goTenna Mesh community

Mesh during hurricane season

With hurricane season in full swing, is anyone finding good use with the goTennas? I’m happy to take any feedback and pictures.

In addition, if anyone is having trouble while using these in storms please reach out!

  • N

Nate, I don’t live on the coast any more but I was on the coast during Florence and many other hurricanes and honestly, cell coverage is usually ok with anything short of the devastation that the Bahamas and Puerto Rico went through. Also, the density issue comes in to play during those situations.

While it’s true that progress has been made in keeping comm systems on the air, nonetheless the basic threat remains for storms to take out vital infrastructure. Sometimes this is only power-related; when it comes back on, things are good. However, if a tower goes down, then only a mobile tower-to-go will fix things until they can be fixed permanently.

Then there’s the well-documented increase in the average power of storms, which is unlikely to be abated until we manage to mediate global warming - of which there are few positive signs of results so far.

One of our node hosts here in Urbana, IL, a local ham, spends a lot of time at his other home in Florida and works to support EMS services with comms in both places. He is very interested in the disaster relief possibilities of goTenna Mesh. While it’s hurricanes and such on the coasts, here’s it’s tornadoes and ice storms that prompt the desire to build mesh. Illinois is probably less exposed to natural disasters than the other three current Ambassador Cities (Seattle, Anchorage, and Tampa) with hurricanes, earthquakes, tsunamis and volcanoes all on tap as potential threats.

One thing to keep in mind is that, except for infrastructure vital enough to already rate a genset with suitable fuel tanks for long term backup power, is that modern electronic comm systems are often protected against temporary power loss relatively well. However, that works for outages measured in hours. When it comes to days of emergency power, they’re dead pretty quickly as battery backups often have no other way than using commercial power to recharge. Combine that with the sharply lower rates of plain old copper wire landlines (which are far less susceptible to outages) in use as more households go cell-only and the loss of comms gets acute pretty fast in the event of disaster.

A backup is a good thing to to have on tap.