How to use my gotenna

Just received our 2 gotennas. we are primarily using them in our go bag in the event of earthquake, disaster. should they only be powered on when needed our always on? If they are off they could not be used for repeating a signal from other users, correct?

any tips would be helpful. in my area I see a number of others in my mesh community, in a 1-5 mi range

Hello @RM1.
You are correct. Your goTenna Mesh devices, will not relay (repeat a signal) when turned OFF.
If you intend to use goTenna Mesh, only for emergencies, then you should conserve battery whenever possible - so leave it turned off inside your emergency kit. Make sure you top up the charge on them every couple of months.

To help your community during emergencies, I would recommend installing a powered on relay unit at your residence. This unit will be always ON and relay messages to help community members, expand their network. You can purchase additional goTenna Mesh units here.
Also consider powering this relay unit, using solar power. Here is an example of a cost effective solar panel you can purchase.