18 September 2009

Burning Man 2009: Day 3

On the morning of day 3 (Monday) the tower was up but not fully wired. Martin, the sponsor who had actually provided the tower, climbed up to have a look around. Our neighborhood was getting built out quickly on this first day of public access.

The first order of the morning was for Arturo to mount the third cell sector antenna, run the RF cabling, and set up our wifi link. Once that was complete, Arturo took a break to use Bill's spiffy field shower and Star, a visitor to the camp and friend of the project, volunteered to install the light-up call sign that Bill had brought.

By the late morning, we had the BTS units laid out on a trailer and wired-up under a shade tarp. We were ready to start testing.

First, we started up the BTS units without the power amplifiers and made a few test calls with handsets in the tent. Things looked normal, so we turned on the power amps. We got an immediate flood of registration attempts, which was expected. The flood continued, though, for well over two hours, which was not expected. By the third hour we turned off the power amplifiers, took a look at the logs, and started to think about why the registration load was so high and what we might to do manage it. (More on that the next post.) Meanwhile, the tower guys (Arturo, Victor and Martin) sat out on the back of the truck playing guitar and signing Mexican tunes, which was a nice touch on a windy afternoon in the high desert.

That evening, we made beef stew with the leftover meat and bones from Sunday's steaks. The tower crew got a much-deserved night out on the town in Black Rock City, starting with a tour of the city from Ranger Velveeta (Annie) and ending with a visit to Vamp Camp in the 7:30 plaza. We met back together at 3am and talked about plans for the next morning.

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