Author Topic: Longest Consistent Wireless Transmission Range for VP2 & Vue  (Read 975 times)

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Offline NorthNJwx

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Longest Consistent Wireless Transmission Range for VP2 & Vue
« on: December 26, 2017, 10:22:30 AM »
There have been plenty of very interesting threads about maximum transmission distances for VP2/Vue signals under ideal conditions, but the question I'm posing here is different: what is the longest distance over which users have had consistent (i.e., averaging at least 90% reception of data packets) reception from VP2/Vue transmitters over a clear line of sight?  Davis' guideline of 1,000' over a clear line of sight is a good starting point, but there is plenty of anecdotal evidence of users having success over longer distances -- sometimes significantly longer distances.  Many (myself included) have accidentally picked up the stations of others from over 1,000' through obstructions.  I'm wondering what the longest intentional transmission distances have been in practice, sans repeaters or extra antennae.

The specific reason I'm asking is because I may have the opportunity to relocate a Vue I was fortunate to be able to install at a public dock near my home (see this thread for details: http://www.wxforum.net/index.php?topic=32804.0).  The Vue is currently in a good, but not great, siting location: there are miles of open water on one side of it but three-story condo buildings quite close by on another side.  The location to which I may be able to move the station is a public beach a little further up the road.  That location also has miles of open water on one side, but -- instead of a condo building -- it has a salt marsh with grasses and mudflats on its other side.  While neither location is perfect, I think the station would be better-sited at the public beach.

The issue is the distance from my home, where the console is located.  The Vue is currently only 620', direct line of sight, from the console.  The signal passes through one exterior wall and otherwise has no obstructions in its way, save for a power line and a couple of very low-lying bushes.  My reception has consistently been exactly 100% during every archive interval.  The public beach, however, is 2,006', direct line of sight, from where the console would be located.  In order to reach the console, the signal would pass over the aforementioned salt marsh and mud flats and then through one exterior window.  Thankfully, no trees or buildings are in the way.  Depending on tide and wind conditions, the salt marsh is sometimes dry and sometimes flooded.

There is no possibility of using wireless repeaters; the salt marsh in between my home and the public beach is part of a National Wildlife Refuge and cannot be accessed.  Long-range antennae are not in the budget.  As such, the only way I will relocate the Vue is if I can get consistent (90%+) reception just using the Vue alone.  I also do not currently have any spare equipment to test the reception and cannot temporarily remove the Vue from its current location to test it.  I'm trying to get an idea of whether this is even a possibility before exploring the option any more. 

Attached is a diagram illustrating the site.
« Last Edit: December 26, 2017, 10:26:18 AM by NorthNJwx »

Offline johnd

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Re: Longest Consistent Wireless Transmission Range for VP2 & Vue
« Reply #1 on: December 26, 2017, 10:34:36 AM »
1000ft is indeed as good an estimate of average reliable max range as you're likely to find. However:

1. That is a through-air range and any significant obstruction may reduce range;

2. Height of ISS and console are both relevant. The higher each can be sited then the less in-ground loss of signal you'll see and hence greater range.

3. Over-water signal paths do tend to be somewhat longer. Not sure why, but maybe in-water losses are less than in-ground;

4. You need some definition of 'reliable'. Long range means weak signals and hence a somewhat greater tendency to dropout in adverse conditions, eg low battery, heavy rain etc.

5. Don't necessarily rule out a repeater, which could be sited on the outside of your property where it can still receive the signal through-air and without passing through _any_ other obstruction, especially if the repeater could be sited higher up.

All that said, 2000ft sounds pretty optimistic.
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Offline dalecoy

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Re: Longest Consistent Wireless Transmission Range for VP2 & Vue
« Reply #2 on: December 26, 2017, 10:47:33 AM »
Doubling the distance means (technically), 1/4 the signal strength.

Of course, all other factors are not equal.  And YMMV.  And that doesn't answer the question.

Offline NorthNJwx

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Re: Longest Consistent Wireless Transmission Range for VP2 & Vue
« Reply #3 on: December 26, 2017, 10:50:05 AM »

4. You need some definition of 'reliable'. Long range means weak signals and hence a somewhat greater tendency to dropout in adverse conditions, eg low battery, heavy rain etc.

