1W UHF vs 2W VHF at Auburn State Recreation Area

I have to admit that I was always VERY skepical about the performance of the Gotenna Mesh as a ‘point to point’ device. The fact that it is only 1W and uses UHF frequencies just does not seem to be the stuff that dreams are made of when it comes to wilderness communication. So I purchased the V1 Gotennas last summer despite the fact that the Mesh was already available. They just seemed to be the better choice for me than the Mesh (which seemed like they would be better for situations where there are plenty of other people to relay your signal). I have been using the V1 for the last few months. And they have worked quite well for me on a number of hikes.

But I always wondered about the Mesh. There was certainly a lot of noise made about them on the website, particularly with regards to the idea of a decentralized ‘network of the people’. This certainly seemed appealing, and had me thinking more than once about buying some. But since point to point range was of paramount importance to me and networking with others is unlikely in many wilderness areas at this time, I passed. I just didn’t want to spend the money on something that may ultimately just collect dust. But then came Cyber Monday. 30% off was enough for me to take a chance. After all, Apple always says that there is more to a product than specs. Maybe the same might be true with Gotenna Mesh?

Surprisingly, the answer to this question was actually YES!!! I had previously tested the original V1 Gotenna and now the Mesh on a nine mile hike that I often take at the Auburn State Recreation Area. This hike only takes you a maximum of a little over two miles from the starting point. But there are some points that are actually quite a challenge to any two way radio communications system. For instance, in the first part of the hike, I hike downhill from my parking spot on the west side of the Foresthill Bridge to the confluence of the North and Middle Forks of the American River. Communicating with the top of a hill might seem ideal. But not here. The car is more or less parked on a ‘shelf’, and there is NO line of sight between the car and the trail. A steep and rather heavily forested slope stands between the trail and the car. Admittedly, I had nobody in the car to text me. But I tested the Gotenna to see if I could get a comfirmed delivered message to the car (and I assume delivery confirmation must mean that the receiving Gotenna is sending back a signal telling it has received the message). Both Gotennas could successfully send a message at all tested points on this trail. But unlike the V1, the Mesh was actually able to do it at every try while remaining in the pocket of my hoodie! The V1 had to come out at some of the more difficult spots. This was completely unexpected. I even got a message through at the bathrooms down at the bottom of the hill!

The same was true for the section at the bottom of the canyon. Some of these spots were more difficult than others, as the Gotenna seemed to take more time at some spots to send a message (indicating that multiple attempts wee required). But I still never needed to remove the unit from my pocket (unlike the V1). I did, however, sometimes need to change the pocket the unit was in such that the pocket faced the car (and the signal didn’t have to pass through my body).

The next section was the steep Training Hill. This section actually has pretty good line of sight with the car. So neither device had much of a problem in my hoodie pocket. The only exception was a dip before a steep climb, where the V1 had to be elevated slightly.

Above Training Hill, things once again got interesting. This area is slightly rolling terrain on top of the American River Canyon. It is somewhat wooded, but also rather shrubby in places. Also, since I was no longer winding up and down hills so much, I was starting to put more distance between myself and the car. Once again, I never had to pull the Mesh out of my pocket, but had to do it several times with the V1. Even at the far point around the junction with the Wendell Robie Trail, which brings me back. Admittedly, some of the signal path is straight line of sight between the sides of the canyon. But in order to get there, it must pass through some trees and brush, as well as around some rolling terrain. Quite impressive.

The Wendell Robie Trail winds its was back down the canyon to the confluence. Much of this trail actually has fairly good line of sight with the bridge. But the top part is actually rather heavily wooded and somewhat tucked in. Again, NO problems with the mesh in my Hoodie (but the V1 had to come out a few times).

Back through the canyon, things were much the same as before. And the climb up to the top of the canyon to the opposite side of the Foresthill Bridge was much the same. The V1 DID require elevation at one point, though. Once on the Foresthill Bridge, communication with the car was a cinch.

I still don’t know why the Mesh worked SO much better than the original on this hike. Was there another mesh user out there to act as a relay? Maybe. But I’m guessing it was HIGHLY unlikely. Hikers are generally early morning people and afraid of the dark. Since it was around 9:00-10:00 at night, this is EXTREMELY unlikely. But if any mesh user here was out there at the time, maybe they can post that here. I’m thinking that maybe the Mesh benefits from the fact that the shorter wavelength UHF frequency allows for the use of a more optimal antenna design, which can overcome the disadvantages of lower power and the less ideal propagation characteristics of UHF vs VHF in the wilderness (if you want to refer to ASRA as wilderness, that is). In other words, ERP could be higher despite lower transmitter wattage. In any case, it just seems to work better. And at the end of the day, that’s what REALLY matters.

