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(March 2023) Phase One Final Report


How many people did your ARDC funded project impact?

30 County emergency operations personnel (Marin, Sonoma and Napa)

5 Community response organizations

75 Ham club members

45 Auxiliary Communications Service (ACS) personnel

30 Residents who controlled access for our nodes on their property

5 University research center employees

2 ARRL leaders

5 College electrical department staff


PROJECT GOALS


Build an AREDN mesh backbone in Marin and Sonoma Counties

The most significant goal was to build an AREDN mesh system that could be accessed from most areas of Marin and Sonoma Counties. We surveyed the Counties for candidate locations for primary nodes; designed a network upon which the nodes would interact; contacted land owners or site managers; met with them to explain the nature of the AREDN mesh and how it can provide communications redundancy (especially if there are no commercial utilities or communications); negotiated agreements; provided equipment and design; we installed equipment or worked with site personnel; and tuned the antennas for best performance.

Provide equipment to client hams to connect to the AREDN mesh

The Marin Amateur Radio Society (MARS) was provided equipment to use during public service events.

The Valley of the Moon radio club, the Anchor Bay Amateur Radio Club and members of the Fort Ross Volunteer Fire Department were provided equipment and training.


Develop presentation and training materials

Training kits have been assembled with small radios, 24 vdc power supplies, a computer and cables. These facilitate hands on training. Developed from experience in our first training sessions, they have everything needed to set up a node.

A power point slide deck is used for various meetings. It is easily customizable depending on the nature of the presentation.


Train operators during public service events and special classes

MARS supports organizations doing bike or foot runs/races in areas with commercial communications is limited. Usually voice traffic is used, however digital communications provide are more useful. We have started to use the mesh network on events to keep track of participants using spreadsheets. Additionally, we have set up cameras along the course to enable viewing at the start/finish.

We have had two special classes for ham clubs.

Assist organizations in the implementation of AREDN mesh networks

This task has been on an ad-hoc basis. Since our emphasis has been on the backbone, we found the effort to work with individual agencies/individuals to be more than we could do properly. In one fire district we have established communications at their EOC.


Develop standardized “package” units for deployment by NBAM and others

We have three levels of “package” units. Portable ARDEN Nodes (PANs), Mini PANs and Mini-mini PANs.

The PANs are fully stocked protective carrying cases which include everything needed to set up (or replace) a fully functional primary node. They are intended to be driven to a site to replace damaged equipment or establish a new node. They can run for an indefinite amount of time. Included are radios, batteries, solar panels, a computer, tripod, and camera.

The Mini PANs, as the name implies, are a scaled down version of the PAN and rather than a hard case use a backpack. All of the same type of equipment is included. The design of these backpacks is intended to allow a hiker to reach a remote area and establish a node. These units have similar, albeit lower sized, equipment.

The third group is primarily intended to allow hams to get familiar with the equipment. They are fully functional, ideal for training and support activities like the MARS public service events.



Provide routine maintenance of network

Thus far maintenance has mostly been adjusting and substituting equipment to improve performance.

We did have an issue on Mt St Helena. The significant snowfall damaged both the commercial equipment at the site as well as two of our dishes. We provided the County technicians with replacement equipment which was installed as soon as priorities allowed. An event like this would not impact the AREDN net due to the redundant RF paths.

During emergency, fill in gaps if necessary

Thankfully there has not been an emergency. As noted previously we have assembled the portable equipment and have begun deploying it throughout the Counties.


Build easy to understand website

Our website (www.northbaymesh.org) has been running since the end of July. It provides a wealth of information and links to many other resources.

The site includes:

• Information about AREDN and how it can be of benefit “when everything goes down, the mesh is built to stay up and running”

• Explains how the AREDN mesh works

• Explains how people can get involved; anyone with a site, served agencies and amateur radio operators. Necessary equipment and configuration procedures are included

• Details the steps on how to get a ham radio license, along with links to related information

• Glossary and links to other information

• Link to a “map” of the AREDN system is provided

• Finally, there is the ability to directly contact NBAM.

The site has been accessed over 750 times by over 350 visitors.




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