Group of 10 new users on the 47th annual bike ride across Iowa

Hi. I’m the proud owner of 10 new goTenna mesh units, which I’m supplying to our team of 10 bike riders who will be riding approx 450 miles across Iowa over a period of 7 days beginning next week.

The bike ride is called RAGBRAI (the Register’s Annual Great Bike Ride Across Iowa), now in it’s 47th year, and attracts about 20,000 riders who overwhelm the cell networks of every town they pass through and camp at along the way.

So I got the bright idea that our team would use goTenna to stay in contact and to facilitate regrouping in the pass through towns and overnight towns. It is very easy to get separated and disconnected in the midst of so many bikes, and end up possibly not seeing your friends again until meeting at predesignated spots.

I hope to get some advice from you experts to help us noobs have a good experience with this.

The first issue I have is this: I just downloaded the app and paired with 1 of the 10 units, no problem.

(i) Will I automatically pair with this particular unit now when I turn the unit on and open the app, regardless of how many other units may be on near me?

(ii) Are the other 9 units to be set up be each group member as if they own the unit? If so, do I need to somehow “reclaim” them after this event is over, so that I can put them to use with different people at other events in the future?


Congratulations on the good idea.

For #1 the gotenna mesh should only reattach to the device it was paired with. I have four gotenna mesh connected to separate devices and they all reconnect to the gotenna they were paired with.

#2 I’m not sure about. When the gotenna mesh does not find it’s device it is paired to it goes into pairing mode (flashing light). While gotenna mesh will store and forward messages until it reconnects to its device it potentially could be paired to another device in the interim. I haven’t really played around with this scenario myself so hopefully someone will chime in. But I think it will be trivial to pair gotenna mesh to a new device even if the originally paired device is not nearby. But I don’t know for sure. The gotenna mesh will get a new GUID (or phone number) when paired with a new device and thereby disconnecting it from the previous device.

Great use case, this will make getting lost in the crowd much more difficult.

So long as you’re paired to a GTM it will stay connected only to you.

Best thing to do is to ask each person to “unpair” from the GTM by going into Settings, then under My Account & Devices, where you’ll see the option to Unpair goTenna. Click on it and follow the simple instruction that pops up to unpair.

There is a work-around if they forget to unpair, but it’s late enough I’m not remembering it.

Great to hear. I’ll plug in my repeaters in the area. Have a safe ride!

Thank y’all for the info.

@kevlinmaloney where are your repeaters?

One of our team members cannot attend, so now we have an extra GTM that can be used in Stationary Relay Mode. We plan to hang it from the top of a 12 foot telescoping flag pole that will be attached to the top of an RV ladder while the RV is parked.

If I’ve already paired my app to GTM1 and the Stationary Relay will be GTM8, am I able to pair to GTM8 also with my app, or does that require using a phone that has never paired with a GTM before?

I’ve read in the manual that you can set up a GTM as a stationary relay by pressing the power button in certain ways, but don’t you need to pair to it to do basic things like check the battery?

My apologies … these questions are probably very elementary to y’all.

This is actually the easiest way to set the 8th one up as a relay. Take the unpaired GoTenna Mesh and turn it on. It will start flashing continuously. Push the Power button 3 times quickly. This will cause the flashing to stop. Press it 3 times quickly again. The light will go out. This puts it in relay mode.

To confirm that is the mode it’s in, blip the Power button once and the GTM should flash 3 times.

You can’t be paired to it in this mode, but the battery will last about 24 hours. In Relay mode, Bluetooth is shut down to save energy.

There is some trick that will get two GTM’s paired to one phone, but the software isn’t really set up to do that and I’m not sure what the hack is to do so. It’s easier and less confusing to pair to the extra with a spare phone. It will still relay for you, but will not last so long as the Bluetooth will stay on.

@banjolawyer - we have chosen GoTenna as our helper on this year’s ride. Hopefully we will be able to support each other on the route. What cool tech! Excited to see it work in the wild. #RAGBRAI #CARUP