The social media post that started it from my friend Murray:
WTF is LoRa you say? It’s a low-power low-speed encrypted line-of-sight wireless mesh network that relies on zero central infrastructure. It transmits a few miles, and runs for 8 days on a single rechargeable 3.7v 18650 cell.
It lets people or systems exchange encrypted text messages without using the internet or cell-phone networks. The more members of a mesh, the farther your messages will travel. High altitude Lora nodes with sweet antennas have transmitted hundreds of miles. My first connection was over 8km away!
We’re using the 915MHz model for North America, it’s about $50 CAD all in with shipping and battery. I should add these also include a GPSr, so you can optionally tell you where your friends/kids/objects/pets are. Zero network fees.
I started with a group buy of the LILYGO® TTGO Meshtastic T-Beam V1.1 ESP32 433/868/915/923Mhz WiFi Bluetooth ESP32 GPS NEO-6M SMA 18650 Battery Holder With OLED. There are now over 50 nodes in British Colombia – over a dozen in Vancouver, a dozen on South Vancouver island, and another double digit group on the sunshine coast. We’re building a network that can’t be turned off, and requires no infrastructure to run.
If you buy one of these, you will need to solder 4 pins to attach the display, or have someone solder it on for you. You’ll also need to acquire an 18650 battery for each device, I personally bought mine from someone on Craigslist in Vancouver.
I recommend you login with your Google Play account and request tester access, so you get the latest updates as they are pushed. Otherwise you can find the release version of Meshtastic in the app store.
So if you want to join us building a BC Mesh Network, order a device for yourself, friends, and family, and join us on the chat!
If you’re interested in trying the network but not acquiring the parts and soldering the screen, would you pay $100 to have one delivered? If there’s enough interest I’ll do another group buy and make this happen. This is not a production ready product in that there is no case, and the software is still in beta, but the more of us using it, the faster that will progress.