Hampton Roads Area, Virginia

Thought I would create a topic for the people in the Hampton Roads area. This is the Norfolk, Virginia Beach, Chesapeake, Portsmouth, Newport News, Hampton, Suffolk, and the areas around each city.

I felt that we should have a category for the people in the area to come and share ideas and collaborate specific to our region.

As of April 9, 2018 looking at the map there looks to be small cluster of people in the Pungo area with sporadic mesh users north of Virginia Beach, and some around the Greenbrier area, and in the Norfolk-Portsmouth borders. There is only one registered relay between Military Circle and Mt. Trashmore Park.
I live in Virginia Beach near Tidewater Community College and hopefully when my GTM arrives in the mail I can set up a 24/7 stationary relay of my own.


Welcome! I’m involved in encouraging our local mesh network to grow in Central Illinois (Urbana). It’s a bit far afield from the East Coast, but my retired Navy in-laws live near Smithfield, just not quite to the area you describe, but in the same metro area.

When we first drove out there, I asked my wife about the somewhat unusual gating system, mostly along one side of the highway. Turns out, when a hurricane warning is issued the emergency management folks declare one-way traffic and the gates make sure that happens as people evacuate inland away from the potential for vast coastal flooding and other damage.

It’s a vast land composed of waterways and low-lying land, with swampy or tidal lands in between in many places.

In other words, ideal for goTenna Mesh to be an adjunct to official emergency communications, for personal emergency planning, and as something so useful people will keep it around when there’s no emergency. Being readily at hand and familiar already are great benefits to their use when things are stressful or even scary. But if you’ve already used the goTenna for everything from shopping to fishing, it’s easy to see how incredibly vital a goTenna Mesh could be in life-threatening emergencies.

That low lying land I remember would mean getting a little height for a stationary node could pay off some real benefits in average range for networks there. Roof level at many homes would probably work quite well.

If enough stationary nodes were in place, a project that simple publicity might encourage into being, but which would cost very little for a great deal of functionality if supported by local units of government who might also find day to day benefits like fire departments, rescue squads, and towing companies, could greatly facilitate these evacuations.

A hurricane evacuation would almost certainly swamp the cell network most of the time and power outages could compound the problem. If the stationary nodes placed online were solar powered, which I and other here have written up doing with easily obtained and reliable components, they would largely remain on the air. With an upcoming design change that will enable stationary nodes to restart without human intervention after total power loss, surviving nodes could be waiting for people to return and support the repair of infrastructure like cell towers and power grid with minimal support needed at that crucial period of recovery.

I think you’ve found a great solution for common local problems. Spread the word and good luck!

Thanks for the encouragement! Yes Smithfield is quite a ways from Virginia Beach, my dad used to work at Smithfield Ham when we first moved here in 2001.

But we did have some pretty bad flooding issues around here. My neighborhood flooded up to the driveways. Had to get the kayak and paddle out to Rite Aid across the street for some quick groceries. My daughter got interviewed and was on TV lol. My wife got a picture of me paddling down the street somewhere.


So it’s been almost a week since my GTM came in the mail, yay! :sunglasses:

I’ve already added my stationary relay on the map in Virginia Beach. Its pretty cool and see what everyone means now when they use the “Shouts” as a range test. Granted the unit is just hanging from a hook about 5 feet in the air (beacuse im using the longest cable i have pluged in), I am getting rought a half mile range from my house to my car at the nearby intersections. The GTM that is with me is hanging on the visor arm via silicon loop. After driving around with it in the car, I just realized that it’s probably illegal hanging there since its closer to my face that it would be if I hung it on the rear view mirror which is still technically illegal. Also add to the fact that when it flashes either facing me or faceing outward is another reason for it to be super illegal haha.

But I’ve been doing random Shouts and Emergency Texts with no replys.

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Figured I’d give this thread a nudge to go with the Carolinas thread given the pending storm. My in-laws live outside Smithfield, VA. They “pre-evacuated” the area because they were traveling to attend my Navy sister-in-law’s promotion to Captain out West.

