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Author Topic: Cellular External Antennae  (Read 3361 times)
Dallas
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« on: May 08, 2007, 04:06:23 AM »

We finally got fed up with the limited cell reception at the campground we are at and did something about it.

Jim, (JJR) gave me a link to an external cell antenna that plugs into your cell and mounts magnetically on the body of the bus. The only trouble with it was that my bus has a mostly aluminum body and I started looking for another alternative.

After looking on the internet in a number of places, I finally settled on an antenna made by Wilson Electronics. We went to a truck stop nearby and picked out the one we wanted.

The antenna is Wilson model #301-101, and needs to have an adapter for your particular cell phone antenna plug.

After taking down my CB antenna, I put it on the same mount and just ran the coax through the drivers toll window for the night to see how well it did.

Usually at night Cat and I can get online by each of us using the connection one at a time. Checking email has been painful to say the least.
Our cell reception has been in the -107db to -99db range and iffy at that. Many timeouts and errors made using the cell connection frustrating at best and impossible at worst.

After hooking up the external antenna our cell reception is in the -87db to -91db range and shows three towers in range.
Both Cat and I were able to share the connection while surfing the internet, and had no problem with both of us being in high graphics websites.

I think this is probably a good solution for those iffy cell connections in the hinterlands of this great country.

Here is the Wilson website:

http://www.wilsonelectronics.com

and here is the particular antenna I got:

http://www.wilsonelectronics.com/ViewProductB.php?ID=1

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jjrbus
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« Reply #1 on: May 08, 2007, 07:48:06 AM »

 Good move Dallas. I've had the external antenna for years. They work great!!  Even if you are not in an iffy area, they increase the signal strength which gives you higher speeds.
 I used the magnetic mount by riveting a piece of seet metal to my carbunkle cover. For the antenna I have I also needed the sheet metal for the ground plane. I often wonder if I should have bought an amplified one. But this one has served me well.
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« Reply #2 on: May 08, 2007, 08:06:18 AM »

Yup, I have one in the same series, but with a sproing on it. Got mine at primecellular after a recommendation on the internetbycellphone yahoo group.
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« Reply #3 on: May 08, 2007, 08:59:45 AM »

Sounds like a Super idea.. But, I dont know What a Sproing or a carbunkle cover, is  Huh


im new here  Grin





















hehehehe   Careful, the Spelling and Grammer police will GET YOU !!!!  Kiss unless, those Really are Things  Huh
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Dallas
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« Reply #4 on: May 08, 2007, 09:13:30 AM »

Sounds like a Super idea.. But, I dont know What a Sproing or a carbunkle cover, is  Huh


im new here  Grin

hehehehe   Careful, the Spelling and Grammer police will GET YOU !!!!  Kiss unless, those Really are Things  Huh

Sproing: That spring that makes a "Sproing" sound when you drag it on a tree branch or the ceiling of a bank drive thru!  Grin

Carbunkle Cover: The roof top air conditioner cover. The term was coined by a good friend of the bus nut community, who doesn't post much any more.... Fast Fred.
He calls the roof top A/C's "Carbunkles" to because of the ugliness and ungainliness reminiscent of the carbunkles on a ship.

One more:

Noise Maker: Also coined by FF to define the generating equipment to supply AC voltage while not on a power pole.

Jim, I've got my antenna high on the side of the bus right now, but I may change it. I didn't want it all the way on top because of it's height. I hate the sproing sound when it drags on something, and I'm sure those radial planes would come loose if you hit too much stuff.

As a side note, this antenna doesn't need a ground plane, in fact, the threaded base is isolated from the antenna load itself.

One other note, I don't have to hang the phone out the window anymore! Great for those rainy days!  Wink
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ChuckMC9
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« Reply #5 on: May 08, 2007, 02:51:56 PM »

I hate the sproing sound when it drags on something, and I'm sure those radial planes would come loose if you hit too much stuff.
Dat thair sproing is just my idiot insurance. Don't plan to drag thru the Sonic drive-in to see how well it works! Smiley
And if I break one of those radials, you'll be able to hear me cursing myself at the other end of the CG. LOL
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« Reply #6 on: May 08, 2007, 05:02:06 PM »

MMMMMMMMMMMMMM....Sonic Drive in..best cholesterol in town...!   Wink
JR
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JR Lynch , Charlotte, NC
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« Reply #7 on: May 08, 2007, 07:09:04 PM »

You could always make a portable mount for it. With the magnetic mount I don't get the sproing sound. I just put the van next to the bus use the window for a step and put the antenna back on the AC.
 Any way you go its a great investment. Almost a necessity for a fulltimer using a cell phone for internet. Much more esthetically pleasing than a cell phone dangling out the window in a zip lock bag.
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« Reply #8 on: May 08, 2007, 07:50:15 PM »

