Project MOAN: Mother of All Nodes


I am located in Toronto Canada and have 4 goTenna mesh units. Three of the units are paired to our family phones and one of them I have designated for a node. It probably does not qualify as a MOAN, as I do not want to modify it by adding an external antenna (yet). I will just refer to it as a Mini MOAN for now. The unit is mounted in a water proof box (with small glass window to see the led’s). Power is supplied externally with a cable up to the top of my tower (HAM tower about 50 feet). The range testing is still in progress, and I will post some updates later. At night, I can do a shout out and see the white light, as well as the red led indicating battery charge. Interesting project, to be continued.


I’m trying to get a conversation going with the university that owns that slight bump…which incidentally appears to be the highest point in the area, about getting a MOAN placed at the top of that hill.


RL1, would you shed a little more light on how you are powering the unit? Looks like you spliced into a USB cable. What gauge cable did you use for the “extension?” Are you running it on shore or solar? I would like to do the same for our nodes. Thanks!


I look forward to seeing your tests. I am planning something very similar. I plan to experiment with some sort of wave guide before I put it up. I plan around 50-60 feet whicj is why your range tests will be so interesting to me.


Sorry, couldn’t resist. Great stuff in this thread.


Picked up a “wall wart” at the local electronics store. The box said it was a quality unit recommended for use on a Raspberry PI. Measured 5.1 volts unloaded. It is plugged into a 120 VAC receptacle on my deck near the tower. Used a twin lead jacketed cable (FT-4) 14 AWG. Was left over from a PA / speaker job I did years back. The power supply cable was cut to use the USB plug up at the goTenna. I crimped on some Anderson Power Pole connectors down at the power supply end. Seems to work OK, still more testing to do. Thanks for the interest.


I have run a few tests initially. Did a range test without the node on the tower. Got about 8 blocks in our dense area, what I expected for 1 watt. After I hoisted the node up the tower, the first test did not result in any increase in range.
I am thinking that with the node straight up the tower, might not be able to talk to a unit in the house. The goTenna may have a bit of a null zone (antenna design) straight down, not sure. I will continue the testing and report any changes. Keep this in mind when doing your tests, maybe we can figure this out :slight_smile:


I imagine the lack of increased range you saw must be the result of your terrain. In a rural setting that’s reasonably flat I got a huge range increase with about half the mast you are using. I don’t think the null directly under your tower will be that bad but RF can work in strange ways.


900 could just be saturated where you’re at. If your fighting noise, the only thing you can do is crank up the power. But we don’t control the amps so you’re stuck. A better antenna MIGHT help and get you a little further.


Could you please post some close up photos and a detailed description of how and where on the board you directly soldered to the amplifier and bypassed the capacitor?



Just keep in mind that increasing your transmit power WILL definitely increase your range of “being heard” but unless those far away are running the same amount of power, your node will most likely NOT receive them.
It is referred to as the rule of reciprocity.
Ken - W4KLP


The best solution as I see it is to increase the Node’s height and install a high gain antenna.
I suggest the Comet KP-20. It is about 8 feet long. This may be a problem with some installations but it definitely will boost your ERP and allow reception of distant transmissions (9db gain) which equates to approx
8 watts ERP and a boost in reception. They cost around $110 which is a pretty good deal. Check out ‘The Antenna Farm’. Ken - W4KLP


I gotta know who else has a MOAN shirt?! If you got one I want to see you in it!


The original MOAN pictured with the original MOANer!! Classic.


Thank you @danielagotenna it’s been awesome and is going to get even more so!


That gotenna MOAN unit makes my ass look great. Just say’n.


The word I got from goTenna engineer is to bypass the capacitor (C50) by either removing it and solder across the void where it was or carefully place a solder bridge across it. Cut loose the Fractal and attach the coax center conductor to the circuit board trace leading to the fractal on the capacitor side of the cut. The shield of the coax to be soldered to a ground trace that should be nearby.
Ken - W4KLP


Thanks for all the info!


Jumpering across the capacitor with a small blob of solder is easiest for me rather than remove it and bridging the gap with solder. This is a very delicate operation. Most soldering iron tips are rather large and this presents a problem. My solution was to take a piece of thin wire, around #20 AWG, and wind it around the iron tip and have a small end that is used to be used to apply the solder blob across the top of C50 capacitor. I did use a microscope when I did mine but a jewelers loop or strong magnifier would be a great help. This may be a daunting task for some but maybe you could find someone to do it for you. Good luck and have fun. This Node concept is really cool!
Ken - W4KLP


@Ken where did you attach the coax? Did you scratch off silicon to expose the fractal closer to the capacitor?