Meshtastic

Do you have to be an IT ninja to get into lora?

I’m not knowledgeable about programming or building networks or anything. Can a person simply order some of these https://heltec.org/project/wifi-lora-32/, install the meshtastic app on their phone, and start using them?

Basically I’m looking at using them in the same way that gotenna works. Quite frankly though it pisses me off that gotenna isn’t open source. At a bare minimum, I would like a device that can use external antennas. The gotenna price is also pretty offputting.

I would definitely want to use repeater nodes to extend range. I would like to be able to talk to my family across the city in the event of an emergency. We have frequent tornadoes here, and nobody has basements, so when a tornado comes everyone jumps in their cars and they’re all calling each other trying to figure out what direction to go and escape it, which overloads the network.

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Nope (Answer to question in title)

Yes to the first question of the post.

I bought these and had them up and running in about 15 min.

My temp case:

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Nice! Do you think those are better than the t beams, or was that just what was available at the time?

I’ve read that the t-beams are better.

Just relatively affordable and fast shipping

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I wondered about shipping. Do you know how long it takes to get the t beams, and which source is best?

With COVID19 shipping from China seems to be delayed even more then usual.

I ordered some t-beams from Ali Express. Don’t remember what seller I used, just looked for the best price including shipping.

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I’m an iphone user, so I will have to get some android phones to be able to test this thing out. Obviously I want to go with something cheap, but could I potentially run into compatibility problems going with a cheaper and or older android phone? Or will meshtastic pretty much run on anything?

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I recommend buying from their factory store. Some of the other vendors sell older (less good - you want at least version 1.0) versions of their boards. The links on meshtastic.org go to the factory store.

They also sell a version with Meshtastic preinstalled.

I think the other vendors are about $3 cheaper but imo not worth the hassle.

There has been some discussion about that in this thread:

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I recommend a phone with something newer than Android 6 (6.1 or later)