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 Subject :Now what? - Some ideas on what to do AFTER your node is up and runni.. 2015-03-07- 16:16:25 
n5mbm
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Subject :Now what? - Some ideas on what to do AFTER your node is up and running...

Now what? - Some ideas on what to do AFTER your node is up and running...

 

[After answering many of the same questions of newbies in email, I put this together to give a few folks an idea of what's in store...]

 

If you are like me, you found out about this mesh stuff and thought this might be an interesting tool... You saw possibilities. You thought, yeah, this is what TCP/IP packet SHOULD have been!

 

If you are like me, you hunted down some gear, you figured out which software to download, you leaned how to get inside the box and re-flash the firmware – and voila! You are almost there! You click update and cross your fingers...

 

Hopefully, it worked...

 

OK, so now you flashed a WRT54Gx or a Ubiquiti module and now you have a node... With your call sign in it and everything. Congratulations!

 

Now what?!?

 

It's on the air and you can go and scan local WiFi frequencies and look at a node list that has only you – or if you are lucky, you might see other meshers in your area.

 

When you look at the Mesh Status page you will see your node. You may see other nodes if there are people around you as “Neighbors”. Typically in the remote node list you will see node names on the left and their advertised services on the right. These services can be anything from a web page, HamChat, Bulletin boards, cams and even IP phones.

 

For an example see: http://www.n5mbm.net:8084/cgi-bin/mesh

 

Part of the fun of the mesh is there is stuff out there – or there should be. If there is nothing out there but just nodes to interact with – why mess with it? One of the things I have tried to bring to the table on my local mesh (and what I am tunneled into) is something for people to listen to, something to read and something to interact with – so people can interact. Otherwise you are just looking around at other nodes, looking at their mesh status screen and perhaps scanning their local WiFi frequencies to see what routers are near them... And that can get pretty boring after a while...

 

Most of us hams want to talk to other people, interact with other people and perhaps learn something in the process... The mesh is only the tracks, we have to put rail cars on them and move them somewhere for it to be something of value to the rest of us... The mesh is the infrastructure for whatever we want to put onto it – just like the internet!

 

HamNet is a great emergency communications tool. But if the only time we ever use it is to drag out in the time of an emergency, dust off the routers and plug them in – then what? If there is no larger infrastructure of something to connect to, those emergency communications tools are useless. If the only time we dust off this stuff and use it is when the stuff hits the fan in a hurricane or something, people aren't going to be proficient in using it!

 

So... Lets take a look at what some ideas of what you can probably do to make this a system that people want to use, log in to and toy with on a daily basis – like the rest of our Ham radio Hobby. Something that is THERE for us to use when we want it... Let's see a few ways of using it that will gain you experience as to how to set this stuff up and maintain it.

 

I will use my network as an example as to what you can do – but it isn't the ONLY way to do it! The following is based on MY experiences, yours will undoubtedly be different.

 

Now what? Let's talk resources...

 

Now you have a node. You didn't think you needed just one did you? Now you have more nodes to add! In my shack I have the “QTH” node that is the internet gateway for my little mesh network. It plays traffic cop between the 10.x.x.x HamNet network and my home 192.168.x.x network which is the one that talks to the internet. It is like ground zero. Everything branches out from there.

 

To this I had to add a tunnel server and a tunnel client router so I could mesh with anybody out there on the web via tunneling. These have to be WRT54GS v1-4 routers as they handle the tunneling scripts and the right version of the software. These have their WAN ports plugged into the 192.168.x.x network on static addresses to talk to the internet. I live in the boondocks and without these, I wouldn't see anybody else, period.

 

To this I added a “Bridge” router that has static Ips and setup as NAT that has its WAN port plugged into the 192.168.x.x network. I reserved addresses for services on this to my servers I have on my 192.168. network like my streaming audio server, web server and mail server, etc...

 

Now that's FOUR little WRT54Gx routers sitting on top of one another – with no DTD linking at all, there's a lot of RF flying around there because all the inter-router communication is over RF right here in the shack. So I cut the power on all of them down to the minimum – everybody seems happy. But all the routers talk to the 192.168.x.x network via WAN ports and the shack PC's and mesh based servers, cameras, etc. are on the LAN ports. But inter-router communication is still all over RF in this configuration.

 

(This isn't including the Internet router that talks to the 192.168.x.x network!)

 

Linksys routers have a chipset bug that prevents us from using direct DTD linking via the lan ports. However, Ubiquiti gear is free from this problem and will happily pass LOTS of its traffic via the LAN ports keeping the RF side more open for higher speed data transfers.

