back to article Diary of a Not-spot – the final chapter

Following seven years of dogged pursuit, the not-spot is now not-a-not-spot, sustaining connectivity a shade under 4Mb/sec: fast enough to finally join the 21st century. An improved antenna and radio, have tipped the balance to enable a microwave link at more than five times the previous best of 700Kb/sec, despite the …


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  1. Chris Morrison
    Thumb Up

    Tonights the first real test

    If it survives tonight it will probably survive anything. Gonna be a little breezy up here, particularly if you're on the west coast.

    Otherwise this is a really impressive project. My dad's house on harris is miles form the exchange but fortunatley he can still get broadband (albeit at around 1Mb/s). There is also the (expensive option) on harris of hebridies net. Which can give up to 2Mb/s.

  2. Anomalous Cowturd


    But, WTF do you persist with that monstrosity of a horse? Surely an offset mounting pole fixed to the gable end would be neater, and less likely to take a tumble in a high wind... £7.99

  3. Anonymous Coward


    Meanwhile, a km or three further down the now-extended beam, a couple of homes are wondering why their WiFi no longer works as fast as it used to (or is/are there only hills and sheep in the line of fire)?

    Unintended consequences and all that.

    Nice anyway though.

    Gas is overrated (and overpriced).

    Megaphone because when everybody has them they're useless. Just like raising the transmit power on everybody's WiFi, or (in some cases) getting a more focused longer distance beam on the WiFi.

    1. Mr Young

      Nice, ye nice

      If any equipment you make cannot survive or at least be adjusted then you fail. I agree though - gas is overrated...compared to nuclear power that is.

      1. Anonymous Coward

        How does that work?

        "If any equipment you make cannot survive or at least be adjusted then you fail."

        Indeed. So if you put up a 20dB gain aerial and in due course someone in the high gain beam sets themselves up an ordinary home WiFi setup, you get an extra 20dB of their signal coming down the antenna lead. More, actually, because you have a roof (not indoor) aerial. But it'll be OK as long as they're on a different channel, after all there are plenty of channels to go round aren't there.

        It's a good solution in certain specific circumstances, such as (hopefully) these.

        Just don't forget the EIRP rules, that's all.

        One person's explanation of how the EIRP stuff works:

  4. Paul 87

    Well done

    You've now got a better connection than me and I live in a fairly busy 100,000 odd person town (though at an edge)

  5. Chad H.

    The final paragraph...

    Well, you could use the sewage as a source of methane and trap and burn that gas...

    Seriously, congrats, thats some amazing effort, its only a shame you can't get the speed that such an effort deserves...

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up


    That is all.

  7. Pete 2 Silver badge

    ticking the box

    If you can boost the output power by 20dB then your transmitted signal will go further. However, unless the equipment you're talking to has also ticked the box, their transmissions back to you won't have the added ooomf (technical term) so won't reach you - or the SNR won't be high enough to sustain the same data rate in both directions.

    Whether the kit you've got has the smarts to deal with that sort of asymmetry would be an interesting thing to know

    P.S. In that sheep field you had to dig up, how close together do you plant your sheep?

  8. Rasczak

    GBP 15 surcharge for Highland delivery.

    I feel your pain on the delivery surcharge, I tend to check delivery charges before I order, especially the ones claiming free UK mainland delivery, any surcharge and they don't get my business. The best recently was a shop I was in during a work trip to Birmingham, checked their site when I got home. It had the UK mainland claim, but then hidden away once you ordered was to choose Highlands, and the charge was GBP 27, by comparison they would ship the same item to Australia for GBP 32.

    Of course from next month when the ASA can investigate web based adverts.......

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What about the neighbour?

    Sorry if it's been covered in an earlier article, but what arrangement do you have with this neighbour? Are you sharing their ISP account, and is 4Mb not too big a dent in their connection?

    1. Bill Ray (Written by Reg staff)

      Re: What about the neighbour?

