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Old 02-15-2016, 07:09 PM   #21
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Originally Posted by BoldAdventure View Post
Amazing. That hasn't been my experience. You should share these amazing boondocking locations with wonderful LTE coverage. The omni alone for me was fine on the east coast, out west, useless.

Don't buy one. Save your pennies.
Interesting. Can you give a sample location out west where your omni did *not* work but the directional did?
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Old 02-15-2016, 08:23 PM   #22
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Sure I'll give you a several. Pole Mountain area west of Cheyenne WY. With the WeBoost 4G-X and the omni Trucker, while Voice worked no data. Went to the Yagi, and to a usable 4mb/s data connection.

Medicine Bow National Forest just west of Centennial, WY. Good view to the east in the valley. Again nothing with the omni other than voice. Yagi had 3.6mb/s.

Encampment, WY city park. No joy with the omni, 6mb/s with the Yagi pointing to a tower to the northeast.

Without the 4G-X none of these locations would work.

Bottom line use what you have and if it isn't working try something else. And the add ons do start to add costs. And some times you simply need to move. You did ask if it was worth it didn't you?
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Old 02-15-2016, 08:34 PM   #23
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Old 02-15-2016, 11:15 PM   #24
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Gary, thanks for the examples. I looked at verizon and AT&T coverage maps (dunno which service you're using) and it appears that all the sites you mention are "supposed to have LTE coverage" (I know, coverage maps...). But that tells me that most likely the issue is more about attenuation due to foliage than a distance issue. Food for thought for sure... Thanks for sharing!
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Old 02-15-2016, 11:26 PM   #25
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Amazing. That hasn't been my experience. You should share these amazing boondocking locations with wonderful LTE coverage.
You were in Anza Borrego recently, I find that the boondocking sites in the Borrego Springs valley have good coverage (haven't been back in 2 years, I hear some things have changed there).

Mojave Preserve has good coverage around Cima Dome. A few years back I had great signal on the south slope of the main valley coming down cedar canyon rd but couldn't connect due to distance. I found a spot along the road where I got a connection and then walked less than 50ft and lost the connection while seeing the same signal strength. The phone would just cycle trying to connect and failing in a loop.
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Old 02-16-2016, 06:35 AM   #26
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Maybe I missed it but how much would a set up like this cost?
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Old 02-16-2016, 08:37 AM   #27
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Rockhouse Trail Road in Anza Borrego has terrible service, not great coverage. It's also over loaded. Directional was needed to go from 0.25mbps which is unusable to 1.45mbps which is still pretty bad. Ken's Lake in Moab required it, nothing on omni. Hole in the Wall at Mojave Preserve required it too. Singal was weak on the omni. But way better speeds on the directional. Talking a 5mbps difference. Looking through my speed test account we went from 2.34mbps down to 15mbps down with the directional.

Mitry Lake, Yuma AZ was better boosted on the omni, 1 bar unboosted. Loy Butte Rd, Sedona AZ was better boosted too. Madden Peak, San Juan Nat'l Forest, CO - Sand Flats Recreation Area, Moab UT - Lower Teton View, WY overloaded tower and 1-2mbps on the omni. Unboosted was 3G and non-usable. We actually moved after two weeks here because of the slow speeds. Piney Campground, MT was 3G unboosted and 4G LTE usable boosted. Galena Gulch BLM, MT was 3G unboosted and 4G usable boosted.

I actually have been keeping a spreadsheet, and adding all this to my reviews on Campendium.

So it's a toss up. I think the ROI is worth it.

BTW, I was originally replying to this:

Quote:
Originally Posted by tvoneicken View Post

For example, I was in the south of Death Valley last week ~38mi from Furnace Creek, where the cell tower is as far as I know. I saw 3 out of 4 bars for 1xRTT and could connect. For 3G I saw 2/4 bars but could not connect, the JetPack cycled though connecting...disconnecting, which typically indicates that it's beyond the range that the cell tower accepts.

This experience is very typical for me: I have signal but am too far out. If I'm within range the JetPack usually works even without external antenna. In what circumstances have you found more antenna useful?
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Old 02-16-2016, 01:17 PM   #28
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I’m sure you probably know most of this, but adding to the fray…

My internet search turned up some interesting facts. I speak as a ham who is interested in this technically, and as a remote user (15 linear miles) from a Verizon tower. I looked into this some 7-8 years ago when I set up my system using a Wilson amp and a very high gain Yagi antenna.

The maximum range of a mast (where it is not limited by interference with other masts nearby) depends on the same circumstances. Some technologies, such as GSM, normally have a fixed maximum range of 35 kilometers (22 mi), which is imposed by technical limitations. CDMA and IDEN have no built-in limit, but the limiting factor is the ability of a low-powered personal cell phone to transmit back to the mast. As a rough guide, based on a tall mast and flat terrain, it is possible to get between 50 to 70 km (30–45 miles).

I was unaware that there was a distance limitation. Your estimate of 38 miles would put you way beyond that limitation – if – you are using GSM, but not CDMA. Interesting…

AT&T and T-Mobile use GSM technology. Verizon and Sprint use CDMA.
These two technologies are incompatible. Also different carriers use different frequencies, which means that unless your antenna is tuned for that frequency, it may, or may not work.

