GO to the NT - Powertec Telecommunications

GO to the NT

Thanks to staff at Centre For Appropriate Technology in Darwin for undertaking testing of Cel-Fi GO across outback NT.  Great results achieved in some very remote communities.

Below is a list of some of the successful test sites completed with some detail. One GO will run off mains power in a house, the others will be powered by a small standalone 12V solar system.

Kapalga GO Testing

  • Region – Kakadu
  • Type – Aboriginal Community
  • Population – Between 2 -20 people all year
  • Purpose of boost – no signal at ground level.
  • Cel Fi GPS – S12.697151 E132.370652 (Height 20m)
  • Telstra Base Station GPS (Jabiru) – S12.669467 E132.834490 (Height 45m)
  • Distance to Telstra Tower – 50.5km

Notes: Successful test at Kapalga with 12V battery power supply. Zero reception (no signal) at ground height. Unassisted signal of -107 to -110dbi on local water tower. 15dbi Yagi donor installed on water tower with 5dbi signal installed on opposite side. Strong continuous signal (-80dbi) within first 50 meters of water tower. Signal strength at -110dbi 207m from tower base.

Kapalga NT Cel-Fi GO Testing
Fig 1. Elevation profile Kapalga to Jabiru Telstra site.











Hawk Dreaming Camp GO Testing

  • Region – Kakadu
  • Type – Tourism Business
  • Population – 3 – 20 people Dry season only.
  • Purpose – Very intermittent reception. SMS only at times.
  • Cel Fi GPS – S12.362706 E132.939254 (height 4m)
  • Telstra Tower GPS (Gunbalunya) – S12.323843 133.056984 (20m)
  • Distance – 13.5km

Notes: There are a number of obstructions in the elevation profile that made this site uncertain prior to testing. Due to the eon ground info that intermittent signal was available (esp at night). No signal was detected upon arrival at site. We tested this using 15dbi Yagi mounted 3.5m above ground on vehicle. Signal was obtained, though due to lack of testing height signal acquisition and subsequent boost took some time. Once signal was acquired, a 5dbi Omni directional was installed opposite toilet block- (Height 2.5m). Successful mobile voice and data connection established

hawk1 NT GO Testing hawk2


Patonga Airstrip GO Testing

  • Region – Kakadu
  • Type – Indigenous community
  • Population – 25 people All year.
  • Purpose – 1 Bar reception. No reception in homes.
  • Cel Fi GPS – S12.948620 E132.568828 Water tower (9m)
  • Telstra Tower GPS (Cooinda) – S12.905886 E132.522269 (20m)
  • Distance – 6.9km

Notes: Reception hovers around -110-115Dbi in the community. Installation of Cel Fi on water tower provided 5 bars throughout the community. In house reception was patchy, with some houses having reception, others not depending on screening.

patonga NT GO Testing


Patonga Homestead GO Testing

  • Region – Kakadu
  • Type – Indigenous community/Tourism enterprise
  • Population – 4 people All year. Up to 50 visitors at times.
  • Purpose – No regular reception except in specific locations. SMS only.
  • Cel Fi GPS – S12.957559 E132.580108 Water tower (9m)
  • Telstra Tower GPS (Cooinda) – S12.905886 E132.522269 (20m)
  • Distance – 8.5km

Notes: Tested out to 114m from tower -103-109dbi.

patongahouse1 NT GO Testing


Spring Peak GO Testing

  • Region – Kakadu
  • Type – Indigenous community
  • Population – 6 people All year.
  • Purpose – No regular reception except in specific locations. SMS only.
  • Cel Fi GPS – S12.962473 E132.454757 Existing Power Shed 14dbi Yagi (5m)
  • Telstra Tower GPS (Cooinda) – S12.905886 E132.522269 (20m)
  • Distance – 9.7km

Notes: For testing only used existing Yagi installed previously when remote monitoring solar system. Worked well. Due to elevation of Panel antenna on other side of shed, distance to -110dbi only 35m. No real interference. Actual install will be on water tower post approval. Expected range 150-200m usable reception.


spring1 NT GO Testing spring2


Jilkminggan GO Testing

  • Region – Katherine
  • Type – Indigenous community
  • Population – 120 people All year.
  • Purpose – No regular reception.
  • Cel Fi GPS – S14.953057 E133.300001 Old communications tower (15m)
  • Telstra Tower GPS (Mataranka) – S14.935479 E133.059357(40m)
  • Distance -26km

Notes: Test on vehicle setup and 10m elevation on tower. 5dbi Panel antenna situated 3m off ground for testing. Multiple voice connections and 300kbs data. -110 dbi at 80m from signal antenna. Very good elevation profile.

jilk1 NT GO Testing jilk2


Wandu GO Testing

  • Region – Numbulwah
  • Type – Indigenous community
  • Population – 3 people All year.
  • Purpose – No reception at all.
  • Cel Fi GPS S14.217072 E135.564484 Resident house roof (6m)
  • Telstra Tower GPS (Numbulwar) – S14.279283 E135.738506
  • Distance 20km

Notes. Installed on resident roof top. Reception excellent with 15dbi Yagi. Panel Antenna mounted. Reception -106 to -111dbi at last community house 98m away.

wandu1 GO NT Testing


Yilia GO Testing

  • Region – Numbulwar
  • Type – Indigenous community
  • Population – 15 people Dry Season only.
  • Purpose – No reception at all.
  • Cel Fi GPS S13.681651 E135.913147 Resident house roof (6m)
  • Telstra Tower GPS (Groote) – S13.847310 136.434228 (50m)
  • Distance 59km

Notes. Difficulty in obtaining signal initially due to height issues. Obtained signal. Suggest 3m mast on roof. One voice connection only or one data connection (could not use voice and data simultaneously. Data took precedence over ongoing phone call. Voice capability drops in and out according to data use).

yilia1 NT GO Testing yilia2

2 thoughts on “GO to the NT

  1. Powertec Telecommunications says:

    Fascinating exercise and thank you for sharing. It would’ve been great to also have an indication what the data speeds were once stable connections were made.

    Thank you.

  2. Powertec Telecommunications says:

    Hi Craig – thanks for your comment. That is a very difficult question, as many factors contribute including how strong the connection was in the first place. We did a test in Dalby with a stationary GO model with results you can read about here. http://www.powertec.com.au/blog/Cel-FiGO_Dalby/ We will get more detailed feedback as time goes on and we will share this with our readers.

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