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Old 05-11-2024, 07:28 AM   #1
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Solved: Non-functional Voyager rear camera due to weak signal

Many airstreamers have struggled with weak/insufficient signal from the Voyager Airstream factory wireless rear view camera mounted on the back of the airstream. At least that is my impression based on multiple forum threads I have read over the last couple of years.

Well, now it's my time to struggle with this problem. I upgraded my tow vehicle from a Porsche Cayenne + 2022 Globetrotter 27FB Twin (great tow vehicle by the way, but payload limited) to a 2024 F350. Then I added a really nice RSI smartcap on the truck bed with a metal security screen on the back window of the cap. Note: The truck is 8 ft longer than the Cayenne and the powder coated stainless steel RSI smartcap also blocks RF signals.

The combination of the longer truck and the stainless steel truck cap caused the Voyager wireless camera signal to be too weak. Basically, there is no longer any direct path for the camera signal to the display unit. When towing, I noticed that the display only received a signal when there was something nearby that the camera transmitter could bounce the signal off of like an 18 wheeler passing me, or nearby trees, buildings, etc. If I am on an open road with nothing but fields of grass nearby, the signal level drops to zero, the display turns black, and then sometimes completely powers down.

The solution for many folks is to switch to something like the Haloview RD10. This camera comes with a long umbilical leading to a wireless transmitter. You swap out the Voyager camera with the RD10 camera, then run the umbilical to the front of your trailer and mount the wireless transmitter on the front of your trailer. This greatly improves the signal strength to the monitor in your tow vehicle cab. It's a nice setup and I might switch to this someday.

But, at a price tag of $350 to $400 bucks for the Haloview RD10, I decided to experiment with some cheaper alternatives after being pretty much tapped out after buying the new truck and RSI smartcap (LOL).

Here is what I came up with in terms of possible options.

Option 1: Replace the voyager antenna with a much longer, higher gain antenna in the hope of extending the antenna above the roofline of the airstream and restoring both line of sight signal path capability and increasing the transmitted signal strength.

Option 2: Buy an rp-sma to sma adapter, then purchase a 10 meter sma RG58 coax cable and a patch antenna. Remove the Voyager camera antenna, attach the rp-sma to sma adapter to the camera, connect the RG58 coax cable to the adapter, then run the coax to the front of the trailer and attach the patch antenna to the front of my airstream using VHB double sided tape.

So I dug into the specs for the voyager system and found out that the voyager camera uses a 2.4Ghz signal transmitted in the same unlicensed FCC band as we use for WIFI purposes. Sweet!! This means that I can use wifi antennas with rp-sma connectors!

I found a dual band 2.4Ghz/5Ghz, 15 inch antenna with 12db gain on amazon for less than $9.

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08LVNRW67...roduct_details

Seems like a reasonable gamble for 9 bucks, lol. So I decided to go with option #1 above and ordered one to try out.

I unscrewed the Voyager antenna and installed the new antenna. The new antenna is capable of folding 90 degrees, so be sure and rotate it so that the air flow created when driving can't fold the antenna down (don't ask me how I found out I needed to avoid this problem, lol).

This antenna works well enough to solve my signal strength problem. The voyager camera is now useable again!! The signal strength now varies from 2 bars on the display unit (nothing nearby to bounce a signal off of) up to full signal strength (if there are other vehicles, buildings, trees to reflect the signal from the camera).

So far so good. If you are also experienceing a weak intermittent signal from your camera like me, you can experience camera to display image lag (the image freezes periodically, then "catches up") and/or the image drops off or the screen goes black. I'll bet this antenna will solve your problem too.

I hope this helps other people. Best of luck to you and have a great camping season!!
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Old 05-11-2024, 01:41 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by foobar View Post
Many airstreamers have struggled with weak/insufficient signal from the Voyager Airstream factory wireless rear view camera mounted on the back of the airstream. At least that is my impression based on multiple forum threads I have read over the last couple of years.

Well, now it's my time to struggle with this problem. I upgraded my tow vehicle from a Porsche Cayenne + 2022 Globetrotter 27FB Twin (great tow vehicle by the way, but payload limited) to a 2024 F350. Then I added a really nice RSI smartcap on the truck bed with a metal security screen on the back window of the cap. Note: The truck is 8 ft longer than the Cayenne and the powder coated stainless steel RSI smartcap also blocks RF signals.

The combination of the longer truck and the stainless steel truck cap caused the Voyager wireless camera signal to be too weak. Basically, there is no longer any direct path for the camera signal to the display unit. When towing, I noticed that the display only received a signal when there was something nearby that the camera transmitter could bounce the signal off of like an 18 wheeler passing me, or nearby trees, buildings, etc. If I am on an open road with nothing but fields of grass nearby, the signal level drops to zero, the display turns black, and then sometimes completely powers down.

The solution for many folks is to switch to something like the Haloview RD10. This camera comes with a long umbilical leading to a wireless transmitter. You swap out the Voyager camera with the RD10 camera, then run the umbilical to the front of your trailer and mount the wireless transmitter on the front of your trailer. This greatly improves the signal strength to the monitor in your tow vehicle cab. It's a nice setup and I might switch to this someday.

