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Author Topic: New Mod, extending antenna mast for WiFi. It works!  (Read 2350 times)

SargeW

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New Mod, extending antenna mast for WiFi. It works!
« on: June 12, 2016, 02:05:49 PM »
Just for info I am running a Verizon 3G air card, plugged into a Cradlepoint router, and a Wilson 5 watt power booster. It all hooks to a Wilson mini trucker 18" ground plane antenna mounted on the back of the rig.

It seems as though the performance of my Wifi has been sketchy, especially in weak signal areas. If I am in a bigger city or near an interstate, it works great. But when I get off the beaten path, things can get down right "dial up" speed. 

Since I can't really boost the incoming signal, I decided to try to "lift the antenna on the back of the rig. Not being able to find an acceptable mast that I could push up and down easily, I went to Home Depot (of course).

What I found was an extending fiberglass painters pole, with a hexogonal  aluminum insert. The insert extends buy pressing a clip on the end of the pole and sliding the insert out. I bought an 8' pole, so the insert slides out another 8' in 6" increments. 

The Wilson Mini Trucker antenna clamps at the end, and the cable is loose on the outside of the pole (I had to buy an extra 10' antenna cable from Amazon for the project to work). I picked up a few antenna mast clamps to attach the new pole to the back ladder of the rig. It's mounted low enough not to be a hazard when encountering low trees (I hope).

I was able to test the system today. I am in a campground in Battle Ground, Indiana. When I arrived a few days ago, I was in an electric only site at the extreme end of the campground. The site was OK and the Wifi signal was adequate.  We moved to a full hook up site today, and the site is surrounded by big trees.  The Wifi screeched to a halt, and web pages would barley open. So I ran a speed test on the location. With 3 tests, the first two wouldn't finish, and the third returned .45 mps download speed and .18 upload speed. 

Next I went out and pushed up the antenna to full extension, about 8' above the top of the rig.  I came back in and reran the speed tests on the same settings as before.  This time 2 different tests returned speeds of .90+ mps download, and .80 upload.  So far the experiment is working well.

When I lower the antenna for travel, I wind the extra cable around the ladder and bungee it down. Now that it looks like the system will work, I will remove the handle and paint it black to match the ladder. 

Marty--
2017 Tiffin Allegro Bus 40SP
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HappyWanderer

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Re: New Mod, extending antenna mast for WiFi. It works!
« Reply #1 on: June 12, 2016, 05:11:47 PM »
Can you post a picture of the antenna mount? I have a VHF/UHF ground plane that I attach to the ladder with a piece of Schedule 40. This sounds much easier.

Gary RV_Wizard

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Re: New Mod, extending antenna mast for WiFi. It works!
« Reply #2 on: June 12, 2016, 07:07:06 PM »
I too use a Schedule 40 mast to get an antenna up higher when needed. I don't need it often enough to worry much about the modest effort involved, but an extendable mast would be a nice upgrade.
Gary
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Home: Ocala National Forest, FL

SargeW

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Re: New Mod, extending antenna mast for WiFi. It works!
« Reply #3 on: June 12, 2016, 07:51:16 PM »
Sure, here is the pic of the mast mounted. I forgot where I had put the pics so it took a bit of searching.....

Here is a link to the pole I used. This one is on Amazon, but I think I found it at Lowes (not HD) for $39.

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00181UGA4/ref=s9_simh_gw_g60_i4_r?ie=UTF8&fpl=fresh&pf_rd_m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&pf_rd_s=&pf_rd_r=TXRZ1V3HF620AH29FHCS&pf_rd_t=36701&pf_rd_p=cca70e28-a3b0-4f0d-b847-0ae9cb54558a&pf_rd_i=desktop
Marty--
2017 Tiffin Allegro Bus 40SP
Cummins ISL 450 HP/Powerglide chassis
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SargeW

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Re: New Mod, extending antenna mast for WiFi. It works!
« Reply #4 on: June 12, 2016, 08:11:40 PM »
These pics are when the mast was first mounted, and only pushed up a few feet. It is currently up 8' in the air and is making quite a difference in signal quality. 

Let me know if I need to fill in any gaps.
Marty--
2017 Tiffin Allegro Bus 40SP
Cummins ISL 450 HP/Powerglide chassis
Visit our new travel blog! http://www.mytripjournal.com/rvnchickTNG
Support your local Police Officer, Fire Fighter and Military!

HappyWanderer

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Re: New Mod, extending antenna mast for WiFi. It works!
« Reply #5 on: June 12, 2016, 08:33:35 PM »
Pretty cool, thanks for the pics.

prairiegirl

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Re: New Mod, extending antenna mast for WiFi. It works!
« Reply #6 on: June 25, 2016, 07:53:25 PM »
That looks like a great setup.  It sounds like you know the in and outs of getting wi-fi on the road.  Is .90+ download normal for wi-fi out in the sticks.  My phone gives me download of 15.3 but I am in a good signal place and have a monthly limit.  I'm just starting to learn about getting wi-fi on the road. 
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SargeW

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Re: New Mod, extending antenna mast for WiFi. It works!
« Reply #7 on: June 25, 2016, 09:27:23 PM »
The important difference here is that I am using a 3G modem, as opposed to your 4G LTE phone. In a well populated city, your 15 mps is normal.  In the map dots across the mid west, cell signal is hard to come by. So if I can get .90 in the sticks, I am pretty happy.  And I stick with the 3G modem because I am still in a grandfathered unlimited plan. So I can hit 50 gig without breaking the bank. 