Dallas, does the antenna have to be mounted above the bus frame?   Would mounting it on a mirror work?  Looks like the loading coil is in the upper 2/3rds? 
Reckon it would work as long as the load coil is above the steel in the bus? 
I've looked at those antennas, but...since I don't have mobile internet service, other than the VZ web service, which is a joke. However, I can read and send email...but too clunky to be really useful. 
Is there any power requirements to operate an amplifier or any such thing?
Do you suppose it would work inside a wooden structure? 
I'm right in the "fuzz" area of Verizon's wireless EV (dig network)system....I'd go for it, if it worked even almost as well as my RoadRunner.  Is this possible? 
Are ya'll tethering your phones or do you have aircards in the 'pooter?  What sort of gizmo does the antenna plug into?
I obviously don't know Diddly about this sort of thing...but would like to have Verizon mobile...as long as I could use it here at home. 
Was looking at repeaters and they were more expensive than I would have thought...that's probably age related. Sad
Anyone care to compare RoadRunner with Verizon's $60 per month internet service?  RoadRunner has done a good job out here for years.   My D-Link or or the air card is failing on my laptop...little screen pops up and sez "no signal" "low signal" "good signal" and rolls back and forth. Data can be sent as long as something other than "no signal" is up.  I'm going to buy a new DLink and card tomorrow.  Tired of screwing around with the thing.  This computor is working fine....rules out RoadRunner.
Anyone over near Denton, NC, tomorrow, come one down and see me.  Be at the Denton Farm Park.  Bluegrass festival until Sunday.  Same place that the Southeast Old Time Threshers Reunion (huge hit and miss engine show in July) is located.  Right of hwy 49 slightly west of Asboror, NC.
Big gold bus...easy to find.  Parked right on main street up from the stage.  Any pickers, be sure and bring instruments...all but bass players. Bass players should bring guitars.   Wink
Well, I've about hijacked Dallas' thread.  Sorry.  But I would like any real time info you may note from using your new antenna.
Oh, an what did that puppie cost, f I may ax?
Talk to ya'll Sunday!  Unless I have problems...then I'll be testing out Dallas' new phone capability. 
Best, JR
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JR Lynch , Charlotte, NC
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« Reply #9 on: May 08, 2007, 10:29:57 PM »

Our 4106 rooftop has a steel skin over the area beteen the front bumper and the front axle; the rest of it's aluminum.

We bought the magnetic mount for friends, but it didn't work for them. We got the adapter so we could try it on our cell phone and it works really well.

When we are going to be traveling, I just stand in the doorway and put it up on the roof. If we get into too much brush, it just falls down alongside the door. When I can stop, I just put it back.

We've had it for two trips, and we've knocked it off maybe half a dozen times. I don't know what I would do if I had a coach that was 13' 6'' tall. Not go a lot of places that we do, I guess.

For what it's worth.

Tom Caffrey
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Dallas
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« Reply #10 on: May 09, 2007, 04:20:39 AM »

Dallas, does the antenna have to be mounted above the bus frame?   Would mounting it on a mirror work?  Looks like the loading coil is in the upper 2/3rds?
Reckon it would work as long as the load coil is above the steel in the bus?

JR,
The instructions recommend putting the entire antenna above the roofline since the higher an antenna, the better it works. I have my antenna on the side of the bus on the CB radio mount which is bolted to the body at about the drip edge level, if I had drip edge. That puts the load about 10" above my roof and the radials, (which are the ground plane), are about 8" above the roof.
I doubt if mounting the antenna on the mirror would make much difference, except that anywhere the body is blocking the load would make a blank spot for reception.


I've looked at those antennas, but...since I don't have mobile internet service, other than the VZ web service, which is a joke. However, I can read and send email...but too clunky to be really useful.
 
I'm surprized that the VZ is that slow... with our Cingular service we have had speeds up to 2.5Mbps which is right up there with RR and DSL.

Is there any power requirements to operate an amplifier or any such thing?
There are no power requirements for the antenna... it is a passive radiator just like a CB or AM-FM antenna.

Do you suppose it would work inside a wooden structure?
Most likely, but any blockage is going to affect it's range.
 
I'm right in the "fuzz" area of Verizon's wireless EV (dig network)system....I'd go for it, if it worked even almost as well as my RoadRunner.  Is this possible? 
This antenna is dual band as many of the aftermarket antennae are. 800mhz and 1900mhz. As I said above we have achieved 2.5Mbps when in digital areas, although not using this antenna yet. We may find out next week as we are moving to Pedro's South of the Border campground for a few weeks.

Are ya'll tethering your phones or do you have aircards in the 'pooter?  What sort of gizmo does the antenna plug into?
I tether my phone to the USB cable and also to the antenna then use wireless networking and Internet connection Sharing to let Cat access the 'net on her computer.
If you look on the back of your phone, carefully, you should find a small round rubber plug about 3/16" in dia. That's where your antenna will plug in, although many air cards have an adapter also to allow connection to an outside antenna.

