Today, I set a new range record using the goTenna Mesh, single hop, of 47.4 miles! This was air-to-air. I fly sailplanes (aka gliders), and a friend and I went flying today with goTennas in our cockpits. Here is a photo my sailplane, for those who are wondering WTF a sailplane is. Sailplanes fly without engines by catching updrafts, like a surfer catching waves.
When the record transmission was made, my sailplane was here, at 2599ft above sea level:
The other sailplane was here, at 5755ft above sea level:
This is probably close to the maximum range of the goTenna Mesh. The other sailplane was even further away at times, but this was the farthest distance we were able to communicate at. Communication was not reliable at this range. We only got one message through, despite sending them every 20 seconds. We did get pretty reliable reception as long as we were within 10 miles.
This record was set using an Android app I am developing that uses goTenna’s SDK. The app is for sailplanes to share their locations while airborne. This helps pilots keep track of where their friends are, and to avoid collisions. Normally, pilots have to use their radios to figure out where others are, but with my app, all sailplanes in the area are shown on a handy map. Cell service is unreliable in the air, and sailplanes often fly in remote areas without cell towers, so the goTenna Mesh is perfect for creating an airborne datalink that doesn’t depend on cell service.
Here’s a screenshot of my app after I landed at Hollister airport. The app keeps track of the maximum distance it received a message from. It’s shown in the bottom left corner. It’s in nautical miles, since that’s what’s used in aviation. 41.2 nautical miles = 47.4 miles. The app calculates the distance using the other sailplane’s GPS position, which is contained in the messages it receives.
Any questions, let me know!