There’s lots of things going on with Broadband-Hamnet. The mesh network is expanding. On 22 August 2015) new nodes were established at Gloaming Hill (to provide coverage in the Titahi Bay area) and at the Titahi Bay Branch 42 clubrooms. This also brought on board another amateur station. In addition an additional node in Johnsonville has resulted in improved stability for the link to Ngaio (with Nanostation M2s in Johnsonville pointing both north and south to provide the bridging path).
A successful SIG meeting was held in Tawa on 6 August with 18 enthusiasts turning out. A range of speakers whipped up interest amongst a range of local hams from branches across the region to join the mesh. The next Mesh net SIG meeting is scheduled for Thursday 17 September. Catch you there!
Several Wellington amateurs also caught up with Rob ZL1FLY on 24 August over some 807s. Rob is a mesh champion in Auckland and has an active role in providing IP services to NZ amateurs on the mesh. Since meeting up with Rob, James ZL2ET has extended on of his mesh nodes to be a virtual tunnelling (VTUN) client and has connected the Wellington mesh to the global mesh scene. This provides even more services and amateur connections. Fun!
A range of services are now available on the Wellington section of the mesh, including websites, VOIP and chat services. Check out the NZ Broadband Hamnet website for more information and to keep up to date on mesh happenings!
Our last meeting on Wednesday 20 May built on the April meeting where we got the theory. The May meeting we got some insight into the practice … How to get Hamnet up and running at our own QTH.
James ZL2ET, Mike ZL1AXG, John ZL2HD and Bernard ZL2BD set up a multitude of Wi-Fi devices around the hall … then showed how the Amateur Radio software for these devices (each a node in a common network) could be used to do a variety of things – from checking on how many Wi-Fi links were out there (there are dozens in the building’s vicinity, and the display number grows as devices report on what they’re connected to) to a digital camera watching Col ZL2COL preparing supper out in the kitchen. In between James and Mike talked us through the control and application layers. These things are fast; the bulletin board software leaves Packet for dead!
There are a range of available devices (even using old Link Sys routers); with the right units and antennas line of sight contact over distances up to 15km is possible. Wellington’s problem is its hills and valleys, so more nodes are needed to propagate the signal.
A possible application (also being developed) is a “redundant” communications system for when the local civil defence network is compromised (in a major earthquake). Ham-net Wi-Fi using remote cameras might capture useful data for supply to the local authorities. With the Government moving to “social networks” for its emergency communications with the public in general, the possibilities for an Amateur Radio input appear endless.