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I'm headed to a Baltic Cruise in a few weeks.

Wife, myself, sister and her spouse.

I bought 4 gotennas. One for me, one for wife, one for sister and one as a repeater that I'm hanging off the deck 9 balcony. In the ship, if someone else brings 'em it'll do good, otherwise I expect the range to be sorta shitty.  They showed up today, currently charging.

My cabin is Deck 9, aft. so it will be hanging off the back of the boat probably 125 feet in the air. Line of sight to the boat should make the things work from pretty much miles away and relay to other units which may be blocked by buildings or whatever.

We shall see. Sort of an expensive experiment, but fun nonetheless.

These things pair with your phone via bluetooth and then communicate via RF to each other. It works where there is no cell service. Since I don't want to pay $10/day/phone in port and $12/day/phone on the ship, this actually is cheaper since it's a 12 day cruise. Phones will be on Airplane mode except bluetooth. Will be testing this weekend.

In a real time of need, I could send the Mavic up about 400 feet with a gotenna repeater hanging off it. Line of sight on these things are said to make it up to 22 miles from a mountain top to flat area. Figure at 400 feet, the drone has a long line of sight.

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Interesting technology for closed communications. I'm interested to see what true range you get, one article I just read said "up to 4 miles"... Wondering if that's really true, or if they'll make it a few blocks, just like FRS/GMRS radios do?

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I suspect it will have about the same kind of range as FRS the difference however is that messages can hold at nodes for a bit and re-transmit  if a path opens.  I'm not sure how well that works in practice.  We shall see.  I fired it up this morning during my chores around town and there were no other nodes out there.    It's a pretty new product so I don't expect to find it.  It would have been neat though.

 

 

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For what it's worth, I'm back from 17 days in Europe, 12 of which were on Brilliance of the Seas.

Here is what I found.

Gotenna has two modes.   US and EU(FCC vs CE).  CE mode reduces the energy of the transmitter so range goes down.

The gotennas went in  CE mode these cities: Amsterdam, Copenhagen, Skagen, Tallinn, Helsinki, Stockholm.   It was in FCC mode out at sea at times and in St Petersburg Russia.

While in CE mode, I could text half the length of the ship, several decks up or down.  The ship is 958 feet long.   In FCC mode, that range went up significantly to almost 3/4 of the ship.      If you were at the same part of the boat, up and down the decks didn't seem to matter.  I routinely texted from the Windjammer on 11 to the staterooms on 8 and 9 no issue.  The staterooms were aft balconies and the windjammer is aft.  Anywhere on WJ could get to either stateroom.

In Copenhagen, the ass of the ship faced town so I hung a gotenna off my aft balcony.   My wife was sick and stayed on the boat that day.   I was out of sight of the ship and probably a mile or more down the shore and I relayed through the one on the balcony to my wife's gotenna.  It was awesome.

A few observations.  The app crashed a handful of times so you have to keep an eye on your Gotenna, if the light is flashing, the app has crashed.

The app worked flawlessly on our Galaxy S9 phones.  It was flaky on my Sister's S5.  That phone is obsolete.  It worked pretty good on a cricket phone.

The charge on the Gotenna is good for about 24 hours so you need to charge it every day.

Glad I had them.   I would definitely use them again on another cruise or other situation where you don't have cell and/or wifi service.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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I bought direct and paid $329 for 4.

I'm seeing pairs go for $115 on Ebay.   I wanted to make sure I had the latest firmware and a warranty.  Shrug.   My bill for that vacation was already pushing 12k, I figured the extra hundred wasn't going to break me to buy direct. 

 

 

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Yeah, Gotenna mesh.  The relay function is automatic for attached devices and you can set up a Gotenna to specifically just relay without being paired.  I saw messages get relayed through and it just works.   Very useful in that circumstance.

 

 

 

 

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