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Cell Phone Signal Booster?


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#1 MountainSufi

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Posted 19 February 2022 - 05:30 PM

Howdy from Jackson Hole! (Home of dodgey cell phone coverage)

 

I'm considering getting a cell phone signal booster for my FWC. Unfortunately the strongest one available also is the waaaaay most expensive: The Cell Fi GO-X It also sez it doesn't support Verizon/Sprint 2G/3G: is this a no go in today's age of coverage?

 

Please share your Guru Tech Advice.

 

Thankx

 

 

 

 


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Jackson Hole, Wyoming
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#2 JaSAn

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Posted 19 February 2022 - 06:44 PM

Verizon has said that their 3G network will be shut down by December 31, 2022.

 

I have a WeBoost 4G-RV that I am happy with.  If I can get any un-boosted signal on my phone, the WeBoost will increase it to at least 2 bars (good enough for phone, texting, and text internet); I usually get 3 bars.  

3 inch pencil antenna on roof of camper (with 10" steel ground plane).  

'Chocolate bar' internal antenna right next to phone for best results.


Edited by JaSAn, 19 February 2022 - 06:45 PM.

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#3 Vic Harder

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Posted 19 February 2022 - 07:22 PM

Check out the good folks at MobileMustHave.com and rvmobileInternet.com.

2g and 3G are on the way to retirement.

I used to have the same booster as JaSan, with a bigger antenna too. Worked well. Sold that to another WtW member. In the process of installing a new setup from MobileMustHave that will hopefully enable even better connectivity. Report to follow in June!

The WeBoost is a good deal and works on any cell signal. I’d buy direct from them or from signalBooster.com

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2015 Silverado 3500 crew cab 8' bed Diesel

2012 ATC Puma Shell build - https://www.wanderth...012-puma-build/

Power considerations thread - https://www.wanderth...e-power-scotty/

Building out an electrical system - So, you want to setup a good electrical system in your camper? - Electrical, Charging, Solar, Batteries and Generators - Wander the West


#4 MountainSufi

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Posted 20 February 2022 - 06:26 AM

Thankx kids.

 

Yeah, I know 2G/3G are going the way of spittoons, & I'm the proud owner of a new Pixel 6 Pro. FWIW, research I found had the Cell Fi GO-X company saying it's currently illegal to boost a 5G signal, but they'll update when that status changes.

 

While expensive, I'm intrigued by reviews saying the GO-X rig has boosted 1 bar to 4 or 5 bars.

 

QUESTION: It certainly makes sense to place the antenna on top of FWC roof. But where? And especially, how & where do you run the coax cable? Our Fleet has a side window table. My head is spinning trying to figure out how to cope with the up-down-elevator status of our pop-up tops. If it's ambiguous, we rabble will appreciate pics.

 

**********************

 

We live in Jackson Hole, & mega drought fires will undoubtedly make our air quality very low at times. I'm retired & my partner is a counselor who can Zoom clients. We can stream Lassie reruns for the dog. I like the idea of road tripping into unsullied air. Gawd, I remember how miserable the '87 Yellowstone fires were when visibility went down below half a block. Never again.


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Jackson Hole, Wyoming
2012 Tacoma Double Cab TRD Sport Long Bed
2017 Fleet FWC, Side Dinette (Purchased from Rocky Mt. FWC)

 

"We're all in this together"--The Red Green Show


#5 Vic Harder

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Posted 20 February 2022 - 09:42 PM

MountainSufi ... 

 

A few things to consider.  That Cel-fi kit you linked to is designed for a permanent installation on an unmoving object, aka, your house or cabin.  The outside antenna is directional, so you would have to be able to hook up and use an RF power meter to aim it.  Also, I think 50dB of gain is the max allowed for mobile installations.

 

Further the device works like most "boosters" do, meaning that they take an existing cell signal and amplify it. There is a limit on how much they can boost the signal without causing feedback, by feeding the amplified signal back into the receiving antenna.  There are a variety of ways they control this, one is by making the boosted signal extremely weak.  The WeBoost internal antenna is a tiny thing that works best if you rubber band it and your cell phone together.  VERY awkward way to use your phone.  I ended up turning my phone's Hotspot feature on and connecting to that with my computer for skype/zoom calls. 

 

The other thing to do is to make use of the "dead" zone directly underneath the outside antenna.  Meaning positioning the internal antenna right underneath it.  Also awkward.

 

Best way around this is to use the "hotspot" feature by design.  Meaning receive cell signal, and broadcast WiFi.  Such a device is no longer a "booster" though.  The system I am installing now is exactly that... receive cell, transmit wifi.  I will be able to use my phone/laptop sitting around the fire having a cold one rather than being trapped inside my camper.

