Burningman 2018


Excellent! Great pic, too! Looking forward to reading about your experience in BRC and how the goTenna Mesh facilitated things for y’all.

One of my node hosts in the network here (UMESH) has a deaf sister and has been considering whether GTM might be a good way for her to communicate with me, who works as a part-time handyman for the family. She can communicate quite well with me once I’m onsite via pen and paper, but having her being able to send text would be much better and not have to rely on a third party to let me know that there is a problem that needs attention.

Having a good example of this in another use case might be just what’s needed to do a trial run to see how it works.


Hi Everyone!

To clear a few things up here:

GID and GUID are the same thing. Either refers to your goTenna ID which, depending on how you setup originally, is either your phone number or the 14 character random ID.

When adding contacts, you’ll see the that ‘1’ country code is being added for you. Thus, if you get GID information from a user who has used there phone number, you do not need to add the 1 when typing the contact number. The ‘1’ will be added for you. For a user who used a random GID, toggle to goTenna ID and you’ll be able to enter the 14 digits that comprise their GID. In this instance, country code prefix will not matter.

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Thanks for that clarification on the country code. :grinning: It can be a confusing thing for Americans, who aren’t so likely to dial abroad as many others routinely do. I’ve even lived abroad and it still confuses me how to use it in circumstances like these.


any news about communications on BM?


No, don’t expect any til it’s over and everyone’s back on-grid. :wink:


BM report 2018: State of the Mesh
-No cell signal from Gate road on. (ATT/Tmobile completely dead; Sprint somewhat working)… once you leave the highway, don’t expect ANY cell signal;
-Playa dust has not killed any of several permanent relays, car antenna mounted, or backpack mounted units (close the charging port or wire in a usb cable or wireless qi receiver, superglue around connection or mount all in ziplock bag.
-Low RF noise floor (but all the cheap LED lights)… not many obstructions… go high. At about 20’ the range is about 1.5 miles (whiteout conditions seem to hamper signal; better at night. Remember, when they go down, we get HIGH!
-Permanent relay at 2:30 and G Foam Against the Machine
-SMS relay doesn’t seem to be working… but recipients may not have signal / rebroadcasting relay nodes may not have signal. No one does.
-Attempting to setup a relay and phone backhaul by the entrance on highland.
-Lots of traffic
-May be seeing some of the Defcon McHackAttacks in the wild? Odd GID/pair/unpair activity.
-$100, a beer, and that which we may not mention, bounty from DefCon remains unclaimed, it’s been extended to the playa. Find the fox #FoxHunt, capture the flag #WCTF, interrupt communication and it’s yours. (May need to be an IOU until off the playa) triangulation, packet capture, RF only, NOT social engineering… must show your work. 915Mhz Yagi available and usb RTL-SDR if needed to borrow. :slight_smile:
Approximations of node locations

PS, if you are still coming out and care about staying “clean” or in contact with loved ones… or just want a good chuckle:


had a great time. i think that’s me 2nd from the left on the map 4:45 C.

was only on the 2 o’clock side once just after sunrise. biked past Miki beach but obviously didn’t want to wake up anyone.

wished i had met all of you there, but that’s how it sometimes goes. lots of adventures & little time for meet ups.

ATT cell reception if you raise your phone off the ground about 7 feet. we use a step ladder in our camp. was even able to send photo attachments. no luck with Verizon or Sprint.


Well, my best of intentions went to poo when on the first day I crashed on the BRC bike course and destroyed my cell. No cell…no gotenna. Well, next time. Maybe I can find some local help so I don’t have to wait another year. lol

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So long as it was only the cell that was broken, that’s a good thing in a bike crash.

More prep and less last minute rush and you’ll do better next year.


We are back from the burn and have knocked the dust off our clothes and campers. Phew.

Wanted to chime back in on here and recap. We were camping at 8&I and were able to keep our group connected with GoTenna’s the entire burn. The dust storms seemed to cause a loss in connection, but we were mainly together that night anyway. Thanks to everyone who brought theirs out so that we could have a tight and functioning network!

We didn’t end up using the GoTenna’s in the medical tent because we had a WiFi network, an actual land line to call Renown for transfers, and VHF radios that were already connected to all of the EMS aid stations and roving Ambulances. But our group of Doc’s used them to keep ourselves connected with each other, so it was a big success in that respect. I’ve never had communication on the Playa, and finding folks became so much easier this way!

Other notes: One of our units got too dusty in the charge port and we couldn’t re-charge it, so by friday we were down to 3 units. It would be nice to know the battery level on them.


Great report and good point about not discounting the power of communication even when off duty. Since you’re most likely never really completely off duty during events like this, it sounds like goTenna made a substantial improvement in your team’s effectiveness.

For the dusty charging port, a shot of compressed air from one of those cans of cleaning air might work,

To check your battery, you need to be paired with the GTM to see it on the home page of the app.

I tend to plug mine in when I land somewhere, which works well if you stay within Bluetooth distance.That keeps it full for all but beyond single day excursions.

I got crafty with the fins, but any piece of 1.25" PVC cut so it’s just short of where the power plug is will work to hold it upright and easy to charge.


I would be very interested to hear if you have been able to recover that node by blowing it out with compressed air. TIA dave

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closed #99