Search and Rescue

I am interested in putting a network together to air with search and rescue in my area. I live in Alaska and we are well beyond cell phone range most of the time. I have purchased and 2 TTGO tbeams and have them running with my wife and I phones I just got to Heltec running as well that i plan to use as relays.

I am curious if anyone has done this in a format that is user friendly. We have a active search and rescue group but they are not real tech savey so it must be simple to connect and use So far my test have resulted in really laggy GPS that some time shows on map some times doesn’t. Reliability is key for this project.

Also is it possible to up the number of hops greater than 3 since i may relay 25 + miles.


I am not a user of the app, so I can’t speak to those questions. However, for higher reliability GPS at the hardware level, consider upgrading to a larger 25mm antenna, perhaps even an active one such as this.


Hi @KL3ZN I have tbeams too. The bigger antenna is really good. For the best gps performance (it does drain the battery faster) I use version 1.1.0 on my devices.

I have read that future software version will allow the psk=0 which will greatly simply the use of channel setting. I plan to use these for search and rescue and have no need for complicated security. Ease of use is absolutely required.

Hi @KL3ZN,

I am also with SAR but in Germany. We did some testing with Meshtastic and didn’t find it reliable and user friendly enough. Meshtastic is still in a state where it’s not friendly enough for non-tech-savvy people. We still monitor Meshtastic with great interest, but for now, we do it the old way.

Out of interest, what is your field of operation? I work mostly with Search Dogs.


WE are in remote Alaska off the road system so we do a lot of winter snow machine work. I am just looking for some communication systems to improve situational awareness and hopefully come up with some solutions that can help prevent the need for search and rescue based on cheap long range off network communication.

We have cell phones at villages but not to far from a village and the signal drops if Meshtastic could mature to the point it is stable for low tech users this would fit the work great.

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Hi there,

sorry for being off topic.
But isn’t this a area for some Handheld FM or AM machines then?


We currently use VHF but it does not provide abilty to automatically send locations of people. This would be a change in current operation to improve the field communication even if we didn’t cover the whole area being able to deploy some service in a search area would be help full.

Basically looking for a cheaper alternative to something Garmin has to offer, or Open Source and configurable to a specific use case rather then a pre determined fee based service.

Or GoTenna

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DMR radio would fit the job I think. Sends position automatically independent from speech contact. Maybe simple portable radios like Anytone AT-D878UV could do the job for you. And maybe even some raspberry-pi and SDR receiver base stations for the position reporting to have it all together on a map at base station, like we use APRS. (

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