 

That's FOUR routers to get me on the internet, tunnel over the internet and connect the shack and my home network together... All WRT54Gx's (I have G's, GL's and GS's – but only GS's will tunnel.)

 

These four routers give me the infrastructure to put resources OUT THERE on the mesh – without it, I couldn't provide other folks stuff to look at, listen to and interact with...

 

Now what?

 

Well, we need to talk to the outside world with RF right?!?

 

The WRT54G routers don't have all that much power. The Ubiquiti units are more suitable for mounting outside, way up high and out in the open. Most of them either have integrated antennas or are designed to be screwed right onto the back or bottom of the antenna so you have no feed line loss at all.

 

Now what? Should you put up an omni, a beam or a dish?

 

First off, microwaves do not act like we are used to on VHF/UHF. They do... But they don't... If there is nobody else in your area meshing, put up an omni. Just because you never know what you will do in the coming months. If there is someone, somewhere near you, figure out the compass heading and put up a patch antenna, a yagi or one of those 150 buck BBQ grill dishes for a whopping 24db of gain and point it at your buddy. Having it on a rotor might be nice, but once you find a path, you will probably want to leave it pointed there...

 

Why not split off one of the antenna ports of a WRT54Gx? Because microwave feed line losses are horrendous and after personally using Ubiquiti M2HP bullets and Rocket boards – there is no comparison in performance, ruggedness and reliability for something out there in the weather. It is commercial carrier grade stuff!

 

NOW – with four routers in the shack, and one up on the tower I can see peoples internet routers for miles around – and the mesh on the tunnel over the internet... I live in the boondocks, no other meshers are within line of sight, even from on TOP of the tower!

 

Now what?

 

I setup my tunnel routers to talk to the outside world via the Internet. Without it, I can't see anybody else... There's a lot of stuff out there from Hawaii to Paris to Italy even! It's growing every day...

 

Now what?

 

I added HamChat to several of my routers so people could type to each other keyboard to keyboard from anywhere in the world... I felt the need to give people a way to interact with each other. This was a very simple way to do so and it lives and runs ON the node! No other hardware required!

 

Now what?

 

I renamed all my resources to have unique names that probably wont be duplicated somewhere else in the WORLD. Like putting my call sign in front of them so my cameras names will be different than someone elses barn-cam. Having VERY unique names will become more important as the mesh grows and there may be 13 “barn-cam” entries in the list! How many PBX entries can there be before people start naming them something unique? Although I am tempted to put up a chicken coop cam named LIVENUDECHICKS!

 

Now what?

 

Well I needed to see what the temp was in the greenhouse and be able to see if the propane heater was still lit or if the 40 lb. Bottle of gas had given up its last ounce of propane... I put a little WRT54G router out there on a shelf with a Foscam waterproof POE IP camera attached to it, DHCP reserved and setup as an advertised service. Voila! I can now see the big round thermometer in the greenhouse and the face of the propane heater and it even sees in the dark!

 

Now what?

 

Still contemplating the chicken coop cam...

 

Now what?

 

Well I needed to watch over my parking lot next to the barn to see when the UPS man showed up... I mounted a Foscam waterproof POE IP camera on the tower and connected it to one of the WRT54Gx's in the shack and set it up as an advertised service.

 

Now what?

 

Well, I needed to monitor the barn... I put a little WRT54G router out there on a shelf with a Foscam waterproof POE IP camera attached to it, DHCP reserved and setup as an advertised service. Voila! I can now see the inside of the barn to see when the cats get left behind or the traps are sprung for the rats. Did I close the barn door? I can peek at the cam and see from the comfort of my skivvies in the house on a tablet or in the shack.

 

Now what?

 

Still contemplating LIVENUDECHICKS cam... Maybe bird feeder cam... Maybe hummingbird feeder cam... Maybe even the aquaponics koi pond feeder cam... I wonder if the IR LEDS will work under water...?

 

Now what?

 

I built servers and added cameras to the mesh advertised services... I added streaming audio servers off of a big bank of scanners in a rack in my shack. I added cameras. I put a few html files in the www directories on the nodes and put them up as Node List information pages the tell people what are ON my nodes and what to do with them.

 

And now people have something to look at, read, listen to and interact with...

 

It sure beats looking at peoples node status screens and scanning their surrounding WiFi frequencies... :)

 

Now what?

 

I scurry off to Amazon to order another IP camera for the chicken coop... You will accumulate a collection of routers, bullets, LAN stuff and cameras if you dive off into this deep enough and YES it can become addicting! But Amazon and the UPS guy will love you...

 

I am still trying to figure out how to stuff a waterproof IP cam in a glass bottomed bucket for the Koi pond and NOT have the IR LEDs reflect back from the glass......