So far the mast has been the best mod to my internet set up in a while.
Marty--
2017 Tiffin Allegro Bus 40SP
Cummins ISL 450 HP/Powerglide chassis
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Support your local Police Officer, Fire Fighter and Military!

Sun2Retire

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Re: New Mod, extending antenna mast for WiFi. It works!
« Reply #8 on: July 18, 2016, 07:15:22 PM »
I too use a Schedule 40 mast to get an antenna up higher when needed. I don't need it often enough to worry much about the modest effort involved, but an extendable mast would be a nice upgrade.

Gary,

You mentioned in a difference but related thread on boosters that you have a directional cellular antenna. Which one do you use?

Thx
Scott
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HappyWanderer

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Re: New Mod, extending antenna mast for WiFi. It works!
« Reply #9 on: August 21, 2016, 06:13:04 PM »
An update on my painter's pole project. I went with a 24 foot, 3 section pole.

I was looking to kill two birds with one stone: get my VHF/UHF ground plane into the air, and use the pole to get my HF dipole up in the trees.

To get a rope into a tree, I tied it to a soda bottle with a metal weight inside. The bottle goes onto the end of the pole, then up the tree. Rest the end of the pole on the branch of choice, pop the pole up quickly and the weighted bottle goes over the tree branch and gravity starts it down the opposite side. Now here's where I think I'm a genius... I took a small paint roller, removed the plastic core and bent the frame into a hook. This gets threaded onto the end of the pole, and the hook is used to snag the bottle and pull it down to the ground. Using this technique, I can get a dipole up about 30 feet very easily.

Once the dipole is up, the ground plane gets attached to the center section of the pole and secured to the ladder on the motorhome. I only need to go up about 15 feet, and the top section of the pole isn't sturdy enough for the antenna. In fact, I keep the antenna bracket bolted to the top of the second section. It doesn't interfere with extending the top section.

Sorry about the long post, but I thought the details might be helpful for someone looking to do the same thing. Marty, thanks for planting the seed.

SargeW

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Re: New Mod, extending antenna mast for WiFi. It works!
« Reply #10 on: August 21, 2016, 09:09:58 PM »
Good work!  Necessity is the mother of invention!  Take a pic if you get a chance,  it would be interesting to see deployed.
Marty--
2017 Tiffin Allegro Bus 40SP
Cummins ISL 450 HP/Powerglide chassis
Visit our new travel blog! http://www.mytripjournal.com/rvnchickTNG
Support your local Police Officer, Fire Fighter and Military!

HappyWanderer

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Re: New Mod, extending antenna mast for WiFi. It works!
« Reply #11 on: September 07, 2016, 08:17:05 PM »
Finally took a picture last weekend. The ground plane is mounted on the painter's pole, with the yellow handle.

The second pole was used to anchor my HF dipole, due to a tree shortage in the rally field.

SargeW

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Re: New Mod, extending antenna mast for WiFi. It works!
« Reply #12 on: September 07, 2016, 08:36:00 PM »
Nice! I love it when a plan comes together!
Marty--
2017 Tiffin Allegro Bus 40SP
Cummins ISL 450 HP/Powerglide chassis
Visit our new travel blog! http://www.mytripjournal.com/rvnchickTNG
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Arch Hoagland

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Re: New Mod, extending antenna mast for WiFi. It works!
« Reply #13 on: September 07, 2016, 09:34:37 PM »
I attached the antenna for my JEFA Tech WiFi repeater to my batwing TV  antenna and crank it up when using it.
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cpaulsen

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Re: New Mod, extending antenna mast for WiFi. It works!
« Reply #14 on: September 09, 2016, 06:09:44 AM »
I just used an old extendable limb saw mounted to my ladder........with a Wilson Trucker antenna mounted on it........makes a big difference.
2008 Ford F250/CC/SB/V-10/Montana 3670RL

tvman44

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Re: New Mod, extending antenna mast for WiFi. It works!
« Reply #15 on: September 09, 2016, 02:16:23 PM »
Which speed test do you use Sarge?

SargeW

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Re: New Mod, extending antenna mast for WiFi. It works!
« Reply #16 on: September 09, 2016, 05:16:09 PM »
I use two different ones.  Either Speed Test.net or Verizons speed test at  https://www.verizon.com/speedtest/
Marty--
2017 Tiffin Allegro Bus 40SP
Cummins ISL 450 HP/Powerglide chassis
Visit our new travel blog! http://www.mytripjournal.com/rvnchickTNG
Support your local Police Officer, Fire Fighter and Military!

 

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