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Old 02-10-2017, 10:54 AM   #1
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Cell phone booster questions

I have read the threads. Still a bit confused as to what to get and where to put in 19.
Outside antennas seem to be tall, 24". Is this a problem with potential tree branches etc.?
Which booster? Worth it? Where placed?
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Old 02-10-2017, 11:30 AM   #2
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For me, it depends on where you travel, and how much you depend on communications. I have rarely had to use my booster along or near by major US highways or interstates, or in medium to large cities.

The times it comes in handy is on the edges of civilization. Get too far from things, and even a booster won't find a signal.

As to the types, I use a WirEng Boat Antenna. A lot shorter than 2', and a bit more gain than the Wilson Trucker antenna I used in the past.

My booster is a Wilson Sleek. Wilson split off their amplifier group & now called them "WeBoost". They make a couple of types. The Sleek is a cradle type - you put your phone or jetpack in the cradle to get the posted signal. The advantage is there is little chance of feedback, but you can only boost one device at a time, and if it is your phone, you need a headset or bluetooth connection to use it.

The "whole house" type boosters use a combination of outside antenna, amplifier, and inside antenna to cover a larger area (although some still require that you be within a foot or two of the inside antenna).

The advantage is you are not tied to a cradle, and can use multiple devices at the same time. The disadvantage is it may be difficult in a small trailer to find locations for the two antennas that don't feedback. This feedback or oscillation will shut down the amplifier. While I have not used one, I have read very good reviews of the products from Maximum Signal. I did use an earlier two antenna system from Wilson, and generally got better results with the Wilson Sleek.
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Old 02-10-2017, 12:26 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by Vermilye View Post
For me, it depends on where you travel, and how much you depend on communications. I have rarely had to use my booster along or near by major US highways or interstates, or in medium to large cities.

The times it comes in handy is on the edges of civilization. Get too far from things, and even a booster won't find a signal.

As to the types, I use a WirEng Boat Antenna. A lot shorter than 2', and a bit more gain than the Wilson Trucker antenna I used in the past.

My booster is a Wilson Sleek. Wilson split off their amplifier group & now called them "WeBoost". They make a couple of types. The Sleek is a cradle type - you put your phone or jetpack in the cradle to get the posted signal. The advantage is there is little chance of feedback, but you can only boost one device at a time, and if it is your phone, you need a headset or bluetooth connection to use it.

The "whole house" type boosters use a combination of outside antenna, amplifier, and inside antenna to cover a larger area (although some still require that you be within a foot or two of the inside antenna).

The advantage is you are not tied to a cradle, and can use multiple devices at the same time. The disadvantage is it may be difficult in a small trailer to find locations for the two antennas that don't feedback. This feedback or oscillation will shut down the amplifier. While I have not used one, I have read very good reviews of the products from Maximum Signal. I did use an earlier two antenna system from Wilson, and generally got better results with the Wilson Sleek.
Jon,
We turned in our build sheet already. Was there something that I should have added in order to have a cell phone booster work ?
My son, who does not have a trailer, or knows anything about RVs ( but is real techy :-) suggested the weBoost 4G-X...?
Is the one you mentioned a better choice?
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Old 02-10-2017, 01:59 PM   #4
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Jon is the man on this topic for our small trailers, I think, and he's been very gracious in answering my naive questions at three camping venues. When I hit the road full time in a couple of months - rather than trying to understand this stuff (brain block) - I'll just do what Jon does.

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Old 02-10-2017, 02:21 PM   #5
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Jon is the man on this topic for our small trailers, I think, and he's been very gracious in answering my naive questions at three camping venues. When I hit the road full time in a couple of months - rather than trying to understand this stuff (brain block) - I'll just do what Jon does.

jack
Me too That's why I'm asking him
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Old 02-10-2017, 03:49 PM   #6
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Me too That's why I'm asking him
Thanks for your confidence! I added the WirEng after as a replacement for the Wilson antenna Escape installed for me. It wasn't too difficult, as long as you don't have to run the antenna cable behind the bathroom in a 17B.

The antenna that comes with most of the WeBoost amplifiers is a low gain magnetic antenna that requires a ground plane, i.e. a 4" - 6" piece of metal under it. If you choose to use the stock antenna, glue a 6" diameter piece of magnetic stainless steel to the roof and attach the antenna. You will still have to find a way into the trailer for the cable - some use the refrigerator vent, some, like me, added a small port.
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Old 02-10-2017, 04:12 PM   #7
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Thanks, Jon,
I didn't purchase the weBoost yet, but did pick up a metal plate for the stock antenna on eBay. I didn't put a special port for the antenna on my build list (that I already finalized) How hard is it to install one? Perhaps ETI can install one at orientation... or someone else can do it aftermarket....? We will have a 21 and I would like to, if possible, have the port/connection be near the nite stand where the TV will be placed.
Thanks, much as I try, I don't have a head for all this techy stuff
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Old 02-10-2017, 08:04 PM   #8
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I agree with Jon that an external cellular antenna with amplifier is most useful when you are on the fringes of an area that has cellular service. I have successfully used my WirEng UniAnt Lite with a Wilson Sleek cradle amp twice-- while on Deer Isle in Maine and when I was at Myakka River State Park in Florida. Both times it made Internet access possible. But in the Shenandoah Mountains nothing helped; I was too far away from a cell tower.

