Sometime in spring of 2015 I ran across a Kickstarter campaign for the GoTenna. The idea was to create a FCC approved device operating in a frequency close to 2 meter HAM radio that would pair with your cell phone, and pair with another GT/Cell Phone. There would be a wireless local wireless connection between them without cell service needed. The communication mode would be encrypted text chat via an app for your cell phone(s). This idea was of interest to me as 1) we always have our cell phones with us for use as a time piece or the many handy camp-apps onboard, and 2) neither of us really like walkie talkie use (I’m a licensed HAM operator, but my wife won’t have anything to do with talking on a radio!)
Our two GoTennas arrived in March of 2016. There are several belt-loop color combo choices, I just went with the Blue for Boy, Green for Girl look. The pair come safely packaged with simple ~3 step setup instructions printed on the inside cover of box. There are also two ~6″ usb/usb-mini cables for charging the devices. Ours had a good charge out of the box (when charging there is a red led. It goes off when fully charged.) After downloading the free app for our Android phones I paired them one at a time. Then turned both phones Airplane mode on, turned Bluetooth back on both phones and the two paired up without a hitch. We sent a few text message volleys in the living room and all looked good to go.
The field test will have to wait a couple weeks as we don’t have anything planned out in the woods… I will report back then…
Well the GoTennas worked great after syncing up to our two respective Samsung Galaxy phones. We were able to easily get a measured 3/4 mile to 1 mile out of them from our woodsy camp to the beach. So they did what we’d hoped for which was to allow for some communication between the two of us via text messaging when cell service was unavailable.