gotenna: No Service no problem! Really?

In this video I assess the value of the goTenna in survival disaster or emcomm scenarios. Information was collected from press kits, technical specs, marketing packs, the FCC, and the goTenna website.

Android fanatic and videoblogger, Survival technology is a retired comms professional and expat living and having worked out of Scandinavia for the past couple of decades. Operationally, he has deployed in Europe, North Africa, Baltic, Southern Caucasus, Middle East, from Iceland to South Africa, in peaceful and not so peaceful zones…
Please visit us at for more articles and projects. All revenue earned from this channel is used for the channel, projects and off-grid micro-expeditions. Anything leftover goes toward additional “nicevto have” gear, sometimes featured on the channel.

Thanks for watching.

shtf wrol prepper preppers prepping survivalist simplex repeater comm comms communication communications ham amateur radio survivalism disaster EMCOMM preparedness


  1. Barrett Ready?
    Barrett Ready? 24 June, 2016, 10:04

    thanks a lot for the video I was wondering if you have checked out the Beartooth version?

    Reply this comment
  2. neil petersen
    neil petersen 24 June, 2016, 10:04

    Very well done. Thank you!!

    Reply this comment
  3. SREagle
    SREagle 24 June, 2016, 10:04

    Great Job Id give you Two thumbs up but they will not let me lol.
    de AC6DX Steven

    Reply this comment
  4. henrik scheurer
    henrik scheurer 24 June, 2016, 10:04

    I am waiting for a mesh capable device,that works the same way as gotenna,and i looked to the beartooth device who is capable to set up a mesh network with other beartooth users.

    Nexpaq is another company that corporates with another company,named fantom dynamics, they will came up also with a mesh capable device and with the possebility to add an external antenna.

    Reply this comment
  5. Sigh Pocket
    Sigh Pocket 24 June, 2016, 10:04

    Now if they made a gotenna for CB radio…. Would be awesome!!!

    Reply this comment
  6. Paddington
    Paddington 24 June, 2016, 10:04

    I love the amount of research you did on this. It's exactly the kind of information I look for in a review.

    Reply this comment
  7. Living Survival
    Living Survival 24 June, 2016, 10:04

    thanks for the video. I'll pass on their offer to review these.

    Reply this comment
  8. Andrew K
    Andrew K 24 June, 2016, 10:04

    I don't think its worth anything near the price they are asking.

    Reply this comment
  9. Sheila6325
    Sheila6325 24 June, 2016, 10:04

    I'm seriously considering this, and I want to thank you for your honest opinion. I think I'm going to go for it, because it will work for my intended use, and with only one other person not far away from me. Again, Thank you!

    Reply this comment
  10. Steven Souligne
    Steven Souligne 24 June, 2016, 10:04

    Thanks, you saved me money, Do you have a video about proper comm for survival situations?

    Reply this comment
  11. Dave Allen
    Dave Allen 24 June, 2016, 10:04

    lol a cb radio is way better then this

    Reply this comment
  12. 71MonsteR89
    71MonsteR89 24 June, 2016, 10:04

    For $200 it makes no sense why you wouldn't just buy a pair of high quality radios. For even half that price you can get a set of two way radios with several times the range and you can actually talk instead of just texting. Lol @ whoever gets ripped off by this…

    Reply this comment
  13. Louis Y
    Louis Y 24 June, 2016, 10:04

    just got my pair, not sure shtf. but it will awesome in cruise ship and visiting foreign countries.

    Reply this comment
  14. Barnacules Nerdgasm
    Barnacules Nerdgasm 24 June, 2016, 10:04

    1 dislike, probably from GoTenna themselves :D

    Reply this comment
  15. ReiMonCoH
    ReiMonCoH 24 June, 2016, 10:04

    Excellent review.
    It does seem to be a good product, but young entrepreneurs need to be kept honest

    Reply this comment
  16. TheLcstyle
    TheLcstyle 24 June, 2016, 10:04

    Your video is a total slam job.  Your criticisms technically are mostly generic and apply to RF technology in general.  Here are your criticisms broken down:

    Low Power? limitation of the physical device size, increasing the size decreases the portability and likelihood that you'd carry this with you everyday.  I mean seriously do you think most average city dweller consumers will carry around battery packs so their goTenna can xmit at 5watts?  The whole purpose of this design is for it to be easily carried and very slim.  If you want to talk about POWER then let's talk about Vehicle mounted Yaesu FT 8900's, certainly wouldn't want to carry one of those around with me, again, not it's intended purpose.