5. Don't necessarily rule out a repeater, which could be sited on the outside of your property where it can still receive the signal through-air and without passing through _any_ other obstruction, especially if the repeater could be sited higher up.

All that said, 2000ft sounds pretty optimistic.

I'll stick with the 90% reception average I noted in my post as a definition of "reliable" (or "consistent").  I'd consider a long-term average of 90% (over the course of months or longer) to be acceptable for this site.  Lower than that and I think the station is probably better off where it is now, which is a good (but not great) location from which reception has been perfect.

The first issue with a repeater, as with extra antennae, would be primarily budgetary.  The second would be where, exactly, to place it.  My unit is a townhouse and I doubt the HOA would allow me to place it on the exterior of the building.  I do have a screened-in porch, over which the HOA has no jurisdiction, facing the public beach, so the repeater could go there -- but would the signal be any better off passing through a metal mesh screen than through a glass window?  Unfortunately, my options are very limited.

EDIT: to include the following height information: the ISS would be roughly 15' above ground level (very rough estimate) atop a gazebo at the public beach and the console would be about 25' above ground level inside the second-floor window looking out over the salt marsh to the public beach.
« Last Edit: December 26, 2017, 10:53:36 AM by NorthNJwx »

Offline SlowModem

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Re: Longest Consistent Wireless Transmission Range for VP2 & Vue
« Reply #4 on: December 27, 2017, 01:20:47 AM »
Have you considered taking the console to where you want the Vue to be?  It might not be exactly what you want, but it might give you some idea at least of a go/no go.  Sometimes you have to take the mountain to Mohammed.
« Last Edit: December 27, 2017, 01:41:06 AM by SlowModem »
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Offline EA1EF

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Re: Longest Consistent Wireless Transmission Range for VP2 & Vue
« Reply #5 on: December 27, 2017, 06:02:42 PM »
Because simply do not test it. Go to install Vue in new site and test one month... In data chart last column see signal report recorded every time.

Reading details you give I thing will be work. Direct see line is most important thing. We have Vue station at only 25 meters from console, but console into concrete double wall an have reception problems. We have Vue at 2.75 km with a wood door and a small directional antena and work at 90 % but sometimes with snow fail and down to 20%...

Remember that option, if you can open the console, solder coax and solder new coax wire,  the PCB antennas are sold about 10 $ by wa5vjb both version USA 915Mhz and Europe 868Mhz...

For VP2 ISS with old rain collector (not new V cup) its possible radomize con antenna into rain collector. If two con antennas good slinging and free view line its possible more than 3km all good reception.

Offline NorthNJwx

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Re: Longest Consistent Wireless Transmission Range for VP2 & Vue
« Reply #6 on: December 27, 2017, 11:40:43 PM »
Have you considered taking the console to where you want the Vue to be?  It might not be exactly what you want, but it might give you some idea at least of a go/no go.  Sometimes you have to take the mountain to Mohammed.

Do you mean keeping the Vue where it is and taking the console to the proposed site to see if I get reception there?  Incidentally, the proposed site does happen to be slightly over 2,000 feet from the current site, but the current site is still 620' from my home.  The three points form a very elongated triangle.  It's a good idea, but the main problem is that the line of sight would be different than from my home -- there would actually be some small obstructions sort-of in the way.  I'd also only be able to do the test for a short period of time, as I'd have to go over to the proposed site and stand there with the console to test it out.  The station would temporarily be offline as a result (I upload the old-fashioned way, via 24/7 netbook).

Because simply do not test it. Go to install Vue in new site and test one month... In data chart last column see signal report recorded every time.

Reading details you give I thing will be work. Direct see line is most important thing. We have Vue station at only 25 meters from console, but console into concrete double wall an have reception problems. We have Vue at 2.75 km with a wood door and a small directional antena and work at 90 % but sometimes with snow fail and down to 20%...

Remember that option, if you can open the console, solder coax and solder new coax wire,  the PCB antennas are sold about 10 $ by wa5vjb both version USA 915Mhz and Europe 868Mhz...

For VP2 ISS with old rain collector (not new V cup) its possible radomize con antenna into rain collector. If two con antennas good slinging and free view line its possible more than 3km all good reception.

