The roof (antennas part III)

After building the antenna mount, it had to be installed. On my chimney above my second storey roof. Now, I’ve been the first floor roof several times (think Christmas decorations, etc) without any problems; but that first trip (and second…and third.. etc.) up to the second storety freaked me out. Since Jay’s such a good pal, he volunteered to attach the antenna mount to the top of the chimney. As it was getting dark outside, I strattled the peak of the roof holding a flashlight in his direction while he attached the mount to the chimney with a whole bunch of lag bolts.

Overall installation was quite simple (photos of both antennas forthcoming). We ran the cable down the chimney and through a new hole into my basement where we hooked it up to the access point, and then stopped for a while to eat some dinner. We were almost done!

After dinner we went to our respective houses and started a ping. It worked. For about 15 seconds. And those were the last echos we’d see for months.

The several months involved way too much climbing on my roof in attempts to perfect the aiming.  Wireless cards, laptops, NetStumbler, and a lot of driving around the neighborhood searching for signlas resulted in zilch.  No matter how much aiming we did, my signal appeared to be going nowhere.

Hindsight being 20/20 and all, we shouldn’t have spent anywhere near that amount of time just trying to aim them.  We next turned to the hardware, maybe my access point wasn’t working right?  We swapped it out and were certain that had to be the problem.  Start up the pings…. nothing.

Some time later, after a period of frustration and inactivity, we decided to swap our antennas.  Would Jay’s signal now start being flakey?  We hoped so, to prove my antenna was bad.  But that wasn’t the case, his signal was just as strong as ever.  Something curious did happen though; for reasons unknown to us, mine started working too now.  Pings were going across the link!  For about a day.

At this point we were very angry about the entire subject of the antennas.  Neither of us have done any of this before; in priciple it didn’t seem that hard but we had to be missing something.  Every good-weathered weekend  day saw us on the roof with more aiming and more diagnosing.  At this point we were pretty sure we weren’t ever going to get it running.

One thought on “The roof (antennas part III)

  1. Don’t forget that even though I was on your roof, you did all the antenna work at my house. Even the time when I saw and heard the ladder fall in my yard when you were trying to get it extended.

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