Do you have access to fiber optic cable? Can you or your radio club make a
targeted donation to the 3Y0X Peter 1st DXpedition?
Then read on...
N1DG, VK4GL and I are responsible for the IT infrastructure for the
DXpedition. We will be running 9 stations at 2 or 3 sites on
the island, each separated by about 1000 ft from the others. Multiple sites
increase the chances that we can run 2 or 3 stations
simultaneously on difficult bands & openings at full power; e.g., during any
(brief and marginal!) 10m/12m openings.
TC Communications has loaned the DXpedition three Ethernet/optical switches
that can be used in a self-healing ring network. Not
only will such a network keep all our logging computers fully & continuously
synchronized, each operator will know exactly where
every other 3Y0X station is operating. A complete network allows instant "gab"
messages between the operators, which is helpful if
a rare opening begins (e.g., 10m) and we need to instruct operators to move a
couple of rigs to that band to maximize QSOs. The
network allows us to easily, automatically and routinely back up audio archives
and the integrated log to DVD during the course of
the trip. And it eliminates a 3000 ft hike plus another half-hour of off-air
work every day, when we prepare a summary of the log
to be uploaded to the webmaster -- the summary that you will be checking to
verify your QSOs are in the log. (Without the network,
we will do this by "sneaker net" -- or, more precisely, "snow boot net":
walking to the sites to copy the logs-to-date and then
integrating them at a central computer.)
Unfortunately, the best quotation we have been able to get for a two-fiber
cable with ST-connectors is $220 + shipping. Each run
of fiber cable is about 1200 ft; we need two runs plus a spare for a 3-site
DXpedition. Our budget is already in the red, and we
can't afford the additional $700 cash outlay at this point.
Without a network (but weather and all else cooperating), we will have a
successful DXpedition. But we will not have
continually-synchronized logs, automatic backups or the ability to tell you
what other bands/modes are currently active.
We have examined both wireless and wired network options, but these appear
to be less satisfactory or impractical. (See below
for an explanation.)
So... as a last resort, I am appealing to the contesting/DXing community:
-- Can you, or someone you know, provide two or three 1200-ft runs of
2-fiber cable with ST connectors?
-- Can you, or a radio club that you know, provide a grant that will help
us acquire the necessary fiber?
Thanks for considering this little project. We look forward to working you
from Peter 1st.
-- Eric K3NA
Q: Why not run Ethernet wiring between the sites?
A: The necessary length of Ethernet cable costs about the same as fiber. The
distance exceeds the Ethernet specification for proper
operation. A 1200-ft (350m) run of wire through the antenna fields may pick up
enough RF to interfere with the operation of the
Ethernet switches/hubs. The long cable length may radiate into the antennas.
Since each site is powered by different generators,
which are not synchronized in phase and do not share a common ground reference,
a large differential voltage may appear on the
Q: Why not run wireless networking between the sites?
A: The wireless networking system specifications do not guarantee operation at
these distances. We have not located suitable gain
antennas that would allow three sites, in a equilateral triangle, to reliably
stay connected. We expect blizzard conditions on some
days; the intense snowfall may kill the wireless links during the storm. Other
days will have thick fog; we are not confident of
the ability to maintain long distance links through thick fog.
... However, even connectivity on nice weather days would be an improvement
over "no network". If you have expertise and access
to long-haul wireless networking gear that can do the job more economically,
====== end ===========
CQ-Contest mailing list