I obviously don't know Diddly about this sort of thing...but would like to have Verizon mobile...as long as I could use it here at home. 
Was looking at repeaters and they were more expensive than I would have thought...that's probably age related. Sad
I looked at repeaters also and found them to be too far out of my price range... anywhere from $250 to $400.

Anyone care to compare RoadRunner with Verizon's $60 per month internet service?  RoadRunner has done a good job out here for years.  
Not Me... I haven't had HS internet for so long, I was just happy to have dial up!  Wink

My D-Link or or the air card is failing on my laptop...little screen pops up and sez "no signal" "low signal" "good signal" and rolls back and forth. Data can be sent as long as something other than "no signal" is up.  I'm going to buy a new DLink and card tomorrow.  Tired of screwing around with the thing. 
It sounds to me like you have a loose antenna connection more than a failing card. Usually if a card starts to fail you won't get anything.
It could be accrued configuration errors also.
You may want to right click on "My Computer", "Properties", then find "Hardware Devices" and scroll down until you find the aircard listed. right click on it and scroll down to "Delete". Now shut everything down and reboot. When the computer comes back up it will reinstall the aircard, along with all the config. settings.
 
This computor is working fine....rules out RoadRunner.

Oh, an what did that puppie cost, f I may ax?
The antenna was about $50 and the adapter for my particular phone was another $10

Talk to ya'll Sunday!  Unless I have problems...then I'll be testing out Dallas' new phone capability. 
Best, JR

I wish we could be there, but we'll be moving to a new CG this weekend and getting setup.

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« Reply #11 on: May 09, 2007, 05:11:13 AM »

 tether my phone to the USB cable and also to the antenna then use wireless networking and Internet connection Sharing to let Cat access the 'net on her computer.

How do you get the wireless capability for Cat's 'puter?  Do you connect the USB cable from your cell phone to a wireless router?  Jack
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« Reply #12 on: May 09, 2007, 05:40:07 AM »

To use a verizon aircard as a connection for a wireless network, you can dedicate one PC as a gateway.  Plug the USB aircard into the gateway PC and go online.  Now any other PC with a wireless card can connect to the gateway and share the connection.  At this point, the gateway PC is functioning as a router of sorts.  My plan was to plug the aircard into a USB capable wireless router, but the aircard needs to interface with the VZACCESS software.

The speed of a verizon aircard is comparable to cable in a broadband area.  The further away you get from a broadband area, the slower it gets.  Still better than dial up though...and very portable.  The comment about verizon being slow probably refers to accessing the web via a phone and cable.  I believe to get broadband you have to have an aircard.  I don't think broadband is available through a verizon phone.

I'm in the process of setting up credit card processing for my business.  The wireless options were to use a wireless terminal for $800+ plus additional usage fees.  The other option was to use software, a card reader and the internet.  This method has no additional fees.  Costwise, it is the same as using a CC terminal and phone line.  I'll be using this method with the aircard, which essentially gives me wireless CC processing without the additional wireless usage fees.

Ross
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« Reply #13 on: May 09, 2007, 06:02:47 AM »

Ross,
   We are able to get a high speed connection via cable from my wife's cell phone. Her phone is a newer phone that has something my phone does not have. I don't remember what the salesman called that feature, but not all phones are capable of high speed, although some are.  Jack
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Dallas
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« Reply #14 on: May 09, 2007, 06:28:33 AM »

tether my phone to the USB cable and also to the antenna then use wireless networking and Internet connection Sharing to let Cat access the 'net on her computer.

How do you get the wireless capability for Cat's 'puter?  Do you connect the USB cable from your cell phone to a wireless router?  Jack

Jack,
Both of us have wireless NIC (network interface cards), these are just network adapters that work just like network cards that have Cat 5E cables but without the cables.
Mine is plugged in to one of the PCI slots on my tower and Cats is plugged in to her USB port.
Next I set up a home network using "Network Setup Wizard" in control panel.
Now I set up a internet connection using my cell phone, which is capable of both "phone as Modem" and Broadband connection.
After the connection is set up, go to "Internet Connection Sharing" or "ICS" and set it up so that your network shares the internet connection.
Make sure you set up your computer as the network server first, and that Paulas computer is set up as the client or work station. This is easy to do by shutting down all other computers while you set up ICS.

Another way to set up your internet connection to share is to go to "Start", "Connect to", "Show all Connections", then right click on your internet connection, scroll down to "properties", Click on the "Advanced" tab, and in the internet connection box check the box that has "allow other users to connect through this computers internet connection". in the next box choose the network you want to share through and make sure no other boxes are checked.
Click OK, close the window and reboot.
Fire the computers back up again, and Wah-Lah ---- you have made it possible to let all computers use the same internet connection.

Good Luck, If you have any problems, give me a call, and I'll be happy to walk you through it.

Dallas
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