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Author Topic: Cell phone booster systems  (Read 5023 times)

MikeFromMesa

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Cell phone booster systems
« on: July 10, 2016, 10:20:46 AM »
I have been trying to find some way to boost the cell data signal I get when camping. My first attempt was to just use an outside antenna with a grounding plane and this gave me about 3 dB of gain. Since I wanted more I next got one of the cradle systems to boost the signal to my Verizon myfi, assuming that I would just use the myfi signal instead of the base cell signal. That also worked, but only gave me about 6 dB and that did not seem like a good buy for the money so I am now looking at full amplifier - rebroadcast systems but I realized that I did not know some basic information about cell signals. Perhaps someone here can help.

I have looked at 3 systems, one from WeBoost, one from SureCall and one from SmoothTalker. Since I know very little about these systems I chose these 3 because they are available through reputable resellers like Amazon and CampingWorld. The basic difference between the 3 systems, from the specs, seems to be that WeBoost handles 5 bands, SureCall 3 bands and SmoothTalker 2 bands. I have talked to the sales/tech people at all of these places and, as you would expect, their suggestions differ so I was hoping that someone here could answer some basic questions.

First, do cell towers broadcast on all bands at the same time? Or do the bands used differ from one cell tower to another and from one part of the country to another? If it is the first, then I would think that it does not matter how many bands your system picks up, but if the second I think it matters very much. If they broadcast all signals do they do so with the same strength?

Second, is it true that 4G signals are no faster than 3G signals once you are more than a mile or so from a cell tower? One of the techs told me that but I have no idea if it is true or if it is "market speak".

I have placed my cell phone in test mode so I can see the strength of the incoming cell signal and it appears that I generally get about -90 dB where I live. That generally seems just fine for voice and data usage since I don't to anything like streaming on my phone. I want to have a signal strong enough to use basic data apps like Skype (with no video), WhatsApp and Viber so my wife can make calls to her family, some of which are in Europe. Is a 3G booster good enough for that? Or should I get a 4G booster (which has been my choice so far).

I plan to use this in our RV, but it is only a small class B so the inside is only about 15 feet from front to back. How far from one of these booster system inside antennas could I expect a good signal?

Lastly, one of these techs suggested that I mount a non-magnetic antenna on the air conditioning case because it is generally the highest part of the RV and because the roof is fiberglass. That seemed like a really good idea but I don't know if running the AC will generate interference with the cell signal picked up by the antenna. Does anyone know?

I know these are a lot of questions but I have gotten so many different answers from the sales and tech people at the different places that I have called that I don't know what is and what is not true and thus I really don't know what the best system for our needs would be. Any help would be appreciated.

Thank you.
« Last Edit: July 10, 2016, 10:25:55 AM by MikeFromMesa »

JDOnTheGo

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Re: Cell phone booster systems
« Reply #1 on: July 10, 2016, 10:30:26 AM »
I'm not sure I can address any of your more technical questions.  I can tell you that I boondock in some fairly remote places and have found my Wilson Sleek amplifier to make a HUGE difference.  Wilson is now weBoost and they have a new product line. If I were buying again, I would certainly buy one of their current products.

I have always found 3G to be slower than 4G (observed, not measured) and, with amplifier and external antenna (sometimes elevated), I can get 4G a good ways from a tower (never measured it).

All that said, if you are in a place with no cellular signal, an amplifier/antenna will not help - they are not magic.
JD - Full timer out west
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MikeFromMesa

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Re: Cell phone booster systems
« Reply #2 on: July 10, 2016, 10:46:21 AM »
I'm not sure I can address any of your more technical questions.  I can tell you that I boondock in some fairly remote places and have found my Wilson Sleek amplifier to make a HUGE difference. 
I think the Wilson Sleek is the predecessor to the WeBoost 4G-S that I bought and found to only give me a 6 dB boost. When I spoke with one of the Wilson techs he told me that the 4G-S was intended to be used only in cities where the signal is already strong and that it would do me no good in the boondocks. Of course another Wilson tech told me it should give me a minimum of a 10 dB boost regardless, but it did not. That has been one of the problems - I do not get the same information when I talk to 2 different techs, even from the same company.

