goTenna Mesh community

Setting Up A Neighborhood Network: Fremont - SF Bay Area

Hello Fremont/SF Bay Area GoTenna Mesh Users,

Just an update for you on how things are going over here in our central Fremont neighborhood of 120 homes.

My goal is to get as many neighbors as possible, to purchase GoTenna Mesh devices, set them up and conduct bi-annual tests with me, so that they are ready in a catastrophic emergency when all conventional comms are down.

THE NEWS is that one of my neighbors just bought a pair of GoTenna Mesh devices. He has been taking them on his daily walks on the nearby park trail, ranging about 1/2-mile away from our eastern-most homes. I joined him in his testing, and we were able to easily communicate east-to-west across all 9 culdesacs. I then drove about 1/2-mile away (westerly) and we still had good text comms (total distance line-of-sight was 1.3 km). As I ranged farther west, city buildings blocked our line-of-sight, and we stopped testing at that point.

So we’re now sending out “join-our-network” messages on Whatsapp and Facebook groups to enlist more neighbors. Hopefully in a few months, we’ll have at least one person on each of the 9 culdesacs to join our network and then we can conduct a test.

QUESTIONS FOR YOU EXPERTS:

  1. Do you think that our 9-street neighborhood would benefit in having an always-on GoTenna Mesh Relay? I’m thinking maybe it should be mounded on a mast, in the center of the neighborhood. BUT since our tests were good across alll 9 streets, maybe we don’t need to bother with this (?).
    …AND….
  2. Can we setup an encrypted talk-group in the GoTenna Mesh app? I know that we can have encrypted 1-to-1 comms with individual users, and I know that we can send broadcast messages with SHOUT and 911 modes. But I’m wondering if we can setup a group, comprised of all neighbors that have purchased a device. This would give us the ability to have neighbors-only encrypted conversations, and then we will only use SHOUT when we need to communicate with people outside of our neighborhood.

Thanks for your input on my two questions.

Kind Regards

John Vargas
KI6BEN

1 Like

John,
That’s fantastic. I am north of you in San Ramon. I had little traction getting others interested in a network, so I went solo.
I bought to pairs. One device is permanently plugged into USB power, and is outside in a tree. That really helped with the range. I assume the walls attenuated the signal from within the house, but I can reach from in the house to the tree easily, and from there reach across the valley (~1.75 miles).

It doesn’t sound like you need a dedicated repeater. But you might be kind and leave yours near the window when charging and be an ad-hoc repeater.

  • Tim

BTW, to test solo: I left one phone home and connected to goTenna.
Took anther phone and goTenna for a drive and periodically sent my position (by Target, by the park, by Chevron, etc).
When I got back I could see, on the phone that stayed home, which message got delivered to know what range I was getting.

So the sending device shows you if the message was delivered or not, right?

well, yes, but the phone left at home has the successful list - so I didn’t have to write anything down while out and about.