Airpup and a wireless network node can fit in a backpack and be taken anywhere.
Flying to 500’ extended our amateur radio mesh node’s range from 0.2 miles to 1.25 miles. We managed about four hours of broadcast time for a Raspberry Pi 3 and a WiFi dongle.
This project was a quick hack— with further power optimization we hope to fly all day without changing the battery, and keep the network up all weekend without refilling Airpup.
Mitch Bayersdorfer of Clackamas County ARES has been working on a Raspberry Pi-based replacement for the WRT54G-based Broadband-Hamnet nodes CARES currently deploys. The system serves up CARES Field Operations site, emergency response info, and VoIP functionality.
Simplify your setup!
Mitch Bayersdorfer brought a mesh node to Dorkbot PDX the same night I brought Airpup. We made an impromptu flight to 50 feet, as well as plans to try again at a higher altitude.
Using Mitch’s Raspberry Pi 3, Tendak USB 3 hub, and an Alfa AWUS036NH WiFi dongle, we made some quick hacks and a 10Ah USB battery to reduce the size of the setup.
I launched the node from the backyard, and Mitch drove a second node around to check the signal strength.
50% signal strength was observed at 1.25 miles, a significant range boost without any antenna optimizaton.
The goal is to reduce the flying node to a Pi Zero, smaller battery, and a better antenna, probably a Discone.