Of course I was using it with my Verizon hotspot and not my phone, so perhaps that is one of the causes of the much lower increase.

NY_Dutch

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Re: Cell phone booster systems
« Reply #3 on: July 10, 2016, 11:32:28 AM »
I had a WeBoost 4G-M that did an adequate job most of the time. Now I have the new MaxAmp RV Mobile amplifier/repeater from Maximum Signal, and it really outshines the WeBoost. Pretty much as long as it gets at least a sniff of a signal, we get good data speeds. The MaxAmp also gives us good signals the entire length of our 34' coach, instead of just within the 3'-4' range of the WeBoost inside "Hershey Bar" antenna.
« Last Edit: July 10, 2016, 11:34:06 AM by NY_Dutch »
Dutch
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rockman

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Re: Cell phone booster systems
« Reply #4 on: July 10, 2016, 01:54:48 PM »
At $651, it better work! ;)
Nick, Marian & our 3 fur babies
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MikeFromMesa

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Re: Cell phone booster systems
« Reply #5 on: July 10, 2016, 03:40:06 PM »
At $651, it better work! ;)
Yes. I am glad to hear that it works so well, but of all the systems I have looked at this one is the most expensive.

I would like a good cell booster system but we are not full timers and usually we are only out for a couple of days. We do camp in some places that are in the middle of nowhere but we are both retired and the world will probably stay on its course if we are out of contact for a bit. I am trying to get a good system at a decent price but am trying to stay on a reasonable budget.

MikeFromMesa

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Re: Cell phone booster systems
« Reply #6 on: July 18, 2016, 08:08:14 AM »
After having tried (and returned) the WeBoost 4G-S I bought (and just received) the WeBoost 4G-M. While I have not yet installed this in our RV I have checked it out in our car and was pleasantly surprised to find that I am getting about a 25-30 dB boost in the signal strength here where I live. My cell hot spot signal went from about -102 dB (we live in a fringe area) to about -72 dB right on our front street and diving around in the car showed that that boost is good around our neighborhood.

I have yet to try this in the desert but have been pleasantly surprised by the results so far. Just wanted to mention it so if anyone else is interested they might have one more data point.

Sun2Retire

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Re: Cell phone booster systems
« Reply #7 on: July 18, 2016, 09:58:31 AM »
Toying with ideas for cell and wifi boost. Initially was thinking directional antennas for both the idea being to get the greatest return for money. I'm now thinking:

1) telescoping mast mounted on ladder
2) Directional wifi antenna
3) highest DB non-directional cellular antenna I can get

I'm thinking if I mount the mast low enough I can extend it by standing on a ladder (which I carry anyway) so I don't have to hang from the coach ladder and/or climb on the roof to play with it. I've found several telescoping masts which seem to offer some promise.

I figure it's probably easier to aim the directional wifi antenna as you usually know where the signal's coming from, whereas with cellular there's a certain amount of guesswork as to where the nearest tower is (I realize there are aiming apps, not sure of how effective or current).

Also, with both antennas on the same mast in the event we were using both antennas could point the wifi without affecting non-directional cellular.

The early plan for mast mount would have stowed position protruding no more than 12" above roofline so as to not increase current height.

Can't think of a clean way to deal with antenna leads yet, along with cleanly getting leads inside coach

Input on this hypothetical setup is appreciated
Scott
2005 Newmar Dutch Star 3810, Spartan, Cat C7 350 "OURVEE"
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JiminDenver

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Re: Cell phone booster systems
« Reply #8 on: July 18, 2016, 11:57:24 AM »
We use a now discontinued Wilson Sleek 4G/LTE cell booster. It is a cradle model and does pretty good so far. I would suggest get a model that supports as many bands as possible. The phone companies use different bands in different areas and are adding new ones too. At least make sure it supports the bands you currently use.

