Good day everyone!
My dad and I are currently trying to experiment with a Meshtastic deployment in our city for remote weather/environmental monitoring as well as text communication over radio for emergency/natural disaster scenarios, since the area we are in is prone to flooding, landslides from typhoons as well as earthquakes.
We went with the modular system of RAKWireless, all built around the base of the RAK4630 module on the 433MHz frequency (we both have licenses to operate this band). Installation of the Meshtastic firmware was easy and painless, and so was connecting it over USB to the Web UI or over Bluetooth with the Android app. Sending messages along with position and sensor data between multiple modules within various points in our house went by smoothly. So we proceeded to try using them at distance.
Since this is an urban environment with lots of interference and interruptions to line-of-sight, we didn’t expect to get range above a few kilometers, much less the dozens and even over 100 kilometers that I’ve seen some users achieve here. But we are just barely making it past 100m or a single block, even with relatively clear line-of-sight. We’ve done multiple tests on multiple antennas, from the stock one included with the RAK4630, to telescopic ones similar to those small AM/FM radio sets, to small whip antennas specifically for 433MHz, to large stationary antennas that we use for other HF/VHF/UHF radios both at our house and on a station we have in the mountains next to the city, all with and without an attached filter.
This is unusual behavior for this frequency and the support at RAKWireless agree, though they could not provide any support specifically with the Meshtastic firmware. So I am here hoping that perhaps there are others here that have experience with this problem and/or the RAK hardware. For reference, we are using the default values set by Meshtastic, apart from setting the region to EU433.
Thank you in advance for reading through and giving this consideration.