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Old 11-26-2014, 10:27 AM   #1
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Cell (4G) booster solution selected

Having only spent 7 nights in my AS the biggest issue I have is connectivity for work. Having tried small internal antennas with little success, it was time to pull out the big guns... So I bit the bullet and ordered up some widgets from 3Gstore:

2 x 9.5" Omni antenna (SC-288W)
1 x Wilson Mobile 50db 5-Band SmarTech III Kit (460108)
2 x 30 Foot LMR400 Cable (952330)

I got 2 antennas as I hope this will give me a little flexibility for FOV - the AC unit can be quite an obstruction. One will be used for wifi when available and the other for cell signal.

The local AS dealer will be doing the install for me some time in December, once I confirm all the gear passes a "soft" home test. I do plan on getting some pics of the install to share...

We are planning a week away over Christmas/New Year and that will be the big test!

For the record, I am using a Pepwave SOTG with a novatel 551 USB 4G modem on Verizon.
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Old 11-26-2014, 10:56 AM   #2
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I have a similar but not identical Wilson booster setup for my Airstream Interstate, except that I have a magnetic-mount antenna since the Interstate is made of fine German steel instead of aluminum.

You'll see a marked improvement in your connectivity with the booster, not only because that puts your antenna outside the Faraday cage that is your Airstream, but also because the added height gives you improve line-of-sight to cell towers.

But as often as not, I just plug the antenna directly into my Verizon jetpack, and forego the booster. Just getting the antenna outside and higher is often enough to improve connectivity even without the booster. There's a slight electricity savings that way, too since if the booster isn't in the system I don't have to power it.
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Old 11-26-2014, 01:20 PM   #3
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Thanks for the tip there Protagonist, I had a suspicion that would be the case - and I look forward to testing that out.

I need this connectivity for the cell phone too - I still have to talk to people for work!
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Old 11-26-2014, 02:11 PM   #4
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I too have a Wilson booster, the 4G universal SLEEK with their big mobile antenna.
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Old 11-26-2014, 08:07 PM   #5
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If you have and iOS device get a copy of Coverage!! from the App store. Might also be available on Android. I have the same booster. Looking at the app narrows down where I might boondock. Not always 100% reliable so as I am scouting I have the booster in the truck with a larger whip on the roof than comes with the booster package. I watch signal strength. 50-100ft can make a difference in signal/no signal. Reliable speed/connection I have found is 2 bars. 1 bar is to iffy. Hoping you have Verizon as they have the best coverage especially out boondocking in the west.

If you don't do the antennas that you ordered which need a roof penetration then most of the time I use the small antenna that came with the booster. Piece of magnetic tape mounted above the door just forward of the awning system works well. If still spotty I have one of the Wilson trucker antennas and I put it on top of one of the flag poles. The mount included with the trucker antenna allows it to be screwed onto the end of the painters pole flag unit. http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00...?ie=UTF8&psc=1
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Old 11-27-2014, 01:27 AM   #6
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If all else fails, amateur radio....


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Old 11-29-2014, 07:59 PM   #7
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For line of sight when far out a directional antenna will work even better than an omni pointed at the cell tower. You can use Coverage's tower view or AntennaSearch - Search for Cell Towers, Cell Reception, Hidden Antennas and more. to find a tower.
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Old 12-24-2014, 09:22 AM   #8
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I got my AS back last night. I have to say the initial tests are very positive! On my driveway my signal inside the AS has gone from -100db to -60db!!

The real test will come when we head back out on the road on boxing day, the camp site we are going to had no usable signal when we were there last..
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Old 12-24-2014, 09:58 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BoldAdventure View Post
For line of sight when far out a directional antenna will work even better than an omni pointed at the cell tower. You can use Coverage's tower view or AntennaSearch - Search for Cell Towers, Cell Reception, Hidden Antennas and more. to find a tower.
I tried that link this morning, to find towers within range of Lake Bruin State Park, Louisiana. It returned three cell towers within a 4-mile range. But I couldn't call up a report because I forgot to disable the popup blocker. So I had to run the search again with popups allowed, same address, and it told me here were NO cell towers in a 4-mile range!

If the program can't return the same results twice in a row, what good is it?
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Old 01-30-2015, 07:48 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gsmblue View Post
Having only spent 7 nights in my AS the biggest issue I have is connectivity for work. Having tried small internal antennas with little success, it was time to pull out the big guns... So I bit the bullet and ordered up some widgets from 3Gstore:



2 x 9.5" Omni antenna (SC-288W)

1 x Wilson Mobile 50db 5-Band SmarTech III Kit (460108)

2 x 30 Foot LMR400 Cable (952330)



.

I'm thinking of doing something similar and am hoping you can answer a few questions...

Where did you place the exterior and interior antennas?

How close do you have to be to the interior antenna to get a signal?

Is the ULTRA lossless cable necessary, or would standard cable be fine? I understand the ultra is rather large.

What entry point did you use for the lossless cable?

Lastly, is the short magnetic mount antenna that comes in the kit worth anything?

Sorry to have so many questions, but I'm just trying to get a good grasp on all this.
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Old 01-30-2015, 08:56 AM   #11
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OK, let me see here:

1. I will post a pic later.
2. Really the best signal is within a few feet. I have it above the dinette so we get good signal there, which is where we need it
3. No, but I had someone else install it so it was not an issue for me
4. I will post a pic later.
5. I tried to use it, but really got nothing useful from it...

I am still new to this too, ask as many questions as you like!
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Old 01-30-2015, 09:06 AM   #12
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Thanks! Do you know if the internal and external antennas have to be a minimum distance apart?
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Old 01-30-2015, 09:42 AM   #13
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Quote:
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...The real test will come when we head back out on the road on boxing day, the camp site we are going to had no usable signal when we were there last..
GSMBlue, how did it work out at the campsite with no signal? Any improved reception there with your setup?
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Old 01-30-2015, 02:13 PM   #14
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KY, yes they need to be separated. Usually the amp will have some type on indication if there is an issue. If you don't resolve it can cause interference for the cell towers. I had a unit on my truck and AT&T field tech used a direction finding system to find me and told me it was causing dropped calls. Easy to fix but the amp at the time didn't indicate an error.
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