Week eighteen

I’ve just got back from another weekend at the land for another week of work. Beth’s staying there for the week again so she can put more solid time into the plants which have been demanding more than just weekend attention! But it’s paying off, we had our first salad made from the plants on our land today – it was a pretty modest salad, but it’s a start 🙂

I made some excellent progress on the net connection this weekend too. First I got both segments of power cable tested which was the easy part, then I tested each segment of the LAN cable by plugging the router into the power and LAN at one end and checking if I could reach it with my laptop at the other end. All the cable segments tested fine, so the next was the big test – put the router at the far end up the hill (on top of the box since there’s no antenna yet), plug the hub into the power in the middle box and both LAN cables into it, then see if we have net!

The first picture above was me after first establishing a connection with the router at the top of the hill, the second shows the router’s web interface after having made contact with the Vivo tower, and the third is me making our very first wiki edit from the house which was the following message:

   I’m writing this from our house with the router at the end of the cable up the hill!   

This is great progress, but there’s still a lot to do before I can work from the land. The next thing necessary is the antenna which I started on Sunday, but didn’t have time to finish it – I was also disappointed with the inaccuracy of my drill holes which may cause it not to be tuned close enough to 850MHz to have a useful amount of gain. I really need a proper workshop environment to work on things like this with a vice and drill press. But then even after getting the antenna sorted out we still need to set up a power solution too – all these tests have been done using the generator which we only like to use for very short bursts of time as it uses a lot of petrol. I’ll probably start by getting a battery and assembling our 150W solar panel which should be enough for running the computers and our LED lights bulbs.

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