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Old 07-16-2018, 12:53 AM   #41
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Corona , California
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AI roof structure (need to put stuff up there)

Them’s the rules we get to live by. The Feds enforce them, and it’s the way it is.
Need to do commercial work for pay in remote locations, you get to pay for commercial hardware at commercial prices. Satellite isn’t cheap, but it works, and it is legal.
Try to do communications involving making a profit or other misbehavior in the assigned ham radio frequencies, and it gets expensive in fines real quick. And there are plenty of folks listening that will be quite happy to report what is going on and trigger enforcement action.
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Old 07-16-2018, 11:02 PM   #42
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There are business radio frequencies (close to HAM and above and below).
But not cheap.
Industry Canada for our friends north. (All ours were under NTIA)

I’ve done some stuff with VHF (government freqs) and sending data. But it is pretty darn slow. Just not enough bandwidth. (Especially with the last ‘narrowband’- it used to be 50kHz before 25, then 12.5 and trying to go 6.25)

Higher frequencies generally don’t go as far as easily, (so the ‘low band’ and ultra low band’ for really long distance- one of the sub comm antennas near here is miles long). Anything can be done, but all depends on the cash.
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Old 07-17-2018, 05:14 AM   #43
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Satellite remains non-viable for casual users. About a $1,200 minimum contract for the most basic level of service. It would only make financial sense for users in fixed locations with no other options.

And at the rate Elon Musk is going, we are still years away from having a next-gen swarming satellite system. He's apparently too busy calling random people pedophiles to put cars on the road or satellites in orbit.
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Old 08-27-2019, 08:34 AM   #44
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We have continued to experiment with antennae options this year during our off-grid trip.

For the first time ever, we achieved some positive results with our Wilson Electronics directional antenna (Amazon: Wilson Electronics Wideband Directional Antenna 700-2700 MHz, 50 Ohm (314411), about fifty bucks). This after learning from our neighbor that we had originally been aiming at a non-viable tower, hence no good outcomes. He had a lot more time and opportunity to develop his solution, and he ended up aiming his own lower MHz unit at another tower that is a full 22 kilometers away from us, a tower which is, in turn, on the fringes of "regular" society (we have to go 22 km to reach those outer fringes).

So we did the math, threw up a spruce pole, and aimed at that other tower. Lo and behold, some limited results. Reception is on the cusp of viability. Download is almost workable, but upload is extremely limited. Even photos... I cannot exceed about 200 kilobytes on any file size. It'll just time out. Which doesn't bode well for me delivering work products to my clients back in Houston from this location.

So here's an interesting photo below. The Interstate is 10 feet tall. The spruce pole extends up about another 8 feet on top of that. But I'm obviously way above both of them as I'm taking this pic, and it's not a drone pic. So what gives??

I climbed a tall tree, because that was our other trial - putting a MIMO and our Netgear air card up a tree (so that the Netgear can broadcast wireless back down to the ground). The problem with remote antennae of course is that we can't couple them with the weBoost 4GX. Whatever we gain via a higher and multi-listening antenna we lose by cutting the booster out of the equation. Plus it's a lot harder to climb way up a tree than it is to tie a spruce pole to the Interstate's wheel and side mirror.



When we get back to Houston, I am going to research those telescoping mast bases that you drive your front wheel onto, to anchor.

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Old 08-27-2019, 05:17 PM   #45
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Originally Posted by InterBlog View Post
We have continued to experiment with antennae options this year during our off-grid trip.

on the fringes of "regular" society (we have to go 22 km to reach those outer fringes).

Which doesn't bode well for me delivering work products to my clients back in Houston from this location.
INTERBLOG - my curiosity of your "off-grid trip" dilemna greatly overwhelms the certainty that my question would draw your ire, nevertheless I will proceed as I am sure I am not the only one with inquiring minds:

Based on reading your posts of your annual pilgrimage & seeing the great unspoiled scenery of your property, I was always under the impression that your trips there served to reconnect with your roots, family, and the unspolied outdoors of your beautiful property; i.e. to disconnect from yours & LB3s stressful jobs in Houston. So, you built an off-grid van in an off-grid property that seems very self supporting, and even with your own supply of food. But why do you work so hard to try and re-connect to the grid seeking this connection from the fringes of regular society that you couldn't wait to get away from every year? And what is so critical to disrupt your limited off-grid time that you need to reconnect to Houston to deliver work products? Couldn't that work product be deliveed while you are 'working' in Houston rather than while on vacation? Wireless technology, while not wired, is very much a part of the grid. For a full hookups campground weenie like me, it is to be expected that I want all the connectivity of my home replicated in my house-on-wheels, which is why I can not be an off-grid rv'er for anything more than 1 night (if forced to). But I fail to understand it in your case.

