Final post before the Bay Area SDR Hackfest

Tom Rondeau


We are two weeks away from the Hackfest kickoff at NASA Ames and things are going well. The teams are set. The hardware is ready. And I and my fellow DARPA organizers are shipping out shortly to start putting everything together onsite. As my last blog post before the Hackfest, I wanted to make sure I passed along the following information that I think people will want to know:

  • Registration: if you haven’t done it yet, I’m afraid it’s too late.
  • Food: we will be providing breakfast, lunch, dinner, and beverages every day of the Hackfest for all attendees, so no need to worry about getting on an off the Ames facilities for food. Snacks and additional beverages can also be purchased at the NASA Space Bar, which is located within the Conference Center, Building 3. The Space Bar hours are 11:00am – 7:00pm on weekdays.
  • Access for non-US citizens: If you are not a US citizen, you should have received some information and action items in your registration confirmation email. Please make sure you have submitted all necessary forms and identification prior to arrival to get access to Moffett Field without hassle.
  • Radio and flying regulations: this is a Hackfest about SDRs and drones, but there are a few rules to follow. If transmitting, keep the power as low as possible for testing purposes or use an amateur radio band (appropriately) if you are licensed. Drones cannot be flown outside of the buildings. This is an active airfield we are using. For that matter, there will be no flying inside the conference center unless tethered and only with the knowledge and approval from the Hackfest staff.
  • Demonstrations: If you would like to do demonstration flights, please work with the Hackfest staff at the registration desk to allocate time in the UAV Range in Building 45. Range time priority is given to the Mission teams.
  • Channel assignments and RF protocols: We will announce the RF channels assigned to each team. The teams are each receiving a contiguous and non-adjacent channel to do their development work. Be mindful of these frequencies and do not transmit – for any reason – into these channels. We will be monitoring them and have a zero-tolerance policy for jamming and interfering. That goes for everyone at the Hackfest.
  • Support: Event staff will be on site from 0700-2000 daily. Security will be there 24 hours a day to provide access to the NASA Conference Center for Mission Teams and Hacker Space participants.
  • Site access and parking: See the map below for information on the Ames Research Center layout. To get to the NASA Ames conference Center, use the Main Gate. Directions to the Main Gate can be found here. You will need a valid government-issued photo ID (e.g., a driver’s license or CAC) and be sure to let the guards know that your destination is the NASA Ames Conference Center, Building 3 for the DARPA Hackfest. Parking is indicated on this map.

  • Kickoff: The kickoff for the Hacker Space is at 12pm on Monday, November 13, and check-in will begin at 11. We will be getting the teams ready before then, but we will start in earnest with lunch, which will be followed by talks from Amie Stepanovich and Cory Doctorow.
  • Hackfest agenda: The week’s agenda can be found here.
  • Building 45: In the UAV Range in Building 45, the majority of the space will be netted off for UAV flight. There will be a space open for an audience to observe. The observation space will be easily accessible from a large door that points towards the conference center and so easy to get to.