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Posted: 9/29/2021 11:53:28 PM EDT
First heard about it at the 24:30 mark in this video from S2 Underground.  Here's a get-started guide and an overview by Andreas, the guy with the Swiss accent.  Inexpensive, low power AES256 encrypted local comms with no reliance on public or corporate infrastructure sounds useful.
Link Posted: 9/30/2021 12:26:52 AM EDT
[#1]
Not Meshtastic but I do a lot of work with LoRa modules in general. Running a couple different networks
with dozens of nodes each.

LoRa is a seriously over-hyped tech. It's incrementally better than the pure FSK parts, but not amazingly so.
The interface on the LoRa ICs is much better for doing frequency hopped spread spectrum, however.

Realistic ranges at low data rates, with good antennas and antenna placement (e.g. near line of sight) is
1-1.5 miles at most running the conventional 100mW parts.

Due to the frequency they're hyper-sensitive to terrain masking, I've got a couple nodes where I'm getting
maybe 1 packet in 3 to 5 sent that are under 300 meters away, but have minor terrain obstruction (LOS
being blocked by dirt.)
Link Posted: 9/30/2021 6:04:28 AM EDT
[#2]
I just bought a couple to play with.  Would love to explore them with you guys if you want to talk meshtastic.

I'm really new to them and still in the early stages of figuring them out.
Link Posted: 9/30/2021 8:16:45 AM EDT
[#3]
Thanks for bringing this back to my attention. I had noticed this effort some time ago, but it was not very mature and therefore did not hold my interest. However, they have come a long way since I last looked at it and now I find myself quite intrigued. I have some farm vehicles that would benefit from tracking but I was uninterested in APRS to do that for a variety of reasons (and I used to run an APRS digipeater site, so please don't start in with how I don't know what I don't know ). They have developed an ATAK (CivTAK) plug-in as well, which now makes ATAK more interesting.

I'm seriously thinking about buying four nodes. This hardware with the SX1262 looks to be the best choice, currently. It can be programmed down to 150MHz if I can figure out how to hack the firmware

BTW, don't support those nasty copycat websites that don't develop any of their own content. The main Meshtastic site has all you need to know and is surprisingly well organized.
Link Posted: 9/30/2021 10:59:21 AM EDT
[#4]
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Quoted:
Thanks for bringing this back to my attention. I had noticed this effort some time ago, but it was not very mature and therefore did not hold my interest. However, they have come a long way since I last looked at it and now I find myself quite intrigued. I have some farm vehicles that would benefit from tracking but I was uninterested in APRS to do that for a variety of reasons (and I used to run an APRS digipeater site, so please don't start in with how I don't know what I don't know ). They have developed an ATAK (CivTAK) plug-in as well, which now makes ATAK more interesting.

I'm seriously thinking about buying four nodes. This hardware with the SX1262 looks to be the best choice, currently. It can be programmed down to 150MHz if I can figure out how to hack the firmware

BTW, don't support those nasty copycat websites that don't develop any of their own content. The main Meshtastic site has all you need to know and is surprisingly well organized.
View Quote


I got those exact same units. I'm still playing with them and learning.  I'm intrigued by the Civtak plugin as well.
Link Posted: 10/24/2021 3:12:55 PM EDT
[#5]
Tagging this...
Link Posted: 10/24/2021 3:42:31 PM EDT
[#6]
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Quoted:
snip

I'm seriously thinking about buying four nodes. This hardware with the SX1262 looks to be the best choice, currently. It can be programmed down to 150MHz if I can figure out how to hack the firmware

snip.
View Quote


The modules used have quite a bit of front end that's off-chip and that isn't frequency agile, the 915MHz modules cover 850-930 or so,
but won't work well (or possibly at all) down at VHF.

The frequency is set with just three registers (24 bits, roughly freq / 61 Hz to get the value.)
Link Posted: 10/24/2021 7:16:46 PM EDT
[#7]
I got two of the chips from China and soldered the screen on and played with them a little.

