Brian’s DIY remote solar powered wireless Internet relay tower on El Crestone at Las Tusas Ranch
Below me on the ground is my brother Jackson rolling a smoke while my dog Cujo observes my son Austin take a picture. We fabricated this tower from four inch square tube. Jackson welded rungs on the mast so I could get to the top of the twenty five foot tower. The batteries are inside an oak milk box which came from my childhood home in New Jersey. The battery box is covered by a reshaped microwave oven cover, lined with Styrofoam to maintain some facsimile of thermal stability as it gets 20 below zero plus wind chill up on the mountain. We welded a steel ring near the top of the tower to attach a body harness so I can have both hands free to work. The guy wires are anchored to rebar set in concrete in crevasses in the rocks.
Leveling the PV and battery rack
Notice how little concrete we left exposed at the base of the tower. We tried to keep the worksite pristine.
The solar panel bracket in in place and level.
We cut quite a few trees to give us better LoS (Line of Sight) down the mountain toward our houses. I think we need to cut a few more to get better sunshine to the photovoltaic panels in the Winter. You can see in the image above that the trees will shade the PV panels as the sun moves into the late afternoon.
e will install the dual antennae on the High speed Internet. Plugged into the Ethernet jack at the base of the tower we did the preliminary router programming. It took Eric from Desertgate.com about 15 minutes to program the routers. We then sealed the cables inside the battery box. All the programming is now done as a Web Appliance. One day I hope to add a battery monitoring system which can be viewed from the Web as well.
Installed inside the RooTenna (the white box looking thing) is a MikroTik router and two CM9 radio cards. The grill is pointed toward a Desertgate WISP tower nearby. I probably did not need the grill since the next Wifi hop is less than a mile, but I had it and it was cheap. Most of the WiFi gear came from www.pacwireless.com/.