Vancouver, Canada

I’ll be setting up a solar powered MOAN relay station here in Vancouver, BC, Canada this spring. I’m in the Cedar Cottage / Trout Lake area, and aiming to get transmission hop to city hall area as well as Burnaby / Deer Lake via other people’s relays. I’m keen to explore the emergency communications capability of the mesh network, esp. regarding earthquake preparedness. I invite others in the area to get in touch with me , .


Damion Dooley


Short update - I’ve cycled around the Cedar Cottage neighbourhood with unadulterated MESH unit, and have line of sight (or via reflection I guess) of 1 to 2 miles as promised, along with a very interesting transmission all the way to chinatown which is over 2 miles away.

I’ll report progress on the external antenna component of a Vancouver MOAN in latter part of this thread: Adding an external antenna jack . I guess I’ll have to figure out an auto reset on power outage circuit; maybe the optoisolator approach documented here on board though that is complicated; and as well see if a 10W solar panel and 2 x 18650 battery bank is sufficient for our rainforest winters.

My rooftop mesh unit which will be a permanent relay in future is currently in paired mode to another phone sporadically, for range testing. I’m having to go up and reset (turn it on) once a day - I assume what is happening is extended unpaired time is causing mesh to shutdown on unpaired timeout? Is there a way to disable this timeout function?

Also if anyone has waning interest in their 2017 gotennas and wants to sell them to me, I need one or two more.


p.s. a 10W solar panel is overkill of course on a nice day perpendicular to sun, but on a cloudy winter day output is at most 1/4 and for less hours, so I’ll test whether a low-horizon orientation keeps charging current somewhat even during winter and summer.


Those are some decent numbers on range.

If you are putting it up as a relay in unpaired node, you may simply be running the battery down if you don’t have it connected to an additional power source. The internal battery is good for around 24 hours. If you leave the light blinking because it’s neither paired or in relay mode, those LEDs will drain things faster if they keep blinking.

If you have the GTM hooked up to additional power and it’s not dropping off due to a power shortage, it’s possible that a power-saver setting in the phone needs adjustment. Which phone is it paired with?

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Thanks for the info. The rooftop unit seems like it has ok battery in the morning. I have a 10W panel plugged into it directly w/ 5v regulator (battery pack still in mail), with south facing exposure, and very informal tests seem to suggest it can last the night. But perhaps the blinking Leds are draining it out … and its getting recharged in morning light before I lazily get to it. Most of the time it isn’t paired to the iphone 8.

I was wondering about how you would summarize your solar panel power production in winter on a cloudy just freezing northern 40 lat (Urbana) day - what wattage / current would you say is necessary in such sustained conditions? Does GTM have battery charge/discharge issues at freezing temp?

If you’re getting good daylight during the day, a 10W panel should be more than enough to recharge the internal battery during the day.

My wife pairs hers with a iP8 and she reports no problems with dropping the connection, so I suspect that’s not an issue if your software and firmware are up to date on both the phone and GTM.

I haven’t measured the outputs of the panels I’ve been using. They’re Voltaics. The 6W one is rated at 930 mA peak amperage. I also have several units that use a 2W and 3.5W panel together, which they rate at 890 mA peak combined.

I acquired a couple of 18 volt panels from China for free due to a shipping error, but had to acquire charge controllers to use them with my battery packs. These had readouts that would allow you to peak the output via MMPT, so can provide volt and amp readouts. On recent days with the low winter sun they were showing output of about 300 mA. I have no stated numbers of the rated output to compare that to, but it’s taking a significant drop from what you’d likely expect as a peak output. Always good to have plenty of panel when working on installs in this seasonally gloomy part of the planet.

I have some 10W panels from China I’m now testing, but no numbers on them yet.

IIRC, the GTM is rated for operation down to -4 F. That’s a battery-imposed limit, as LiPo’s lose capacity at cooler operating temps. At zero C (assuming you’re using that since you’re asking from Vancouver) you’re already taking a hit, but go down to 20 F/-7 C and things are getting iffy fast. That’s probably less of an issue in by-the-sea Vancouver than here in chillier Urbana, though.

Ok, I don’t recall Vancouver ever getting down to -4F, or -20C, so that sounds good. It Getting to -5C can happen once in a while in winter.

I’ve got the base unit paired to a phone now so can test that reliability.

To Vancouverites I can report success between Cedar Cottage (my house roof) and Queen Elizabeth park top and east slope with unadulterated GTMs, just over 2 miles/ 3.3km. A line of sight map confirms the connectivity area. I’ll see if there’s any chance to put a city-sanctioned relay station up there this year.

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Just an update - I’m taking a HAM radio intro course via VECTOR (Vancouver Emergency Communications Telecommunications Organization), at city hall in order to get a call sign, and am connecting with the emergency radio comms people at my work, so will have more to report about mesh & HAM radio packet radio linkages later this spring (ultimate objective). Parts are in for gotenna antenna rooftop project too so will have relay in place (hoping someone comes up with simple power off/on solution in meantime) within a few months.

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