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Author Topic: Best Cell Service spot for Boondocking in the Country?  (Read 2663 times)

Amen

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Best Cell Service spot for Boondocking in the Country?
« on: February 19, 2016, 12:33:50 PM »
This is probably a hard question to narrow down but those of you that have boondocked...have you found a place that has good cell service? We have dogs (3) and cats (2) and prefer to be away from the crowd and RV parks (if possible). Because of fiance's work and it being a virtual job...she needs good internet/cell service. We plan on traveling the country but prefer to stay out of RV parks due to the puppitties. I know we can look at maps and such and will do that...but just wondering if anyone is in the same "boat" and or has knowledge of these places.  ;)
2008 Monaco Camelot 42PDQ

Toad? 2007 Lincoln Mark LT 4wd

SeilerBird

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Re: Best Cell Service spot for Boondocking in the Country?
« Reply #1 on: February 19, 2016, 12:37:11 PM »
You not only need a place with good cell service you also need a place where it is legal to camp. You cannot just camp anywhere. Every bit of land in this country is owned by someone. You also need a place to dispose of your trash, waste water and fill up with water. And you will need to have enough gas to run your generator several hours per day. I think your best bet is to thin the herd. I know you will not want to do that but it really is your only way.
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Amen

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Re: Best Cell Service spot for Boondocking in the Country?
« Reply #2 on: February 19, 2016, 12:57:47 PM »
Thank you for that response. There is BLM land. Free to camp and of course we always clean up and leave the places better than we when we got there. We aren't talking weeks or months at one place...just days or just a week. We just need to find a place that has good cell service.

We also are planning on adding solar, too, so won't need to run genny as much.

And "Thinning the Herd" is not an option.

2008 Monaco Camelot 42PDQ

Toad? 2007 Lincoln Mark LT 4wd

Ned

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Re: Best Cell Service spot for Boondocking in the Country?
« Reply #3 on: February 19, 2016, 01:33:00 PM »
Quartzsite, AZ, has arguably the best cell service of any boondocking places in the country due to the large number of RVs that gather there in the winter.  There are both 14 day free areas and Long Term Visitor Areas (LTVA) that do have a charge but offer fresh water and dump stations.
-- Ned -- Fulltimer 1997-2013
1997 Holiday Rambler Endeavor LE
2007 GMC Canyon

Lou Schneider

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Re: Best Cell Service spot for Boondocking in the Country?
« Reply #4 on: February 19, 2016, 01:37:31 PM »
A lot depends on which cell carrier you're using.  AT&T and Verizon in general have the best overall coverage, Sprint and T-Mobile and others concentrate their efforts more in large population centers, not the kinds of places you're likely to find wide open boondocking spots.

Many of the popular snowbirding areas in the Southwest desert have decent cell coverage.  Yuma, Quartzsite, Lake Havasu City, etc. all have good service from multiple carriers.  The problem is finding a balance between decent coverage and population, because during the peak of the season an area can attract so many people that even good cell service becomes overloaded until the demand drops off.

There are several things you can do like using pole mounted antennas and boosters to extend your range and make cellular data work well in marginal signal areas, which will greatly improve your chances of finding those perfect boondocking spots.

If you haven't already, take a look at technomadia.com and their Mobile Internet Resource Center.  Chris and Cherie have been fulltiming and working online for 9 years and have a lot of great information to share.
« Last Edit: February 19, 2016, 01:41:02 PM by Lou Schneider »

Amen

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Re: Best Cell Service spot for Boondocking in the Country?
« Reply #5 on: February 19, 2016, 02:02:42 PM »
A lot depends on which cell carrier you're using.  AT&T and Verizon in general have the best overall coverage, Sprint and T-Mobile and others concentrate their efforts more in large population centers, not the kinds of places you're likely to find wide open boondocking spots.

Many of the popular snowbirding areas in the Southwest desert have decent cell coverage.  Yuma, Quartzsite, Lake Havasu City, etc. all have good service from multiple carriers.  The problem is finding a balance between decent coverage and population, because during the peak of the season an area can attract so many people that even good cell service becomes overloaded until the demand drops off.