I wish I had the luxury of doing that, but it's not an option for two major reasons: 1) the station is public (since I installed it for the Township) and that would create potential downtime for the station if the reception weren't good; and 2) the station is currently mounted securely to the dockmaster's shed, and I'd have to remove that mount and its screws from the shed (leaving behind the holes and all), put holes in the gazebo at the proposed location for that mount, and then, if the reception wasn't good, re-mount it to the dockmaster's shed.  I think I'd be pressing my luck with the Township if I did that, unfortunately!

2.75km is very impressive!  But I have never soldered a single thing and just don't have the time to try to learn -- if I were to add any antennae, it would have to be via the long-range repeater that Davis sells, and that's not in the budget.  The only way I can do this relocation is if I can re-mount the Vue ISS at the proposed location, keep the console inside my townhouse, and get a long-term average of at least 90% reception of data packets.  The budget was used up by the station itself.  If I can't get at least 90% reception in the proposed location without spending anything more, I'd rather keep it where it is, where the data is still good (just not as good as it would be at the proposed location).

Offline SlowModem

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Re: Longest Consistent Wireless Transmission Range for VP2 & Vue
« Reply #7 on: December 28, 2017, 07:44:05 AM »
Have you considered taking the console to where you want the Vue to be?  It might not be exactly what you want, but it might give you some idea at least of a go/no go.  Sometimes you have to take the mountain to Mohammed.

Do you mean keeping the Vue where it is and taking the console to the proposed site to see if I get reception there?

Yes, exactly.  The console is a lot easier to move than the ISS.  That would at least let you know that the signal does or does not reach .
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Offline Old Tele man

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Re: Longest Consistent Wireless Transmission Range for VP2 & Vue
« Reply #8 on: December 28, 2017, 03:41:16 PM »
A "directional" TRANSMITTING-antenna (instead of the existing omni/mono-pole) combined with a high-gain, multi-element RECEIVING-antenna (again, instead of current omni/mono-pole) should provide reliable operation; HOWEVER, because of the TWO antennas being "directional" you will HAVE to achieve accurate pointing-alignment between the TX and RX antennas.
« Last Edit: December 28, 2017, 06:39:27 PM by Old Tele man »
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Offline Mattk

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Re: Longest Consistent Wireless Transmission Range for VP2 & Vue
« Reply #9 on: December 28, 2017, 04:47:41 PM »
There's so many variables with this (when excluding repeaters) that there's really nothing consistent re a transmission range answer beyond the typical stated distance and waivers

Offline Old Tele man

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Re: Longest Consistent Wireless Transmission Range for VP2 & Vue
« Reply #10 on: December 28, 2017, 04:59:15 PM »
Are you aware of HOW the NSA eavesdrops on communications...from a distance?
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Offline Mattk

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Re: Longest Consistent Wireless Transmission Range for VP2 & Vue
« Reply #11 on: December 28, 2017, 05:30:57 PM »
Are you aware of HOW the NSA eavesdrops on communications...from a distance?
What is being discussed is 900mhz spread spectrum and it really doesn't matter what it is, be it a Davis, Intuicom, Freewave etc systems when one is beyond it's practical transmission/power usefulness then it does become rather useless for the purpose. 

Offline Old Tele man

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Re: Longest Consistent Wireless Transmission Range for VP2 & Vue
« Reply #12 on: December 28, 2017, 06:24:55 PM »
My 'point' was that a good directional multi-element TX-antenna coupled with a good directional multi-element RX-antenna (and no other amplification needed) can/could SIGNIFICANTLY increase distance between TX and RX and STILL provide reliable service.

Add a "high-gain/low-noise" amplifier behind that RX receiver and you're only limited by pathway "line-of-sight" obstacles.

And, "yes," I am fully aware the ISS operates with less than 8mW power in the 902-928MHz bandwidth.
« Last Edit: December 28, 2017, 06:31:10 PM by Old Tele man »
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Offline CW2274

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Re: Longest Consistent Wireless Transmission Range for VP2 & Vue
« Reply #13 on: December 28, 2017, 06:28:20 PM »
Just like using "beams" from my CB days. :-)

Offline Mattk

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Re: Longest Consistent Wireless Transmission Range for VP2 & Vue
« Reply #14 on: December 28, 2017, 06:30:21 PM »
My 'point' was that a good directional TX-antenna coupled with a good directional RX-antenna (and no other amplification needed) can/could SIGNIFICANTLY increase distance between TX and RX and STILL provide reliable service.

