MT Washington: An Adventure Max Range Testing Part One
I got off my night job at 3AM, went home to gear up and eat. I picked up @amon at 6:15AM and we headed straight to North Bend for an early breakfast before the hike up.
After breakfast we headed for the trail head, a ten minute drive. Once we got there we put our packs on and got right down to business, we had a date with the summit at noon sharp. The hike up was awesome. Up until yesterday I’ve only seen this trail when it was totally covered in snow, the contrast was as striking as it was gorgeous.
At the top @amon started shout messaging and me I got the 3 dBd omni antenna out, hooked up the a Mesh unit I hacked and started trying to hit the MOAN unit. No luck with that antenna so I switched to the directional yagi. Once the yagi was in play I was hitting the MOAN with ease. At the time little did we know we’d been able to hit it without any external antenna at all. Clouds were obstructing much of the view.
It didn’t make sense to us. We weren’t able to hit the MOAN with a 3 dBd omni, WTF?! So I called @Paul_Edward_Morris within a minute he had his Mesh unit on and paired. He was 18ish miles away in the city of Carnation. At that time my arm was tired from holding up the yagi up, so I said to myself “Fuck it, if he’s that close we’ll be able to get him on a regular unit with ease. No external antenna needed.”
It was a SWAG (Scientific Wild Ass Guess), we could literally see the city of Carnation through the clouds that were starting to break apart, it made sense to us at the time and it worked! He shared his location with us (@Paul_Edward_Morris was 18.4 miles away from us to be exact), we had a little chat and were excited, but still like “WTF we can only hit the MOAN with a directional yagi: LAME!”.
We were done testing Mesh out for the time being, we had version 1 to test at 1PM and I needed a drink first, yes on every hike I go on I have ample rum and cola. This isn’t amateur night. Testing version 1 was nice, so was the drink I enjoy while doing it. Shame we didn’t reach anyone on version 1.
After 20 minutes of no contacts on version 1 we got back to trying to figure out why the hell we could not hit the MOAN unit without a directional antenna. As the clouds started to clear we could see why we weren’t able to hit the MOAN unit: Trees were in the way!
At this point my phone was almost dead and @amon was in photographer mode. I don’t know if @amon was a boy scout, but if not: He deserves a photography merit badge. So I busted out my external charger and started charging my phone. By this time we were cold, sure it’s easy to get hot on the way up but standing still at 4450 ft MSL one grows cold quickly. You lose 3 degrees Fahrenheit per 1000 ft of altitude gain, something I learned years ago while learning to skydive. Even if it was 50 degrees Fahrenheit at sea level it would be about 36.5 degrees Fahrenheit where we were. What was the temperature yesterday? Hell if I know, we were more worried about rain than the cold and focused on the mission: Testing Mesh out long distance style.
My phone went from 5% to 20ish% and I opened my 3D topo map app up and sure as shit: The trees were right in the way of the MOAN. We can’t move trees, we were cold and of course still had 4+miles to cover to get down. We decided to pack up and head down. On the way down there was a turning point on one of the switchbacks that had a clear view of the MOAN, we knew we had to stop and try. We went from having to use a yagi to being able to hit the MOAN unit with a Mesh unit on my backpack no external antenna, talk about IRL (In Real Life) testing, this was exactly how this was intended to be used.
At this point we were thrilled! 31.77 miles from our location to the MOAN unit and it worked, but still something did not make sense…
~More to come! I got an early meeting tomorrow morning! -George~