i am going to be changing the /etc/config/wireless and /etc/config/network files, so having a backup of my current setup seems like a good idea. i do that through luCI.
about thirty minutes later i accidentally cat an empty file into /etc/config/network...
okay, backup restored. now set up the lan port with a static ip address, give it a netmask, turn off DHCP, turn off the bridging, add a rule to the firewall to insure i can connect using ssh.
lan ip addr = 192.168.20.1 and netmask=255.255.255.0. firewall rule to accept traffic on port 22. i am not sure i need to do this but after going through a couple of rounds of "connection refused" that were hard to fix, i want to sure port 22 is open for ssh connections.
remember to match my laptop's ethernet address to the new one to the one i just set and test the lan port. success!
now set up wifi, since i am setting up a server, i want to make the router a client on my network. all this using LuCI:
set up the wifi as a client, connecting to my wifi network (need the SSID, network passwork), and connecting to both the lan and, in a moment, the RTLSDRSVR interfaces
set up an interface called RTLSDRSVR as a wireless client named HOTAKADAKE, connect to the wireless interface, and add it to the same firewall zone as the lan interface.
with this setup, the router should be a server on my local wifi and, as importantly i should be able to get to it with terminal and access the interwebs through it (which will be handy when i need to update the router).
reboot and test. works! can access the router through LuCI and terminal, and logged in through ssh, i can ping servers on the interwebs. i will post my network and wireless config files to show what worked for me.