Next time I go hiking I am going to take them to test.
Link Posted: 10/28/2021 11:21:18 PM EDT
[#8]
I'm starting to play with meshtastic. Got a couple Heltec LoRa32 V2 boards and a couple tiny LiPos. Should be fun to play with.

I'd like to know more about playing with some of the under the hood stuff. I see references to C and java(?) But don't know how to interface with the board to work with that. Maybe it'll be in the Android app later on?
Link Posted: 10/29/2021 10:41:38 AM EDT
[#9]
Trying not to sound like a pedantic adversarial smarmy douche...

Keyword on these low power things is "mesh," right?

So what's a mesh network? It's actually infrastructure-heavy, it's just that every participant is part of the infrastructure, so you don't see typical infrastructure. But it's there. At the frequency and power levels of LoRa etc, you're gonna need friends every half mile or so.. This is not a technology that acts like HTs and mobile radios.

If you have a neighborhood with lots of folks on board, or If you have a large property and you can put nodes wherever you want, those would be successful implementations.

Taking a LoRa module next time you're camping in the hills I think would be as useful as taking and electric Turkey carving knife. Now...if you're going camping with a bunch of people and they all have one, that might be useful, but nobody out of range or blocked by terrain is gonna get your comms.

That said, I'm intrigued by it, and interested in hearing real world results. My understanding is probably faulty and definitely incomplete.
Link Posted: 10/29/2021 11:27:18 AM EDT
[#10]
Link Posted: 10/29/2021 2:37:07 PM EDT
[#11]
Discussion of Meshtastic builds and use cases

I found this board interesting. In particular, there's a thread about a guy who wants to set up a "temporary backpacking network." Essentially, as a single person on a hike, he wants to track his adventure and be available to get messages. In order to achieve the goal, he's going to have to leave a breadcrumb trail of radios in the trees as he gets farther from his base.

Later in the thread he talks about 4 of the radios he'd assembled to cover his 6 sq mile ao.

After a weekend test, he got 4-800  meters coverage in the woods. To go 3 miles out in the same conditions, he'll need 6 total devices, 4 of them tossed up in trees along the way.

Edit: At the end of the thread he says he got 4 miles with just three radios (the tracker he carried, one relay, and the base).
Link Posted: 10/29/2021 4:00:00 PM EDT
[#12]
Link Posted: 10/29/2021 10:44:59 PM EDT
[#13]
Definitely intrigued by this, specifically 900MHz devices. I was one of just of a handful of hams in this area active on the 33cm band, so interest kind of petered out. Can these cover 902 & 927 MHz? With 3 watts QSOd simplex about 6 miles with a pair of Alinco DG-29 HTs just with the rubber ducks. For wanting comms on the MURS frequencies, is the draw just the encryption? Will be researching this more, so far the video in the OP was enough to whet the appetite for off the beaten path coms.
Link Posted: 11/2/2021 10:20:50 PM EDT
[#14]
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Quoted:
Definitely intrigued by this, specifically 900MHz devices. I was one of just of a handful of hams in this area active on the 33cm band, so interest kind of petered out. Can these cover 902 & 927 MHz? With 3 watts QSOd simplex about 6 miles with a pair of Alinco DG-29 HTs just with the rubber ducks. For wanting comms on the MURS frequencies, is the draw just the encryption? Will be researching this more, so far the video in the OP was enough to whet the appetite for off the beaten path coms.
View Quote


The 915MHz LoRa modules will tune 902-927 with ease (the same modules cover the 868 MHz band in Europe.)

Power output is 13-20 dBm (20mW to 100mW) depending on how it's configured. 50mW is pretty standard. In my testing at low-ish data rates, about 1-1.5 miles line of sight (true line of sight, e.g. you could see the antennas with binoculars) is about the limit. As the data rate goes up, the range goes down. For low rate data they're decent, I doubt voice will be very viable at any range without an actual mesh set up with spaced repeaters.