But, at a price tag of $350 to $400 bucks for the Haloview RD10, I decided to experiment with some cheaper alternatives after being pretty much tapped out after buying the new truck and RSI smartcap (LOL).

Here is what I came up with in terms of possible options.

Option 1: Replace the voyager antenna with a much longer, higher gain antenna in the hope of extending the antenna above the roofline of the airstream and restoring both line of sight signal path capability and increasing the transmitted signal strength.

Option 2: Buy an rp-sma to sma adapter, then purchase a 10 meter sma RG58 coax cable and a patch antenna. Remove the Voyager camera antenna, attach the rp-sma to sma adapter to the camera, connect the RG58 coax cable to the adapter, then run the coax to the front of the trailer and attach the patch antenna to the front of my airstream using VHB double sided tape.

So I dug into the specs for the voyager system and found out that the voyager camera uses a 2.4Ghz signal transmitted in the same unlicensed FCC band as we use for WIFI purposes. Sweet!! This means that I can use wifi antennas with rp-sma connectors!

I found a dual band 2.4Ghz/5Ghz, 15 inch antenna with 12db gain on amazon for less than $9.

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08LVNRW67...roduct_details

Seems like a reasonable gamble for 9 bucks, lol. So I decided to go with option #1 above and ordered one to try out.

I unscrewed the Voyager antenna and installed the new antenna. The new antenna is capable of folding 90 degrees, so be sure and rotate it so that the air flow created when driving can't fold the antenna down (don't ask me how I found out I needed to avoid this problem, lol).

This antenna works well enough to solve my signal strength problem. The voyager camera is now useable again!! The signal strength now varies from 2 bars on the display unit (nothing nearby to bounce a signal off of) up to full signal strength (if there are other vehicles, buildings, trees to reflect the signal from the camera).

So far so good. If you are also experienceing a weak intermittent signal from your camera like me, you can experience camera to display image lag (the image freezes periodically, then "catches up") and/or the image drops off or the screen goes black. I'll bet this antenna will solve your problem too.

I hope this helps other people. Best of luck to you and have a great camping season!!
Here is a screenshot of the correct antenna on Amazon.
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Old 05-11-2024, 02:19 PM   #3
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I haven't had a problem with the Voyager wireless connection.

If you can solve the problem of moisture infiltration in the camera, let me know.

My first camera lasted a few years before it fogged up due to internal moisture. I bought a replacement camera and sealed every nook and cranny before I mounted it. It has also lasted a couple of years, but now it fogs.
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Old 05-11-2024, 03:06 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by Wayne&Sam View Post
I haven't had a problem with the Voyager wireless connection.

If you can solve the problem of moisture infiltration in the camera, let me know.

My first camera lasted a few years before it fogged up due to internal moisture. I bought a replacement camera and sealed every nook and cranny before I mounted it. It has also lasted a couple of years, but now it fogs.
Yeah, I hear you. The Voyager cameras are prone to moisture intrusion. That's another reason why I didn't want to invest much into making the current Airstream factory system work well. I figure that I'll eventually need to replace it with a better quality wireless camera solution (I will probably will use the Halovision RD10 when it is time to do so).

So, my $9 investment in an antenna upgrade will allow me to keep using the Voyager camera until it craps out.
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Old 05-11-2024, 05:15 PM   #5
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With our tiny 25' and Audi Q7, the signal drops out routinely. I know instantly since I hear the "f* camera's out" cursing alarm (not my choice of words). So, thanks for blazing the trail once again and I'm following in your footsteps.

I did find another vendor that doesn't apparently ship from China if you want it sooner: https://www.amazon.com/Dual-Band-Ant.../dp/B08GS94H98 and I saved 80 cents. I just hope it doesn't look dorky.
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Old 05-18-2024, 08:33 AM   #6
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Couple of photos of the new antenna.

It's not a perfect solution, but it makes the voyager camera usable as opposed to worthless.

It's a big step in the right direction. I think I will look for a slightly longer antenna after this trip to see if I can improve the functionality further.

See attached photos for what the installed antenna looks like.
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Old 05-18-2024, 08:57 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by foobar View Post
See attached photos for what the installed antenna looks like.
I will add the version I bought seems to fit at least, we'll know better this weekend when we head out. I'll monitor the cursing alarm.

More importantly, where are you? Looks rocky. Hope the big adventure is going well.
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Old 05-19-2024, 06:27 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by JeffKim View Post
I will add the version I bought seems to fit at least, we'll know better this weekend when we head out. I'll monitor the cursing alarm.

More importantly, where are you? Looks rocky. Hope the big adventure is going well.
Photos were taken at Conchas Lake state park in NM, 30 minutes NW of Tucumcari, NM. This was an overnight stop on the way to Santa Fe, NM where we will spend a couple of days.

