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Old 10-09-2019, 10:55 AM   #1
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Cell Signal Boosting...

Since my wife and I tend to travel the two lane highways, and camp away from the maddening crowds (and cell towers), I’m considering installing a cell signal booster in our 2018 19’er. As such I have a couple of questions:

WeBoost seems to be a popular booster. What are folks’ experience using them? I see the WeBoost Drive X RV, omni antenna for $500.

I’d prefer not drilling holes in our trailer and the roof top solar panel support might be a good place to mount the antenna. That being the case, I wonder if it’s possible to run the antenna cable down inside the trailer using the same route as the solar panel wires (thru the refrigerator roof cap). Has anyone had success doing such? My guess is it might be an “interesting problem” snaking the wire in our trailer.

Thank you, in advance, for your comments and thoughts.
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Old 10-09-2019, 12:09 PM   #2
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We use one of our phones as our hotspot in a phone cradle/booster as that avoids paying the monthly fee for a mifi-type device on our account. I chose to mount our external antenna above a side cabinet both to make replacement easy when I snag it on a tree limb, and make running 12V to it simple. Also simple to spot if it ever does leak.



Not sure I would want to mount to the solar hardware and risk having a snag pull the solar mounts.



If I were to go with their "RV" model, I'd mount it on a pole-and-holder setup attached to the spare tire mount when camping, since it won't be used while actually driving. I see ham radio folks using that method for their 20 foot tall masts.......
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Old 10-09-2019, 12:25 PM   #3
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Another problem with mounting on the solar panel mounts - even a small shadow will drastically cut the output of a panel.

I have a separate boating antenna wired to an older Wilson Sleek amplifier (Yes, I do have a hole for the cable to enter the trailer). While the Sleek requires you place the phone or hotspot in it, you get good gain with little chance of feedback.

That said, I've found that I rarely use it. Most of the time I have had a usable AT&T or Verizon signal without it. The few times I had no signal from either, adding the booster didn't help. There were a few places where the booster made a difference, but cell coverage has improved tremendously over the last couple of years.
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Old 10-09-2019, 12:43 PM   #4
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WeBoost Drive Reach 470154

Just got back from four weeks out and the performance of the new WeBoost Drive Reach with their OTR antenna was phenomenal! Places like 6 miles back from the bridge in Moab along the CO River at Big Bend BLM C.G. got 3 bars of 4GLTE; nothing at all without. Also Valley of Fire SP #22 which is surrounded by rock, same thing. That OTR antenna paired with the amp is what makes the difference according to the rep Randy. He worked for years at Wilson(WeBoost) in St. George and now is in Texas at Signalboosters.com. He will package the Amp and OTR and ship it to you with the needed connectors. Mine cost $494 delivered.
His phone number is 855 846-2654.

I mounted mine so I can remove it when travelling and put it in a second sewer hose tube I bought for $40. No problems with solar generation and drilled one hole in floor where battery box is. The blue amp is my old 3G booster.
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Old 10-09-2019, 12:44 PM   #5
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Antnna mounted with rubber broom holder; easy to set up/take down.
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Old 10-09-2019, 02:16 PM   #6
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About the same as Jon, I rarely find I use the booster, if there is no signal a booster doesn't help.

That said, I glued up a 4"x4"x4" PVC block with 3m 5200. Shaped the bottom of the block to fit the roof a little forward of the fridge roof vent. Drilled 2 holes thru the block to attach my Boatant bracket with 1/4" SS bolts. Glued the block to the roof, mounted the antenna, and ran the cable down thru the vent and into the side of the upper cabinet by the dinette on our 5.0TA. Works fine, as long as there is some signal to boost.
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Old 10-09-2019, 03:35 PM   #7
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Speaking from experience, one downside to any permanently mounted antenna is that it will always be searching for that low hanging branch.
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Old 10-09-2019, 03:57 PM   #8
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Greg, if you're looking for a way to run an antenna to the roof without drilling any exterior holes, and if you have the standard through-the-hole electric cord, you can coil up the antenna and related wire, store it in the electric cord compartment when not needed then simply thread it through the wire hole then onto the roof.

That's how I hooked up my antenna for the Sleek booster.

Of course I have a 21 and not your 19 so it may, or may, not work for you.
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Old 10-09-2019, 05:12 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EdColorado View Post
Greg, if you're looking for a way to run an antenna to the roof without drilling any exterior holes, and if you have the standard through-the-hole electric cord, you can coil up the antenna and related wire, store it in the electric cord compartment when not needed then simply thread it through the wire hole then onto the roof.

That's how I hooked up my antenna for the Sleek booster.

Of course I have a 21 and not your 19 so it may, or may, not work for you.


Good idea. I have the attached power cord and this will work for me as well.
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Old 10-09-2019, 07:37 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vermilye View Post
That said, I've found that I rarely use it. Most of the time I have had a usable AT&T or Verizon signal without it. The few times I had no signal from either, adding the booster didn't help. There were a few places where the booster made a difference, but cell coverage has improved tremendously over the last couple of years.
I have found a similar experience. When on the road, my wife works in the trailer 3 days a week. We have been from Chilliwack to North Carolina with many stops in between. We like to travel the side roads as well and avoid freeways.

I bought a booster way before getting the getting the trailer knowing we needed data on the road. So far we have had great luck not using the booster. I waited to install it until experimenting with it some and still have not permanently install it.

We had one incident in a Washington State Park where we did not a signal with or without the booster. We needed to drive 18 miles up the mountain to get an LTE signal with the booster. Once there we didn't need the booster.

We also had slow service in a State Park in West Virginia and extremely slow in in the Shenandoah National Park (Virginia). In Shenandoah it may have boosted the signal some (the signal came and went so it was hard to tell if it was helping or not), but if so we had very poor data service.

I bought this antenna for the MIFI device. I am totally impressed with the performance of it. It does boost the signal and is likely the reason we haven't had the need to try using the WeBoost more.
Netgear 6000450 MIMO Antenna with 2 TS-9 Connectors


I think the booster may help with phone calls, but it has not proven to be helpful with LTE which I believe is needed for data.

I will continue to analyze. I know we haven't been to all parts of the country, but I am not sold on it's benefits at this point. I have not contacted WeBoost regarding this and may do that as well.
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Old 10-09-2019, 10:26 PM   #11
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The new WeBoost Drive Reach has a metal case to help dissipate heat(like their old 3W boosters now banned). This new amp with the new OTR antenna is a game-changer.
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Old 10-10-2019, 09:46 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rossue View Post
I mounted mine so I can remove it when travelling and put it in a second sewer hose tube I bought for $40.
Thanks for the idea, Ross. I bought a UniAnt-Lite antenna in 2016 to use with a signal booster. I left the antenna permanently mounted on my trailer, atop a telescoping mast. I only used the booster once or twice but I still think they are useful. Recently when I removed the masts to reconfigure my trailer's rear bumper antenna farm I inverted the UniAnt and rainwater poured out of its housing. I think it wasn't up to the vibrations inherent in RV travel and broke while underway.

So if you are considering a cellular amp with an antenna made for boating, you might not want to leave the antenna permanently attached to your trailer. Stowing it in an extra slinky tube sounds good to me.
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