New LoRA Distance Record: 830 Miles!

The LoRa radio communication system is useful for low-bandwidth communication, and as many readers will be aware its special skill lies in delivering long range. For most of us that range tops out at a few miles, but pushing the limits of what is possible for LoRa has resulted in some significant records falling. Most recently this has reached an impressive distance of 1336 kilometres, or 830 miles.

The record in question was set from near the Portuguese coast, from where LoRa beacons on a fishing boat and its buoys were able to open up a gateway on the Spanish Canary islands. The conductive surface of the sea makes an excellent aid to propagation, and from amateur radio experience we’d guess that tropospheric conditions aided by the summer weather would have something to do with it too.

Radio amateurs on those coasts and islands chase those conditions and live in hope of making a rare UHF contact across the ocean to the Americas or the Caribbean. The difference in their respective frequency allocations notwithstanding, we wonder whether the same might be possible using LoRa given a fortuitous atmosphere. We’re not quite sure whether a set of dual-band LoRa gateways could be made to test this idea though.

This record breaks a previous one set between Germany and Poland. If you think you’ve seen a far greater LoRa record here before you’d be correct, but only in the modulation scheme and not the frequency.

51 thoughts on “New LoRA Distance Record: 830 Miles!

    1. I like the idea of Roman miles

      The Roman mile (mille passus, lit. “thousand paces”; abbr. m.p.; also milia passuum[n 1] and mille) consisted of a thousand paces as measured by every other step—as in the total distance of the left foot hitting the ground 1,000 times. When Roman legionaries were well-fed and harshly driven in good weather, they thus created longer miles.

      1. Miles are standard unit. Just not everywhere. Since Miles and Nautical Miles are different, it would be reasonable to assume Miles are Miles, not Nautical miles. Just because the sea is visible in the image, why make an assumption that someone used another unit?

  1. What BAND/frequency? Did I miss it in the articles? It could be 430 MHz or 915 MHz ISM, depending on module. Either way, it is over-the-horizon thermal ducting/inversion, so I guess it doesn’t matter. Both freq’s are UHF and would not go that far under anything but extreme conditions.

    1. Checking the original article’s site, the communication was made from European equipment to a Portuguese vessel, so there’s a really high chance it’s the 915MHz frequency (AFAIK, the only available in the EU).

      That information, combined with the information that the buoy tags have an VPYCMABZ transmitter, which from what I could tell, is only available in the 915MHz band, further says there’s an almost 100% chance it’s EU-spec LoRa.

    1. Conductors are what you use when making a radio reflecting surface such as a dish. The sea is both somewhat conductive (not nearly as much as metal) and higher permittivity than air, so it does various things that end up meaning signals can follow the boundary awhile, depending on various things. But this one sounds more like atmospheric ducting randomly worked out in their favor, at a guess.

  2. I don’t get why Hackaday still use imperial units in their article’s titles in 2023. Optionnaly mentionning imperial units in parenthesis in the article’s body is fine but SI units is where it’s at. Come on it’s the 21st century

    1. DX conditions on UHF are extremely rare, but not impossible. Back in the analogue days before TV satellites, receiving a TV station 1000km away in band IV/V was not unheard of and 1960/70s TV tuners were really crappy compared to modern integrated stuff.

      1. Oh, didn’t there used to be a subculture of hams/swls who were into collecting TV test pattern images from all over the world?! They had big TV antennas attached on a rotor to change to the direction which they wanted to listen/watch to.

        1. I wouldn’t call that a subculture, it was a side effect of normal TV reception in Europe and many electronics magazines had permanent sections dedicated to TV-DX. In Upper Austria, where I grew up, practically everyone who owned a TV set in the 1960s and 1970s had a large antenna assembly on the roof, up to 5 aerials of different sizes pointing in different directions. If you wanted to watch German TV, this was the only way to go. Things like a 20-element UHF yagi needed to receive the 3rd German program from the Brotjacklriegel or Wendelstein transmitters were usually stocked by local radio dealers. Hams would mount this stuff on their existing antenna rotors. Larger installations could be found around the British Channel and the Adriatic Sea, because you could receive a lot of foreign programming there. TV sets sold in this regions often had twelve station buttons instead of the usual six and could receive multiple standards. One probably wouldn’t call that DX today, but it still wasn’t anywhere near line-of-sight reception, more like drilling holes into hills with antenna gain.

    2. If you listen for a while at night, you can hear radio transmissions from all over the world. You just can’t predict what you’ll hear from the furthest distances. RF does weird things with different weather, ionosphere, etc etc.

      I routinely talked to people 900+ miles away with my 5 watt transmitter. That was routine; much further distances popped up unpredictably.

      I don’t at all doubt this happened. Once. Reliably repeating it would be a very different thing.

  3. I own a simple cheap Chinesium weather station that also picks up the time from DCF77 in Mainhausen.
    I’ve had it for about twenty years. When I moved to the Caribbean, it moved with me, where it no longer picked up the time. Until I moved to the other side of the island, where the volcano was no longer blocking the view over the Atlantic. All of a sudden, in the morning I’d find my clock was off by six hours. After two nights I figured out what was happening: due to my new domicile closer to the Atlantic this cheap old little weather station picked up the DCF77 signal again, all the way from Germany to the Leeward West Indies.
    Officially, the range is “only” 2.000 km. Unofficially: 7.240 km.

  4. There is no ambiguity because the UK doesnt use miles and when referring to NM you say either NM or Nautical miles. But I’m sure you already knew that and chose to overlook it so you could make a pathetic pro metric post thats unrelated to the topic.

  5. This seems fake, as in not point-point. What antennas are used? And…
    “…the new world record was set by installing LoRaWAN trackers on a fishing boat Estrela de Sesimbra and on its buoys…”
    So it was done using a bunch of buoys as repeaters? How does a rocking buoy, cutting in and out with spotty comms, become a hero?

  6. At 900 MHz, they could have been experiencing troposcatter. This used to be a popular mode for medium-distance (300-600 km) telecommunications, but has largely fallen out of use except in offshore oil and gas. It’s a fascinating propagation mode.

  7. Very good DX !

    What band ?

    Propagation is very good this month, but, this DX is better if it’s SRD band (869 MHz) than LPD band (433 MHz).

    I use Meshtastic on LPD band (433 MHz). It’s a very good device for DX. We make link of 20 km easy. Lora is very robust.

    I’ve made DX of 88 km on SDR (869) band with two way radio FM 10 mW à long ago before Lora. If it can run with FM, Lora can do also and very better.

Leave a Reply

Please be kind and respectful to help make the comments section excellent. (Comment Policy)

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.