The team had some busy weeks. We're not only working on DGSN, but also bringing space to the general public by other small activities ike the SpaceUp Stuttgart 2016 unconference. This will take place at the Space Center Baden-Württemberg on the University of Stuttgart campus and it's an unconventional conference aka BarCamp, where everyone can have a talk about his/her space related project or else. We just like doing those sma things, too. And interaction with people is always fun and everyone benefits. It's hard work, but rewarding.
Nevertheless, as you can see on the starting image, we improved our satellite reception a lot! We already had some ham-radio antennas on the Stuttgart hackerspace shackspace, but they were at places with lot's of hemispherical view blocking and other noise sources.
Luckily, we have a smal community of people at shackspace that are also into ham-radio and software defined radio. And we decided to have a joined effort to bring more radio to shack together. That lead to the principe "one Antenna Forest on a hackerspace for all". It safes some money and more importantly, it's more fun working together with a bigger goal where everyone benefits. With some small money from the first round at hackaday prize 2016 (~16$) and more of our own money, we bought some Bosch-Rexroth profile beams. With those easy connectabe beams, we have now a great basis to quickly attach new atennas, rearrange them and include more interested people and organisations to utilize the awesome field of view abouf Stuttgart - Wangen.
You can already see the wifi antenna on the left. We promised a fellow member to use his abandoned antenna for Freifunk (Wikipedia: a non-commercial open grassroots initiative to support free computer networks) if we need to have his wallmount for our AntennaForest. Of course we did so, because we like free stuff to play with and we like his idea to support Freifunk. Furthermore you see on the right hand side of the image that there are still places for "your antenna". We already planned to share this nice rooftop with other people. So you are also invited to get up there and put your antenna for good use (like ham-radio or science).
We leave it to the other project page's log to show and explain you more how we built this. But you can already find some cool photos of the building process (did you ever try to maneuver 6 meter beams through a tight hallway? ;)) and nice views of Stuttgart in Spring time on this google photos album.
For our DGSN project, we have a much better satellite reception now. We used an Ultraflex10 cable that is 3.5 times longer than the previous RG58 cable, but with even less absolut dampening. It was ~20dB cable dampening before, now it's ~13dB. Furthermore the higher position surpassing almost all neighbouring buildings is formidable! We now have NOAA reception below 5° Elevation and we received ISS APRS signals even behind the smal hill of Wangen blocking the lower part from 10° degrees.
Working with software and electronics is fun, but doing some real mechanic work is great! And as a side note: This collabrotive work is enabling further citizen science not just for us, but for more people at shackspace. We know, it is on a low level, but somewhere you need to start. And being on top the 5th floor's elevator room is not that low level anymore! :)