No phone coverage? No problem

Could it be that the eternal search for wifi while travelling is about to be a thing of the past?

No phone coverage? No problem

SJ is a regular travel contributor to YourLifeChoices. Her required holiday reading is Collective magazine, a great new fiction novel or a personal development book. Unlike photos, she feels you can never be over-developed.

Technology never ceases to amaze. The smart cookies at goTenna have developed a way for you to stay in touch when there’s no phone coverage or wifi available.

While that situation would usually mean you’re off the grid so to speak, goTenna allows you to still use your Smartphone to send texts and GPS locations. As with most technology these days, goTenna uses an app to pair with your smartphone and then relies on VHF radio waves to transmit messages and location information to other goTennas in the area.

Similar to a walkie-talkie, the range depends on your environment with expectations set at between six to eight kilometres in open areas, and one to one-and-a-half kilometres in congested environments. However, the highest current user range recorded is 43 kilometres.

Sold in pairs to ensure you can always be in contact with at least one other person, the goTenna also creates its own network so you can communicate with multiple others in the area. The lightweight, sleek design is waterproof, with a rechargeable lithium-polymer battery; Micro-USB for easy charging; flash memory with capacity to store hundreds of meessages; two-watt VHF radio, extendable antenna and nylon attachment strap.

So what can you do with goTenna? Firstly, it allows you to send private messages, group messages or broadcast to any goTenna nearby; an incredibly handy feature if you’re on your own and need help. You can also download offline maps of any location in the world, with goTenna allowing you to use GPS even without cellular service. Need to share or request location information? You can allow trusted contacts to automatically receive your location whenever they need it.

The walkie-talkies of the future, goTenna is the new high-tech buddy system that is perfect for your next outdoors trip. Looks like the eternal search for wifi may finally be over.

RRP: approximately $264 from goTenna (which will hopefully ship to Australia soon).



    To make a comment, please register or login
    24th Sep 2016
    Why bother. What is it about genYs that they cannot bear to be without coverage for a day?
    Polly Esther
    24th Sep 2016
    what have genYs got to do with it?
    24th Sep 2016
    As usual, a simplistic evaluation with no technical knowledge added the writer. VHF (30 MHz to 300 MHz) issued for digital TV,ATC radio another short range radios such as marine bands. It is line of sight only.

    From the article, people could be misinformed into thinking that this product would work in outback Australia. The editors have, I presume, a duty of care to understand what they are writing about and to not just mindlessly parrot a product brochure!

    24th Sep 2016
    I can see where this would be useful for hikers, 4-wheel-drivers, stations, and mines - where communications between people or groups in a relatively small radius would be good.

    However, to supply and sell an item of equipment in Australia, that broadcasts on a VHF frequency, requires approval from the Govt - as just about all the available VHF frequencies are allocated, and you just can't pick a frequency, and use it, without referral to any authority.

    There are important commercial frequencies, as well as CB frequencies, marine frequencies, naval and military frequencies.

    Any new item of VHF equipment introduced to, and sold in Australia, has to have its broadcast frequency approved by ACMA, to prevent interference with other allocated frequencies.

    The Americans are good at producing consumer goods utilising radio frequencies that just happen to clash with our allocated frequencies within Australia.

    So it may be a while before we see ACMA approval for this device, as they have to investigate its potential for frequency interference, examine its power output, and perhaps have the manufacturers change its operating frequency to meet Australian communication rules and regulations.
    24th Sep 2016
    Thanks Aaron, more good points.

    My main beef is not just the technical limitations of the product but the reviewer lacks the technical knowledge to properly analyse.

    To quote from the first line of the article: 'Technology never ceases to amaze'.

    If you do not know what you are writing about,it it certainly will.

    Join YOURLifeChoices, it’s free

    • Receive our daily enewsletter
    • Enter competitions
    • Comment on articles