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I've been looking for a LoRa module since I helped to install the first Things Network gateway in Swansea:

Today we installed the first @thethingsntwrk gateway for our region. We are actively contributing to the 100% open source #IoT network 😎 #ThingsConnected #Swansea #LoRaWAN #geeks

— TechHub Swansea (@TechHubSwansea) May 29, 2018

The Things Network is an open, community-built network using LoRaWAN technology, which allows for long-range (up to 10km) low-power wireless communication without needing a special license or monthly subscription.

This morning I saw a tweet from Tod Kurt (maintainer of the excellent node-hid Node.js library):

Cool ESP32-based LoRa module w/display for $26! as described by @VinduinoReinier at @hackaday meetup @SupplyframeDL

— Tod E. Kurt (@todbot) June 29, 2018

The ESP32 is the successor to the ESP8266 microcontroller and contains a 32-bit microcontroller with both WiFi and Bluetooth LE. Add LoRa and an OLED screen and this is a very impressive package for less than £20. Compare this to The Thing Network's own Arduino-compatible Things Uno that only has LoRa and costs more than double the price.

I had a quick look at The Things Network forums and it looks like a lot of people are already using these, as they were released towards the end of last year. There seems to be some antenna issues, but that these can probably be fixed if you do need longer range.