cell phone antenna? - Fiberglass RV
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Old 10-10-2017, 05:34 AM   #1
Weavery's Avatar
Name: Jean
Trailer: Escape 5
North Carolina
Posts: 63
cell phone antenna?

I have a Verizon hot spot I carry with me for internet access. Verizon was no help with this so I'm asking here. Can anyone recommend or has anyone had an experience with adding a cell antenna to boost cell service in remote areas? I know a lot of places I will just be off the network but was hoping to improve the signal in marginal areas.
As always, thanks in advance for your good help!
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Old 10-10-2017, 06:00 AM   #2
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Name: Robert
Trailer: 2015 Escape 19 "Past Tents" 2018 F150 Lariat 2.7L EB SuperCrew
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We have a Wilson Sleek 3G/4G cradle, which attaches to a roof mounted Wilson "trucker" 3G/4G antenna. Boosts weak signals very well. Just place the Verizon MiFi in the cradle. The company is called WeBoost now instead of Wilson, and the products have slightly changed, but their setup works well.
"You can't buy happiness, but you can buy an RV. And that is pretty close."
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Old 10-10-2017, 06:35 AM   #3
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Name: Gordon
Trailer: 2015 Scamp (16 Std Layout 4) with '15 Toyota Sienna LE Tug
North Carolina
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I have seen this topic on this forum before.

I have not tried it but this one reviewed in Trailer Life recently looks good. Of course it will not give you more bandwidth, or a signal where there is none at all, and at $500 I can promise you that I will not be getting one!

Your Scamp is one big Faraday cage due to the foil backed insulation, so often all you need to do to get a signal is step outside. Sometimes a little more height helps, so maybe stand on a picnic table or climb a nearby hill. When using the phone as a Internet hotspot, I have even resorted to putting it in a bag and suspending it from a high tree branch. That is cheaper than a $500 cell phone booster but of course you cant make calls that way.

BK will chime in soon and say that you should not worry about having a cell phone while camping because you are supposed to be getting away from civilization and technology, but as we all know YMMV. For example, those of us with family members in frail heath don't want to miss the inevitable phone call with the bad news, so I understand the need.
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Old 10-10-2017, 06:46 AM   #4
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Name: Ed
Trailer: 1982 Fiber Stream and 2002 Casita Freedom Deluxe,The driveway is a Dark & Lonely Place now!
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I also use the $100 version of the Wilson,now called We-Boost and it does make an improvement in general if you have a marginal signal already.

It also often just adds to the frustration level as it gives you more bars and thus more hope but sometimes still will not get a good connection too.

It requires a less robust signal to use Broadband on Cellular and I can often get a usable Broadband signal where I still can not make a voice call.

The antenna works best on a Ground Plane of some kind and in the Casita I use the Stove Cover which is metal and otherwise I carry a Cookie Sheet but as Gordon says the higher you can get the antenna and mount it to metal the better as with most antennas.

Not perfect but a solid improvement and well worth it for me the first time a client called with a problem and I seemed available to help with it even while camping,YMMV of course.
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Old 10-10-2017, 07:38 AM   #5
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Name: John Michael
Trailer: Scamp 13
Madison, Wisconsin
Posts: 653
I use a Wilson/weboost sleek with a roof mounted antenna on a 8 inch square ground plane. It doesn't work miracles, but does add a bar or 2 to reception and makes marginal signals useful. My only complaint is that the cradle gets pretty hot with use and I worry how much its drawing from my Scamp's battery.

You can see pics of my install by clicking here.
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Camping since 1960 - Scamp 13' Oak
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Old 10-10-2017, 09:49 AM   #6
Name: Kathy
Trailer: Scamp 13"
Posts: 33
I couldn't resist the temptation to contribute my pile of useless information. But since I use a cell booster all summer, I just had to say something.

I work as a Fire Lookout and the Forest Service provides me with a Wilson booster. At almost 8,000ft. one would think it would work without any problems. Of course you do need some power source, and when ground lightening sucks the batteries dry in your solar power system, you will only have enough juice to text from 12:30-1:00

This last summer they gave me a non-directional antennae, because the "providers" kept moving thier antennae and changing outputs. It came with a beefy 100ft. cable and the encouragement to put it as high as possible. So, since I climb an 85ft. tower for work, I put it as high as possible...no signal. After a week of moving this and adjusting that, I swapped out the monster cable for the 20ft. smaller gage and whalla as they say.

Not enough signal reaches my remote location to do much that requires data, but I can at least have a phone. Unless there is only one mile visibility due to smoke, or bad weather, or Count Zorg decrees "Thou shalt not have cell today".

I have concluded it is part equipment, part magic. Good luck.
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Old 10-10-2017, 10:42 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by PilotPica View Post
I have concluded it is part equipment, part magic. Good luck.
There's alot of truth to that. I recall about 15 months ago we were camped at Chisos Basin in Big Bend. It's a black hole as far as cell coverage goes. Not a single carrier shows any coverage on their map. Even the NPS rangers will tell you a cell signal there is no dice.

Just for the heck of it, I popped my Verizon MiFi in the cradle one day and got 1 bar of extended 1 x coverage. A few minutes later it changed to 2 bars of 3G. That was enough to read and post on the all important fiberglass rv forums..lol.
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Old 10-10-2017, 10:43 AM   #8
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Name: Jon
Trailer: 2017 Escape 21
Oswego, NY
Posts: 2,077
An alternative antenna to the Wilson Trucker is the WirEng Boat Antenna. If you use a cover for the winter, this doesn't have radials or a tip sticking out that will poke holes. It also has a bit more gain at some frequencies. I use it with an older Sleek (a cradle type amplifier). For example, here at Sutherlin, OR my Verizon signal went from -102dBm to -85dBm by adding the antenna & amp.

The non cradle amp Gordon linked to also works, and allows more than one device to be amplified at the same time, but you are likely to find that you have to be within 2' - 3' of the internal antenna to get any gain.
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Old 10-10-2017, 11:22 PM   #9
Name: Michael
Trailer: Escape 21
Posts: 73
These two live and work, and part of that work involves testing and reviewing cell and data boosters, fulltime from their RV. They also run https://www.rvmobileinternet.com/ as a result of their testing and reviewing. Well worth taking a look at what they have to say. If you are really serious checkout their book on the subject, lots of info to be found.
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