If anyone is interested in a long range device that works similar to the goTenna (2 way text and location sharing) then you may want to check out the Garmin Inreach. (Currently on sale)
These two devices complement each other. I was on a week long business trip in Parma Italy and was able to use both devices. I used the goTenna Mesh (4 of them) to communicate between my co-workers (3 people and one located at the hotel as a node). This was great because it reduced my international data usage. I used the Garmin Inreach to send text and email to my wife at home and a few friends in Philadelphia.
I’m always looking for ways to “link-up” distance Mesh networks whether it be by Ham Radio using the WinLink system (Email over HF radio) or Satellite using the Garmin Inreach. So to recap the goTenna excels in local area communication and the Garmin is for the long haul.
The Garmin Inreach is not cheap and does require a monthly plan. I’m on the “Safety Plan” which is about $15 a month. It’s the cheapest “Satellite communication” you will find.
goTenna Mesh (Pro’s / Con’s)
low initial cost
no monthly fees
outstanding inter group communication and location sharing
Strength in numbers
Requires line of sight (as does any VHF / UHF radio system)
low power (limited by FCC)
iPhone app MUST be down loaded before hand (if no internet connection is available)
phones are needed to complete the system.
limited users in the area limit the overall Mesh size
Garmin Inreach (Pro’s / Con’s)
Global reach using the Iridium Satellite network
SOS feature for remote rescue and communication to/from rescue service
Has an internal GPS receiver
can communicate to almost any phone number or email
can work as a stand alone unit or be paired with a phone
High initial cost
Monthly fees (lowest around $15 / month - Highest $100+)
Explorer + model has maps but it is the old Delorm map set and is not very good.
Local Inter group communication and location sharing cost money (how much depends on the selected plan)
Unit must initiate the first contact, then 2 way communication can start. i.e. Garmin must reach out first, then users can respond.
More units do not help as they could over load the Satellite network.
Communication could be shut off if your monthly bill is not paid
Requires a good view of the sky (still line of sight but straight up)
a bit bulky to carry around