Made my wonder if anyone else might have any contributions to building some mesh in the Norfolk area since this was last discussed? With six hops now possible, a well-located string of stationary relays along I-64 when it turns one-way for evacuation inland could be really handy if it was in place.

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Good morning! I am hoping to help revitalize this thread :slight_smile: I am in the Tidewater/HR area and am very interested in assisting with growing the Mesh community. I am awaiting my four GoTenna Mesh and Voltaic Systems V15 Battery (both should be here tomorrow); I already have a solar panel (Lixada 7.8W). I want to keep the set-up simple…the more complicated the less people will want to use (IMHO).

I will start experimenting next week…hoping to help get this off the ground.

Look forward to hopefully getting involved!!!


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Sounds good! Honestly I have not been using my goTenna in a long while, and the other one I keep on 24/7 have not kept up with. It’s still plugged in but I haven’t hooked up to it yet. Mainly due to the fact the “spare” phone it was linked up with was broken by my son and just never got another dedicated “spare” phone to linked to.

At least this will give me a reason to double check if it is up and running. I do however rember seeing it blink (red?) a couple times randomly.

Hi, nice to find this group. My devices should be here this week. I plan to set up a simple relay node in the next few weeks and then transfer to a MOAN. Has anyone here built one?

Hi HugerER,

As far as I know, no one has built a MOAN, and funds on my end has not allowed me to build one either =P… I have mentioned about the GoTenna to the local Virginia Beach Ham club, but they did not seem too interested in the technology since they already have their radios and repeaters setup.

As you can see in the forum thread there is dajolly74 and myself. I can’t speak for dajolly74 but I kindda dropped down from pursuing the GoTenna until things in my personal life settle down.

However I still have one of my units powered 24/7 up in my “Playroom/Office” up in the ceiling. From what I understand they both now have the “old” firmware and have not updated either because those projects are kindda on the the backburner and I remember reading somewhere if you update them incorrectly, you have a chance of bricking your device. I was thinking about contacting GoTenna if they offer firmware upgrading services. I would rather go that route than possibly bricking both my devices since a $170 paperweight would be a really hard pill to swallow.

Earlier this year I was trying to figure out how to setup a GM outside my house 10-15 feet on some sort of pole and hard wire a power source to keep online 24/7. The only difference is that I do not want to deal with the solar panel since the unit would be about 5-10 from my bed room window. I figure it would be close enough from my room that I can connect to it and still have the unit be high enough to get decent coverage.

My neighbor is from NY and does the CB thing since he has a kid. He had one of those antennas that looked like it was from the Sputnik. Huge antenna with four small ones pointed slightly downwards. He had that thing mounted on one of those movable basketball base. I was thinking if I could find one for free/cheap I could do something similar.

But all that stuff went to the back burner for now, probably till Spring time I may pick it back up. Right now I just can’t commit as much time as I’d like to, and I really dislike starting something and don’t finish it either.

If anyone wanna meet up and talk or need extra hands with building let me know and I can see what I can do. I’ve got some basic tools and can do simple soldering. The worst I can say is that I can’t make it to the meet. =)

Peace out

Thanks for getting back to me. I had a little trouble updating one of mine. goTenna has published some steps for the known issue I had. Contacted them when I could not get them to work, but figured it out before I t me know iheard back from them (the next morning). The did offer to replace the unit, which impressed me.

I’ll searching for info on building the MOAN. That whole thread seems to have stopped. Some folks said they were planning on putting out instructions, photos, and videos, but then dropped off.

Added a new relay node in Wiliamsburg.


Cool! Sounds good!

Just curious, which route did you end up taking? I am assuming you built a MOAN?

I have not built the MOAN yet. Right now it’s just a powered relay. I’ll be building a powered MOAN in the next few weeks. The parts are starting to arrive.

Hey HugoER,

Did you ever get the MOAN finished yet? I know its been awhile since your last post, just wondering :smile:

Not a full MOAN yet, just a simple relay. I’m still trying to find the correct solder points. Any luck on your side?

Hey HugoEr,

No luck on my end ither, still looking. I have taken a few apart and have been messing with different wire / antenna mods. I’m hoping to have something going as I’m still working on one right now for a SMA direct board connection? Fingers crossed.