Salem Mesh Network- Spring update

Jesse Newell

Salem Mesh Network

Discussion NET on 145.290 Mhz (WA7ABU Repeater) meets weekly at 17:00-30


Spring  Newsletter

Ted Kulongoski: “I’m going to tell you who the heroes are from the beginning of this, were the ham radio operators. These people just came in and actually provide a tremendous communication link to us.”


Hello everyone!


I know things have been quiet on the Homefront but rest assured that not everyone has been hibernating for the winter. Spring is upon us and with the nice weather coming up we will now have a better opportunity to plan, construct and test.

I want to welcome you to the group and tell you that I am so excited about the energy that you all are bringing to the table and the enthusiasm you have had in making this difficult challenge a reality.


Since starting the discussion of the topic of bringing mesh networking to Salem, the interest and support has grown tenfold. We are now ready to formalize our group and extend testing to specific fixed sites. As always, you are encouraged to perform testing, research and share your knowledge and findings with the group. Through our group effort we will be able to overcome some of the unique challenges that we are currently and will continue to face.


As with everything that starts as an idea and then evolves into a plan and finally an action, we need to formalize our group and have a place to store our findings and make this system easy to replicate for all Amateur Radio Operators. I am going to register a domain for our group and wanted to get some feedback as to what should our domain name be and what should we call ourselves? I really like the idea of calling our group Willamette Mesh Network because right now our participants are not just limited to the Salem area. The ultimate dream would be to have this network be able to travel up our little sliver of the I-5 corridor and give us a link from Keizer to Albany with sub links and junctions in between to connect the local mesh networks. I will be sending out a survey in the next few days asking for a vote on available domain choices as well as if you have any suggestions or ideas please submit them to the group at  Opinion and discussion is strongly encouraged in this group and we take your feedback seriously.


The website will host a Wiki, a Bulletin Board forum for us to communicate in for specific topics and a general about us and our goals page. I am going to be covering the cost of hosting and registration but later down the road as our group evolves we may start taking donations to help with the cost of formalizing our group and maintaining these links. The interest in mesh networking comes not only from the Amateur radio enthusiast level but also from government and corporate interests as well. That is why we must make every opportunity to educate people about the benefits of wireless networking and how it can help them when traditional communications are not available.


Before we get into the magic I wanted to give you a little snippet from the CIA world factbook. Just let the data below sink in and think about all of our interconnects, switching and special work involved that can make these things happen.

Notice that only 37 people out of 100 still have a fixed line telephone but yet we have 121 wireless subscriptions for every 100 people. That tells me a few things. We know that these days it is common for people to have a cellular phone for personal and work use but based on these numbers it also tells me that a majority of people have found wireless communications to be sufficient for there needs and have terminated there fixed line service all together.


That is fantastic news for the wireless industry and fantastic news for the continuing growth of technology but there is one fatal flaw. When your only means of communication, voice, data is one network of communications towers in the middle of the city with no other fallback. What do you do when everyone tries to contact it in an emergency? You are helpless, that is unless you are an amateur radio operator.




·      Communications :: UNITED STATES

·       Telephones - fixed lines:

total subscriptions: 119.902 million (2017 est.)

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 37 (2017 est.)

country comparison to the world: 2

Telephones - mobile cellular:

total subscriptions: 395.881 million (2017 est.)

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 121 (2017 est.)

country comparison to the world: 4

Telephone system:

general assessment: a large, technologically advanced, multipurpose communications system (2016)

domestic: a large system of fiber-optic cable, microwave radio relay, coaxial cable, and domestic satellites carries every form of telephone traffic; a rapidly growing cellular system carries mobile telephone traffic throughout the country (2016)

international: country code - 1; multiple ocean cable systems provide international connectivity; satellite earth stations - 61 Intelsat (45 Atlantic Ocean and 16 Pacific Ocean), 5 Intersputnik (Atlantic Ocean region), and 4 Inmarsat (Pacific and Atlantic Ocean regions) (2016)