I hope the antenna helps. Make sure you rotate the antenna after installation such that the hinge in the antenna base is oriented such that the antenna can only fold towards the front of the Airstream. This orientation is stable for me and the antenna doesn't fold during travel.
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Old 05-19-2024, 09:20 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by foobar View Post
Here is a screenshot of the correct antenna on Amazon.
I use the Haloview system, not Voyager, but my question concerns the Amazon ad.
It shows the antenna having a "RP-SMA" connector (no center pin) instead of the more common SMA male which is the outside nut plus a center pin. That I what I use and actually bought some of the hi-gain SMA antennas because I was mounting my transmitter/camera inside the Airstream rear window. Turns out I didn't need them.
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Old 05-19-2024, 11:32 AM   #10
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Got me to wondering and yes the RPSMA is correct for the Voyager (as if I'd ever doubt @foobar). Here is the original and longer one.
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Old 05-19-2024, 12:00 PM   #11
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Thanks for the antenna suggestions. I have had problems w my camera image going blank, but only during sunny, warm (>78 degree) days. If I park in the shade for a few minutes, it comes back to life. The camera works well at other temps. Might this antenna fix this problem?
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Old 05-19-2024, 06:07 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mollysdad View Post
I use the Haloview system, not Voyager, but my question concerns the Amazon ad.
It shows the antenna having a "RP-SMA" connector (no center pin) instead of the more common SMA male which is the outside nut plus a center pin. That I what I use and actually bought some of the hi-gain SMA antennas because I was mounting my transmitter/camera inside the Airstream rear window. Turns out I didn't need them.
Good concern. I did manage to look up the specs for the voyager wireless camera and it definitely uses an rp-sma with the pin being 'opposite sex' from the sma standard.
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Old 05-20-2024, 09:04 AM   #13
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Thanks for the tip. I bought and installed the antenna you suggested. Haven't tried it while moving yet, but parked it took the signal from 1 bar bouncing to 2 up to 4 bars bouncing to 5!
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Old 05-20-2024, 09:21 AM   #14
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The camera on my unit worked one time, then the hailstorm hit and it never worked again.

I added a list of items to do and not to do since they are supposed to rebuild my trailer from the centerline up, using buck rivets. I was about to throw in the towel and just have them delete the camera since it didn't work.

This antenna seems like a good option. Incidentally, when I told them if they have to replace the camera or not, I wanted a signal booster wired through the roof while they have it open (tech told me they had an extender but the cable is draped over the top of the RV....no sale!).

Fast forward, factory told me they have another model they've had good success with...didn't ask which one because was still thinking about nixing it, but this antenna may make me think otherwise....
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Old 05-20-2024, 11:14 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JeffKim View Post
Got me to wondering and yes the RPSMA is correct for the Voyager (as if I'd ever doubt @foobar). Here is the original and longer one.
I'll be darned.
I learn something every day!
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Old 05-23-2024, 07:52 AM   #16
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Thanks for the info. My Voyager goes in and out, so hopefully this may help. Is there an antenna for the receiver as well?
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Old 05-23-2024, 12:18 PM   #17
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Thanks for the info. My Voyager goes in and out, so hopefully this may help. Is there an antenna for the receiver as well?
Unfortunately, it appears that the receiver antenna is permanently attached to the monitor. Otherwise, I would have replaced it too.
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Old 05-23-2024, 12:55 PM   #18
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Gee; have never experienced that problem with signal from my rear camera. Only issue that happens sometimes, is no signal at all! (until I turn the lights on) Even with my previous AS's; always had good signal.

By the way, why do you have EMI glass blocking your signal? Something inside that bed cover your hiding from us Foobar?
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Old 05-23-2024, 02:57 PM   #19
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Gee; have never experienced that problem with signal from my rear camera. Only issue that happens sometimes, is no signal at all! (until I turn the lights on) Even with my previous AS's; always had good signal.

By the way, why do you have EMI glass blocking your signal? Something inside that bed cover your hiding from us Foobar?
I have an RSI Smartcap. It's built with powder coated stainless steel. I also purchased the stainless security screen for the rear glass window on the cap. So it blocks the signal quite effectively.

The signal when towing with my new F350 was weak before I installed the cap and pretty much non-existent after I installed the cap.

The signal wasn't great even back when I was towing with a Cayenne. It was marginal and would lose signal lock periodically and then the image would freeze and then jump forward when it updated.

For some reason, some folks get a strong signal from their trailer camera. I am glad to hear it isn't a problem for you :-)
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Old 05-24-2024, 02:17 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by foobar View Post
I have an RSI Smartcap. It's built with powder coated stainless steel. I also purchased the stainless security screen for the rear glass window on the cap. So it blocks the signal quite effectively.

The signal when towing with my new F350 was weak before I installed the cap and pretty much non-existent after I installed the cap.

The signal wasn't great even back when I was towing with a Cayenne. It was marginal and would lose signal lock periodically and then the image would freeze and then jump forward when it updated.

For some reason, some folks get a strong signal from their trailer camera. I am glad to hear it isn't a problem for you :-)
Yea; wonder if you can change out the antenna? Seems there should be an easy solution?
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