MadMax - OFF-THE-GRID, EMPs, etc. > Electrical Gizmos, Gadgets and Tools

Gotenna - The radio that lets smartphones connect totally off grid


Yowbarb Note: I just saw this. Posting it before I forget. Will post or info on this later today.
...Tweeted by Geoffrey Fowler, personal technology writer ofr the Wall Street Journal.

@geoffreyfowler =

No cell signal? This might help: I reviewed @gotenna, the radio that lets smartphones connect totally off grid

Yowbarb Note: gotenna does not necessarily work everywhere. See photo, below.
Likely a worthwhile thing... Get others in your circle signed up for a better safety connection in case people get separated. Will post whole article, later. 

One illustration of its use: Chuck and  Kristy Stanton, retirees from Princeton, N.J., told me they relied on their GoTennas to help stay in contact on a recent tour around Asia. When they got separated while touring Angkor Wat one particularly hot and humid day in Cambodia, Ms. Stanton messaged her husband and, using her location data and the GoTenna maps, he found her in the maze of the temple within minutes.


The GoTenna is designed for situations where there’s no signal at all. It was born after superstorm Sandy, the 2012 storm that knocked out cell service in parts of New York and New Jersey. In the aftermath, company co-founder Daniela Perdomo, a Brooklyn, N.Y.-based tech entrepreneur originally from São Paulo, wondered if there might be a way to let people still use their smartphones without being susceptible to infrastructure failure. The GoTenna began shipping in October. [2012]

The GoTenna operates on some of the lowest frequencies (151 to 154 MHz) available without a radio license. Those frequencies allow digital signals to travel longer distances. But due to limited bandwidth, GoTenna’s technology doesn’t send voice or photos. It only sends text messages and GPS coordinates—sufficient both for telling a buddy you’ve found the perfect campsite…or flagging a helicopter to come get you off that godforsaken mountain.

There are no subscription fees, but you’ll need at least two, because GoTenna signals can only be picked up by other people with GoTennas. You can pair up with friends for one-to-one or group chats by entering their phone number or an antenna ID into the app. There’s also a Shout mode, which lets you be heard by any other GoTennas that happen to be listening. The company says public safety officials have started purchasing GoTennas, and it recently got a grant to distribute them to 20,000 New Yorkers to help in disasters.
The GoTenna app lets you know when your message has been received. It also includes free maps you download before going off the grid so you can find locations without needing data service. It’s got landmarks, roads, even some hiking trails.

GoTenna’s app is a product of the smartphone age, but the antenna itself is old-school radio. It works best in areas that are mostly flat, or where there is a clear line of sight between both antennas.
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