When I do go off-grid with the "boys" prospecting in the vast wilderness of the NV desert, we are totally disconnected. We cannot be reached by anyone and we can only summon for help in an emergency. We do bring cell phones only to use as cams and 2-way radios. Our only link to civilization is hoping that our 4x4s won't fail us. We bring a satellite subscribed Garmin with basic Unlimited SOS & preset messages but very limited text & other conveniences outside of emergencies for $12/mo. I am not an off-grid type that can handle weeks of being off-grid. So our off-gridding amounts to max of 3 days & 2 nights at most, unlike your multi-week stays. And I only reluctantly do so with promises from the guys that a minimum of 4 hrs. MTB riding time is done each day. We are armed to the teeth with prospecting electronics & hunting rifles, like a Bill Gates geek wannabe Rambo city slicker types, it is truly funny to see We don't pretend otherwise, we are just there to pretend to prospect, we hardly find anything worth more than $30 and when we get bored, we go mountain biking, when we get tired we "supposedly" go hunting for desert bunny rabbits, when we dont hit any moving targets, we go plinking stationary cans, bottles, & rocks. That brings us to sunset when we gather around the trucks, eat pre-cooked civilized food while reveling in our day's adventure and how much fun we had. We then sleep inside the comforts of the above-earth raised beds of our pickup trucks equipped withe mEmory foam matresses LOL! And that in a nutshell is off-gridding Las Vegas style.
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Old 08-27-2019, 05:42 PM   #46
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You are a brave soul Alex...

I am just going to sit wayyyy behind you and brace for impact. This will be fun...
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Old 08-27-2019, 05:48 PM   #47
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Originally Posted by wachuko View Post
You are a brave soul Alex...

I am just going to sit wayyyy behind you and brace for impact. This will be fun...
WACHUKO - And there's many out there wondering the same but are too afraid to ask? Then what good is the forum for? And what's the worst that can happen? Moderator will delete my post and close the thread and ban me forever.
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Old 08-27-2019, 07:48 PM   #48
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I’ll answer for IB. I’ve got a pretty thick heat shield. :-)

I’m a wage slave and my company is large enough that there are 3 or 4 people that can cover the various parts of my job for me for 2-3 weeks at a time.

IB on the other hand is a small business owner and while her hours and workload can be flexible, (particularly when she front loads some of the work she does for her clients), there isn’t really anyone that can cover for her while she is out.

So while we go to great lengths to escape much of society every August and I can put the phone down for a week or more, IB doesn’t have the same luxury. If her clients have an industrial emergency or some sudden statutory deadline that they didn’t previously inform her of that absolutely can’t be missed, we have to pull up stakes, drive to the nearest CAP site (Canadian Access Point) or town for cell coverage and spend the afternoon parked in an apartment, wharf, or library parking lot.

If we could completely unplug, we would gladly do so. (Although it is nice to have internet access on rainy days like today when we’re stuck in the van for hours at a time.)
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Old 08-27-2019, 09:05 PM   #49
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LB3 - Now I know you are not on NASA duty coz you can reply on the same day. Love your answer, esp. the heat shield reference. Now I get the picture. Too bad IB cant totally unplug like you. You folks are young. But as you age to ours, that time lost becomes better than gold. Your property seems perfect for it. My inquiry was not solely to get IB's ire, that was merely the excuse though the questions were still valid It actually has an underlying motive of finding out how you deal with such disconnect from civilization, because we are in northern NV checking out 120 acres of mountain property that is totally off grid - raw land as they call it here. It is not to live in like you guys, but as a legacy ranch purchase for our 3 grandchildren. Accessible by our 4WD city suv or a 4x4 AS AI Shorty but only in summer, but impassable when wet or snow. So usage for us is limited to summertime. Wild horses, bunny rabbits, rattlesnakes, & sagebrush country. Horses would be running all over the property & are protected. No water, no lake, no electric, no reception of any kind but great desert mountain views that only a desert rat can appreciate

Pics of rock with green paint is surveyor's mark, the single track to it's left is the "road" all the way to the top of that range. There is a view of the lake way out there, looks close as a crow flies but almost 45 mins to get there in the best conditions.
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Old 08-27-2019, 09:09 PM   #50
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Like I’ve mentioned, I’ve had experience in setting up sites to utilize cell for access.
I’ve done quite a bit further than 22kM with quite good results- even with a VPN with rather a lot of overhead.

My experience had been the only way to successfully get coverage is too ‘sweep’ the antenna. Often a bounce will be much more effective.
Of course, this is in quite heavy VERY large timber (think rain forest) and RF acts differently in different types of vegetation.