 

My buddy suggested a deer feeder cam...

 

Now what?

 

Each day somebody does something else with the mesh I am tunneled into. Countries are added, new resources are added. More and more people are coming together on the mesh now that tunneling has become a reality. Giving YOU more opportunities to explore stuff out there...

 

Just like the early days of the world wide web... The tracks were laid down, people figured out what to do with hypertext and the internet became something most of us can't live without. What happens to the mesh is up to good people like you to put something up there interesting and worthy of somebody else like me wasting a little time on and exploring what there is out there.

 

Who knows, in another ten or twenty years, the mesh may become the Ham Radio version of the internet. If we don't toy with it, we wont be able to use it when the times comes to depend on it for whatever reason...

 

Then what?!? :)

 

It's all up to folks like you and me... If you don't build it, who will?

 

We all need something else to look at other than my chicken coop... Even LIVENUDECHICKS have a limited appeal after a while... But they make good eating... The Koi, not so much...

 

Have some questions, tips, tricks or hints to share? Please comment!

 

 

Bill – N5MBM

www.n5mbm.net

 

 

 

 

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 Subject :Re:Now what? - Some ideas on what to do AFTER your node is up and ru.. 2015-03-09- 10:33:57 
w8iss
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Subject :Re:Now what? - Some ideas on what to do AFTER your node is up and running...

Nice write up on what 'could' happen to utilize the bbhn system. Too bad there are few that have expressed a 'displeasure' about providing a way to listen to 'public' frequencies. I won't rant here as I already have seen what you have gone through locally here :(

What would I need to do to provide a link from here to say your equipment and world? Currently working on a hamserverpi and asterisk-pi here. Have the software loaded but still need to get the documentation for the hamserverpi so that I can finish the configuration of it. The asterisk-pi is running but has nothing to provide currently other than for my couple of in-house softphones.

Keep tinkering with everything. Sooner or later they'll be knocking at your door for help and to be allowed access to the network :)

James W8ISS

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 Subject :Re:Re:Now what? - Some ideas on what to do AFTER your node is up and.. 2015-03-09- 13:02:38 
n5mbm
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Subject :Re:Re:Now what? - Some ideas on what to do AFTER your node is up and running...

@W8ISS - So far as I know, at this point in time, the WRT54GS's v1-4 are the only ones that will do the tunneling, so far... Memory limitations and hardware limitations are to blame, from what I understand... But I heard something about somebody doing it with Ubiquiti Bullets - I cannot confirm this though... I haven’t' tried it.


I have dedicated routers setup for tunneling – One server and one client. Each router tunnel allows 10 people to connect to them, each. If I need more than 10, I have to add another router – that's just the way things are, right now. But let me tell ya – if you have a normal DSL line, 20 tunnels will sure knock one hell of a dent in your available bandwidth for normal surfing! I have a 35mb business connection that has a little bandwidth to spare...


With all that being said... I am STILL looking for more people to bog down my internet connection with! :)


Bill – N5MBM

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Last Edited On: 2015-03-09- 13:05:00 By n5mbm for the Reason
 Subject :Re:Re:Re:Now what? - Some ideas on what to do AFTER your node is up .. 2015-03-24- 07:43:13 
KD2HKB
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Subject :Re:Re:Re:Now what? - Some ideas on what to do AFTER your node is up and running...

Ok, so two questions (to start with). 1: How did you setup the stream for scanner frequencies? 2: What do you have for a firewall/traffic rules between your internet connection and the mesh? I've been working on adding services to my mesh nodes. Right now, I only have one Foscam indoor camera and a few Raspberry PIs for servers (asterisk and a web server at this moment). I've ordered a Ubiquiti outdoor camera and hope to add that to a node when it arrives. Anyway, just looking for a little more detail... and encouraging ideas.
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 Subject :Re:Re:Re:Re:Now what? - Some ideas on what to do AFTER your node is .. 2015-03-31- 00:02:52 
AB9U
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Subject :Re:Re:Re:Re:Now what? - Some ideas on what to do AFTER your node is up and running...

Great story... and I'm following in your footsteps sort of. Last week saw the hatched chicks at Tractor Supply here in Cottonwood... they really do need a camera. If I can talk them into it I already know a name that might work... maybe. One very silly question... how do you actually access hamchat? And feel free to switch me to another channel if you don't want to answer but I can't seem to find that little tidbit anywhere. I have it installed and that worked really well but I can't find how to get to it via a browser. Just so you know, I don't chat anywhere else - have never gotten into that, but Thunderbird has a chat capability now... can that be accessed? 73 - Wil - AB9U
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de Wil - AB9U
 Subject :Re:Now what? - Some ideas on what to do AFTER your node is up and ru.. 2015-03-31- 05:20:16 
n5mbm
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Subject :Re:Now what? - Some ideas on what to do AFTER your node is up and running...

