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#283394 - 01/17/17 02:36 AM goTenna = bad idea?
Bingley Offline
Veteran

Registered: 02/27/08
Posts: 1424
I saw this device, advertised for "disaster relief" among other things.

http://www.gotenna.com/

It doesn't rely on cell towers or an "external" infrastructure. It requires a network of other goTenna users. Is it just me, or does this seem like a bad idea to you, too?


Edited by Bingley (01/17/17 02:37 AM)

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#283396 - 01/17/17 04:31 AM Re: goTenna = bad idea? [Re: Bingley]
hikermor Offline
Geezer in Chief
Geezer

Registered: 08/26/06
Posts: 7324
Loc: southern Cal
I would be dubious, at best.
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#283397 - 01/17/17 06:13 AM Re: goTenna = bad idea? [Re: hikermor]
haertig Online   content
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 03/13/05
Posts: 2184
Loc: Colorado
Why not just get a HAM radio? Heck of a lot better range. A global standard. Many orders of magnitude more users. And some of those users are technical enough to be able to fix their own radio if it broke.

Even a GMRS or FRS radio would be better. Heck, even a CB radio would top it.

With a good set of lungs, you could probably make a megaphone, like cheerleaders use, top it. A signal mirror and Morse Code ... a log drum and some sticks ... a smoky fire with a blanket to shape the smoke signals ... lots of things would top it.

This gadget has about as much real-world utility as an insulated pencil. Why would you want an insulated pencil? My point exactly!

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#283404 - 01/17/17 03:06 PM Re: goTenna = bad idea? [Re: Bingley]
M_a_x Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 08/16/02
Posts: 1095
Loc: Germany
In my book a network of other goTenna users counts as external infrastructur. Given the nature of the network Iīd consider it fairly unreliable.
With the cell phone frequencies the communication will basically be short range and line of sight. In conclusion Iīd rate the gadget as mediocre at best (provided one has no access to CB or HAM).
Being a HAM guy, my real opinion about the gadget may not be family friendly enough for the forum.
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If it isnīt broken, it doesnīt have enough features yet.

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#283405 - 01/17/17 03:25 PM Re: goTenna = bad idea? [Re: haertig]
M_a_x Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 08/16/02
Posts: 1095
Loc: Germany
Originally Posted By: haertig
Why not just get a HAM radio? Heck of a lot better range.

I am with you on that.
HAM requires a license. That may be an obstacle for some.

Originally Posted By: haertig
A global standard. Many orders of magnitude more users. And some of those users are technical enough to be able to fix their own radio if it broke.

In addition to that some of those users provide a reliable repeater infrastructure and are willing to share their resources even in the case of a disaster. There are also some HAM operators who dedicate some resources to help with disaster communication.
In the times of Echolink even a 2m/70cm handheld allows for global communication.

Originally Posted By: haertig
lots of things would top it.

My RockMite fits into an Altoids container and will top itīs range by several orders of magnitude and is less susceptiple to noise. CW has some advantages grin
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If it isnīt broken, it doesnīt have enough features yet.

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#283410 - 01/17/17 06:29 PM Re: goTenna = bad idea? [Re: Bingley]
Michael2 Offline
Journeyman

Registered: 10/07/04
Posts: 53
I know. Nobody cares.

But it's ham radio, NOT HAM radio.

Or, if you want to use the official name of the service, call it "Amateur Radio." The "ham" part is not an abbreviation of anything.

For a full history of the name, see "Etymology of ham radio" at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Etymology_of_ham_radio

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#283416 - 01/18/17 12:28 AM Re: goTenna = bad idea? [Re: Michael2]
haertig Online   content
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 03/13/05
Posts: 2184
Loc: Colorado
Originally Posted By: Michael2
But it's ham radio, NOT HAM radio.

Ah, good to know. I learn something new every day.

I was attempting to use HAM to distinguish a working Amateur Radio from a non-working radio made out of pork parts. Just in case there was any confusion. My bad.

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#283418 - 01/18/17 01:29 AM Re: goTenna = bad idea? [Re: Bingley]
Bingley Offline
Veteran

Registered: 02/27/08
Posts: 1424
Where can I get said radios made of pork parts? Virginia?

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#283429 - 01/18/17 10:24 PM Re: goTenna = bad idea? [Re: Bingley]
Mark_R Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 05/29/10
Posts: 856
Loc: Southern California
Sorry. This is not a better mousetrap. For what your get vs what you spend, a FRS or GMRS radio will beat it.
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Hope for the best and prepare for the worst.

The object in life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane

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#283441 - 01/19/17 05:06 PM Re: goTenna = bad idea? [Re: Bingley]
chaosmagnet Offline
Sheriff
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 12/03/09
Posts: 3400
Loc: USA
Radio geek here. I notice radios. I've been known to stop strangers and ask them to let me take a peek at their radios and ask about them. I've never seen a GoTenna in the wild. Since they only work with other GoTennas, it's hard for me to believe that you'd often find people to talk to.

Your best bet in terms of dollars to utility is probably a $30-50 ham radio transceiver, assuming you're a licensed ham. While they are not type-accepted to transmit on FRS/GMRS frequencies, they do work on those frequencies and you can use them that way legally in an emergency. The same is true with maritime VHF frequencies.

Let me be clear, do not transmit with such a radio unless you fully understand what is legal and what is not. A ham radio license will help.

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