Darwin's Theories Blog

New Theories for a New Time

Rural 'net Connectivity an Oxymoron, Or Is It?

As many of you know, I've lived in the country north of Toronto for many years, and suffered from lack of connectivity - we're still on 56KB dial-up. This has always given us an interesting perspective on bloatware web sites; sites that send several tens of kilobytes of rubbish (JavaScript, search engine spam keywords, useless images, etc.), with every page. Our lack of connectivity will be coming to an end soon, thanks to a local company called Zing Networks who offer wireless internet to rural customers such as we. Their customer premises equipment is a small box about the same size as what Rogers or Bell are offering for their "portable internet" service, but it has to be mounted up high because we live on hilly ground. Zing offered to put a small antenna stand on our roof, but we decided to have it on an external tower to avoid risking the possibility of leaks in the roof. So phase one is to get an antenna tower up.
Conveniently a new neighbor had gotten satellite TV and wanted their tower taken down, so we went over and took it down for them and brought the pieces home. A home "triangle" TV antenna mast is not designed to be free-standing - it is normally fastened to the house about half-way up. A 30-40 foot tower of this type that is not anchored at the middle will come down unexpectedly due to sway, either in strong winds or when some poor brave fool tries to climb it. You can search the web for pictures of towers that were not set up correctly; from the small home TV tower to the 2,000-foot transmission tower, the last 30 years has seen a steady stream of tower catastrophes.
Since we're erecting this tower up on the hill, with no house to attach it to, there will be guy wires to hold it up. But I wanted to get the base in before the ground freezes solid for winter, so the first section of the tower is now up (see left-hand photo), and we can almost get the required "line of sight" view of the remote station from the top of the first segment - the "hole" between the trees in the middle is our target (right-hand photo). Click on either photo for a much larger version (bloatware?).
tower000 tower001
To be continued...