The high point of our weekend

Barb, both my brothers, and I went for a walk yesterday to check out one of the WiFi Nanostations I put up to get a new internet connection to brother Doug the last time I visited the farm. Doug just has a temporary installation for the solar power and the mounting of the Nanostation is still the steel fencepost I used but it is still working:

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The signal strength at this station was about 10 dB lower than the last time I was there and by realigning the antenna we regained 3 dB but we were unable to account for the other 7 dB loss.

It was only a short distance away so I suggested we visit the highest point on the farm. According to the GPS on my phone the altitude is 3161 feet (+/- 10’) above sea level.

From there I had brother Doug take a picture of Barb and I:

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As you can see in the background there is a very nice view from there. Some of the geological features are 30+ miles away.

15 thoughts on “The high point of our weekend

  1. Mystery variation is probably interaction with ground shadows and echoes. Try making a tower as tall as is reasonably practical at each node on the network, so that direct line of sight is the dominant signal mode

    • I agree on the height but our tests have not been able to detect any difference with height as long as it more than about three feet above the ground.

      What is perplexing is the variation with time. We suspect variations in vegetation and soil moisture but it’s difficult to do a controlled experiment.

      • You’re stuck buying commercial antennas, right?

        Otherwise something with an explicit ground plane might help, if it really is variations in vegetation and soil moisture.

  2. Holy smokes…my house in NW Texas sits at 3550′. Years ago, was on the Blue Ridge Pkwy heading for Mordor on the Potomac. High point not unlike yours, fertile valley far below. A real feeling of high elevation, then I see a sign indicating 29someodd hundred feet. Odd feeling then too. A couple of points on the local terrain: 1) My little burgh is called…Levelland, rather appropriately. 2) In a Surveying class at Texas Tech, we shot points on landscaping mounds and curbs to get some varied elevations. 😀

  3. You said you “realigned the antenna”. Does this antenna feed another antenna ie, is it directional? If so, you may need to reposition the other antenna as well. Or you could just have component failing in the device. Oh yeah stupid but try cleaning the surface of the antenna cover.

    • Yes. Both the antennas on this link are directional. The other one is indoors so it’s not as likely to have been moved. But it just positioned temporarily too. So it could have gotten moved. Doug was going to check it after we left. I haven’t heard anything back from him so I don’t know if he as done it or not.

      I had never thought about cleaning the surface. It can’t hurt. The outdoor antenna probably won’t benefit from cleaning through.

      • Are both antennas the same type? (Cancel what I said about ground planes in any case…)

        • Also, polarization might be a concern if the two antennas are NOT the same type (but this should have been apparent from day one.)

          • Yup. The internal antenna can be set up for vertical or horizontal polarization. I verified that not only is the setting as I expected it should be but when set for the opposite the signal strength is dramatically lower.

    • That’s not grass. It’s spring wheat. Although I suppose wheat is actually in the grass family.

      I’m not sure about the actual number of inches of rain recently but after a bit too much earlier this spring it has been about right recently. The crops are looking pretty good right now.

  4. Now that I see the outside unit I would suggest checking the co-ax connectors on the unit. Especially if they weren’t sealed with some kind of waterproffing. With the temp swings youse guys get there, something may have loosened either in the male cable-connector or on the female connector on the unit side. Or you may have corrosion on the ground side of the connector which would do wierd things to your VSWR.

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