This RF Website

This particular website and GPLv3 licensed software package is the brainchild of the primary author Trevor Marvin. When writing in the first person, that is who I’m referring to... myself. My focus and interests for this project are related to facilitating setting up communications devices between users. I am also a licensed Amateur Radio operator, but much of this project extends into a realm that invites non-(Amateur-)licensed participants.

Tutorial Video

A Tuturial Video (covering most of the same stuff written here):

Video Introduction

The Primary Purposes

In deploying and building out a new data or communications network, there exists a point of critical mass in participants. When below that point, many potential participants may show interest, but it is just a passing interest because there are not yet enough currently active participants for them to achieve any benefit from the time and money invested in becoming active. Other potential participants have moved on to other projects and are both out-of-sight and out-of-mind to anyone in the current moment.

One of the features of this website is to provide a mechanism for listing themselves as a interested potential participant for a particular communications network. When new potential participants join, they can search for and connect with others who have previously shown interest. The intent is to find the necessary connections that make the networks useful for people more quickly, and more quickly get to that point of critical mass.

Another purpose of this website is in being of broader scope than other sites. I have found other sites that provide location based data for particular networks or services, but these websites are often focused on just those specific networks or services. The design of this website is primary built for any RF based communications medium and the particular services it enumerates are dynamic and can be augmented by website administrators.

Click here to see a list of the communications services configured on this website.

Understanding the Functions

The typical user of this website will first create an account. Providing one’s email address is primarily for the purpose of future participants contacting you to establish connections between communications services. Providing an FCC call-sign is optional, as this site is not exclusive to licensed amateur operators, but does indicate your privileges regarding operating certain communications equipment.

The user will then typically create a Site. This entry usually represents a physical location where the user would install RF equipment.

The latitude and longitude of the Site are data elements in the entry. For the purpose of privacy, the exact location of the Site can be limited with the "Exact Location" field. This is a threshold that determines who is shown the exact location of the Site. When set to "Owner", only the user is able to see the exact location of their Site. "Linked" limits view of the exact location to those who have a Device that is registered as being connected to a Device at the Site. "Internal" limits visibility of the exact location to registered users of the website. "Public" removes any limitation in seeing the exact location of a Site.

When the exact location of a Site is limited from a user’s view, the "Public Precision" value is utilized. This value defines the granularity of the resolution of the Site’s location. The maximum precision provided is 0.00001 degrees. A precision value of 0.01 will reduce the location accuracy to something in the neighborhood of a quarter square mile. When a pin for the location is shown on a map, its location will be randomly placed within that box.

It is suggested that a user create at least one Site. The location of the Site is used as a centering value when displaying maps for the user. It is assumed that most users are interested in Sites located near them.

A user is then invited to peruse the list of available Services. A Service is a class of a Device, usually related to the type of communications the Device provides. There are Services that are labeled as being a "potential" device of a particular Service. These are Services that can be used to create Devices to show that the user is interested in finding peers to connect to.

There is a "map" function for each listed Service. This will provide a map of Devices near the user.

A Device is a representation of a physical device, logical function, or potential future installation of a user. Users will create Devices of particular Services and locate them at one of their Sites. If the user wishes to create a Device of a particular Service, find the desired Service and then select the "New" link. This will invoke the procedure to create a new Device of that Service.

  • Certain Services are for Devices that are classified as access points. These Devices accept linking from related Devices. An example of such would be an WiFi Ethernet access point that a client would connect to.

  • Where appropriate, a Device may be listed as being connected to another Device with the Linked Device selection.

  • A Device that is one of multiple connection points to another Device, that Device would have a Parent Device. An example would be an FM simplex repeater that has the separate receive and transmit radios, and potentially include internet connections like WiresX or EchoLink. The core repeater function would be the Parent Device, and transmit and received radios would by child Devices.

  • Where applicable Open Linking allows other users to create a link to the Device without requiring permission to be granted. Otherwise, the user is notified of the linking request and given the opportunity to approve or deny it.

  • Linking Notification causes changes in linking status to generate a website notification to the user.

  • Where appropriate, RF services contain fields to describe the frequency, power, and antenna data. These Services are listed as Has Freq in the Services list.

  • Where appropriate, Devices may specify an Address for access. An example would be the SSID value of an 802.11 type device, a fully qualified domain name of an internet connection interface, or the CTCSS tone code for a simplex radio repeater.

  • Where appropriate, Devices may specify an Access Key. This would be the secret password required to connect to an 802.11 device, or similar. This field has a convenience feature in that it is only shown to users with a Device linked to the Device. Additionally, linked users are given a notification when the value is changed.