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New 900mhz mesh pocket transceivers!

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KH2SR's picture
New 900mhz mesh pocket transceivers!

These new portable 900mhz mesh networking transceivers are awesome!

1 watt power output. Links to your iOS or Android smartphone. Fits in your shirt pocket. Hardware hackable. SDK available.

They are already in use by thousands and thousands of people across the country.

Here is the link:

You can also browse the user coverage map here:

It would be really cool if we could get these devices placed on top of ham radio repeater towers and mountain tops such as Mt Diablo, Mt Hamilton, & Mt Umunhum.

"It would be really cool if
"It would be really cool if we could get these devices placed on top of ham radio repeater towers and mountain tops such as Mt Diablo, Mt Hamilton, & Mt Umunhum."

​I'm not sure that is as good as you think, First off these are part 15 devices which use encryption. This prevents their use for Ham Radio.  Since they are Part 15 they can be issued orders to shutdown for causing interference to Ham Radio equipment making the system virtually worthless at hilltops that are already competing for spectrum.

​Secondly 900Mhz is a very noisy band, hilltops will likely have issues (we even had issues under ham) being able to receive signals.
I haven't even started considering the concerns of a USB port for charging (try running 5v 200ft up the tower, let alone moisture or rain shorting out the non weatherproof connector)

​After that what is the system speed?  It seems like it is marketed for short text messages, APRS  or even plain old packet (when running the approriate firmware) creates a mesh network that can handle this type of traffic very easily.  

AREDN doesn't intend to compete with the slow speed data market, its an argumentation of the slow speed data  with high speed networking (for example wide area coverage of APRS or AX25 ride on top of AREDN as a high speed backbone networks to get to the destination for delivery)

​Cost is also another factor of these units at $87.50 each (sold in a 2 pack for $175) that is equivalent cost for a NanoStation M2 or M5, similar coverage range or even better coverage range, on HAM band frequencies.with MUCH higher speed.

​Its good marketing but as HAM radio operators we can deliver so much more to the community than these devices can.
W6RUF's picture
Looks like you are pretty excited about this product James.  Twitter, YouTube, Arden, Facebook...
Curious... did you back the product on Kickstarter as well?  I saw the Kickstarter campaign back over a year ago and was just wondering if you’ve actually tested the product and what results have you seen.
KH2SR's picture
Definitely excited about goTenna Mesh

Yup I’m definitely excited about them. Especially due to regularly camping with many family and friends who have no interest in getting a ham radio license. 

No unfortunately I’m not one of their Kickstarter backers, and I’m not affiliated with the company. Though I wish I had been able to invest in them. 

My family, friends and I have around a dozen of them now and they work great! They require very little setup and the mesh capabilities work amazing in groups. They use an internal fractal antenna. In an urban environment I have been able to get a few miles range using just two units without meshing through other units. I read online that around a hundred thousand units have been sold now through their website, Kickstarter, Amazon, REI, Cabelas, & sportsman’s warehouse.

People have successfully used them at up to 20 miles between mountain peaks (no meshing) and the max range record right now was between two aircraft at 47 miles (also no meshing). 

Now that I  personally have 4 of them I have tested out the mesh capabilities and it works very smooth and seamlessly.  I plan on on placing permanent relay nodes up on towers with a small solar panel, in each car, on our family boats, aircraft, RV’s.

Just a couple years ago I was really into Ham radio mesh networking and I had built up 7 nodes with various directional gain antennas. But the hardware didn’t provide the level of portability I like to have. It also just doesn’t seem like there are enough BBHN or AREDN nodes out there to be very effective.

I still really enjoy using my traditional VHF/UHF/HF ham radios, and I know these little things are only part 15 devices limited to 1 watt. but when it comes to mesh networking goTenna has the monopoly in coverage and quantity of users. 

Check out the map with the link below and you will see what I’m talking about. Those points on the map are only the users who volunteered to be visible on the map. Most people using gotenna are not even on the map at all. 

current map of users with nodes:

My non ham friends and family used to use FRS and even some people didn’t even want to use FRS because it was too noisy for them with all the group chatter. but this blows that out of the water since it’s so small and we can easily put up mesh repeaters and people can stick to using their smartphones like they are used to. 


Jim - KH2SR

W6RUF's picture
“My non ham friends and

“My non ham friends and family used to use FRS .....but this blows that out of the water since it’s so small and we can easily put up mesh repeaters and people can stick to using their smartphones like they are used to. “

Again curious how this 900 MHz link works, please explain.  Based on your exuberance and experience for this product, how does it route a call to another user through the ad hoc mesh it creates outside of your immediate “mesh island”? Are you using VoIP?  If you still have voice data connection to your cell provider, how are you certain this thing is routing anything?  On the flip side, if nobody on the island has connection, does it then show up as a WiFi connection?  How do your non-ham friends use it?
KH2SR's picture
GoTenna Mesh Community

I recommend you create an account on the GoTenna Mesh Community forum website. That’s where everyone goes to ask questions and discuss the goTenna Mesh network.

Gotenna doesn’t use your cellular data for communications. The gotenna device is a 900MHz mesh radio that links to your phone via Bluetooth. I tested this by using gotenna while I had a cell signal and then checked if any cellular data was used. None was. I also tested the goTennas with cellular and WiFi turned off while hiking and then driving where there isn’t cell service and it works great.

You can also read the description, tech specs, & watch some videos at their home page here:

There is no VOIP yet. It is currently capable of txt messaging and GPS location sharing. However the company has stated that they are releasing new firmware early 2018 that will add more features. 


Jim - KH2SR

KE2N's picture
IOT fallout

Whoo-Hoo 1200 bps packet rides again.

I found that TI has quite a nice (free) library - on line - related to this stuff.
​geeks may wish to peruse some of the articles, even if it is not broadband. 

Sadly, the Bluetooth in my Droid smart phone has only worked in two of the last eight firmware updates.  Last time it worked was in August as I recall. And this is apparently quiet a common problem ... 


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