provides for an Autopatch (public switched telephone network access over the radio) on each node (Asterisk is a phone switch after all J), if desired.Once again, this technology is not intended to be implemented by the end-user or those light at heart. It takes serious commitment and resources (that which is required to put a radio system on the air to begin with, and to maintain it) by either a group, club, or maybe even a single, dedicated, talented (not to mention monied) individual. The assumption made with Allstar Link is that the purpose of this work and level of dedication is to share the goodness and great benefits with others, and to promote continuation of doing so.
- Knysna Fire Stories – I compiled and forwarded an article relating to Amateur Radio Emergency Data Network (AREDN) for possible inclusion in the Knysna Fire Stories memoir book which will be on sale in December 2017. The article gives and overview of emergency and commercial communications during the fires in the Eden District on the 7 – 11 June 2017 and how the AREDN Network was successfully used during the disaster especially when all commercial communications failed due to various reasons. The article also contain suggestions on future improvements relating to emergency communications in the district should an emergency or disaster again occur in the Eden District. Updates regarding the book will in future be posted on this web-site.
Finally: There are lots of activity going on behind the scenes since my last posting. Rest assured the AREDN: Mossel Bay Mesh Network is alive and well. We are actively working to improve and extend services in the Heiderand, Mossel Bay area with radio links to other towns of the Eden District to further improve emergency communications in the Southern Cape.