Urbana, Illinois, Now a goTenna Mesh Ambassador City!


I’ll have a report back. This should expose the mesh concept to a bunch of different circles of friends with a multitude of reasons to find it useful. Gotta go distribute Halloween treats and make sure that Wally is safe for the evening.


A couple of quick updates. The CU2600 event was a great warm-up for this week’s two presentations. I probably rambled a bit more than intended, as I had an emergency situation I needed to help a client with earlier that day. However, the Q&A was good and the venue (the Community Room at Schnucks) was inviting. About a dozen in attendance. We also received the first donated cell device AKA recycled cellphone, a very much still usable LG G6 that works great as a test device despite the screen having seen better days. Thanks Wendy! Now we have a Android pony in the barn.

The next night was a post-midweek-Halloween costume party. I decided to go as, what else? a goTenna Mesh! Or at least what version 1.0 of the costume looked like.

I’m missing a few things, due to time constraints. There’s no front “portal” to show my blinky lights. There’s no Power button or charging port yet. I need to “tuck under” the bottom edge of my skirt. And I need to get the goTenna logo onto the skirt.

The back view that looks pretty good already so it’s my new avatar.

More hijinks…

Basically, it’s a couple of floormats, fuzzy side in for comfort, plus the underside looks a lot more like the pebbled texture of the goTenna Mesh, with a skirt made out of the floor cushioning I use in my train room to keep the operators comfortable. Maiko helped with lettering the buttons and helping fit and size things. There’s a bike helmet and a pair of suspenders helping hold thing up. It’s a little heavy and gets kind of steamy inside after an hour or so. I can self-extricate, but basic bodily functions require de-costuming, so that’s a good thing. :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye: It’s not Disney, but it sure is fun!


@MikeL this costume is amazing!!! We are all loving it here at goTenna HQ.


Maybe a prelude to a goTenna balloon in the Macy’s Parade next year? :smiley:

BTW, I see that the UMESH map linked about has now passed 1,000 views. Guess people are finding it useful.


Macy’s Parade would be amazing…we might have to get marketing team on this @Austin_Vance :slight_smile:


THIS COSTUME IS UNREAL. You’ve made goTenna HQ’s Halloween, if not our entire year. This is awesome!!


I am beyond obsessed with this. Let me know when you’re planning to install your LED indicator light. There are a few touch operated ones that will let you pick between white and red light. Not that you’d want to be a Mesh running out of battery, but you could be!


Thanks to Danielle, Daniela, and Virginia for your very kind comments! :smiley:

I thought it was a good idea as soon as it occurred to me and I was soon turning concept into costumage. I am not skilled at such things, but using ty-wraps and a drill allowed me to piece it together.

If there was a circuit that could automatically send the various blink signals, it would be cool, but I will probably try for a simple momentary push button and do it manually at first. I’ve got some parts and battery packs sitting around that should work well for an initial go around.

What would be really cool is rigging the costume with its own GTM, then porting its blink signals to the costume’s light circuit. Could make for some interesting interactivity. :astonished:


Mike, you’re really taking UMESH to YOUMESH and I love it.


Here’s an updated costume pic after I made some adjustments for comfort, styled the green strap differently, and added the goTenna logo where it should be. The LEDs will take a little longer.

In all this hullabaloo, local folks should remember that I will be appearing as myself, mostly, to give a presentation about UMESH this Wednesday and Thursday nights, Nov. 7 & 8. See above:


Looks great! Best costume ever.


Attendance was small at the IMC event, but very interested in using goTenna Mesh. One person works at a local software firm and noted that at least one other fellow employee was also interested but had other commitments. Another has connection to a Latin American nation where goTenna isn’t officially approved for use (but is covered by the off-line maps offered in goTenna Plus.) The home town is spread out and separated by some challenging terrain; the community does not want the government building a cell tower for several good reasons and is looking at other possibilities to communicate. Very good discussion of the possibilities that the mesh offers.

I also spoke with folks from The Public i, the IMC’s monthly that has a circulation in the thousands. They want an article on UMESH, the goTenna, and on where the local effort is going, so I will be getting on that for an upcoming edition.