There are several things you can do like using pole mounted antennas and boosters to extend your range and make cellular data work well in marginal signal areas, which will greatly improve your chances of finding those perfect boondocking spots.

If you haven't already, take a look at technomadia.com and their Mobile Internet Resource Center.  Chris and Cherie have been fulltiming and working online for 9 years and have a lot of great information to share.

The cell and wifi booster and is definitely something we will install. And I do follow Cherie on FB. Great source of internet ideas!!

BTW..We use Karma for our internet. I believe they use sprint?? I have a straight talk phone which I think right now uses AT&T. My finaces is Sprint.

2008 Monaco Camelot 42PDQ

Toad? 2007 Lincoln Mark LT 4wd

Amen

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Re: Best Cell Service spot for Boondocking in the Country?
« Reply #6 on: February 19, 2016, 02:33:24 PM »
As for puppies and kitties... on the http://www.technomadia.com/full-time-rving-workspaces/boondock-marketing/ site they had a post of desks used in the RVs and one of the pictures showed a desk and a screened tent with puppies in it. Great idea! Keeps them fenced in and out of the hot sun!

Isn't this site a great wealth of information??!!!  :) :) :) :)
2008 Monaco Camelot 42PDQ

Toad? 2007 Lincoln Mark LT 4wd

ArdraF

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Re: Best Cell Service spot for Boondocking in the Country?
« Reply #7 on: February 19, 2016, 02:43:27 PM »
Years ago we had both AT&T and Verizon.  Eventually we dropped the AT&T because we had better coverage nationwide with Verizon.  That's mostly in the Western U.S. but we travel all over the country and think Verizon is best.  At our Palo Duro Canyon rally last year in Texas the people who had AT&T had better coverage, although we finally got a relatively good connection using a booster.  Where and when you get coverage is all over the place.  There are still some places in the U.S. (especially the West) where there is zero coverage because there are no cell towers from any carrier.  At one campground in Pennsylvania we drive one mile down the road and have a great signal but nothing in the campground which is surrounded by hills.  As Lou said, probably the best coverage is at Quartzsite but it also can be iffy during the peak times.

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driftless shifter

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Re: Best Cell Service spot for Boondocking in the Country?
« Reply #8 on: February 19, 2016, 04:16:38 PM »
You don't need a WIFI booster unless you are trying to use someone else's WIFI. Such as in an RV park. A cell booster with an antenna on a stick worked wonders for us when working South Texas. oil gates. We had drivers pulling aside to use our signal. It doesn't coast anything to us as we were just boosting a signal and it gas nothing to do with data or minutes. Do your research carefully as we wanted to upgrade our boosted antenna so we had a better range outside of our RV for phone calls up to 20-30 feet away from the booster, there was nothing compatible with our booster amp.

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JDOnTheGo

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Re: Best Cell Service spot for Boondocking in the Country?
« Reply #9 on: February 19, 2016, 04:35:37 PM »
This is probably a hard question to narrow down but those of you that have boondocked...have you found a place that has good cell service?

I am in the west, a full-timer, and full-time employed (via the Internet, software engineer).  My comments are based only on my experiences in the west.  I rarely stay at RV parks and instead boondock nearly all the time.  There are many, many, many places in the west (I have no idea about the east).  National Forest (NFS) and BLM managed land is your friend.  You can start with a resource such as freecampsites.net but any good map that lists NFS/BLM land is very useful.  Verizon is considered to have the best coverage in the west.  A cell signal amplifier is very useful (see Wilson Electronics) if you get very far from civilization. I easily get by each month on a 12Gb plan from Verizon. Solar is amazing and, in my opinion, required for full-timing and constant boondocking. Installing a DIY solar charging system that provides for all your electrical needs (minus air conditioning) is pretty easy and does not need to be expensive.  If you have a rig that has sufficient holding tank capacity, staying the limit at most NFS/BLM spots (two weeks) can be pretty easy.  To avoid the need for air conditioning, most of us go to the higher elevation spots during the warm months (where it is cool) and then come down to the lower elevation warmer spots in the winter.