To answer your questions -

 

@KD2HKB – 1) Google “ScannerCast” I use software called ScannerCast from k1pgv.com to capture the audio coming out of my scanners, digitizing it into an audio stream and sending it out to the internet. I have a RACK full of old scanners, each one connected to its own USB sound card, all connected to one PC, utilizing this software it works like a charm! Some (not all) of my scanners feed RadioReference.com's database of scanners all over the place. 2) I don't firewall between the HamNet and the Internet – I firewall between my local network and BOTH the Internet and HamNet. I am the local Internet link for my local mesh and I allow traffic both ways.

 

@AB9U – I access HamChat in my browser by clicking on the link in the mesh status screen that shows all the links to all the resources out there. Once “in” you just type your callsign, hit return and you will be dumped into the char server screen. “I” get to it via clicking a link, just like any other web page... Like - http://n5mbm.endoftheinternet.org:8081/cgi-bin/hamchat And what is thunderbird?

 

Bill – N5MBM

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 Subject :Re:Re:Now what? - Some ideas on what to do AFTER your node is up and.. 2015-04-01- 00:29:32 
AB9U
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Subject :Re:Re:Now what? - Some ideas on what to do AFTER your node is up and running...

Hi and thanks for the reply. I got it going after I found the instructions buried in the package management download list. If I type http://localnode:8080/cgi-bin/hamchat.pl into a browser I get to the chat window, but so far in my installations I have not found a link and do not see any mention of it on any screen. I'll keep looking.

Oh and Thunderbird is a good email package by Mozilla. It's very versatile and allows for dozens of email accounts across different servers. I use it with Paclink on VHF Packet.

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Last Edited On: 2015-04-01- 00:31:28 By AB9U for the Reason Forgot some more details.
de Wil - AB9U
 Subject :Re:Re:Re:Now what? - Some ideas on what to do AFTER your node is up .. 2015-04-01- 12:06:26 
VE3RRD
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Location: Barrie, Ontario
 
Subject :Re:Re:Re:Now what? - Some ideas on what to do AFTER your node is up and running...

Hi Wil, under "Port Forwarding, DHCP and Services" is where you "advertise" your HamChat service. NAME: AB9U HamChat Server; check the "Link" box; URL: enter "http" in second box, your node name should be in the third box; :"8080" in the fourth box and / "cgi-bin/hamchat.pl" in the last box. Then click on "Add" and "Save Changes" and that's it. Your HamChat server should now appear as a clickable link under Services on the mesh status screen.
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AL - VE3RRD
http://barrie-wax-group.dyndns.org
 Subject :Re:Re:Re:Re:Now what? - Some ideas on what to do AFTER your node is .. 2015-04-06- 23:16:20 
AB9U
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Location: Cottonwood, AZ
 
Subject :Re:Re:Re:Re:Now what? - Some ideas on what to do AFTER your node is up and running...

Hi Bill... Wil here - AB9U. Tried to find your email address but no luck. I'd like to take you up on your offer to add clients to your tunnel, assuming the offer is still valid that is. 73 - Wil - AB9u My email is wil@ab9u.com Thanks.
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de Wil - AB9U
 Subject :Re:Now what? - Some ideas on what to do AFTER your node is up and ru.. 2015-04-08- 11:10:39 
KD2HKB
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Subject :Re:Now what? - Some ideas on what to do AFTER your node is up and running...

Thanks Bill.

I'll do some more research on ScannerCast. Also, about the firewall... I was just curious if you did anything to help control the traffic on the mesh like blocking certain websites or if you left it up to the users to keep things legal.

Anyway, thanks for the info

~Matt

KD2HKB

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 Subject :Re:Re:Re:Re:Now what? - Some ideas on what to do AFTER your node is .. 2015-04-20- 12:55:13 
KG7OHV
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Subject :Re:Re:Re:Re:Now what? - Some ideas on what to do AFTER your node is up and running...

I have followed these instruction for trying to get my HamChat service to advertise and still have no joy. using bbhn 3.1 on Rocket M2. I was able to load with out issue and can manually call up. However is not an advertised service. Can you help?

Robert J



[VE3RRD 2015-04-01- 07:06:26]:

 under "Port Forwarding, DHCP and Services" is where you "advertise" your HamChat service. NAME: AB9U HamChat Server; check the "Link" box; URL: enter "http" in second box, your node name should be in the third box; :"8080" in the fourth box and / "cgi-bin/hamchat.pl" in the last box. Then click on "Add" and "Save Changes" and that's it. Your HamChat server should now appear as a clickable link under Services on the mesh status screen.

