Meshtastic and Amateur Radio

Meshtastic is a hot topic at the moment, and as it has a lot of cross-over with what’s at the heart of amateur radio – RF experimentation. Here’s a page of information for radio amateurs about Meshtastic. Any input from the community would be appreciated to make this a handy page.

What is Meshtastic?

Meshtastic is an open-source, off-grid, decentralized mesh network designed to run on affordable, low-power devices. There seem to be two frequencies being used for Meshtastic, but here in the UK, the activity is on 868MHz – a licence-free band used for industrial, scientific, and medical (ISM).

At the heart of Meshtastic lies LoRa, a long-range radio protocol. Meshtastic operates in a peer-to-peer mode. As an example, imagine a group of hikers deep in the wilderness – their Meshtastic devices will form a resilient mesh network. Messages flow between devices, with no Internet or Mobile service provider or subscription.

Meshtastic Specs:

  • Hardware: Meshtastic supports a variety of devices. There are devices based on the ESP32 chip (such as the LILYGO TTGO, the Nano G1 Station and the Heltec V3). There are also devices running the nRD52 chip and the RP2020 (developed by Raspberry Pi). These devices, sometimes powered by solar panels, become nodes in the mesh, extending the network’s reach.
  • Data Rates: Meshtastic offers various data rates, balancing speed and range, depending on config
  • Applications: Meshtastic isn’t just about text messages; it’s about group messaging, GPS tracking, and even telemetry. Think of it as APRS 2.0—more efficient, more accessible, and without the need for an amateur radio license or service provider.
Heltec 868MHz ESP32 LoRa 32 V3 Dev Board with Shell
Heltec 868MHz ESP32 LoRa 32 V3 Dev Board with Shell


Looking for Meshtastic kit?

At the time of writing, there’s such demand, it’s hard to get certain bits of kit. A common place to look is AliExpress – See: Lora at AliExpress.

A popular choice is kit based on the Lora 32 ESP32 development board. We ordered a Heltec board (supplied with a snazzy case) from the following dealer: Lora32 V3 ESP32-S3 868MHz at AliExpress – We ordered a pack of two and they turned up in under a week. Note that this requires external power, and flashing with the Meshtastic software, which is pretty straightforward

The Meshtastic Community

Meshtastic seems to be thriving and gaining traction in the UK, with more notes popping up all over the place. Passionate developers, outdoor enthusiasts, and tinkerers collaborate, enhancing the system, sharing knowledge, and solving problems. Sounds a little like amateur radio, doesn’t it? 

Meshtastic and Amateur Radio

One obvious area where Meshtastic has crossover with our hobby, is when things go wrong = RAYNET territory. With a power outage or the mobile phone network down, a Meshtastic network could be established pretty quickly.

Outside of disaster situations, there’s plenty of scope to use this new tech to demo “wireless” to youngsters in new ways, bringing a little more excitement to radio comms than analogue voice.

More about Mesh

As technology evolves, so does Meshtastic. New features, optimizations, and use cases emerge. To find out more, pop over to



Anything to add? Please add a comment below.


  1. M1EMF 15 March 2024 Reply
  2. al 23 March 2024 Reply
  3. Mesh About 24 April 2024 Reply

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