http://jdfinley.com/is-solar-power-for-you/
http://jdfinley.com/solar-charging-system-take-two/
http://jdfinley.com/solar-power-winter-update/
http://jdfinley.com/energy-audit-watt/
http://jdfinley.com/wilson-amplifier/
http://jdfinley.com/cellular-data-antenna/
JD - Full timer out west
1998 MCI 102 EL3 Revolution | 2010 Wrangler (daJeep) | 650 Watts Solar
My Adventures

VallAndMo

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Re: Best Cell Service spot for Boondocking in the Country?
« Reply #10 on: February 21, 2016, 09:32:57 AM »
Howdy  AmyKen,

This is probably a hard question to narrow down but those of you that have boondocked...have you found a place that has good cell service? We have dogs (3) and cats (2) and prefer to be away from the crowd and RV parks (if possible). Because of fiance's work and it being a virtual job...she needs good internet/cell service. We plan on traveling the country but prefer to stay out of RV parks due to the puppitties. I know we can look at maps and such and will do that...but just wondering if anyone is in the same "boat" and or has knowledge of these places.  ;)

We're not full-timers yet, but we love boondocking and we have had a few RV vacations during which  we needed to be available for clients (Vall works in IT as a system/network/security administrator).

What we did was to use http://opensignal.com/ to check ahead connectivity at or nearby the places we wanted to stay.

To find boondocking spots in areas we weren't familiar with, we've used both http://campendium.com and http://freecampsites.net ; they are both very good and sometimes even include information on cellphone signals, but we always check with opensignal before committing ourselves.

Hope that helps.

Cheers,
--
   Vall & Mo.
« Last Edit: February 21, 2016, 04:42:53 PM by VallAndMo »

JiminDenver

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Re: Best Cell Service spot for Boondocking in the Country?
« Reply #11 on: February 21, 2016, 03:37:54 PM »
because the mountains are a checker board when it comes to getting a signal, we have all four carriers. Nothing huge on any, 10 gigs on Cricket (AT&T) 5 gigs on 4gas (TMO) Four gigs on RingPlus and Freedompop (Sprint and free) and a unlimited 3G verison hotspot. (Verizon is 3G in the mountains)

All together they are under $100 a month and if we can't get service.....

VallAndMo

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Re: Best Cell Service spot for Boondocking in the Country?
« Reply #12 on: February 21, 2016, 04:53:12 PM »
Hi Jim,

because the mountains are a checker board when it comes to getting a signal, we have all four carriers. Nothing huge on any, 10 gigs on Cricket (AT&T) 5 gigs on 4gas (TMO) Four gigs on RingPlus and Freedompop (Sprint and free) and a unlimited 3G verison hotspot. (Verizon is 3G in the mountains)

All together they are under $100 a month and if we can't get service.....

Amazing that you could get so much (10+5+4=19GB, not counting the Verizon hotspot, which I presume is grandfathered) and on all 4 carriers to boot. Apart from the (presumably grandfathered) Verizon, do you know whether these deals can still be had?

Thanks in advance,
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   Vall.



JiminDenver

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Re: Best Cell Service spot for Boondocking in the Country?
« Reply #13 on: February 21, 2016, 06:04:20 PM »
Cricket is your basis 10 Gig plan plus hotspot on auto play. $65

4gas is $19.71 and they have a deal now for 5 gigs for $15 plus fees. $2.71

Both of these have unlimited throttled speeds after the limit is met. I have the free binge on with 4gas but we don't stream much.

You can get a phone or hotspot on freedompop for nothing a month, a phone on ring plus for nothing a month. Each gives me a gig of data and for $10 I add 2 gigs to the ringplus account.

The Verison is a 3g flash unlimited hotspot I got off of ebay for $5 a month. (Check Verizon unlimited 3g on ebay)  A good strong 3G signal on any of the carriers is more than fast enough. Sometimes faster than their 4G/LTE.

