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Old 11-15-2015, 05:26 PM   #1
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Repurpose AM/FM Antenna for Cell Booster?

I've ripped out my Sony AM/FM/DVD head out of the dinette overhead cabinet. It will not be replaced as I've decided to upgrade the current TV to a 28" LED with DVD with audio coming from a Bluetooth speaker. The AM/FM antenna on my 25fb is located just behind the rear Fantastic Fan and its cable runs down into the cabinet area.

For internet on the road we seem to use cellular data more than Wifi. We don't normally stay in RV parks with Wifi nor park outside Starbucks, McDonalds to use Wifi. Right now I just create a Wifi hotspot on my iPhone to use my Macbook Air and iPads. Maybe eventually will add a Jetpack.

What I would like to do is is use a Verizon cell signal booster and take advantage of the location of the unused radio antenna for a 4g/3g antenna and use the existing hole to run cabling down into the dinette cabinet for the equipment. I'm hoping I can mount a antenna in the same spot I'm just starting to research this idea and it seems pretty confusing.

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Kelvin
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Old 11-15-2015, 05:54 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by KJRitchie View Post
I've ripped out my Sony AM/FM/DVD head out of the dinette overhead cabinet. It will not be replaced as I've decided to upgrade the current TV to a 28" LED with DVD with audio coming from a Bluetooth speaker. The AM/FM antenna on my 25fb is located just behind the rear Fantastic Fan and its cable runs down into the cabinet area.

For internet on the road we seem to use cellular data more than Wifi. We don't normally stay in RV parks with Wifi nor park outside Starbucks, McDonalds to use Wifi. Right now I just create a Wifi hotspot on my iPhone to use my Macbook Air and iPads. Maybe eventually will add a Jetpack.

What I would like to do is is use a Verizon cell signal booster and take advantage of the location of the unused radio antenna for a 4g/3g antenna and use the existing hole to run cabling down into the dinette cabinet for the equipment. I'm hoping I can mount a antenna in the same spot I'm just starting to research this idea and it seems pretty confusing.

Thanks

Kelvin
Kelvin,

I install a good number of the WeBoost (Wilson) 5-band cell amplifiers. I'm pretty sure that the outside antenna port for these units is incompatible with a standard AM/FM radio antenna. I would also suspect that the cable properties like latent impedance would also be different.

These units come with a small magnetic antenna which we don't use; preferring the high gain units from Sure Call coupled with Wilson's ultra low loss cables. Have had great results with the above.

BTW; I always use the fridge vent to run the cables
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Old 11-15-2015, 06:18 PM   #3
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Hey Kelvin, not going to work. Antenna's need to be matched to the frequencies they are going to work on. Ditto to what Lew says, I use a similar setup. For example, my directional antenna seen below is matched to work only on Verizon's band and won't work for sprint, AT&T or t-mobile. My Surecall omni works on a few more bands and works with sprint and at&t.

I went completely overkill and used LMR400 to wire mine to the booster. LMR200 would be fine.



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Old 11-15-2015, 06:52 PM   #4
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What about using the magnetic antenna that is supplied with the Weboost 4GX? I could mount a small metal plate on the roof and hopefully run the wire down to the dinette cabinet. Is it possible to fish the wire through or use the existing radio antenna wire to pull the booster's cell cable down? My Classic has the vinyl ceiling. I don't want to have it torn out to gain access.

If run cable down the fridge vent to you have to pull out the fridge?

Apparently, Weboost's new RV permanent antenna isn't ready for shipping until next year.
weBoost Announces RV 4G Cellular Booster, Drive 4G-X “Now Shipping” – RV Mobile Internet Resource Center


What about Surecall's product? Does it work as well as the Weboost?

All Carrier Mobile Cellular Booster-Vehicle Boosters-SureCall - Raise Your Bars

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Old 11-15-2015, 07:04 PM   #5
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The magnetic antenna will work, but you won't get nearly as much gain as using this unit: Outdoor Omni 3G/4G Antenna, 9.5 inches, 78 Reviews : 3Gstore.com

I pair the Sure Call antenna with Wilson's ultra low loss cable: 10' Black Ultra Low Loss Cable (N/Male Connectors) : 3Gstore.com along with a required adapter for a great package. The ULL cable is available in a variety of lengths too.