 

As for antenna wiring, I was using the WeBoost Trucker antenna before.  I had that mounted to a section of 80/20 that was mounted to the rear passenger side jack bracket.  I could lower it for travel, raise it for parked/work use.  I could go from 1 bar to 3 bars using that setup.  And the wire was anchored inside the camper, penetrated to the outside in the wooden floor pack, and then had enough slack to be able to raise all the way up.  When down, the wire tucked into the space between the camper and the truck bed. 


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2015 Silverado 3500 crew cab 8' bed Diesel

2012 ATC Puma Shell build - https://www.wanderth...012-puma-build/

Power considerations thread - https://www.wanderth...e-power-scotty/

Building out an electrical system - So, you want to setup a good electrical system in your camper? - Electrical, Charging, Solar, Batteries and Generators - Wander the West


#6 JaSAn

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Posted 20 February 2022 - 10:59 PM

One resource that I learned a lot from is:   https://www.rvmobileinternet.com

 

My antenna ground plane is mounted the rear of my solar panels and the antenna cable follows the solar wiring into the camper:

antenna.jpg

Don't know why the picture makes the antenna look like it is leaning.

This setup has worked for me but my internet use is mostly for weather maps and forecasts, and for sending pictures to family and friends.


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1951 Dodge Power Wagon

#7 Vic Harder

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Posted 21 February 2022 - 03:43 AM

One resource that I learned a lot from is:   https://www.rvmobileinternet.com

 

My antenna ground plane is mounted the rear of my solar panels and the antenna cable follows the solar wiring into the camper:

attachicon.gifantenna.jpg

Don't know why the picture makes the antenna look like it is leaning.

This setup has worked for me but my internet use is mostly for weather maps and forecasts, and for sending pictures to family and friends.

Nice setup.  Yes, I am a member at that site.  Chris and Cherie are awesome.  And I am a member at MobileMustHave, and bought my setup from them.  My sim card for the new router arrives on Tuesday!  -15*C and snowing outside now in Calgary, so the install will have to wait...  ;-(


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2015 Silverado 3500 crew cab 8' bed Diesel

2012 ATC Puma Shell build - https://www.wanderth...012-puma-build/

Power considerations thread - https://www.wanderth...e-power-scotty/

Building out an electrical system - So, you want to setup a good electrical system in your camper? - Electrical, Charging, Solar, Batteries and Generators - Wander the West


#8 UncleDougie

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Posted 22 February 2022 - 03:54 AM

MountainSufi - I'm just getting my FWC built now and have been purchasing a few of the "must haves" now to make sure I have them in hand once camper is ready in late May, early June. I've talked to a lot of folks about this subject and even those who were skeptical about WeBoost said off all the systems they have used, WeBoost overall performed best.

 

I picked up the version "Drive Reach RV" directly from WeBoost and it hit my doorstep in less than a week.


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#9 eyemgh

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Posted 24 February 2022 - 02:46 PM

I ordered the Drive Reach RV for our new build too. I watched an interesting review. The boost is strongest if your phone is very close to the inside receiver of the system. 


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#10 Jack

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Posted 09 April 2022 - 05:33 PM

The directional yagi is your best bet for strong signal. Signal strength is the inverse square of the distance and that is why the yagi beats any omnidirectional antenna hands down.

The yagi, along with the omnidirectional antenna, is mounted on an extending aluminum pool-cleaning pole (net removed) to the jack bracket. This easily slides up above the roof when needed. I use LTE Discovery to orient the yagi. I use the yagi about 1 out of 10 stops, but then it pays off very nicely. And mounted at the back corner, I need raise the pole only about half the time.

 

As I recall, the yagi, the pole, and mounting stuff will set you back about $120. I simply connect the cable from the WeBoost amplifier to whichever antenna I want to use (before raising the pole) and cap the other connector. I recommend WeBoost's low loss cable and of course, securely cap the unused connector. It doesn't take much oxidation on an RF connector to start reflecting the signal instead of transmitting it.

 

The inside antenna/phone is no longer a problem. The bottom of the antenna now has a thin "refrigerator" style strip magnet strip stuck to it. The top of the counter has two thin metal disks (like the ones on a cell phone case for a magnetic mount), that the inside antenna sits on. The top of the inside antenna has the thin shelf/drawer no-skid rubber pad attached to it. I place the phone on the antenna and it stays there. I can hand hold the pair and the no-skid pad keeps the two together.

 

My system is for 4G bands, but that includes the lower frequency 5G bands The millimeter wave bands are not covered, but the millimeter bands have very short range (but higher bandwidth). If you need 5G millimeter, it is extremely unlikely that you will be anywhere near the places we folks like to go.

 

I'll post some pictures when we get back - I don't want to blow our 5 Gb, as the PC is using the hotspot.


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