This blog has grown out of my weekly newspaper column. Enjoy.
A prudent person forsees danger and takes precautions. The simpleton goes blindly on and suffers the consequences. Proverbs 22:3 (NLT)

Sunday, December 27, 2015

goTenna Part 4

    So wouldn’t you just know it?  The day after I wrote the previous column about how I hadn’t yet received my goTennas, guess what showed up in the mail.  You guessed it!  My pair of long awaited, pre-ordered goTennas.  
    If you’re wondering what I’m talking about, check last week’s column or go to www.goTenna.com.  This is the new device which enables smartphone users to send and receive text messages when there is no cell phone service.  Whether you are out in the hills away from a service area, or there is a cell phone outage, you can still communicate by secure text message.  
    The pair of devices arrive in a cleverly designed, no nonsense box  Included are two goTennas and two USB cables for charging.  The company claims the unit will operate for 24 hours on a full charge.  The units are identical except for the different colored ½ inch web straps affixed to the back of the unit.  One reviewer stated they were about the size of a Snickers bar.  Not any Snicker’s bar I’ve ever seen.  If you must compare it to a candy bar, I’d say it’s more like a rectangular Tootsie Roll.  Measuring 5 ¾ inches long with the antenna retracted.  Extending the antenna (total length 8 ⅛”) turns the unit on.  A single blinking LED signals power-on and successful Bluetooth pairing and readiness.  
    Setup requires going to Google Play for Android users and the App Store for iPhone customers.  Simply download the app, follow the simple instructions and you’re ready to proceed.  Included in the app is a high-quality map, similar to Google maps.  Your position is pinpointed as is your companion’s. The menu offers choices for a “Shout Chat” (, “Group Chat” or a “1-to-1 Chat.”  So far I have only tried the 1-to-1 function.  My companion was located about ¾ mile away (the device gives you distance information as well).  We had almost a clear line of sight and were able to communicate with no problems.  I was on a hill and he was in the valley, seated in his car.  We did note that it worked better when placed the goTenna on the roof of his car, rather than inside.   We tried later with a hill between us at approximately the same distance;.  No contact.  
    Even with that, I’m still impressed with the goTenna.  It is lightweight, compact, seemingly rugged and fills a niche no other product can touch.  The app is simple and straightforward, with no bugs.  At least none that I’ve found.  I do wish it had more “horsepower” but I have a feeling that will come in time.  Most electronic devices these days seem to increase in power and capability as time goes on.  Even as it is, I highly recommend the goTenna.  It will make a great Christmas gift for your outdoorsman or prepper.
    On a different note.  We were again saddened and shocked this week by yet another active shooter incident.  There is a training video produced by the City of Houston Mayor’s Office and Department of Homeland Security.  The title of the video is “Run, Hide, Fight.”  So many times during a shooting incident, the victims simply stand idly waiting their turn to become a statistic.  This six minute video gives good advice on what to if an active shooter invades your world.  This video will save lives!  Just go to www.youtube.com and enter “Run, Hide, Fight.”  Great advice you hope you will never need.     As always send your questions and comments to disasterprep.dave@gmail.com.   Dave Robinson is the Postmaster in Bandon, Oregon,  and the author of “Disaster Prep For The Rest Of Us.”