Project MOAN: Mother of All Nodes

MOAN is complete, and wow, that was a heckuva build. Will give it a test next week to see how far we can go with it. Will also post some learnings from the build.


@chamaile0n nice!!! did you build this yourself or did @gua742 help you out? looks familiar :wink:


Used @gua742 guidelines, for sure. Will be testing out the distance Monday, and fingers crossed we wired the antenna properly.



That is so awesome you made one! What do you need from me? How can I make your project successful?


I had to pick my jaw up off the floor!


So, I’m not super radio savvy but this is fascinating. Living in DC there are tall buildings everywhere and I would like to build a unit like this to put up on the roof. Would an antenna like this one work?

TRAM 1089-SMA Scanner Mini-Magnet Antenna VHF/UHF/800mhz-1,300mhz with SMA-Male Connector

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I would stay away from that. It says scanner antenna. The receive frequencies are ok but you need an antenna that can also transmit in the correct frequency with a good SWR. Also if possible find a single band antenna. Multiband antennas will be a compromise. The band is 900mhz but is also called 33cm band. An antenna can be tuned for a good SWR but your question tells me you don’t have the right equipment. I remember being an antenna newbie don’t be afraid to ask questions. Antenna matching can be more complex then you might think.

EDIT: TRAM itself is not a bad brand. That antenna is just for a different type of radio.
EDIT2: Mag mount antennas are meant to be place on top of a large metal object. The object becomes part of the antenna system. You could use one but you would need a ground plane to go with it.

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Interesting. I had to do find out what SWR was - something tells me that I don’t even know everything I don’t know :slight_smile: and excellent project to tinker with though! I appreciate your response.

Based on your comments and what other people seem to be using something like this might be more successful?
Altelix 900 MHz 5dBi Omni Antenna N-Female Connector

Thanks again!


Much better antenna for this project. It has taken me years to learn what I know and I still feel like a newbie compared to my peers. When I started learning about radio I was where you are. I didn’t even know what questions I needed to ask and I’m still learning.


You will get there @giqcass! I’ve had more failures with radios than successes (I’ve fried a couple Mesh units) and that’s the tip of the iceberg. Never give up tho! When you get frustrated it’s a good thing! It means you’re making progress and/or on a verge of a breakthrough!

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LMR400 is a sexy cable. It’s super low loss however on the MOAN/DASS-RS I made I did not end up needing it and that’s a good thing! The higher the radio frequency and longer the cable the higher the signal loss is. That’s why I ended up going with VERY short runs of cable.

Soldering the cables on the board is something I am going to go into detail about as soon as I can. I can however tell you the general steps involved…

  1. Getting your Mesh unit open.
  2. Finding the connections.
  3. Soldering a cable onto the connections.
  4. Termination of the antenna on the board itself or bypassing it all together. (If you don’t do this you will have two antennas transmitting at the same time, not a good thing can cause signal loss and/or multipath).

Awesome answer! Antenna’s are where the magic of low power (QRP) can really come alive!

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It was 4450 feet MSL.

I can’t wait to see what @LAFD_CERT_Battalion2 MOAN / DASS-RS looks like!

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Oh man! I was not a fan of the MMCX antenna port but now you have me switching sides! Does it work?! @dogshoes please keep me posted!

Lets get really crazy for a sec. I think this should be the next antenna I get for the MOAN project:

I think this would be a fine antenna for a mountain top for some serious NFA coverage.


gua742, very interesting! I’m looking forward to more detail and clarity in terms of soldering the external antenna to the circuit board and in disconnecting / disabling the antenna on the board itself. In the meantime, I’ll work out my approach to solar panel / charger / external battery.

Finally, here’s the external antenna I’m considering using… < >. It was built specifically for 902-928 Mhz by Antenex, who also built the FG902 (the initial antenna you used in your initial MOAN-DASS). It provides only 3 dbi of gain, but offers a very rugged package which would suit a portable / back-country application. If you or anyone has thoughts re: feasibility / suitability, it would be appreciated. If it makes sense technically, as mentioned, it looks like it would be great to drag into a back country environment while hiking / canoeing.

Keep on meshing!


@Jin_Gotenna and @Rahul_Subramany: Will this amp work?

It looks to me like you would be overdriving the amp. It says max 100mw input. If you could attenuate the signal from the Gotenna or hack the Gotenna settings to set it to <= 100mw power then you might be ok.

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What’s going on fellow MOAN/DASS-RS peeps. I’d love to hear some updates on your projects. Also: SEND PICS! @LAFD_CERT_Battalion2 how is yours coming? Also whats up with the MMCX connectors? It working?