October 12, 2007
The day after that we met the land owner at his office first thing in he morning. His primary concern was that our testing would not interfere with the Department of Transportation microwave relay station which was at the top. He talked with us about the project, made a copy of my driver's license, had an extra copy of the gate key made, and gave us a letter stating that we had permission to be there (in case we were stopped by the people who patrol the area).
Then we drove back toward node 13, through the locked gate, through several other unlocked gates, and up a steep climb. The fog became so dense at one point that we had to drive near walking speed, but at the top we actually came out above the fog and were greeted by a beautiful view for hundreds of kilometers. We surveyed the area as described earlier; everything seemed ideal.
When aligning high-gain parabolic antennas over a long distance, it is critical to have good communications between the two endpoints. None of the towers at the node 13 site were cell phone towers, so I was also very glad to discover that there was, in fact, cell phone coverage at the top, even though there wasn't at the base.
There were a couple of possibilities for mounting the antennas. We could attach them to a tree on the north slope, an old unused telephone pole at the top, or a free-standing system of our own. We decided for the free-standing system because we didn't know how the land owner would feel about the other two. In addition, the antennas required a specific size pole on which to be mounted, and devising a way to attach the pole to either the telephone pole or tree seemed difficult.
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