Add in some "high-gain/low-noise" amplification along with those antennas and you're only limited by pathway "line-of-sight" obstacles.

And you do realize that is illegal and why Davis does not provide an external antenna for either the ISS or Console/Envoy related to max allowable power. Repeaters are a different thing and yes you can doctor the connection but that's not the point.

If you really wanted to get serious about range then something like a FGR2 Freewave with associated antennas will go for miles but then as mentioned the Davis repeater is not an option either due to costs etc.   

Offline Mattk

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Re: Longest Consistent Wireless Transmission Range for VP2 & Vue
« Reply #15 on: December 28, 2017, 06:31:00 PM »
Just like using "beams" from my CB days. :-)

Yeah they were illegal too, hey :)

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Re: Longest Consistent Wireless Transmission Range for VP2 & Vue
« Reply #16 on: December 28, 2017, 06:32:07 PM »
Just like using "beams" from my CB days. :-)

Yeah they were illegal too, hey :)
No they wern't, using more than 4 watts of TX power was.

Offline Old Tele man

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Re: Longest Consistent Wireless Transmission Range for VP2 & Vue
« Reply #17 on: December 28, 2017, 06:32:49 PM »
Uh, the TRANSMITTED power still remains "less than 8mW" but the TX-antenna points and "directs" it all in just one direction while the RX-antenna only "listens" from one direction.

And, DAVIS sells the properly "tuned" antennas already: http://www.davisnet.com/product_documents/weather/spec_sheets/7660_spec_Rev_B.pdf
« Last Edit: December 28, 2017, 06:41:13 PM by Old Tele man »
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Offline Mattk

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Re: Longest Consistent Wireless Transmission Range for VP2 & Vue
« Reply #18 on: December 28, 2017, 06:45:09 PM »
For the Wireless Repeater ONLY and that's not an option

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Re: Longest Consistent Wireless Transmission Range for VP2 & Vue
« Reply #19 on: December 29, 2017, 09:39:55 AM »
One point of experience when using high gain antennas and maybe amps on Davis receivers (ISS or repeater. They don't have much of a selective front end on them, and it's possible to overload them.

When I installed 5 VP2 stations at a 350 acre ranch, I started having intermittent trouble with one repeater with a long-range RX antenna. The clue came went it went bad when I called Tech Support. There was a Verizon cell site in the beam pattern of the Yagi. Around here, Verizon uses 800 MHz. When I called TS, the sector pointing toward me swamped the receiver, killing the link until I hung up. 

Offline Old Tele man

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Re: Longest Consistent Wireless Transmission Range for VP2 & Vue
« Reply #20 on: December 29, 2017, 11:02:32 AM »
For the Wireless Repeater ONLY and that's not an option
The antenna STILL works regardless of source...only the ISS "connection" changes.
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Re: Longest Consistent Wireless Transmission Range for VP2 & Vue
« Reply #21 on: December 29, 2017, 01:46:30 PM »
For what it's worth, I am using a Davis Long-Range repeater to pick up the ISS signals from the local Marina 2030 feet away from my location.

There are trees (part of a woods) and many houses in the path.

However, this is a highly modified setup:

  • 17dBi Yagi M2 Antennas 902-17 33cm on the input side.
  • Very short, low loss coax from the antenna to the pre-amplifier.
  • 34dB gain Mini-Circuits ZRL-1150LN+ Low Noise Preamp.
  • Band-pass filter 902-928MHz. (this is very important to avoid the 800MHz interference)
  • Linear Power Supply (15V) in the garage. The preamp is too much of a power hog for battery operation and needs >12V.

This is all in place before going to the Rx input on the Davis repeater.

I realize that the OP doesn't want to go with a repeater, but I had a mighty struggle to get this to work with the highest gain 900MHz Yagi I could find, high-gain preamp and a BPF.

I am sure that the junk in the signal path (especially a small "forest" of trees) hurt the cause, and it sure wasn't easy to get it to work.

