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 Post subject: Cell signal booster
PostPosted: June 25th, 2016, 3:07 pm 
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Joined: July 14th, 2015, 6:40 pm
Posts: 137
Location: Upstate South Carolina
I found a new Wilson cell signal booster on Ebay to use while traveling the roads. I've been skeptical about the performance or lack of performance from a booster but decided to give it a try. This model is portable and is easy to set up and use. Magnetic antenna goes on the roof or door sill, booster under the seat, inside antenna on the console or dash and whichever 12 volt receptacle you care to use. Turn the power on and presto, my Verizon iPhone went from 1x to 3g. Good but not great but at least I can text, talk and very slowly load Google Maps. In other areas I went from 1 dot LTE to 3 dot LTE. This model allows up to four users at the same time and it works with all the major carriers. The additional boost of signal allowed me to turn the iPhone into a hot spot and bluetoothed ( if that's a word ) to my iPad. So far so good.


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 Post subject: Re: Cell signal booster
PostPosted: June 25th, 2016, 5:36 pm 
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Joined: January 12th, 2014, 7:18 pm
Posts: 489
Nice, I've got the cheaper single use model thing from Wilson (have to put phone in the cradle). Performance is about the same though. I see it as stabilizing a weak signal rather than get signal when there's just none to be had.


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 Post subject: Re: Cell signal booster
PostPosted: June 25th, 2016, 9:46 pm 
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Joined: July 31st, 2014, 1:01 am
Posts: 1914
Location: 1999 Concourse
I have the Wilson cradle type too. I find that I hardly have to use it anymore (cell towers must be proliferating), but when I do it helps amplify a signal (providing there is one to amplify). May be obvious, but you can put a Jetpack or etc. in the cradle as well as a phone.

I started by putting the antenna of mine in the overcab, stuck to a sheet of ~12" x ~12" galvanized flashing. Even though by all rights fiberglass should do nothing to impede the signal, it didn't work all that well. I moved the whole works to the dash and it works much better. I don't know if the wood in the overcab affected it or what, but... that was my experience.

Slightly clunky to have it on the dash but since I've only needed to use it half a dozen times in two years I am not motivated to make a more permanent spot for it.

Side note is that I have Verizon for phone and data. But, I also have an iPad that can use AT&T. On the rare occasion that I'm camped in a spot with poor Verizon signal and good AT&T signal I can buy a monthly pre-paid 5GB for the iPad and use it as a hotspot. That has come in handy two or three times.

This is all for cellular data, not wifi, btw.

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 Post subject: Re: Cell signal booster
PostPosted: June 13th, 2017, 7:52 am 
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Joined: July 14th, 2015, 6:40 pm
Posts: 137
Location: Upstate South Carolina
And now, the rest of the story. I bought the booster last year and used it on our New England trip and it worked well. Since it wasn't needed very often I kept it in a Walmart bag behind the the drivers seat. When leaving a campground I usually place the trash bags between the front seats so I can throw them in the dumpster on the way out. Well I was in a hurry and yup, the booster in the Walmart bag went out with the trash. So a brand new booster is somewhere in the landfill in New England.
Lesson learned I hope.


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 Post subject: Re: Cell signal booster
PostPosted: June 13th, 2017, 8:21 am 
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Joined: October 20th, 2015, 6:57 am
Posts: 579
Location: Northern NJ
Ouch!

Yeah, recently I got in a package from eBay that was filled with lots of stuffing. I dug out what I thought was the only packed item and threw the packing away, while keeping the box for recycling. Fortunately I read the instructions later that day, and discovered that the remote control was packed separately. Ooops! Ran back out and dug through the trash bag with the discarded packing, until I found a second small box that I had totally missed seeing.

Okay, so who uses a Jet Pack or has a hotspot permanently wired into their Chinook? Once in a while we carry a pile of teens and they all expect WiFi... even in an RV :)

Can they be turned on and paid for just during the summer months? Or is it better to just enable a hot spot on my phone? (Of course, if I leave the RV, then the hotspot goes with me.)

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 Post subject: Re: Cell signal booster
PostPosted: June 13th, 2017, 10:54 pm 
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Joined: July 31st, 2014, 1:01 am
Posts: 1914
Location: 1999 Concourse
I use a Jetpack (Verizon plan) as pretty much my sole source of Internet. So I'm not sure about turning it on and off as I never want it off. I used to have this service separately through Millenicom (a MVNO) and then just a flip phone, but since they went belly up I have given in and now have a phone/jetpack plan through Verizon themselves. Boy do I miss Millenicom... sigh.

I don't have it "wired" into my Chinook. It just sits on the table or in my backpack, and I plug it in when it needs it (12 volt). I then get the signal over wi-fi on my computer. I have a Wilson Sleek cradle that it can go in to boost the signal, but I haven't needed to use that in a couple of years (either I'm not going remote enough, or cell towers are proliferating like rabbits). Or both :lol:

I could save $20 per month by just streaming from my phone vs. having the Jetpack, but I like having the separate Jetpack (that adds $20) and not drawing down the power of my phone for it. Plus, my previous phone was such that you couldn't talk on the phone and be online at the same time (now I can do both, so I have considered dropping the Jetpack and just streaming via the phone, but have not as yet).

I do have one standby "plan" that I keep as an alternative that might work well for you. I have an older iPad mini that will work with AT&T. I can buy gigs for any month I want (can pay cash even at an AT&T store) and then let it sit for other months (or years) with no cost. There are smaller amounts but I was getting 5 gigs for $50. I use it when I'm someplace that doesn't have a Verizon signal (rare where I have traveled, but it happens). I just use the iPad as a "base" and stream the signal via wi-fi to my computer

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 Post subject: Re: Cell signal booster
PostPosted: June 16th, 2017, 4:44 am 
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Joined: October 20th, 2015, 6:57 am
Posts: 579
Location: Northern NJ
Thanks for the info and ideas!

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