January 18, 2017

Via Z-Man - Off-Grid Communications For Smartphones

Z-Man recently sent me an email asking about this device:
https://www.beartooth.com/

This is basically a 33cm license-free transceiver that uses Bluetooth to link with your Android or Iphone, and enables you to communicate off the common carrier networks among a group of people equipped with the device.  Has some interesting features, especially for blue force tracking.  I am, however, skeptical of the range claims.  Operating 33cm spread under Part 15 will give you an honest 2 mile range over most conditions, however when I tested similar technology in the Berkshires that range went down to 1/4 mile.  The cost is $180/pair.

There are also other companies making similar devices.  The go-Tenna http://www.gotenna.com/ - operates on VHF MURS channels, but only allows text messaging.  However, in more rural and wilderness type environments, MURS will work better than 900 MHz.  A pair of goTennas is $140.

My advice is that if you are interested in the features these devices offer, that you are best implementing the features using non-proprietary systems with common off-the-shelf hardware, this way you are not locked into a particular vendor, and are not orphaned when a product is discontinued.

To put things into perspective, a Yaesu FTM-3200DR is $180 and that's a C4FM/FM 65 watt VHF transceiver. 



Yaesu - What is System Fusion?

1 comment:

  1. My advice is that if you are interested in the features these devices offer, that you are best implementing the features using non-proprietary systems with common off-the-shelf hardware, this way you are not locked into a particular vendor, and are not orphaned when a product is discontinued.

    Like the eXRS radios I have? Thankfully, I have six of them, which is enough for the purposes I envisioned. Of course, every day that passes with them off the market, the more obscure the protocol gets. Obscurity isn't security, but it's convenient.

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