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DualFuel
(@dualfuel)
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613CgO8IZGL. AC SX466

These are all 2.4 GHz antennas I have been using for my projects. The first is a Ubiquiti Nanobridge M2 integrated 24vdc POE (power over Ethernet) router. It was flashed with AREDN (Amateur Radio Emergency Data Network) firmware. The firmware and router are supposed to act like a backup internet, with a network of these routers providing a decentralized mesh network. In my case, this thing is worthless because there are no other hams within the radio range of this frequency. In fact there are no detectable 2.4GHz signals around me at all.

The parabolic dish antenna can be fitted to a router with a removable antenna like a Linksys WRT54G, or a ESP32 board. An example of it's use is for a remote packet station I have. Packet radio is like a sms message service from the 1980s. It uses ax.25 to send 1200 baud packets on VHF and UHF frequencies. I put the tower, VHF radio, packet controller, Raspberry Pi A, and WRT54G up on a hill, where the antenna can reach Grand Marais, Minnesota(94mi). From the hill, the parabolic dish beams the data down to my ham shack as TCP/IP packets, I log into the pi on the hill via ssh and using "screen" I read the ax.25 packet data on my computer screen in the shack.

The third antenna is a 2.4 GHz Yagi antenna. It is similar to the parabolic dish, in that it's elements serve to focus it's radio energy in a tight beam. This antenna is a lot less ungainly then the parabolic dish, and survives the weather much better.

When using these antennas, the biggest frustration is ordering the right feed line adapter fittings. 

DF

 

 


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tedbear
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IMG 1253[1]

Off topic - maybe.

On the ESP32 CAM tutorial, Bill shows how to use an external antenna with the ESP32 CAM board.  The antenna socket is in the upper right corner of the ESP32 chip.  A solder block needs to be moved when an external antenna is going to be used.  I received an ESP32 board (not ESP32 CAM) this week with relays.  It has the missing notch in the upper right corner so I assumed (always dangerous) that an external antenna could be installed there like on the ES32 CAM.  It turns out that there is no socket at that location although it appears there are solder pads where one could be installed. The board is an ESP32 WROOM-B (8?).  Can a socket be installed there to use an external antenna to gain range?  Note notch on accompanying picture

This post was modified 3 months ago by tedbear

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Ron
 Ron
(@zander)
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@tedbear Does the board have WiFi? I can't see it in that picture, and I also don't see the builtin antenna.

It is considered poor judgement to traverse a chasm in 2 leaps.


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tedbear
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Yes, the black part sticking above the ESP32 has the built in antenna.  It doesn't show in my picture due to the black background.  The usual square traces are visible in the correct light.

I have tested the board programmed as an Access Point.  It works fine.  I'm not certain of the range with the internal antenna but greater range would be desirable.  When I saw the board on line and noticed the notch out of the corner, I assumed that a socket for an external antenna was present.  Such is not the case although there are solder pads there which possibly can be used to add an external socket.  Maybe the internal antenna will be acceptable.  I have another somewhat similar setup that works OK with the internal antenna but greater range would be nice.  This operates a door on my shop so at worst I can drive close and stop but I would prefer to be able to control this at a greater distance.  Here is a screen shot of the phone screen from the RemoteXY website. The RemoteXY website allows me to create the screen using their tools in their GUI and assign buttons etc. to various GPIO pins.

IMG 1234[1]

 


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Ron
 Ron
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@tedbear It sounds like no external antenna. Could you not install a repeater nearby?

It is considered poor judgement to traverse a chasm in 2 leaps.


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tedbear
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Since I am using Access Point, the Internet is not needed nor used.  My understanding is that the communication goes directly from my phone or tablet to the board.  I have other devices that work this wa such as cameras where the Internet is not involved.

I am very new at this.  I understand how an extender can repeat or extend Internet but I didn't think that applied to Access Point.  Thanks for the replies

I noticed your discussion about programming ESP32 CAM boards.  I have gotten them from two different sources and each included a programmer with a USB connection.  The programming boards are different and one has the GPIO 0 button but it is not needed to program the ESP32 CAMs that it came with.  The programming boards need to be removed if any of the GPIO pins are going to be used.  I then power the ESP32 CAM boards with an external 5V source and connect the GPIO pins that I need separately to their Input/Output devices. 