At this point I'd rather have a cellular amp that retransmits to its own antenna placed inside the trailer, instead of using a cradle. The WeBoost ones are quite expensive, however, and I need to save money for gas.
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Old 02-10-2017, 09:38 PM   #9
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I too am in the process of figuring out what will be best in the way of cell antenna/booster, etc. I'm leaning towards the Wilson Yagi Directional antenna, mounted on a pole made of two sections of PVC pipe, which will attach to a bracket mounted on the rear bumper of the trailer, with the wire running to the interior through a port I'm having ETI install, to the newest Verizon jet pack. Hoping that this will be sufficient to pull in signals, (and yes, I realized that I will have to aim the antenna), but if not, will add a WeBoost later. So Jon, the tech guru, does that sound like it might work?
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Old 02-10-2017, 10:02 PM   #10
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I initially used a directional antenna with my Wilson amp. I replaced it with the omnidirectional WirEng, reasoning that if I could hit one cell tower, I was probably within range of more than one. If I understand correctly how the cellular system works, the network itself selects which tower should talk to your phone (or hotspot), and it might decide that due to traffic load or some other reason the tower I'm aimed at might not be the right one to use. I also wanted to avoid the trick of aiming the antenna.

I still keep the directional antenna with me just in case I need it, but I suspect that for most of the time an omnidirectional antenna will suffice.
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Old 02-11-2017, 02:02 AM   #11
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Hello iGearHeads (smirk),
I have been lurking on this and similar threads for some time. Thinking. In my "more mature" years I have become quite a data junkie. I love my internet access and so I am watching here with keen interest .... how can I satisfy my habitual internet needs while out boon docking?

Maybe my comments here are for other lurkers .....

I want internet access but I remember my sailing years of my mid 20's to mid 30's. I sailed a very basic boat ... no engine, kerosene lights (its a wonder I didn't go blind), my bilge (water temperature - butter didn't melt) was my refrigerator, no way to generate power - solar was WAY too expensive. $300.00 US was my typical annual budget for 9 months of the year of sailing from Puget Sound to Alaska and back. I had no radio ... no way to communicate. I couldn't have been happier. Sometimes I wouldn't see another human for a month or maybe longer. Life was so simple: Those were very happy years. The internet hadn't been invented - well maybe neither was Al Gore, cell phones were still in comic books ....

Now a days, I spend a ridiculous amount of time sitting in front of my computer tethered by my cell phone for the internet like an expectant mother waiting for yet more terrible news...Why? .. thinking about it tonight, I'd rather listen to the birds song and watch the wildlife all about me. Tomorrow could be different.

Its a dilemma ... electronic satisfaction .. or.. another human's voice and the call of the wild. I want them both but more of the latter and much less of the former.

However, with accumulating growth rings and dropping hormones ... a high voltage WeBoost or two may be the answer. One for me and the other for my cell phone .... Oh my God! Is this what life has come to? Lets go camping!

Just a comment on it all ...

Tom
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Old 02-11-2017, 06:31 AM   #12
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Its a dilemma ... electronic satisfaction .. or.. another human's voice and the call of the wild. I want them both but more of the latter and much less of the former.
I too have pondered this dilemma many times, Tom.

I am an internet junkie to some degree, one who enjoys the social aspect of it, and researching and learning new things. BUT (and a really, really big but at that), there is absolutely nothing more restful for the mind, putting it in a calm a wonderful place, than being in the backcountry away from anything electronic. It can be with other people, or alone, good either way. Don't get me wrong, I love the travel with a trailer too, getting to do distance to explore many things, but nothing beats getting away from it all......... (sigh)

Anyway, back to the Cell Phone Booster discussion, as I am all ears on this too.
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Old 02-12-2017, 01:16 PM   #13
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Figuring out my cell phone/wifi booster configuration is the only thing keeping me from signing my build sheet (21 scheduled for early June). I've spent hours this weekend on the forum and the web in general trying to research systems. I'm excited to find a current thread on this topic that I can jump into. Here's where I'm at right now...

Wilson has a weboost 4G-X RV/Trucker Essentials kit that has two exterior and two interior antennas, allowing a user to transfer just the booster from the trailer to the tow for use in both.
http://www.wilsonamplifiers.com/webo...kit-470510-rv/
(I actually think it might be cheaper to purchase the extra antennas separately)

I would like to have ETI install the RV/Trucker antenna on the driver-side rear of the trailer at a height where it would be no higher than the overall height of the trailer. I would have the antenna wire run through the rear overhead cabinet to the passenger-side, where I would have ETI install a 12V socket inside the cabinet for plugging in the booster. I would then mount the interior panel antenna to the front face of the overhead cabinet, to the left of the overhead cabinet door. That should put about 6' of separation between the two antennas. Trying to find out if that's enough distance. I have a call in to Wilson, but would appreciate any first hand user knowledge, and any feedback others wrestling with this issue have. If it is too close for the two antennas, I could theoretically move the outside antenna to the front of the trailer, but then, can ETI run the antenna wire through overheads all the way to the back of the trailer??

