Tactical Tailor

OR Summer Market – goTenna

Probably the coolest thing I ran across at Outdoor Retailer Summer Market was goTenna.


Even if there is no wireless infrastructure where you’re headed, goTennna pairs with your smartphone enabling you to text and share your location with other devices. Or, maybe you want your own secure network. GoTenna will even work while your device is in airplane mode. Like, if you don’t want “the man” listening in on your messages. At least not without some serious work.

The device connects via Bluetooth so it must be within 20 feet of the goTenna, which retransmits messages in the 151-154 MHz band.

With location share and ping, think of it as a poor man’s Blue Force Tracker. Granted, range may be an issue due to the 2watt radio but looking at the advantages (location and secure txt), it’s definitely worth a look. They predict varying ranges but line of sight will have a lot to play in any results.

City street to city street: 0.5-1 mile
Forest to forest: 2-3 miles
Water to water: 4-6 miles
Desert to desert: 4-6 miles


In addition to subscriber to subscriber texting, you can also text to messenger groups. There is also auto message retry if the receiver is out of range. Compatible with Android and iOS, the goTenna offers RSA-1024 encryption and self-destruct messages. Conversely, you can store thousands of messages in the flash memory.


The rechargeable lithium battery offers a 3-day life. Weighing in at 2 oz, it attaches via strap to your pack or elsewhere. You could even mount inside a bag if need be.

So, think about it. Low power, Bluetooth connection, encryption, self-destruct txt, and all FCC approved. At less than $150 a pair, everyone should have a set just to keep track of loved ones at Disney.


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27 Responses to “OR Summer Market – goTenna”

  1. mike says:

    YES. Thank you for sharing.

  2. Reseremb says:

    Awesome… pre-ordering right now!

  3. Rogue Male says:

    Nice idea in theory…but Bluetooth connections are a gaping security hole.


    • SSD says:

      They’ve got to be right up on you, consistently, to exploit this.

    • SSD says:

      And oh yeah, you have to be running the app along with the encryption and then they have to spoof one of the nodes.

      • Rogue Male says:

        Those that can, do.

        • SSD says:

          This makes one aspect of a comms plan a harder target. You want a target that bad there are 100 other ways to get to it. The tradecraft and technical skills needed to access this network are beyond average. Anyone who is using this to protect their comms will also be employing tradecraft. If you’re sloppy at all, you will be made. You’ve got to balance the juice versus the squeeze.

          • mike says:


          • 100% agree with you, SSD. +1

          • Rogue Male says:

            If you’re communicating via smart phones, you’re not a hard target.


            Secure comms are like unsinkable ships.

            • SSD says:

              If you’re comparing this to cellular comms via a smart phone, I take back my initial misconception that you might know at least a little bit about what you’re talking about.

              • Rogue Male says:

                I wasn’t comparing it to cellular comms; rather, given what was in the original post: “goTennna pairs with your smartphone enabling you to text and share your location with other devices”, the pairing of this gizmo with a fundamentally vulnerable comms system (particularly with Android, also noted in the original post), seems to mitigate against the notion that this device really makes one a “harder target” (from your 1550 post) for anything more than “keeping track of loved ones at Disney”.

                • SSD says:

                  Perhaps you’re not grasping how this works. It doesn’t use the inherent systems on cellular device that are vulnerable to that app. It doesn’t use the vulnerable network either but rather creates its own. The device essentially has the same function as the old palm tops we used to create data networks over military radios (ala PRC-137).

  4. Debaser says:

    If someone is close enough to exploit my Bluetooth signal, I have much bigger problems than identity theft…

    This is an awesome idea, pre-ordering now as well…

    • SSD says:

      That is absolutely correct and have said the exact thing to some no such agency types during my military days.

  5. D says:

    A 5-watt version would be cool, but I don’t know what the limit is for power as far as the FCC is concerned.

    • Hey D,

      Daniela, goTenna co-founder here. On the MURS bands the FCC doesn’t allow us to emit higher than 2W. The nice thing about MURS is that they’re the publicly licensed frequencies that have the most enviable propagation characteristics. Thanks for your interest 😉

      • aDamn says:


        From what I understood, the location is sent like an image. Is it possible to share it live?

        When it is going to be available in Europe?

        • Yes, you can share your location live — and coordinates are shared along with the map as well for full contextualization!

          We are currently only shipping to the USA but hope to expand internationally next year!

  6. Bushman says:

    That would be nice to have auto-configuring mesh network capability, just as Zigbee standard devices have, but judging by frequency, this thing could be based on proprietary technology, therefore, it’s understandable, why networking capabilities are a bit limited.

    Speaking of security – 3MHz bandwidth and proprietary protocol, based on frequency hoping adding another level of security – if someone does not know for sure, you are using this thing (this information could be not so easy to obtain, except if they have access to your bank account history), it’s really hard to detect even 2W transmission, spread over 3MHz by FHSS. There is some nice “toy radio” – TriSquare, based on even simpler FHSS digital transmission protocol, and I know some guys, who successfully used it, staying undetected in area under the radio surveillance, targeted to conventional radios and APCO.

    • SSD says:

      It would be great but now you’re talking about a completely new device.

      • Bushman says:

        Actually, it’s just a question of choice of radio communication module. Mesh networking is a hardware-level feature of Zigbee protocol – there is nothing to develop, commercially available modules are supporting it by default. But they decided to develop something by they own (because of lower frequency, I suppose), and that’s their right, of course.

        Technically, it’s possible to play with this technology right now. Connect this http://www.kanda.com/products/Sena/ZS10-00.html to this http://devserverpro.com/lmtechnew/adapters/bluetooth-serial-adapters-no-pc-required/lm058/ via cross-cable, pair BT module with phone, open the serial terminal app, and here you go. (Of course, it looks not so nice and does not have any cute app interface, only hardcore terminal with text commands.)

  7. Timmay says:

    If you want more range link in a radio that will crossband repeat and you should be good, you may need to cross it back on the other end but still.

  8. Aaron says:

    This would be a solid addition to the NettWarrior program…oh snap.

  9. AGL Bob says:

    Being VHF Hi-band, an optional external antenna with a little gain over the built-in one might add considerably to the range. Especially if you get it away from your body.

  10. Dellis says:

    Perhaps in this day and age the ol 2 cans and a string is perhaps the most secure comms device eh?

    Looking to pre-order also

  11. Matt says:

    I pre ordered two and I can’t wait to see this tech shrunk down into it being able to fit it maybe a regular smart phone just having to extend the antenna or if the we able to set up rettrans via say a drone it could be great in finding lost hikers.