I kept hearing about LoRaWAN and seeing people post photos of their devices communicating from many kilometers apart. As an avid backpacker and outdoor person I thought I’d get a few devices and give it a try. I purchased three TTGO T-Beams with Meshtastic preinstalled. I updated the firmware and added batteries to each device. Testing at home works great, each radio can send messages to the other ones with no problem. I’m using an Android phone with the Meshtastic app as a client.
I put all 3 devices onto the Long/Slow channel and parked one of them pretty high up on a tree branch and took another radio on a walk through the neighborhood. I live on top of a hill so I expected to get a decent range. Sadly the signal drops out after about 50 meters. Even 90 meters got no signal, it was only until I could actually see the other radio that I was able to transmit a message.
What am I missing here? At these levels it would be more practical to simply yell or blow a whistle. Does anyone actually use these in real-world conditions, like on camping trips in the mountains, etc? How are you all getting these heroic range results even with the stock antennas?
EDIT: I forgot to add these are the 915Mhz version, here’s the specs from the vendor:
LILYGO® TTGO Meshtastic T-Beam V1.1 ESP32 915Mhz WiFi Bluetooth ESP32 GPS NEO-6M SMA 18650 Battery Holder With OLED
EDIT #2: Before anyone asks, yes, I charged the batteries all night and all three radios are at 100% charge. The antennas are attached snugly to the units as well.