Thursday, 25 November 2004

Moss Vale

After driving from Millmerran to Moss Vale via Perth (over 8000km) where all manner of changes were made to the electronics. I've not been happy with the comms box since we removed it from the back of the dish and in Perth we changed the way it fits together. Instead of having the two halves side-by-side, they are now back-to-back.

We sealed the two, the power and the electronics box, together and had to remove the connector to the wireless gear because it was located in the back of the power box. In doing that we decided to remove the external wireless gear, containing two base stations and a hub, and make it all integrated into the box.

Now we have two external wireless connectors, a better connector for the video repeater and easy access to the hub if we need to. We also brought along an old 85cm Foxtel dish, with some switching gear so we can point another dish to another location if we need to.

In re-organising the electronics box we found out that you cannot simply de-solder the RF unit off a Humax 5410Z because it won't boot afterwards. At this stage we didn't know if it had failed in transit, or not. Turns out it was happy when we gave it back the RF unit - which had been badly rusted due to salt water air in Dunsborough.

The plan was to setup in Perth, but a small yard and a big tree put an end to that, but it made us determined to reduce the size of the mount even further. For those who have been following this, we now are down from 26 bolts and 7 beams to 9 bolts and 3 beams and the observant will notice that this mount looks suspiciously like the travel mount we built during the Solar Challenge 2003.

Arriving in Moss Vale, the building of the mount took 20 minutes, the installation and alignment of the dish another 40 minutes (because there was a big roof in the way) and we were up and running.

The Bureau of Meteorology threw a Severe Thunderstorm warning with Large Hailstones at us and we decided after discussion with the BOC and the BOM, that it would be prudent to stow the dish, so we stored it in the Iveco, waited for a storm that never came and built it again in little time the next day.

The dish had a baby.

While in Moss Vale, I used some spare time to install some more satellite gear allowing the baby dish, which was kindly donated to us, to partake in the adventures and supply us with an additional Free To Air television feed for those days that there isn't anything good on the 'net.

I've also managed to get VoIP to work across the satellite link and after some fine-tuning, we may be on a winner there. The two CISCO ATA 186 telephone adapters are plugged into the network and each talks to my workstation which is running a copy of Asterisk. The Asterisk software in turn uses IAX2 to talk to Perth so we can talk to the world. I expect that soon we'll have some other VoIP connectivity which will allow people to phone us for the cost of a local call, where ever we are.