      I'm paying for all of Clare's broadband, she gets a free ride to check Facebook and browse eBay which is (for the moment) the limit of her interest. Now I'm capable of using the majority of her broadband (the ADSL tops out around 4.9Mb/sec) it could become an issue, and the day when we both want to watch iPlayer at the same time will come.

      But not for a while.


  10. Smallbrainfield
    Thumb Up

    Fantastic stuff!

    This has been a epic tale. I think that's actually faster than my connection at home.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Mains sewerage

    I didn't bother when it came to our village (In sunny Cambridgeshire...). Septic tank works fine (we empty once /year although don't need to) at about £70. Much cheaper than being on the main drain and since the rest of village went on the water table has dropped so soakaway works better.....

    Use cylinder gas for cooking, oil for heating. Spend about £75/year on gas bottles. Oil is pretty expensive though.

    And yes, I did say Cambridgeshire, that haven of hi tech and modernity.

  12. Anonymous Coward

    "Oil is pretty expensive though."

    It used to be possible to make the price a tad more reasonable if you had a decent sized tank and could time the refills to when fuel prices were relatively low.

  13. eddacker
    Thumb Up

    Fantastic Stuff!

    Congratulations and kudos to your friend. Reminds me of the 1990s and how we would do anything to get connected.

    Success is a warm glow; best of everything Bill.

  14. Jamie Kitson


    It's a shame the up speed is so low, presumably that is the ADSL connection and not the microwave link?

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Well done, but....

    That Maplin pole is of no use, wind gusts of 87mph are forecast for tonight.

    I can foresee your horse bolting!

    An aluminum scaffold pole and a couple of "A" frames should work but you might want to run a lightning conductor for peace of mind.

    Folk here got hit and every electrical fitting in the house exploded,Then after destroying the fuse box it tracked along the Earth bonding to below the kitchen sink. Following the water mains under the wall until the pipe exploded lifting several flag stones outside.

    Your insurance policy would probably not cover you so be warned.

    Maybe the mast is not such a bad idea as it's not attached to the house.

  16. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

    Why did you have to do this?

    If I remember the BT ad, a little old scottish lady talks to her daughter - then an army of cranes work all night to build a new set of relay towers and she just says "it gets better all on it's own".

  17. mrs doyle

    JFDI Power to the People

    Well done, you are a true Jedi. You now get a better connection than more than half the people in so called digital britain. Proud of you.

  18. Clyde

    Good on ye

    Well done, tenacity pays off. Keep it going, and keep us up with any further modifications.

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Claires House..

    So you have mounted a solwise box on Claires 'ancient house' but does she have another more suitable structure that she might prefer you to mount from? say a tree? or a mast hidden away behind the garage or even a nearby telegraph pole? (

    Poles are not stupidly expensive if you needed one, and if regulation allows.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Roofing material...

      Any option for an internal attic mount with a decent 'powerful' anntenna? or are the roofing materials prohibitive.

      Whats the law regardign the Tx power? would a ham licence allow for more power?

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Did you - and the kit - survive last night's gales?

    1. Bill Ray (Written by Reg staff)

      Re: Wind?

      No - it didn't, last night's winds hit 100mph apparently, and twisted the curved section of the mast around.

      But I was up there first thing this morning twisting it back again, tightening the bolts and it's working again now.

      Such is life in a recently-not-spot.


      1. Intractable Potsherd

        Once again, Bill, ...

        ... congratulations on this. Putting together all this, and then having it survive 100mph winds with only a bent bit of mast - incredible! You are an engineer in the best British traditions - I bet you have a great shed!

        Have one on me - you deserve it!

  21. David Casler

    Provide the static electricity a path to ground!

    I had a wire mesh antenna for awhile and ran into a serious problem that ended up zapping my router. The wire mesh builds up a static charge in winds. This static charge will find a way to ground ("earth" in UK I believe) using whatever path it can, including via the front end of your router! So run a thin wire from the mesh itself down to a good solid ground/earth connection, such as a grounding/earthing rod. It doesn't protect against lightning, but it does protect against the far more common problem of wind-induced static.

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