    No External Antenna – for it's stated intent and purposes, it's not part of the design.  Not many consumers without Ham Radio licenses would carry one anyways.  Again your criticism is out of scope.  Consider the design and criticize the device on it's intended design.  If in your opinion a device falls short because the device is not performing some function it wasn't originally intended to perform, then again you have failed to rationally and contextually speaking understand engineering design or HW QA principles.

    Short Range – again, a limitation of size (device and antenna) and battery life.  This is a limitation of RF in general, even a Yaesu HT's range can vary in a city without the use of repeaters.

    MURS only – a band that will allow your messaging to be encrypted, great.

    No Voice Comms – Low Bandwidth device, again not intended to function as a VHF HT or as a replacement for the cell phone network.  They do not claim that it will provide voice communications.

    Won't work with old devices – a limitation of the Android API and SDK, as software evolves, developers must make decisions to bring products to market on SDK versions that support the functionality they are trying to implement.

    Not useful as SHTF? – It's useful because it's small enough that in a localized area if you or your family were to get separated and the cell phone network went down, you would be able to find each other.  It's small size and ease of use make it so that likely, your family members WOULD carry it on a daily basis.  How useful would a Yaesu or any HT (not to single out Yaesu) 2 Meter or 70CM radio be, if no#1 it requires each one of your family members to be licensed to operate, and no#2 if none of them likely would carry one in the city on a daily basis? 

    The beauty of this product is it's size and it's portability.  Is it PERFECT?  Obviously not, but what product is?

    In conclusion, your criticisms are out of context and out of touch.  I could also create negative reviews about a specific automobile if my review was focused on why the car cannot fly or otherwise perform like an airplane.  Your entire review is an apples to orange comparison and fails to consider the intended design.

    I have no relation to goTenna, just a HAM, Hardware/Software Engineer, and consumer.

    Reply this comment
  17. AboxofMonsters
    AboxofMonsters 24 June, 2016, 10:04

    So if you live in a city of mostly single story homes and family was say ten miles apart and the SHTF you could all get on the roof and send texts ? Certainly that little device can't be maxed at 2 watts ? Two watts is two miles under line of sight supposedly ?? If you could communicate ten miles on a roof tops that would be worth it. Or would a HF short wave hand set be better ? anyone try it this way yet ?

    Reply this comment
  18. Ayan Mullick
    Ayan Mullick 24 June, 2016, 10:04

    Nice review.

    Reply this comment
  19. goTenna
    goTenna 24 June, 2016, 10:04

    Hey there! We really liked your video, thanks for the review!  Just wanted to make a note on a small inaccuracy in the video, we actually do change channels! We dynamically hop across all 5 MURS channels to avoid interference from other possible users of the bands. Now if there are 5 devices jamming all the channels you're correct that we would be blocked, but otherwise we are pretty flexible and agile to make sure messages get through even in busy airwaves!  Also, as for our range we agree that it isn't HF/HAM levels of long range communications that go hundreds/thousands of miles, but we do have range that is measured in multiple miles in a lot of environments.  It might not be "long range" compared to HAM, but we do believe its very long range, and enough range, for situations where relatively local people (a few miles around) need to help/support each other in a unconnected environment.

    Reply this comment
  20. Commsprepper
    Commsprepper 24 June, 2016, 10:04

    Great video.  Glad someone took the time to review these.

    Reply this comment
  21. LeRoy Miller
    LeRoy Miller 24 June, 2016, 10:04

    Interesting video, interesting product, but it's a bit of a pricey toy.