All of this is quite interesting (to me}. However, I think that a phone call to a tech at Wilson (or some other cell phone amplifier company) would be a quicker and perhaps simpler solution…
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Old 02-16-2016, 02:02 PM   #29
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Lumatic

From the WeBoost website
4G-X - $480
Trucker Omni - $51
Yagi Directional - $72

Web prices might save some. And add cabling/connectors to your particular setup.
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Old 02-16-2016, 02:50 PM   #30
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AT&T and T-Mobile use GSM technology. Verizon and Sprint use CDMA.
These two technologies are incompatible. Also different carriers use different frequencies, which means that unless your antenna is tuned for that frequency, it may, or may not work.
Actually this is outdated. Verizon now uses GSM in 700, 1700 and 1900 bands for their LTE network, they phased out CDMA from phones in 2014.
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Old 02-16-2016, 05:47 PM   #31
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Yes

Quote:
Originally Posted by BoldAdventure View Post
YES.

Do any of the people who responded use one?



I am going to recommend you match the directional and omni to a WeBoost Drive 4G-X without that you are kind of wasting your money. I have to work on the road, every day. And we boondock/dry camp exclusively. We've been boondocking for the past 3 months nonstop and I've had to use the directional twice. It's a huge improvement when you can point it at the antenna on the tower.
I have a Yagi direction antenna and if tuned in correctly to a tower its much better then the omni. As an added bonus you dont get the feed back that you may experiance with the omni directional antenia as you need proper separation if using a booster.
Being a former cellular tech for 15 years I speak with some experience in these matters.
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Old 02-16-2016, 06:11 PM   #32
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How much do these cost and how do you tune them to a tower?
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Old 02-16-2016, 08:49 PM   #33
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How much do these cost and how do you tune them to a tower?
There are various YAGI's. You can get ones tuned for single band that are really good. Or you can get one like I have which is a wide band YAGI tuned for a variety of bands.

Mine is a Wilson, and is tuned for 700-2500mhz networks, which are used by most 2G, 3G, and 4G providers in the USA and Canada. Run about $75.99

Here is an example of a single band: http://3gstore.com/product/1676_wils...i-antenna.html

The reason I chose the wide band is that Verizon operates on a few low and high bands, and their new AWS is all in the 1900 spectrum I believe.
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Old 02-17-2016, 12:11 AM   #34
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Great info. Thanks everyone.
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Old 02-17-2016, 03:50 AM   #35
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As far as tuning to a specic tower first you need to know where your provider tower is in relationshop to your tie down location. I use an app for that on my cell phone. Then and this is where the wife comes in handy you or if your attached to you tv antenia you rough point the antenia towards the specific tower and watch the signal strength on your phone ,give it some moments to catch up to your movements as there will be some lag.
See the Wilson website as they are very helpfull and you can get a live tech to help you set up what you need for what your paticular application is.
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Old 02-17-2016, 06:06 AM   #36
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My question is this. If I have a Yagi directional antenna and an omni antenna, can I hook them up to the same amplifier with a splitter, or can I only use one at a time?
And assuming that I can only use one at a time, is there a suitable switch available?
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Old 02-17-2016, 07:37 AM   #37
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How did you run the cabling down into your Airstream. Is it just coax?

If you want to keep your antenna do you just run the cellular cabling down the fridge vent?

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Old 02-17-2016, 09:16 AM   #38
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Mike, thanks for the notes. I didn't occur to me to look into campendium. Sounds like there is indeed a benefit to the yagi in order to get better SNR which allows for higher bandwidths. I've been mostly looking to pull email and web pages in, where 250kbps and a little patience work OK.

When you write "Verizon now uses GSM in 700, 1700 and 1900 bands for their LTE network, they phased out CDMA from phones in 2014" I don't believe the last part is correct. When a verizon phone connects using 1xRTT or 3G it's still using CMDA.
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Old 02-17-2016, 09:30 AM   #39
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Silvr_Lining: you are correct that CDMA technology doesn't have a hard distance limitation like GSM because it uses different spreading codes to separate calls. What happens though is that as the tower gets busy the noise floor increases from all the calls and that causes what's apparently called "cell shrinkage", meaning that during busy times far away phones get dropped because they can't maintain communication due to the noise floor increase.

I could swear that I saw that each cdma tower also imposes a distance limit set by the provider, but now I can't find any reference to it, so maybe I was misguided and distance really is just a SNR issue...

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Old 02-17-2016, 09:49 AM   #40
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Quick update about LTE. Various bits of technical info that I'm finding say that LTE allows for cell ranges ~100km. However, it appears that there is a limitation that depends on the "PRACH format" configured for a cell (has to do with the preamble length used when connecting to a cell) and depending on config this may limit a cell to ~14km, ~29km, ~77km, or ~100km. See http://lteuniversity.com/get_trained...le-format.aspx for one explanation.
I have no idea what various providers set this to...
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