Like the V1 Gotenna, I would like to try it again on that hike, and with someone to send me messages. And I would like to try the Mesh on some other hikes where I have used the V1 (which might have to wait until next summer after snowmelt). But as for now, it looks like the Gotenna Mesh just might be BETTER than the V1 for point to point wilderness communication. I never would have thought.


Awesome report! And yes, Mesh units get about 20-40% better range than V1 units because Mesh has a much more electrically efficient antenna. Yeah, we were surprised too. :wink:


@StorminMatt Wow your report was pretty detailed. Keep sharing when next you test.

I would not have thought so either.

This answer makes a lot of sense. The antenna is always the most important part of a radio system. Trying to make up for a poor antenna isn’t always possible. I thought the V1’s antenna looked a little small based on pics from a tear down. I would have liked to have seen a whip on those but that would have made them prone to breakage and difficult to pack. I believe a replaceable antenna would have been legally possible on the V1s however.


As far as I know, a replaceable antenna is fine with MURS. You just can’t have a replaceable antenna on an FRS radio (or GMRS, if it also transmits on FRS channels). I have actually thought about trying to put a whip antenna on a V1. Maybe even a simple plastic antenna like the type that comes with routers (since these are designed for ~2.4 GHz, I’m not sure how well these would work with MURS). Regardless of the antenna used, all that would be required is a connector for the antenna. This might be just what the V1 needs to live up to its potential, although (as you say) a long antenna would make for a more breakable and less packable unit. A fold-out rubber ducky similar to the Gotenna Pro would be the ticket.

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Forget the router antennas. You can buy some good antennas precut for the Murs band pretty cheap. If you know someone with an antenna analyzer they could tune fine tune it or talk to your local HAM club.

There is a lot of talk around here about adding antennas so it should be easy if you can solder.

EDIT:. I would use an SMA adapter or RP SMA adapter. Then you could remove the antenna.

Hello! I did not begin to create a new topic, so I’m writing in this one.
My comparative tests say that version 1 works better without interference. The first gene gives a significant range in the suburbs.
I hung one device on the handle of the window on the third floor and the second in the car on the mirror. The range of the first gene is much higher than the mesh.
I would advise the team of Gothenn not to stop the development of low frequency.

I was able to send messages two miles through not a dense building.

I actually agree with you. MURS certainly has its advantages over ISM, particularly in outdoor settings. It would appear that a significant issue with the 1G devices is the antenna. The slide out antenna simply isn’t long enough to realize the advantages of a more powerful MURS transmitter vs a less powerful ISM transmitter. I’m not sure how easy it would be to incorporate a better antenna into a compact design, as it would need to be some sort of telescoping antenna. But a connection for an external antenna that could be used when increased range is needed could be a possibility.

As for Gotenna continuing development on the MURS units, I don’t think they’re interested. First of all, as has been pointed out, MURS is a US thing. Other countries restrict the use of these frequencies, and this naturally hurts international sales. I’m also not sure if, like ISM, other countries may or may not have open frequencies CLOSE to the MURS band. If this is the case, they could do what they did with the Mesh. Otherwise, the MURS units are relegated to be US only.

Of course, the other (and perhaps bigger) reason why Gotenna doesn’t seem to have much interest in the MURS units is that they seem to be wanting to dive head-first into the whole user-driven mesh networking thing. And, according to FCC regulations, they can’t do this on MURS. Mesh networking is certainly not a bad thing, although there will ALWAYS be situations where it is just not practical (think wilderness areas, where it is unlikely that there is someone nearby to relay off of). For this reason, I think continued development of the MURS units would be a GREAT idea. But I don’t think Gotenna is on board here. Perhaps they ARE giving up on a good thing by moving away from this. But for better or for worse, this just doesn’t seem to be the direction the company wants to take.

Another thing I think would be GREAT would be a dual band consumer Gotenna in the same vein as the Gotenna Pro - MURS for longer range wilderness communication (and an SMA connector to add an antenna to make this work better) along with ISM for mesh networking. However, I’m not sure what kind of regulatory hurdles such a device might face. And I’m not sure Gotenna would even be interested.


Unfortunately, the range 849-869 MHz with 0.5 watts of power is not the best idea to compensate for the frequency requirements in other countries. Given the range of the transmitter, the Gotenna team could go on the line and make a connector for the antenna, for example SMA and frequency selection. First of all, 144,433,868 and 902 MHz, and also the transmitter power.