Creating the team in Cape Town

The more the merrier, right?


We have started in the East :wink: Would be fun to connect right across the country

I like the premise of this Topic so thought I’d rather respond than start my own, even if the response hasn’t been wildly enthusiastic up to now…

So I don’t have a lot of money to spend on contributing to the network or the community. I have just set up my first 2 single channel packet forwarders

  • an RPi2 with this quirky little board I bought from MicroRobotics in Stellenbosch Elecrow - you guys rock, although you hadn’t much more of an idea how to use this board than I did - .nss pin is WiringPi pin 11, the rest as per default hallard SCPF RPi config, for those who want to be saved some pain

  • an ESP-12E / RFM95W (also from MicroRobotics running this ESP8266 gateway

I had to read quite a bit to get those working and neither is stable yet, but one thing I learned is that single channel packet forwarders are not really in the interests of TTN - they have kind of evolved in the way that only open source software can, because people always find a way. Since I understand the concerns with such mutant, non-compliant beasts once they are out there in the wild, and the implications for the network as a whole, I thought maybe there is a middle way. It’s a stretch even for our European collaborators for fork out €300 for a TTN gateway, or €190 for an IMST iC880A concentrator board plus a spare RPi2/3 to make a full blown, compliant gateway. More so for us with our dominant Rand :sweat_smile: Then I also saw that people are building multi-channel packet forwarders with multiple RFM95W breakouts - how cool is that? So my proposal/question for the WC Community is this:

Can we roll out a whole bunch of SPCF devices that collectively satisfy the requirements of TTN so that the cost is distributed in a way that we can all afford and the requirements are covered so that the network is not compromised by isolated non-compliant devices? This would require us to work in cells of at least 3 collaborators, each contributing one SCPF to cover the mandatory channels 0, 1 and 2 (686.1, 686.3 and 686.5MHz) and the devices co-located to emulate a minimal compliant gateway. I thought we could compile a SCPF kit, based on cheap hardware, which maybe the rocking peeps at MicroRobotics could sell to us :slight_smile: I reckon such a kit at cost price (from China) would be less than R300 including antenna. The sauce is in the collaboration though. We are nearly 30 strong now. If everyone contributes one minimal SCPF that’s equivalent to 10 compliant (3 channel) gateways. I know some folks have contributed full gateways already, but you get the idea.

What do you say? Am I barking?

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Imho - you are barking :wink:
There are some stable gateways (Laird… MatchX) that are €250-300 and more importantly are likely/in-the-process of being ICASA certified. If you go with a cobbled together system with a bunch of single channel gateways you won’t get stability, upgradability or legality!

For the effort taken it is a much better idea to get a gateway and a good box, power supply aerial and put it somewhere high. That way you can cover HUGE areas with one gateway, and not have to worry about the cost. Get 1 gateway to cover Kms radius and then the cost of one is insignificant.

I’d suggest having a look at the coverage we’ve been getting in Cape Town o TTN mapper and please join in and see if someone else wants coverage where you are - see the slack channel


Hello! Gary Webster from Monitex Wireless in Durban. I have ICASA certification for my 868 module.
We have started with IOT here. I have 4 gateways 1 done and 3 to deploy.

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Hi Gary. That’s great news. We are discussing community activities in Slack in the #westerncape channel, as mentioned above by @richjdavies.

Are you looking to deploy gateways in Cape Town or Durban. Are there any obstacles/questions we can assist you with? Come join us in Slack and we can help you get things done.

Slack Invite. Hope the link works :slight_smile:

I will stay in Durban area and want to network with people like you in other areas.

Awesome. So you should definitely say hi in Slack where there is also #southafrica and #pretoria-discuss next to #westerncape.

Specifically in Durban I’d think Open Data Durban should be sharing TTN’s core values and it might be helpful to have a chat with them.