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Ron
 Ron
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@tedbear Look up WiFi extender, repeater, booster. AFAIK all (really the same) of them are LAN devices, not WAN. Try this https://www.waveform.com/pages/wifi-booster-repeater-extender-differences

There is not really any such thing as an internet extender, just WiFi because it's a radio technology and the internet is much more than that. Remember the internet starts on the other side of your router, no need to extend it.

I have a bunch of different programmers, but to be honest do not remember ever using one. I just install the USB driver for my Mac, connect the USB cable and voila magic happens. Maybe I have just been lucky.

It is considered poor judgement to traverse a chasm in 2 leaps.


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tedbear
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@zander  Thanks for your help.  I read the articles but they all refer to situations where the Internet is involved.  In my situation, the Internet is not available in my door yard or on my farm vehicles.  In Bill's tutorials about using the ESP32 boards, he mentions using Bluetooth, Station mode and Access Mode.  It was my understanding that in Access Mode, my phone or tablet communicates directly with the ESP32 board.  This is also done with some cameras that I have.  Again Internet Access is not available so the communication must go directly between the two devices.  This must be the case or my devices would not work. Of course the range is limited.  

Some of my cameras do use the Internet.  They must have Internet Access so they can put the image "up" on the Internet where they can be viewed by other devices which must have Internet Access.  In these situations, I think of the Internet as the "extension cord" between the camera and my phone or other device.  In the Access Point arrangement, the Internet is not used and need not be available since the communication goes directly between the two devices.  Again the range is limited.  This is why I'm trying to use an external antenna to extend this range.

Please correct me if I'm wrong.  This last weekend I was talking to an old friend who couldn't understand what I was getting at since everything he has ever done involved the Internet.  When I explained to him the need to be able to communicate directly between two devices without the use of the Internet, he replied that he had never heard of such a thing other than some dedicated radio systems.


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Ron
 Ron
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@tedbear  One last try then I give up.

Consider that I can have many extenders wirelessly connected in series. I talk to extender 1, it talks to extender 2, it talks to extender 3, do you see any need for the internet here yet?

The reason you think the internet is needed, is that almost every person in the world that has an AP is also on the internet. They work together, but having the internet does not stop the Extender from working. Most extenders have a switch called AP/Extender. You put it in extender mode and your ESP32 is still your AP but the address is now the address you configure in the extender.

I can't make it any clearer, good luck.

I just thought of something, do you still work, or did recently and your office had a LAN? It may not have been connected to the internet as many companies forbid it in the workplace, so how did it work?

 

It is considered poor judgement to traverse a chasm in 2 leaps.


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Ron
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Ok, here is what I will do. I will try to find the Raspberry Pi 0W that has MotionEyeOS on it. It is configured to talk to the extender, I can show you the config entry if you don't believe me. I will then connect my Mac to it via the extender. My Mac is always ony connected to the extender. I will then turn off the internet on the extender, YES, my extender is a special box that has lot's of tricks but once I turn off the internet it is just an extender. I just looked for the Pi and can't quickly find it but when I do I will do a test and do some screen grabs then get connected up again and post what should be sufficient proof for you here.

It is considered poor judgement to traverse a chasm in 2 leaps.


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Ron
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Ok, found the Pi0. I couldn't find a way to turn off the internet, but I think I have a test that will convince you about how these extenders work. What I did was get the IP address of a known internet resource, I used www.ibm.com and the ip address of my Pi0 camera which is a private class C address 192.168.0.117. The fact that it is address 192.168.xxx.xxx should tell you this is NOT on the internet. However, I went further and ran a traceroute against both addresses.

If I am wrong the route to my Pi0 cam should go out on the net before coming back. You will see from the screen shot it just goes direct to 192.168.0.117 as I knew it would. The route to IBM at 23.6.251.247 goes first to my extender at 192.168.0.1 then to 192.168.1.1 which is the RV parks router then to the shaw cable modem and then more shaw cable modems as it goes from one internet node to another.

 

Screen Shot 2022 02 23 at 16.46.21
Screen Shot 2022 02 23 at 16.46.07

Get an extender and your problem is solved. It doesn't have to be an expensive one, any old extender will work.

It is considered poor judgement to traverse a chasm in 2 leaps.


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DaveE
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Hi @tedbear,

Re:

Can a socket be installed there to use an external antenna to gain range? Note notch on accompanying picture

I had a look at a ESP CAM board I have, which uses the internal PCB antenna, but also has the socket in the same position as the notch you are querying.

Zooming in on YOUR photo showed:

ESP Antenna socket position zoomed in

The white block marked R15 on the photo is also drawn on my board, albeit without the "R15".