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 Subject :Re:Now what? - Some ideas on what to do AFTER your node is up and ru.. 2015-04-20- 15:25:00 
k5dlq
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Joined: 2012-05-11- 08:05:13
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Subject :Re:Now what? - Some ideas on what to do AFTER your node is up and running...

path should be: /cgi-bin/hamchat/hamchat.pl
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Darryl - K5DLQ
www.aredn.org
 Subject :Re:Now what? - Some ideas on what to do AFTER your node is up and ru.. 2015-08-20- 15:08:15 
kd8txw
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Subject :Re:Now what? - Some ideas on what to do AFTER your node is up and running...

File sharing---

Here is a link to a presentation I made to our local club awhile ago on using an Android mini PC and some apps from Google play store to setup an FTP server on a mesh node-

http://www.w8lap.com/LCARA_Mesh_Presentation_2.pdf

The FTP part starts on slide 9.

It took awhile to figure out but it works really well for sharing files.  


IM---

I just loaded the Hamchat software and I like it.  


Simple way to talk and view--

I've been thinking about the whole VOIP thing and it seems a little complicated. BUT how about just hooking up a cheap IP camera with an internal mic on each of two nodes.  It seems like a $30 Dlink 930 would do the trick.  You'd just have to have a headset at each end to avoid audio feedback.  Anyone doing voice comm this way?

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 Subject :Re:Now what? - Some ideas on what to do AFTER your node is up and ru.. 2015-09-07- 00:04:25 
KE7ZXE
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Subject :Re:Now what? - Some ideas on what to do AFTER your node is up and running...

Guys - I'm new here and I'm sure I've overlooked something, But I'm quite confused here and need some help figuring out the HAM part of Hamnet. I get that some of the hardware can be configured to run higher power on ham only frequencies, and that's clearly a HAM only activity, but I'm not doing that. I've got my basic couple of Linksys nodes up and running, and I'm wondering where the HAM is in the hamnet? I don't see that this mesh network is any different from a mesh network made with DD-WTR, except that if I call it a hamnet, now I have to restrict it's usage to HAMS and ham activities. As I see it - If I change my node name and SSID to NON-HAM, It falls under a completely different set of rules and makes it more accessible and useful. If a HAM picks up a CB and transmits on CB frequencies, is he expected to follow CB or HAM protocols? I don't mean to be argumentative here - but I just don't see any benefit at all in a mesh hamnet that's not already available in a DD-WRT mesh, unless the goal is to make a private ham-only network that the general public cant connect to or benefit from. Contrast that to a open public DD-WTR mesh with internet access, where anybody with wifi or a smart phone could be connected, Hams and Non-hams could use it for whatever they needed, or wanted. Somebody help me out and explain this please! I think I've missed something here. Sam-KE7ZXE
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 Subject :Re:Now what? - Some ideas on what to do AFTER your node is up and ru.. 2015-09-08- 06:44:12 
KD2EVR
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Joined: 2015-07-02- 08:35:11
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Subject :Re:Now what? - Some ideas on what to do AFTER your node is up and running...

I'm also new here and I'm asking myself some of the same questions. I can only speculate but part of the idea may be to keep out the riffraff. It may also be to leverage whatever credibility ham radio was when it comes to installing nodes on towers, etc. I think the AREDEN folks have fully committed to that concept.

Seems BBHN is several part put together:

Linux computer (open-WRT)

wifi radio

OLSR

Web server

Web page user interface

cron job to send callsign

Someone has already published how to do this with a raspberry pi (HSMM-PI). I'd really like to learn to do it with these $20 travel routers or the $30 ones with built-in batteries.

  - Tom

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Last Edited On: 2015-09-08- 06:46:32 By KD2EVR for the Reason paragraphs
 Subject :Re:Now what? - Some ideas on what to do AFTER your node is up and ru.. 2016-08-10- 11:03:13 
KW4WP
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Joined: 2016-06-25- 07:58:59
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Subject :Re:Now what? - Some ideas on what to do AFTER your node is up and running...

Hi, I'm new to Hamnet and have one node running, with another on the way. That was a great write-up of what can be done. I would really like to do tunneling but have no idea where to start. Is there any video or howto guide on how to set that up?  Also, where do you get application packages?

EDIT:  I found the answers in the docs here and googling :)

73, Steve

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Last Edited On: 2016-08-11- 09:37:33 By KW4WP for the Reason NVM!
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