I suggest getting into the ‘field test mode’ or ‘maintenance mode’ of your device- so you can readout the dBM (since they readout in negative numbers, lower number is better, ie: -120 is a poor signal for cell, -70 should be ok).

The other thing is to find out what frequency you cell will be using in that area, and get an antenna matched for that. In general, the wider the spread of the antenna, the less effective it will be for once specific freq.
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Old 08-28-2019, 05:27 AM   #51
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I’ve done it both ways - as a wage slave and as a business owner. The latter option wins hands-down. But when clients call, I have to answer.

I had one yesterday who works for an old mega-contractor of mine, who I’ve worked closely with for more than a quarter century. Greenhorn project manager but very dedicated. He was unaware of the full scope of his permitting obligations such that an issue didn’t get dealt with timely. I dropped everything and considered it a major victory when I was able to deliver 500 kb of essential content to him in an email via that directional antenna mounted on a spruce tree.

That is how the Texas business ethic works. We simply do not ever leave our network members out to dry. Karma would swiftly put us out of business if we did. And rightly so.

I also have an eye to the future in doing what we do here. My goal this year was to spend 2 months here. I’ve said it many times - we are not independently wealthy and we are not retired. I have to work. Connectivity makes that possible.

I had a telecon the other day, about a half dozen stakeholders. Me in the wilderness on the eastern side of Cape Breton Island, my lead counterpart in Costa Rica in HER “location-independent” office, and everyone else in Houston. During the hour-long strategy session, the only person to get unceremoniously dumped by the telecon system was one of the Houston participants, who had to dial back in. It’s a brave new working world.

I never hit my 2-month target this year due to other scheduling events, but that’s ok. It was a target, not a requirement.
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Old 08-28-2019, 07:17 AM   #52
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WACHUKO - And there's many out there wondering the same but are too afraid to ask? Then what good is the forum for? And what's the worst that can happen? Moderator will delete my post and close the thread and ban me forever.

Sometimes I joke...


My wife has started to practice a response to a bad joke or any of my silly comments... she will just look at me, quietly, and smile... a very subtle message of "You are doing it again and I am just going to ignore you"... she even found an image that she sends me via text message when my comments are via chats...







I hope by now that InterBlog and LB_3 know that it was in good fun and I never mean any disrespect.



I am too working and long from being retired. So I can understand having to be connected somehow to follow up on work related things that pop-up while on the move.


I know I have the right to be quiet, but sometimes I do not have the ability to do so
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Old 08-28-2019, 06:20 PM   #53
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Sometimes I joke...
WACHUKO - You do realize joking about your wife in social media will bite you in the a** later when she sees it. Then that quiet subtle smile will turn into this - my wife's 1st and only reaction to my uncontrolled blabbering She just retired this month, but still works only as little or as much as she wants to and definitely has more time to check on my online posts. I gotta be careful with my posts


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Old 09-03-2019, 01:15 PM   #54
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Incidentally, it ended up being one month almost to the hour that I was away. I left Texas on the morning August 1, and we were back home by 2:40 pm on September 1.

I don't know anyone - either wage slave or business owner - who can be away from their job for a month and come back to find it still existing in a still-desirable form (or at all).

Well, I correct myself. Elites can be away that long. Politicians and those who are cloistered in the Ivory Tower, for instance.

But for those of us who actually work in the real world, we can't be away that long without responding to work issues.

My goal for this year was two months, but there are multiple other mission-critical things on our schedules, and it ended up being one month. No matter. My two-month goal stands for next year. And I will be working during that time, probably with additional cellular antenna options, roof-mounted and/or otherwise.

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Old 09-03-2019, 02:11 PM   #55
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Keeping my fingers crossed for you to get your 2 months. I'm getting ready for a 1 month trip and hope I don't go nuts. The longest I've gone is 20 days. I love being out but after about 2 weeks, I start missing my home. I think what bugs me the most is the constant close quarters with my very sweet cat and the AI shower! I think my cat gets tired of the close quarters with me too!
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Old 09-04-2019, 05:02 AM   #56
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Keeping my fingers crossed for you to get your 2 months. I'm getting ready for a 1 month trip and hope I don't go nuts. The longest I've gone is 20 days. I love being out but after about 2 weeks, I start missing my home. I think what bugs me the most is the constant close quarters with my very sweet cat and the AI shower! I think my cat gets tired of the close quarters with me too!
Well, there's where it helps to be a bi-national. My destination was my home for the first 23 years of my life. America - and especially Texas - is what best suits my personality and goals, but I also feel at home in the other.
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