Mon 30 Sept 2019 1:00-3:00pm KPFZ 88.1 FM(Lake County public radio)
CAVERN’s organizers were live on the air with radio host Ben Weiss on public radio station KPFZ, chatting about the CAVERN project and its roots, RF radio topics, organizing your community to be prepared for emergencies and the future convergence of software-defined radio (SDR) and terrestrial radio mesh networks, including the mothership VERN project’s development happening at a small nonprofit tech thinktank right here in Lake County.
CryptoRights (CAVERN’s sponsoring nonprofit) has a small development team working on the design for the prototype (alpha) hardware nodes that will (go up on rooftops and in attics) to form a mesh radio network.
Here’s a photo of our (early alpha) prototype mesh node hardware we’re using to begin alpha testing in our satellite lab:
Pretty simple… so far! Three prototype nodes (see bottom photo) have been built for development and lab testing. Just buying the components for these first prototypes on AmazonSmile, the total is around $150 each, which is why we’re working on designs to get the per-unit cost way lower so anyone can easily afford one. The more nodes, the denser the mesh, and thus the better the mesh’s performance and reliability, resulting in a safer community from wildfires, big storms and other emergencies. CryptoRights is now gratefully accepting donations (see the right side of this page), applying for grants and planning a crowdfunding campaign to fund the manufacture test nodes so we can place them with volunteer operators around every side of the mountainous region centered on Cobb — which was selected partly on the basis of its challenging topography!
We also hope to start work soon on: (4) 100% Off-Grid Operation (a big project goal) by adding a Solar Panel (or existing panel tie-in) and a compact Charger/Inverter (make yourself a ‘wikiname’ login at the Harmless Little Project and see “SoRad“). (5) Weatherproof Enclosure: once the technology is ready for outside testing, it will have a weatherproof enclosure that can easily be mounted onto a roof, bolted to a tower or even screwed onto a deck rail or tree branch if that’s what you have handy. Yes,if you have a very large property, you could operate several nodes to connect (with enhanced privacy) to your family and nearby friends ‘behind’ the hills… and you’d be adding density to the mesh for everyone nearby as well.
For now, the (most basic) alpha nodes will just plug into your house’s 120V power (ideally, up high in your attic) and the Battery will keep the system operating in case of a power outage.
We should have more progress to report in October!
N.B.: If you are subscribed to the Announcement list, you’ll know as soon as we begin asking for the first few volunteer Alpha Node operators.
Come visit our CAVERN table at the Blackberry COBBler event on 24 August 2019. We may have FRS and GMRS radios, and possibly even CAVERN tee shirts available (for a tax-deductible donation to support the project).
CAVERN Radio Checks continue weekly on Wednesdays at 6:30PM all year around — and we’re also now doing a second weekly Radio Check on Saturdays at 1:00PM during fire season (which is roughly June through when the rains arrive around November). Thanks to Larry S, we have a good repeater high over Cobb where a lot of people can reach it by radio. Mel and I are hoping to expand this with two more repeaters once we solve the “tone problem”. If you are a radio nerd and can help us with that, please email me.
Meanwhile, we’re working on some prototypes of the first mesh network nodes. (see photo). They are magnificently crude, but we will be testing them in 2021. If you get a tee shirt, you’ll be signed up to help test a very early prototype of the mesh node.
The first three CAVERN mesh network node prototypes starting to talk to each other in our lead developer’s lab.
___________ PS: get on our CAVERN Announcements list so you get the latest news! GOTO — lists.CAVERN.mobi