Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Just received my mesh units and am curious if anyone here is in the Pittsburgh area. My initial range test showed solid communications over a quarter mile from inside a house through some trees (all the further I walked). I have access to a hill that should allow me to get a mesh unit to cover a few miles. My eventual goal is to cover a route between Washington and Canonsburg.


Still looking for any Pittsburgh Meshers (Meshburgh?). I’ve been shouting around Washington, Canonsburg, and areas surrounding the two towns, no responses yet.

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I have a couple relays in the region but just now started to check out the community.


Awesome. I’m still working on getting my stationary node in place. Conditions haven’t been good lately for drone flying next to a tree.

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Brian, do you know if anyone has plans to get a Mesh node on top of the UPMC building? That would cover a considerable percentage of the area and enable long-range comms to the surrounding areas with line of sight as far as Scenery Hill.

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@BrianWGray In case he didn’t see @MrTSolar’s question above :slight_smile:

@MrTSolar, that’s interesting. I know when I was in the KPMG building anything that was within the office would not have been incredibly useful due to interference, walls, etc. I don’t know anyone that could help with installing a fixture on top of the UPMC building. Once the weather breaks, I’ll do some more testing around the CMU campus and see if I can mount a node higher without impacting any of our other radio equipment. (Our amateur repeater is only 1096 Feet AMSL so it’s still not quite UPMC.

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Hello there!

My buddy from NH told me about these GoTennas and I saw a group of people pretty much light up a good portion of the Seattle area.

I would love to network with people on here and do the same for the Pittsburgh area.

This network could help during storms / power outages etc.

I may want to tinker with something like this guy did. It is insane. A self-deployment unit that has a large battery and a solar panel as well as a beefy antenna:

Would anybody like to combine resources and efforts in order to build out something like this?

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CC @BrianWGray and @MrTSolar

Would love to network (socially), pitch in, and help build out / up this network in Pittsburgh.


Sounds great. Weather permitting, I plan on getting my stationary node installed this weekend.

@BrianWGray, does your stationary node at CMU have a GID? I might be in town this evening and would like to try and ping it.

@MrTSolar, I have yet to spot a good way to determine the random GID for a node in relay only mode. If you have a link or info for pulling the GID I’m happy to share it.

Other than spending a month+ brute-forcing it, no.

I’ll be setting my nodes up in user mode with some old iPhones I have laying around. This will let me ping them over the air to see if they are still up and for diagnostics from the ground. I didn’t know if you happened to set your nodes up this way or not.

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I’m sure it wouldn’t take a month of brute-forcing. Even if we didn’t take the route of monitoring communications with a HackRF or something and force a relay message. I’m sure we could bang through the existing GID space quickly making some basic range assumptions for the randomization function. I’m hoping that once the USB SDK is rolled out more information like this will just be readily available. I’m personally waiting for this access before I dedicate time on development.

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It looks like tomorrow is the day to install a relay. The next week and a half are either windy or rain/snow. Tomorrow appears to be the only day that is dry and calm.

The goTenna weatherproof pouch won’t work. The cable on my solar panel is too short to hang down far enough to not interfere with the mesh. Besides, there’s no good way to attach the panel and have it at a decent angle.

A 4" PVC pipe looks like it will do, having enough room inside to shelter the Mesh unit and the V15 pack, as well as provide mounting for the solar panel below the path of the antenna. The whole kit will hang from a tree branch approximately 45 feet above the ground.

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The relay is built and ready, but I ran out of daylight before I could get it hung in the tree.

What I have is about 15" of 4" PVC pipe, capped at both ends to make a weathertight enclosure for the Mesh and V15 battery. A Voltaic 3.5 watt panel is zip-tied to the outside of the pipe, down low and out of the way of the Mesh unit. A pair of foam blocks, sourced from a PC power supply box, secure the Mesh and V15 in the tube and protect them incase the unit falls. The power cable from the solar panel enters through a weep hole in the bottom cap and is plugged into the V15.


Relay’s up. Range testing this afternoon.


Range testing was a bit disappointing. My results today were actually worse than what I got last fall on the 20’ pole heading south. I’ll need to see how range to the north is. There definitely seems to be some directionality to the internal antenna.

On the plus side, the relay lasted 3.5 days on 75% charge of the V15 with nearly no solar input.


So, I woke up Monday to find that I could no longer ping the relay. Fearing the worst because of a heavy rain that morning, I thought the tube filled up with water and killed it. Turns out the Voltaic pack came out of always on mode (could’ve swore that I checked it) and the Mesh battery went dead. After work yesterday, I went up and re-enabled always on mode. Guess I’ll find out tomorrow morning if it stays, but for now the relay is up.

A fellow Pittsburgher! Wasn’t expecting to see that here!

I work for Meta Mesh, we’re a local non-profit building out a large community WiFi network in the city. We currently have about 100 locations with our public WiFi hubs. We also have access to quite a few relay stations with great views of the city. (You can view a map here: http://www.pittmesh.net/)

MrTSolar, thank you for the photos of your relay, that looks great! I’m hoping to see if I can find the funds to get myself a couple of mesh units, and if I can, I’m sure we could plop a few at our WiFi relay locations throughout the city.

It’d be awesome if we could create a massive goTenna network here in Pitts, would be fantastic for emergencies!

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@JustinG, very cool! I didn’t know Pittsburgh had a WiFi Mesh network going. It would be awesome to co-locate some Mesh units at your sites. Everyday use is what I’m shooting for with these.

I went to the Auto Show with the parents this past weekend and used the Mesh exclusively for texting. Worked like a charm even when we were on different floors.

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