"why is everyone staring at us"
[glance back at where we were sitting]
"oh right"

since this is, for whatever reason, the one antennacane post that blew up, here's a better photo of the instrument that you probably missed before

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and, while we're here, FAQ:
- It's a Yagi-Uda antenna for 2.4 GHz wifi with a gain of about 16-17 dBi across the band (center is channel 6 at 2437 MHz)
- It's also a cane
- We are able-bodied and don't need a cane at the moment, but we're hardly letting that stop us
- It uses a TP-Link TL-WN722N V1 wifi transceiver, a Raspberry Pi Zero W, and a USB battery bank as its onboard electronics
- The transceiver is capable of 20 dBm TX and around -90 dBm RX
- Maximum range is measured in kilometers

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- Typical operating mode: Cane keeps the Pi Zero's onboard transceiver broadcasting a very low-power hotspot, which we use to connect over SSH and control the main transceiver in monitor mode
- Can also act as a wifi repeater, either to gain connectivity from distant hotspots or launch a nearby hotspot to a distant device
- Due to attenuation through building materials, it can rarely reach more than a few tens of meters in dense urban areas
- Battery lasts for 12 hours of constant use

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- We could probably use it to try to break into poorly-secured hotspots, but as far as we are concerned, actual cracking is a boring use of aircrack-ng, and we prefer to use it for information gathering and exploration instead, or for remotely accessing our other RPi-based creations.
- Being a decent direction finder, it's also useful as a bug sweeper for motels and B&Bs.
- It comes in just under the wire for FCC EIRP limits, and is not illegal.

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- this particular cane has no ability to interact with the 5GHz wifi band, which we do consider to be a significant issue. we are working on making a miniature version (it will end up being a bit less than half the length, same proportions) as well, but we have some fiddly bits to work out on that plan.

the miniature version will either a) be its own thing (a concealable dagger-like instrument) or b) attach to the back of the cane handle of this one, in-line with the existing boom.

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we may end up making both of these options, just so we can have both a large versatile instrument and a more specialized, easily concealed smaller one that can't do 2.4 GHz but can be brought into more places.

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we suspect that 5GHz wifi will soon be the most common, if it isn't already, since its characteristics are really quite a lot more favorable in dense urban environments and its speeds are faster, so pragmatically speaking, handling 5GHz only is probably better than 2.4GHz only.

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making the 5GHz antenna detachable from the cane like the Rakuyo in Bloodborne would be badass as fuck but we aren't really sure how to make it work

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@diodelass I mean, it could be mistaken for a gun on a stand at first glance, and then on second glance they would have no idea what it was—which leads inevitably to glances three through 7…
@diodelass The stubbyness of that tripod is what sells the aesthetic for me for some reason

@diodelass yagi yagi. What are u doing with this amazing beast ?

@l00ptr at the time the picture was taken, jacking into the xfinity hotspot down the block. more generally, all a manner of wifi-related shenanigans.

@diodelass I know a few people who play with 2 yagi antennas to improve their mobile data connection :) living in middle of nowhere they can get very impressive internet connectivity that way (even better then me when I was living into a big city)

@diodelass The heck? Are you making a laser gun cane in a 90's Taco Bell?

@pillowcat well um
1. the hardware is already done in this photo, we were just working on the linux plumbing in its OBC
2. it's a directional wifi antenna, so it involves no stimulated emission and is not a laser
3. it's not a Taco Bell, it's the basement of a desanctified church that has these tables for some reason

but yeah, the overall form you have here is correct

@diodelass I'm impressed but curious, for what did you use this antenna ?

@eleos wifi! this cane is sort of our mobile wireless network hacking/probing/investigation platform.

@diodelass oooooooh. Do you do this for work or hobby ? I would love to read more about it.

@eleos for now, hobby. we suspect it will come in handy for our work, though.
we'll post more about it from time to time.

@diodelass bun only understood half of these things but is very impress and wants to touch the shiny now

@diodelass Do you have to point it at/orthagonally to your target, or how does it work?

@petra it's an endfire antenna, so you aim it right at the target like a rifle. it's not perfect or anything, so you hear and are heard by lots of stuff that's far off-axis or even behind it, but the direction of maximum intensity is straight off the end of the boom.

@aliasless oh, we are just getting started
we're a young witch who just constructed her first staff in a coming-of-age ritual. we have much ground to tread yet.

@aliasless it's a long path - why do you think witches are usually depicted as being old women? - but we're doing well for ourselves so far

@CalmByte @aliasless that is basically our whole mindset here
- wireless networks are part of the magic that runs the world
- by delving into esoteric writings and the fell murmurings of accursed things from beyond the plane, you can learn the shape of the Wireless Plane and grow your power
- reaching into the Wireless Plane requires specialized instruments; we have used our rudimentary skills to construct a particularly versatile instrument for this purpose

@diodelass @aliasless it's literally magic and we're not even looking closely at it

where do I sign up

@CalmByte @aliasless from this mindset, the people pushing to expand the "internet of things" are basically saying "why don't we open portals linking the Materium to the Wireless Plane at every important juncture, all over the world? sure, there are nasty things on the other side, but who cares, it'll be cool"

@diodelass a Yagi dowsing rod is an essential tool for every data witch!

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