Finally, I was able to get a commitment for a location for UMESH 8. Along with the already-on-the-air UMESH 7, this will bring UMESH up to 25% of the current planned build-out. The location is ideal for expanding service into northwest Urbana. It will be on the air as soon as one of the 5 solar panels on order arrives and I can get another relay node built.

Remember, this evening, Thursday, November 8, will be the last presentation in the current round (but if you’d like your group to know more, let me know and we’ll make arrangements to do it for you.) See you, starting at 5:30pm at the Broadway Food Hall. Details in the announcement above in this thread.


The third and final presentation in this series on UMESH, as Matt Cho’s Broadway Food Hall (yum!), was well received by about 15 web developers and entrepreneurs. I showed up in my goTenna Mesh costume, which was a great conversation starter.

There were a lot of questions from many different angles. There appears to be some interest in using the various mesh SDKs available to come up with solutions for different communication needs.

I was asked specifically what would be at the top of my list as useful software and I said that a wireless mesh node management tool would save a lot of climbing and survey work in determining when and why a node went down. If we come up with something like that, I’ll be sure to share.

All in all, while the numbers of attendees weren’t huge, those listening often are highly influential and well-connected individuals in our community. I have given out, distributed or left for later pickup all but about 60 of the #meshmytown cards at this point. Those left should hold me through the holidays. I don’t have any more presentations currently scheduled, but I’d be happy to present to your group, just let me know of your interest!


Nailed it


Been too long, but finally got a couple of more nodes built this weekend. The primary hang-up was getting solar panels in hope of reducing costs. First they sent the wrong items, then it took far too long for the second pair of test articles to arrive. They seem to be adequate, a 10W panel that is encased in epoxy with 2 USB outlets an a 12V plug. I have a few quibbles, but testing over the last week has proved the internals are up to the task.

This weekend I built the first two nodes with these panels to a simplified design. There are 4 more coming that are about 3 to 4 weeks out, so will soon have more. This is the familiar interior layout.

This is the exterior.

I did away with the adjustable panel angle to instead depend on roof angle to be good enough once the node is dangled over the roof ridge in a typical install.

One of these is destined to go up as UMESH 8. That will bring the system to 25% of those needed to fully mesh Urbana. The other will allow me to swap it in at nodes that are having issues.


Awesome!!!and…20 char


The UMESH network went 100% solar powered today with the upgrade of UMESH 1 to solar power. Otherwise known as the “home node,” UMESH 1 has been powered by a wallwart in the attic reached via a 10’ USB cable. We’ve been putting resources into expanding the network, so there weren’t any solar panels to spare until now. In a pinch, UMESH 1 could have been powered by hooking a battery pack up to the cable from the attic power supply to it.

Here’s the straddle mount I made to place the solar panel oriented in a generally optimal direction on the roof peak.

The panel used here is one of two I ended up with free. because they were shipped by mistake. Near as I can determine, it’s an 18 volt output panel. While the battery packs I’m using are rated to 20 volts, the peak output rose enough above that to fry the charge circuit, The solution is to buy a solar charge controller and feed the battery pack with that. That is what is in the small watertight box hanging off the north side of the mount.

Here’s a view from the sunny side.

From there, the USB cable runs up to the orange watertight box that holds the goTenna Mesh.

A side benefit was that I was able to push the orange box higher up the mounting pole with the extra slack gained since the power cable need no longer go into the attic. This should slightly enhance the coverage provided by UMESH 1.


Happy New Year to everyone! We’re poised to expand UMESH significantly in the year ahead. Two nodes are built and ready to go (one will become UMESH 8 once we get a nice day to put it up.)

There are solar panels on hand to build 4 more relay nodes. If you’d like to have a relay at your location or nearby, contact me here or via my GUID on UMESH at 92290810565183.

I have also appended my GUID to every UMESH relay node description so that I can be more easily contacted in case of service concerns with the existing UMESH network.


I have many of these devices in Kankakee, would be neat if we could get a connection all the way to Chicago!


Hi Tom,
Well, it is rather flat most of the way, so you never know. :thinking:

I think they’ll have to add some hops to make it work, but down the road regional mesh networks might become the wave of the future. With a few good, tall towers, you get a lot of reach in terrain like ours.