Help a total newbie?

Howdy, I just even discovered Meshtastic about 3 months ago, but didn’t even mess with it until roughly a month ago. I bought one device that turned out to be the wrong one for just simple radio communication. It can be, I believe, used for that, but it wasn’t it’s primary function. Anyway, I ordered what turned out to be the correct one from AliExpress. It took nearly 3 weeks to get here.

So, I had already forgotten some of the steps and utilities I’d used on the first one by the time this thing arrived. I did, after watching two or three videos have my memory jogged. I managed to get this Heltec ESP32 V3 flashed and a few of the categories selected and saved. I have no idea what I’m doing and have not successully managed to send or receive anything at all. I need a kind of walk-thru of what boxes to checkmark and what to even worry about on the Meshtastic setup screen.

The only thing you really need to do after flashing is setting you region. If there are devices using the default settings in range of where you are, they will show up in the node list of a client app and displayed on the screen. If there are none, you might need to place your node higher up, or take it with you to check other places.

Things are tough for people starting out if they have only one device. It’s a lot easier with two (or if you can convince a pal). Although you end up sending drivel to yourself, you can see what config does. Stick with the defaults, in particular if you change anything about the primary channel like channel name etc then you may end up on a different frequency in the band. This is hidden in the docs here - so don’t start with the instructions in that ‘not sharing your location’ tips.

The mesh is not so dense in most places that you can simply fire up and hope to reach other people via RF. If your other device works for Meshtastic on the band your new Heltec then try to see if they interwork.

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I just bought another one this morning; it’ll be here in about 3 weeks.

I’ll go back, erase and reinstall. At least while I didn’t get that really long range antenna (I’ll save that for a repeater outside), I did get a much better than OE antenna.

Yesterday, I was tracking a moving node about 30 miles away, but either it’s turned off today or the map isn’t working.

Yesterday, I was tracking a moving node about 30 miles away

That was probably a MQTT node. I saw stations 17 miles away and thought this Lora stuff has improved. It hasn’t, these have been trunked through the internet. Do this if you want to see pure RF. Absolutely nothing wrong with MQTT stations and you can interact with them through the internet, it would be nice to tell them apart from RF.

Take a look at meshmap to see what people are doing in your area

I decided to come back. I had mentioned that I was awaiting a second Heltec V3 to arrive from Wuhan /s, and after what seemed like much longer than the first one, it did eventually get here. I had Meshtastic downloaded on my iPhone (whole other topic, I’ve learned) but fortunately, I have an Android phone and an Android tablet. So after doing the flash on the new one for my buddy who says he refuses to get an Android (it may have to go to another friend if he sticks to that), I used my phone for his and my tablet for mine and got them to say hello to each other. I understand that there are a zillion other settings and things that can be adjusted, but to just start with the basics up front, which is what I’m doing. Now I need to get a case that I’d want, there’s that one guy in the UK, that I don’t have to pay more for shipping than for the case itself; and no, I don’t have a 3D printer and I’m at least out of the gate. I want to thank everyone for their input. I still really don’t know anything about this, but I’m not dragging loose parts around the area trying to pick up other nodes, not until these are in cases. I’ll get there.

Now I have a totally new issue that I can’t figure out how to resolve. As I mentioned earlier, a couple days ago, I had both Heltec ESP32 V3’s running, mine on my tablet, and the one designated for a friend on my Samsung phone. Tonight, the one for the friend isn’t connecting to my phone and I’ve tried numerous times to erase and reflash the firmware to more or less reset it, so I can start from scratch. Yet, nothing is working. I have the 210x drivers on my computer, but the only way I get them to show up in ports is with the corrupt indication and so they won’t flash to my device. I’m kinda stuck. I watched a video that suggested I needed to download Arduino and use that to reset it, but the guy was either from India or one of those countries. Not only was he hard to understand, but I got lost and gave up. Any other ideas how to fully reset a Heltec ESP32 LoRa V3 so I can do the whole thing over. If I recall correctly, at the time I did this the other day, I didn’t currently have the 210x driver active.

I guess I’m going to reply to my own post. So, as I had mentioned on one of my priors; I had ordered a second one for a friend. I initially had it flashed and set up, then discovered what appeared to be a more streamlined way to flash these and get them up and running. On the one I was keeping for myself, that went smoothly and perfectly. But on the one I was sending him in Tennessee, it wouldn’t do anything. I installed the 210 drivers and the other one that I can’t remember on this laptop and tried to tie them into my ports several times. But never could get it to work. Alas, I had sent a to and from, to both units with success before the change. Eventually, I decided that his probably worked fine packed it up, and sent it off. Since then, the one I kept has picked up two different, but connected relay/repeaters but never got a response to the test messages I sent. Someone with knowledge on this please guide me to additional boxes I might tick to get this thing pinging out there in the world. I know I’m lucky if I’m getting 15 miles, but those repeaters are 18 and 19 miles from here. I know there are a lot more parameters you can change in the settings and I’d like to do that. But I want to know which ones to mess with and which to leave alone.