I cut off the ISP here at the house and the biggest issue is using the data that will expire next. Last week I had 6 gigs on Cricket with 6 days to go, this week I have 2 gigs left on ring plus that will expire in a few days.

Amen

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Re: Best Cell Service spot for Boondocking in the Country?
« Reply #14 on: February 22, 2016, 02:20:01 PM »
Cricket is your basis 10 Gig plan plus hotspot on auto play. $65

4gas is $19.71 and they have a deal now for 5 gigs for $15 plus fees. $2.71

Both of these have unlimited throttled speeds after the limit is met. I have the free binge on with 4gas but we don't stream much.

You can get a phone or hotspot on freedompop for nothing a month, a phone on ring plus for nothing a month. Each gives me a gig of data and for $10 I add 2 gigs to the ringplus account.

The Verison is a 3g flash unlimited hotspot I got off of ebay for $5 a month. (Check Verizon unlimited 3g on ebay)  A good strong 3G signal on any of the carriers is more than fast enough. Sometimes faster than their 4G/LTE.

I cut off the ISP here at the house and the biggest issue is using the data that will expire next. Last week I had 6 gigs on Cricket with 6 days to go, this week I have 2 gigs left on ring plus that will expire in a few days.

We have Karma's pay as you go plan but now see they took the $50 mo unlimited away! It's called Pulse now . https://blog.yourkarma.com/goodbye-neverstop



2008 Monaco Camelot 42PDQ

Toad? 2007 Lincoln Mark LT 4wd

JiminDenver

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Re: Best Cell Service spot for Boondocking in the Country?
« Reply #15 on: February 22, 2016, 11:23:41 PM »
I am kind of glad my Sprint service at the house is weak or I would have gone for the Karma unlimited deal. Boy what a mess that has been. Even the 1.5 Mbps would have been fine as I am on 3G quite a bit anyways.

Amen

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Re: Best Cell Service spot for Boondocking in the Country?
« Reply #16 on: February 23, 2016, 12:40:28 PM »
I am kind of glad my Sprint service at the house is weak or I would have gone for the Karma unlimited deal. Boy what a mess that has been. Even the 1.5 Mbps would have been fine as I am on 3G quite a bit anyways.

Yes.. lots of very unhappy customers. We still use pay as you go and haven't jumped to monthly yet. We don't use enough yet but soon will!
2008 Monaco Camelot 42PDQ

Toad? 2007 Lincoln Mark LT 4wd

Amen

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  • Posts: 190
Re: Best Cell Service spot for Boondocking in the Country?
« Reply #17 on: February 23, 2016, 02:15:42 PM »
I am in the west, a full-timer, and full-time employed (via the Internet, software engineer).  My comments are based only on my experiences in the west.  I rarely stay at RV parks and instead boondock nearly all the time.  There are many, many, many places in the west (I have no idea about the east).  National Forest (NFS) and BLM managed land is your friend.  You can start with a resource such as freecampsites.net but any good map that lists NFS/BLM land is very useful.  Verizon is considered to have the best coverage in the west.  A cell signal amplifier is very useful (see Wilson Electronics) if you get very far from civilization. I easily get by each month on a 12Gb plan from Verizon. Solar is amazing and, in my opinion, required for full-timing and constant boondocking. Installing a DIY solar charging system that provides for all your electrical needs (minus air conditioning) is pretty easy and does not need to be expensive.  If you have a rig that has sufficient holding tank capacity, staying the limit at most NFS/BLM spots (two weeks) can be pretty easy.  To avoid the need for air conditioning, most of us go to the higher elevation spots during the warm months (where it is cool) and then come down to the lower elevation warmer spots in the winter.

http://jdfinley.com/is-solar-power-for-you/
http://jdfinley.com/solar-charging-system-take-two/
http://jdfinley.com/solar-power-winter-update/
http://jdfinley.com/energy-audit-watt/
http://jdfinley.com/wilson-amplifier/
http://jdfinley.com/cellular-data-antenna/

Thank you. I finally had time to read these and they are very informtive!
2008 Monaco Camelot 42PDQ

Toad? 2007 Lincoln Mark LT 4wd

 

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