    Reply this comment
  22. Canadian Prepper
    Canadian Prepper 24 June, 2016, 10:04

    I learned a lot from this video. Thanks for making it!

    Reply this comment
  23. The Peaceful Prepper
    The Peaceful Prepper 24 June, 2016, 10:04

    Thanks for all the info, very helpful!  

    Reply this comment
  24. VP Prepping & Survival
    VP Prepping & Survival 24 June, 2016, 10:04

    Excellent video and review my friend.

    Reply this comment
  25. VA7BC
    VA7BC 24 June, 2016, 10:04

    Very fair review of pros and cons. It would be interesting to see actual use during a large scale event with hundreds of these deployed in small area.  I suspect colliding packets would greatly interfere with the receipt of a valid message.  

    Reply this comment
  26. Bobby Tectalabyss
    Bobby Tectalabyss 24 June, 2016, 10:04

    goTenna for EMCOMM or SHTF?
    SurvivalTech Nord

    Reply this comment
  27. Mr Vegas
    Mr Vegas 24 June, 2016, 10:04

    Great points. I think this product is designed for the SHTF solutions where you need communications with ranges under 2 miles. Granted range could be less in unideal scenarios. Examples include hiking in areas with no cellular infrastructure. The big thing is people dont need an amateur radio license to use this tool. So this tool is really competing with FRS/MURS/CB/GMRS products. The question is is this better? Well sending gps and text messages probably is worth it. Additional range by having an optimized antenna is also some value. I can see this being used for hikers and hunting markets where a phone is needed for gps and they just want something light to carry for long distance text. But the cost of it seems very high. Is $200 worth not passing a amateur radio technician test or carrying a heavier cb/frs radio. Only the market will decide

    Reply this comment
  28. Multi-Tool School
    Multi-Tool School 24 June, 2016, 10:04

    Thanks for this informative video. I was not aware that a device like this was available. Are there other transceivers that work with iOS phones?  Dee

    Reply this comment
    GUERRILLACOMM 24 June, 2016, 10:04

    practical or toy gimmick? you make the choice.

    Reply this comment
    GUERRILLACOMM 24 June, 2016, 10:04

    First rate on boiling this down. It seems like a good seed for a larger scale concept in Emcomm but I think their vagueness in classifying their product have hurt them in the long run. I did ask them plenty of simple questions when they approached to have us test their device but I think they got cold feet after I showed them what I will do to test their claims. I'll pass on their product for a better mouse trap. I'm sure there will be a smartphone interface that links up with a ham radio that will do the same thing but better flexibility. Really enjoyed your reality based breakdown, too cool.

    Reply this comment
  31. 8digitPDX
    8digitPDX 24 June, 2016, 10:04

    I ran into the compatibility problem on the Seek Thermal camera too, it requires newer android devices and a lot of processing power.

    Reply this comment
  32. 8digitPDX
    8digitPDX 24 June, 2016, 10:04

    I am curious, do you think it would help your transmit ability for at least short term to put a small battery powered repeater up on one of those quadcopters?   Seems you could get a lot of height out of it for enough minutes to get a transmission out.   Maybe not so good for a backpack thing, but if you need to be able to make long range transmissions from a vehicle for a short period of time (like a reconnaissance report), that could be an option.  

    The concept is to either boost the bluetooth, or rig a small repeater for the MURS.    Maybe even send the drone up with the GoTenna dangling by a fishing line.   If they are cheap enough, you could build a little pod module type thing and a bola type thing, a wire connecting say the goTenna on one end, a battery pack with small solar panel on the other, and simply fly it up and drop it around a large tree or other object high in the air, which would give localized commo for as long as it holds out.   The idea to provide more advanced communication in a shutdown or hostile situation.

    Reply this comment
  33. OH8EFI
    OH8EFI 24 June, 2016, 10:04

    Good preview! Thank you!

    Reply this comment
  34. SurvivalTech Nord
    SurvivalTech Nord 24 June, 2016, 10:04

    Sorry about the typing errors in this video. I was in the studio 16 hours straight working on this video.

    Reply this comment

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