On my board the block contains a resistor, which I assume to be "zero" Ohm, although I haven't measured it.

I also have a socket soldered to the three pads below R14 and R15 blocks on your photo.

Unfortunately, I cannot be sure there is a resistor on your board in the R15 position, as it is not visible in your photo, but I suspect it is there. (It is also difficult to see on my board - it is almost the same colour as the board.)

So, please examine your board carefully. If R15 is present, then I think it is "highly probable" that an antenna socket could be soldered to the pads, and R15 moved to the R14 position, to give you an external antenna position.

Note, if R15 is not present, then this whole scheme fails as it assumes the antenna can be switched by moving the resistor from the R15 position to the R14 position.

Of course, soldering the socket might be tricky if you only have a 'traditional' soldering iron ... I think a 'hot air wand' with flux and solder paste woud be easier ... but I know some people are capable of 'micro-surgery' with a traditional iron with a very fine bit.

Of course, I have not tried doing this myself, so I am not taking any responsibility for this 'advice'. I am simply guessing your board is capable of supporting an external antenna board but your supplier saved a cent or two by not fitting the socket.

Good luck ... I hope it helps ... Dave

 


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tedbear
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@davee First off, thanks so much for the replies and detailed explanation.  I was not aware that the extenders could be used with the Access Point arrangement that I wish to use.  Everything I had read involved trying to "improve dead spots in a home or office" where the goal was improved Internet Access. 

Being a former classroom teacher, I sense your frustration in trying to explain this to me. I did not mean to insult your intelligence but only wish to widen my knowledge.  I was not aware that the extenders can be daisy chained so to speak. It seems that your suggestion might be workable for extending my range to reach from my phone to the ESP board attached to the building.  I might be able to have an extender permanently mounted somewhere in my dooryard.  Possibly the internal antenna will be acceptable but I'm concerned that the necessary enclosure will hurt the range. The other system that I have used utilize an RF signal and have an external antenna.  That system worked fine but I like using the phone as a remote instead.

I agree with your observations about the external antenna on my board and adding my own "socket".  Hopefully someone else will chime in that may have done this already.  I don't want to risk "ruining" my board by experimentation although the board wasn't terribly expensive.  Thanks again. 


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tedbear
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Replay to above. I have a few ESP32 CAM boards that have the socket for the external antenna and have the 0 ohm jumper at R15.  Various tutorials show removing this jumper and installing it at R14 to connect to the socket for the external antenna.  I tried this on one of my ESP32 CAM boards.  I was able to remove the 0 ohm block but not able to place it at R14.  Bill shows using a piece of wire in one of his tutorials.

Upon closer inspection of my ESP32 relay board as discussed above under a magnifying glass, I have determined that there are solder pads which I believe could be used to solder in an external antenna socket as these pads are in the same relative position as the socket on the ESP32 CAM boards.  There appears to be 3 pins in the same relative position for selecting either R15 or R14.  I attempted to check continuity between the two pins for R15 to determine if they are connected as would be in the ESP32 CAM boards.  Visually I do not see a 0 ohm block.  The pins are so small that it is difficult to check continuity between them.  I am assuming that they are connected to the internal antenna.  This connection may be done a different way.  All in all, it doesn't look very practical to try to use an external antenna with this board.

No where in the limited documentation on the Lily website does it show using an external antenna with this board. When I saw the notch, I assumed it would involve the same procedure as the ESP32 CAM boards. Apparently not.

TodayI did a search on ESP32 with external antenna.  The Lily TTgo series has several variations of the ESP32 board.  Some have the actual external antenna socket and others do not.  I wanted an ESP32 board that could utilize 12VDC as the power source and control 4 relays and also be able to use an external antenna.  The board that I ordered and received meets these specs EXCEPT for the external antenna.  I could piece this together with a different ESP32 board and a separate relay board but was hoping to buy a single board that did it all.

I did run across a video where the goal was to attach an external antenna in place of an internal antenna. This was with a different board that did not have the external socket. The tutorial shows them literally cutting the trace to the internal antenna and soldering in a piece of wire of a specified length.  They claim the range was increased 2x.  This looked fairly easy but I am going to try my board with the internal antenna when the weather improves. Maybe the range will be acceptable. Sorry for the long reply. 

This post was modified 3 months ago by tedbear

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Ron
 Ron
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@tedbear It's WiFi right? Just place an extender nearby with good antennas. 

It is considered poor judgement to traverse a chasm in 2 leaps.


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