I have been running high 90's good packets for months. (still have occasional "issues" especially during this recent cold snap, but I would say that it's good most of the time)

I'll buy this based on my experience (hence the BPF):
Quote
They don't have much of a selective front end on them, and it's possible to overload them.

Greg H.



 





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Offline NorthNJwx

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Re: Longest Consistent Wireless Transmission Range for VP2 & Vue
« Reply #22 on: December 29, 2017, 07:26:12 PM »
Have you considered taking the console to where you want the Vue to be?  It might not be exactly what you want, but it might give you some idea at least of a go/no go.  Sometimes you have to take the mountain to Mohammed.

Do you mean keeping the Vue where it is and taking the console to the proposed site to see if I get reception there?

Yes, exactly.  The console is a lot easier to move than the ISS.  That would at least let you know that the signal does or does not reach .

Definitely a very prudent idea and one I will try out before making any decisions.  It wouldn't be a perfect comparison due to the somewhat different line of sight as I mentioned in my last post, but it would be a good substitute.  I'd consider taking the console in my kayak and checking the signal 2000' out in the bay, but it's frozen over at the moment and I'll have to wait some months before that's safe.  :grin:

There's so many variables with this (when excluding repeaters) that there's really nothing consistent re a transmission range answer beyond the typical stated distance and waivers

It does help to know, as your post and those of several others essentially state, that my mileage will vary.  That at least gives me the idea that what I'm after is possible, though certainly I would feel a lot better if the distance were 1500' instead of 2000'.

For what it's worth, I am using a Davis Long-Range repeater to pick up the ISS signals from the local Marina 2030 feet away from my location.

There are trees (part of a woods) and many houses in the path.

However, this is a highly modified setup:

  • 17dBi Yagi M2 Antennas 902-17 33cm on the input side.
  • Very short, low loss coax from the antenna to the pre-amplifier.
  • 34dB gain Mini-Circuits ZRL-1150LN+ Low Noise Preamp.
  • Band-pass filter 902-928MHz. (this is very important to avoid the 800MHz interference)
  • Linear Power Supply (15V) in the garage. The preamp is too much of a power hog for battery operation and needs >12V.

This is all in place before going to the Rx input on the Davis repeater.

I realize that the OP doesn't want to go with a repeater, but I had a mighty struggle to get this to work with the highest gain 900MHz Yagi I could find, high-gain preamp and a BPF.

I am sure that the junk in the signal path (especially a small "forest" of trees) hurt the cause, and it sure wasn't easy to get it to work.

I have been running high 90's good packets for months. (still have occasional "issues" especially during this recent cold snap, but I would say that it's good most of the time)


Greg H.

I checked out your site and I think what you did by incorporating the marina station is great.  Did you have a part in installing the marina station or was it already there?  If the former,  is the marina public property?

As stated, the problems with repeaters for me are both 1) cost and 2) where to put them.  Ideally, I'd be able to put a standard repeater at 1000' and call it a day, but there's nothing but water and federally-protected salt marsh in between my home and the proposed site.  And for the reasons stated earlier (chiefly, HOA), I can't put a repeater outside of my own unit.  So the only option would be to have a long-range repeater, probably with a yagi antenna, located AT the ISS site, right?  And wouldn't I have to install two antennae at the repeater, namely, a yagi pointing at my console and an omni to catch the signal of the ISS (which would be located a few mere feet from the long-range repeater)?  Is there an option to have a dipole and a yagi instead on the long-range repeater?  And then there's the expense of both the repeater itself AND the antennae to go with it.  After all that expense, I get an improvement -- but not a huge one -- in data.  As I mentioned above, the current location of the ISS is good.  The proposed location would be better than good, but I can't justify spending that much more for that degree of improvement.

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Re: Longest Consistent Wireless Transmission Range for VP2 & Vue
« Reply #23 on: December 29, 2017, 07:31:50 PM »
Quote
I checked out your site and I think what you did by incorporating the marina station is great.  Did you have a part in installing the marina station or was it already there?  If the former,  is the marina public property?

The Marina is public property owned by the city. The station was already in place, but there were some problems that I helped resolve. I have met the Harbormaster and he is cool with what I am doing, he even refers the boaters that come into the marina office to my site.

Greg H.


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