Broadcast media:

4 major terrestrial TV networks with affiliate stations throughout the country, plus cable and satellite networks, independent stations, and a limited public broadcasting sector that is largely supported by private grants; overall, thousands of TV stations broadcasting; multiple national radio networks with many affiliate stations; while most stations are commercial, National Public Radio (NPR) has a network of some 900 member stations; satellite radio available; in total, over 15,000 radio stations operating (2018)

total: 246,809,221 (July 2016 est.)

percent of population: 76.2% (July 2016 est.)

country comparison to the world: 3

Broadband - fixed subscriptions:

total: 109.838 million (2017 est.)

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 34 (2017 est.)

country comparison to the world: 2


Ted Kulongoski: “I’m going to tell you who the heroes are from the beginning of this, were the ham radio operators. These people just came in and actually provide a tremendous communication link to us.”


Cellular service held up better during Harvey than in past storms, which is surprising given the scope and size of the disaster. Harvey devastated hundreds of miles of coastline from Corpus Christi, Texas, to Lake Charles, Louisiana. The flooding covers an area that's roughly the size of Lake Michigan and is home to more than 4.5 million people. A week after the storm first made landfall in Texas, waters are receding, but some roads are still impassable.  

Not every area's cell coverage fared well. In the four counties along the Texas Gulf Coast where the hurricane first made landfall, there were significant outages, leaving tens of thousands of people without phone service. Last weekend in the immediate aftermath of the hurricane, Aransas County in Texas reported nearly 95 percent of its cell towers were out of commission, according to the Federal Communications Commission.



“I think we’re more vulnerable [in terms of communications] than we were 24 years ago,” said Norcross, who anchored the WTVJ newscast for 23 hours straight during Andrew and is now a hurricane specialist for The Weather Channel. “I remember after Andrew there were a lot of people with wrecked homes but the phone line was still working in the kitchen.”

During Andrew, Norcross’ reports were simulcast on radio. Now, for many people, the battery-powered transistor radio is little more than a nostalgic relic. Television stations also have switched from analog to digital systems and battery-powered digital TVs aren’t as readily available as the small analog models were.

EVERETT, Wash. - A series of dots and dashes bouncing off the ionosphere Sunday helped save a hiker from Corvallis stranded on Buck Creek Pass east of Glacier Peak.

The hiker who broke his leg used a low-voltage portable radio and Morse code to send out a call to help.

Six hundred miles away in Bozeman, Mont., Robert Williams was testing his ham radio Sunday when he heard the call signal, "W-7-A-U.''

We can see by the evidence above that there is a problem and a solution is always needed. The question always falls back to who’s going to do it, that’s US! And how will we do it? We are HAMS and we will make it work! And now for some of the fun:

Brett (KG7GDB) has this to report:

Here is a link to the Airlink simulation for the 5.8 Ghz 120 degree sector placed 12 meters up in Dan's yard.

The three stations represent Mike's House on Saddle Horn, a point along Cordon Road South of State with a Good Signal we measured, and a potential mobile site in a parking lot at Corbin College

There was a point near Adobe and Pennsylvania which we could make a weak  (+9 dB) signal/noise ratio--bridging Mike and Dan with the Mobile Nanostation M5, creating the first long range mesh.

Brett, that is great news. Great work guys! Brett has been working on mapping things out and trying to plan some potential killer coverage paths and locations. Check out this map he is working on:

If you have friends in high places or know someone who knows a guy (or gal) that has a great potential sight for this potentially live saving network, we want to hear from you!

I will try to not bombard the group with emails. I know you do not like spam and neither do I. However do not be afraid to communicate and share ideas. The only stupid question is the one that was not asked.

If you are interested in learning what a system that is already in place looks like check out

I want to plan a meeting and get us all together for a BBQ. I know your time is valuable and limited but I promise it will be fun and I understand Dan can make a mean chili?

Talk to you soon,

Jesse Newell


Salem Mesh Network.