I also typically place the actual WeBoost unit either in the compartment above the fridge (if available) or in the space directly under the fridge. The inside antenna can be easily positioned on the fridge wall in either case and will provide excellent coverage from the entire front area of the trailer.
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Old 11-15-2015, 07:34 PM   #6
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Those adapters that the 3gstore included can cause signal noise and degrade your performance, FYI. Had my cables custom made to length with matching ends from Ethernet Cable | Wifi Antenna Cable | AIR802 - also cheaper.

Although the average person probably isn't like me running speed tests and stuff. I do a lot of data pushes and want packet loss to be very low with low latency. So it's not like the adapters are bad, just not really preferred, IMO.
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Old 11-15-2015, 08:46 PM   #7
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Those adapters that the 3gstore included can cause signal noise and degrade your performance, FYI. Had my cables custom made to length with matching ends from Ethernet Cable | Wifi Antenna Cable | AIR802 - also cheaper.

Although the average person probably isn't like me running speed tests and stuff. I do a lot of data pushes and want packet loss to be very low with low latency. So it's not like the adapters are bad, just not really preferred, IMO.
Interesting! Thanks for the heads up! I'll definitely investigate them, as a few of my folks need higher data capacities as well. I was a bit suspicious of those adapters.
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Old 11-16-2015, 09:18 AM   #8
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So can one of these systems be a benefit when you are sitting outside the trailer or is the range on the internal antenna just inside the trailer.

Does the internal antenna have to be on an exposed wall or can I mount it behind a wood cabinet door?

Does anyone know how the external AM/FM radio antenna is mounted on an Airstream?. Does it have an internal nut that tightens up from inside the shell and is installed before the interior walls and insulation are put in place?

Thanks

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Old 11-16-2015, 09:28 AM   #9
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So can one of these systems be a benefit when you are sitting outside the trailer or is the range on the internal antenna just inside the trailer.

Does the internal antenna have to be on an exposed wall or can I mount it behind a wood cabinet door?

Does anyone know how the external AM/FM radio antenna is mounted on an Airstream?. Does it have an internal nut that tightens up from inside the shell and is installed before the interior walls and insulation are put in place?

Thanks

Kelvin

Internal nut holds the radio antenna to the outer skin.

The inside antenna is a line of sight proximity device. You need to see it and IIRC be within 8-10' of it.


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Old 11-16-2015, 09:50 AM   #10
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OK. So using the AM/FM antenna location is out of the question.

So if I want to attach an antenna to the TV antenna and run the cable down the fridge vent do I have to remove or move the fridge from the compartment to get the wires inside?

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Old 11-16-2015, 09:59 AM   #11
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OK. So using the AM/FM antenna location is out of the question.

So if I want to attach an antenna to the TV antenna and run the cable down the fridge vent do I have to remove or move the fridge from the compartment to get the wires inside?

Thanks

Kelvin
If going that route, yes. I tried, and just couldn't route them any other way.

My friend Shawn used a water proof grommet to route his into the overhead cabinet.

I'll qoute his blog for you here:
https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?...3552239&type=3

Quote:
Instead of running through the refer vent like most people do, and since I wanted to keep all of my tech center in one location, I took quite a different approach. Using Heyco IP68/NEMA 6P cable glands, we were able to run the cables directly through the roof above the can lights. This makes the cable runs shorter and more accessible if a replacement needs to be made. I am happy to say that after raining for three straight day, in Las Vegas of all places, we are water tight! I'll have more of the tech center pics once I have everything in place.










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Old 11-16-2015, 10:36 AM   #12
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95.20 GB Used: I'm very jealous. That would cost me approximately one billion dollars in overages.
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Old 11-16-2015, 10:50 AM   #13
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Man, nothing is easy about working on Airstreams. I don't have lights like that on my Classic. I have fluorescent fixtures along the center line. I have the Fanastic fan in the rear. Could a cable enter through that housing and be fished back to the rear dinette cabinets?

Checked out the Facebook photos. Are those wire retainers on the roof just stuck down on the roof with adhesive or caulk. Are they suitable for exterior use and won't degrade from exposure?

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Old 11-16-2015, 02:35 PM   #14
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We actually use a Wilson Sleek--one in the Airstream and a separate one in the two vehicle. While not nearly as powerful or sophisticated as the units mentioned here, we do find it a huge help.

We mounted a steel plate and used the supplied magnetic antenna with the Wilson cables. For our 28' International, the cable routes to the area behind the sony head unit and then to the Wilson cradle. A major limitation is that the phone must be in the cradle to work.
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