This forum has been a great source of information. It also led me to Leon, who showed me his trailer, and who, along with Eric, have been very generous with their time in answering my follow up questions. My wife and I are super excited to become Escape owners, and are looking forward to being part of your community!
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Old 02-12-2017, 02:24 PM   #14
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Redneck Install

Never liked the trucker antennas and any issues they may have if broken and did not want a hole drilled in the roof for it so this was my solution. I ran the antenna wire out the trailer through the battery vent and a short distance of wire is exposed as it wraps over to the bumper where I store the mag- mount when not in use. I can also take off the disc if desired.

Have looked into a BoatAntenna,(which would work on this mast) however $139 vs. $20 isn't the primary concern but rather the real effectiveness for what we do- which is when boondocking we would like to get a text message out at least. Thinking you're going to get LTE/4G or even 3G a lot of times is unrealistic except in more urban/suburban environments. I know people will argue with that however that is our experience to date. They are improving the networks constantly though.

For the OP's comment about a 12V socket inside a cabinet- ETI won't do that, however you can get them to run the proper wire there for a later install.
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Old 02-12-2017, 02:36 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RF Paul View Post
Figuring out my cell phone/wifi booster configuration is the only thing keeping me from signing my build sheet (21 scheduled for early June). I've spent hours this weekend on the forum and the web in general trying to research systems. I'm excited to find a current thread on this topic that I can jump into. Here's where I'm at right now...

Wilson has a weboost 4G-X RV/Trucker Essentials kit that has two exterior and two interior antennas, allowing a user to transfer just the booster from the trailer to the tow for use in both.
http://www.wilsonamplifiers.com/webo...kit-470510-rv/
(I actually think it might be cheaper to purchase the extra antennas separately)

I would like to have ETI install the RV/Trucker antenna on the driver-side rear of the trailer at a height where it would be no higher than the overall height of the trailer. I would have the antenna wire run through the rear overhead cabinet to the passenger-side, where I would have ETI install a 12V socket inside the cabinet for plugging in the booster. I would then mount the interior panel antenna to the front face of the overhead cabinet, to the left of the overhead cabinet door. That should put about 6' of separation between the two antennas. Trying to find out if that's enough distance. I have a call in to Wilson, but would appreciate any first hand user knowledge, and any feedback others wrestling with this issue have. If it is too close for the two antennas, I could theoretically move the outside antenna to the front of the trailer, but then, can ETI run the antenna wire through overheads all the way to the back of the trailer??

This forum has been a great source of information. It also led me to Leon, who showed me his trailer, and who, along with Eric, have been very generous with their time in answering my follow up questions. My wife and I are super excited to become Escape owners, and are looking forward to being part of your community!
One suggestion. If you have a Escape installed radio & use the FM or AM functions, I'd make sure the antenna cable from each do not run next to each other. Mine did until I switched antenna locations, and the amplifier blanked the FM radio on weak stations.

I'm not familiar with the 4G-X, 2 antenna system but planning on good antenna separation is necessary. You may find you can't achieve full coverage of the trailer. I had an earlier version of this system & was only able to get boosted signal within 2' of the internal antenna. They may have improved this with the process of meeting the new FCC cell amplifier specifications.
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Old 02-12-2017, 02:51 PM   #16
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In regards to antenna separation- these units are primarily designed for automobiles with a magnetic mount antenna on the roof and the "candy bar" antenna inside. I have had some feedback or occilation on rare occasions in the car, however never in the trailer which has much more height.
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Old 02-12-2017, 03:43 PM   #17
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Appreciate the feedback!

I don't want to put a hole in my trailer...but I have no problem with ETI putting a hole in it. Wilson makes a mount for their RV/Trucker antenna that is similar to the one that Jon shows in his photo on post #6.

I'm not getting a radio or TV antenna, so interference with those won't be an issue. I might get a ranger wifi booster, but will have that installed over the night stand if I do.

From what I've been reading, it seems that the distance from your cell phone or wifi hotspot to the inside antenna is still limited to only a few feet. I'm hoping above the dinette will be close enough to use cell phones while sitting at the table. If not, I may have to move the inside antenna closer to the table, but then I'll have to deal with the wires.

Is it for safety reasons that ETI won't install a plug inside a cabinet? And if so, is the concern significant?
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Old 02-12-2017, 04:09 PM   #18
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Many times we have to have that inside antenna right next to the phone.
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Old 02-12-2017, 04:13 PM   #19
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Many times we have to have that inside antenna right next to the phone.
Is this easily doable, as in can you stow in a cabinet, then have the cable so reach the table if desired?
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Old 02-12-2017, 04:14 PM   #20
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Fire safety is reason for no live 12V inside cabinets. Many want lights in there and have 12V drops. For a cig plug you need heavier wire . I added one on the face of the back bench on our u-dinette in the middle. The amp plug has a rocker on/off and is easy to flip on when needed and then back off again.
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