MURS doesn't allow digital voice encryption, just analog which is typically voice inversion. I don't think that's the attraction of MURS, it's mainly because it's license free and doesn't suck (e.g. it's VHF NBFM with a watt or two, with decent propagation characteristics.)
Link Posted: 12/16/2021 10:06:52 AM EDT
[#15]
Still waiting for mine to come in.  Rescheduled delivery to Dec 28th.  Ordered in October.  
Link Posted: 12/16/2021 11:15:10 AM EDT
[#16]
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Quoted:
If you have a neighborhood with lots of folks on board, or If you have a large property and you can put nodes wherever you want, those would be successful implementations.

Taking a LoRa module next time you're camping in the hills I think would be as useful as taking and electric Turkey carving knife.
View Quote


Yeah I don't see this tech as a substitute for long(ish) distance radio.  But as a localized, secure(ish) option independent of lazy monitoring of infrastructure, it has promise.  I have read a few AARs from BLM/Antifa events where GoTenna/mesh tech was utilized... and wisely, I would say.  ISMI catchers are a thing, and broad geo-fence warrants are a go-to tool these days.
Link Posted: 12/20/2021 11:14:29 AM EDT
[#17]
My 3 came in this week.  I've printed up some cases and I'm soldering on the displays within the next day or two.  I hope to be up and running by shortly after Christmas.  I'm going to put up a node at the house and see what kind of ranges I get.
Link Posted: 12/21/2021 10:29:28 AM EDT
[#18]
I picked one up to play with (should probably get two) but haven’t turned it on yet. I really want one with the built in keyboard.
Link Posted: 12/24/2021 10:34:40 PM EDT
[#19]
The guy behind ARMACHAT is getting close on his units, I started supporting him on Patreon and he will have a handful of  assembled units for supporters, but the real magic is that the circuit boards he will be selling will allow anyone to make fully functional units in about 10 minutes with the only "programming" being putting a few lines of text in a folder on an SD card.

Follow Bobricius on Youtube for the latest-he's shrunk the unit since this thread started, they will be the only LORA communicators on the market that will work without a phone and an app that you can buy.
Link Posted: 1/18/2022 6:12:44 PM EDT
[#20]
This seems like a very interesting system. I originally was looking goTenna when I first discovered ATAK because plug-ins were limited. Glad to see more solutions out there.
Link Posted: 1/18/2022 9:23:12 PM EDT
[#21]
I like the form factor of the Lora Messenger over the Armachat.  I think the key to make it useful will be in setting up repeaters, or potentially integrating hotspots / gateways.

Link Posted: 1/19/2022 12:10:17 PM EDT
[#22]
This one looks really nice to me but not sure it is available. The maker claims it is water-resistant and has plans to make it waterproof. About the size of a cell phone. This is similar to gotenna and some other mesh antennas I have seen which require the phone for the keyboard. Are all of these Lora messangers compatible with ATAK?

Meshtastic Case on Reddit

Link Posted: 1/19/2022 1:40:46 PM EDT
[#23]
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Quoted:
This one looks really nice to me but not sure it is available. The maker claims it is water-resistant and has plans to make it waterproof. About the size of a cell phone. This is similar to gotenna and some other mesh antennas I have seen which require the phone for the keyboard. Are all of these Lora messangers compatible with ATAK?

Meshtastic Case on Reddit

https://preview.redd.it/aljqp39e0cx61.jpg?width=3910&format=pjpg&auto=webp&s=3ee5e263242d104a47c74633e7a4a98b933e0b3f
View Quote
The only plugin I'm familiar with is the ATAK Forwarder, which is made to just work with the Meshtastic hardware because it actually passes data through the Meshtastic app on the phone/device.

I 3D printed my cases from a public design on Thingiverse, but it's far from waterproof.
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