Hi all, I’d love to get your input on this project we’re working on. Most of us involved are new to the radio space, though have a lot of experience with tech and networking in general.
We are far away from power, cellular or anything except evergreen forests and some clearcuts and roads.
We’re hoping to use Meshtastic to connect various camps to at least allow for simple text messages between camps.
Our nodes would be stationary primarily (not hiking )
We just mapped out a network to connect the various camps, taking advantage where possible of line of sight. And aiming for no more than 5km between nodes, while trying to overcome the 7 hop limit. The network pattern will follow a loose circle pattern with a few zig zags for redundancy and hop reduction.
I’m hoping we can get away with the stock antenna, though I’m open to ordering some of these:
or some directional for the sections that are just daisy chain linking two camps:
Eventually if our first test with these 10 finds some success, the proposed design will have about 20 nodes. With most of our nodes simply straight-line connecting points and set to repeater/router mode.
With the build-in web server, can we use that to overcome the 1:1 relationship between phone and node? So multiple people in a camp can use a node for messaging? Is there any password protection on that web page? (even simple semi-secure is good)
I don’t think the TBeams I ordered come with batteries. (18650 s ?) We were planning to connect the TBeams to external battery packs via usb anyway. Will that work to not use an internal battery and just use an external? If it won’t work, is there any issue with having both internal battery and an external battery pack attached longer term? We’re hoping that we can get at least a few weeks from these before we have to do a looonngg hike through the bush to swap out the external battery packs for charging.
Solar isn’t an option as this is an area that is frequently in low cloud / fog banks.
The frequent fog/cloud/moisture, is one reason we went with 5km between nodes in our map, as 915Mhz may be stopped, even line of sight by water vapour??? I wonder if 5km is even too ambitious.
Can anyone recommend what settings and placements would be optimal for this setup? Like the spread factor? And range/power settings? Antennas? Water vapour range issues?
I’m really hoping that we can get a few nodes into the center of the circle pattern, so it can look more like a mesh and less like a donut, but the logistics around that may mean strapping one to a circling bird …
I’d really appreciate any comments about our proposed setup.