ATAK Mesh Node Build Instructions

The mesh nodes are made up of two main assemblies - the radio itself, and the case. The radio can be acquired from Alibaba, while the case can be made using a 3D printer and a few fairly common parts. This guide has instructions for acquiring all the parts and information you need in order to build your own mesh network node.

The Radio

  1. Buy the 915 MHz version of this LoRa radio. There are other options available from that seller - including ones with the radio firmware pre-flashed - but they won’t fit into the case we’ve designed.
  2. Once it arrives, attach the antenna. Don’t power the radio on, or plug in the USB connector, without an antenna attached - it could fry the radio.
  3. If your device doesn't have firmware pre-installed, set up the device using this excellent getting started guide. Note the three tabs for Linux, macOS, and Windows. If you do have firmware pre-installed on the hardware you bought, skip this step.
  4. That’s it! The radio itself is ready to be set up by following the instructions in our getting started guide.

The Case

  1. To waterproof the case, you’ll need rubber cord for the lid gasket (this is what we use). The important part is that it be approximately 1.6mm diameter, since it’ll be pressed into a channel in the case designed for that size. You’ll also need a (roughly) 1/4” interior diameter rubber o-ring to seal the antenna egress.
  2. Download the STL files for the body and the lid and print them on your 3D printer (or a friend’s!).
  3. Once the case and lid have finished printing, press the gasket cord into the channel in the case. It doesn’t have to be all the way into place, just enough to stay. Cut the cord to length so that either a tiny bit overlaps, or the two ends are pressed together to make a seal. You can now use the lid to press the cord the rest of the way down into the channel.
  4. Install the antenna connector into the case, with the rubber o-ring inside the case and the washer and nut outside the case.
  5. Attach the antenna cable to the radio board by pressing the tiny connector into place on the connector shown below until it clicks and holds.the small end of the included antenna adapter (the "wire" in the kit) should be snapped onto the board next to the main chip, onto the receiving socket mounted on top of a five-hole pad
  6. Install the radio board in the case by lining it up with the built-in pins in the case and carefully pressing it into place. The battery holder should be facing upward so you can change the battery without removing the radio from the case.
  7. That’s it! Your radio is ready to go.