December 21, 2004

New HPWREN Relay above Dos Picos County Park Supports CDF Incident Command Post Deployment and Wireless Network Experimentation

To enable support for a CDF Incident Command Post, as well as wireless network experiments, a new solar powered HPWREN relay has been installed at the hillside southwest of the Dos Picos County Park. This relay connects to the HPWREN backbone site on Mount Woodson, with another antenna pointed towards the park. Permission to use the relay site on private property had been secured by local resident and HPWREN collaborator Jim Davidson.

Bud Hale and Ron Serabia install a small planar array antenna at about the 80 foot level of a tower on Mount Woodson that also hosts an HPWREN backbone site.

The Dos Picos County Park is a designated site for CDF Incident Command Posts, and had been defined as a priority location by CDF Battalion Chief Chuck Marin, the primary CDF Logistics Section Chief in San Diego County. "CDF has used the HPWREN system on numerous incidents with great results," said Marin. "Historically, any type of electronic communication has been limited in the remote locations that we normally have fires. HPWREN fills a needed communication link in our emergency response operations."

Dos Picos relay A solar-powered HPWREN relay above the Dos Picos County Park supports the link to Mount Woodson, as well as into the park itself. In addition, an approximately north-east pointing digital still camera is used to monitor environmental conditions.

Following the installation, a throughput test between an ad-hoc setup in the park and a network measurement machine on Mount Woodson revealed a throughput of about 2.5Mbps, which is expected, given the single radio use at the relay site for both links.

As a test of the connectivity from the Dos Picos State Park to the HPWREN backbone, via the relay, a tripod-mounted radio and antenna were used to demonstrate an approximately 2.5Mbps TCP data throughput.
Dos Picos relay

In addition, the relay includes a fixed wide-angle digital camera, pointed into the northeast direction. This captures views of the Ramona valley, as well as the Cuyamaca, Volcan, and a significant fraction of the Palomar mountain ranges. Camera images are accessible at http://archive.hpwren.ucsd.edu/cameras/

Dos Picos camera As seen by the digital network camera, Jim Davidson is replacing the lens with one showing fewer wide-angle artifacts.

The initial camera is a version special-built by the manufacturer, without the cyan filter glued onto the imager. This makes the camera receptive to near-infrared. However, it also results in some interesting image artifacts, such as discolorization. The benefits are that live vegetation is very visible due to its near-infrared reflectivity. It will also be interesting to see how the camera reacts to heat from fires. The camera may also be exchanged with others in the future, such as a color one receptive to visible light, or a monochrome near-infrared sensitive camera with an additional 900 nanometer bandpass filter in front of the lens.

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