The same is true for antennas. One that boost 100 db is useless if it doesn't pick up your band. Wilson/WeBoost has a wide band directional antenna that I would choose because I use all four networks and never know what provider will be where we are in the mountains.

Last, because we use a booster that doesn't support Sprints band 41, I found it interesting that I was getting a improvement in the signal. Come to find out the improvement came with the booster on or off and was a result of the passive connection to the boosters antenna. I don't think that something that rebroadcast the boosted signals would have given that improvement.

blw2

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Re: Cell phone booster systems
« Reply #9 on: July 18, 2016, 02:04:32 PM »
i looked at these wilson devices.  I'm interested but just can't justify spending that kind of money for a once in a while need for us.  We use our phones as hotspot mostly, while RVing....
I sure do wish these phones had an external antenna jack, just to plug into a remote elevated antenna.... I figure that would be just about good enough for my purposes.
Oh well.  Just a sidetrack thought

Sorry for the hijack....
Brad (DW + 3 kids)
13 Thor Chateau 31L Class C on Ford E-450
'06 Silverado
'05 Rockwood Freedom 1910 (5-1/2 years)
former tent campers

Sun2Retire

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Re: Cell phone booster systems
« Reply #10 on: July 18, 2016, 07:37:55 PM »
I had a WeBoost 4G-M that did an adequate job most of the time. Now I have the new MaxAmp RV Mobile amplifier/repeater from Maximum Signal, and it really outshines the WeBoost. Pretty much as long as it gets at least a sniff of a signal, we get good data speeds. The MaxAmp also gives us good signals the entire length of our 34' coach, instead of just within the 3'-4' range of the WeBoost inside "Hershey Bar" antenna.

Dutch, did I see elsewhere that you're using a non-directional magnet mount with this booster?
Scott
2005 Newmar Dutch Star 3810, Spartan, Cat C7 350 "OURVEE"
Eezrv TPMS, VMSpc, 800W Solar
2002 Dodge RAM 1500 Quad Cab "RTOAD"
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NY_Dutch

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Re: Cell phone booster systems
« Reply #11 on: July 18, 2016, 07:56:56 PM »
Dutch, did I see elsewhere that you're using a non-directional magnet mount with this booster?

Yes, that's correct. There are two external antennas offered with the MaxAmp kit, a 13" mag mount and a rigid "trucker" style. The mag mount has comparable performance to the "trucker", and has the advantage of just falling over if it's hit by a tree limb, etc. You do need to add a small ground plane metal plate to a non-metallic RV roof though. I used a painted 12"x18" 14 gauge steel plate secured with double sided 3M trim tape and edge sealed with Dicor. Only antennas that have been independently tested with a given amplifier can be sold for use with that amplifier per FCC rules.
Dutch
2001 GBM Landau 34' Class A
F53 Chassis, Triton V10, TST TPMS
2011 Toyota RAV4 4WD/Remco pump
ReadyBrute Elite tow bar/Blue Ox base plate

JiminDenver

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Re: Cell phone booster systems
« Reply #12 on: July 18, 2016, 08:41:42 PM »
You can buy a passive antenna connection that will do the same as my cradle does when powered off. Also the Wilson Sleek 4G/LTE can be had discontinued and refurbished for $109 on ebay with a years warranty. Having devices on all four networks I can tell you that it boost every band except 41 and even that it helps passively.

http://www.ebay.com/itm/Wilson-Sleek-4G-23dB-Cell-Phone-Signal-Booster-Amplifier-Kit-460107-/201461036783?hash=item2ee80376ef

http://www.ebay.com/itm/Universal-passive-external-antenna-adapter-cable-pigtail-FME-Male-connector-/261008815039?hash=item3cc55673bf:m:mi23v2VSUJutAnfV4zZSy6g

MikeFromMesa

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Re: Cell phone booster systems
« Reply #13 on: July 19, 2016, 07:37:20 AM »
Only antennas that have been independently tested with a given amplifier can be sold for use with that amplifier per FCC rules.
That is interesting in that no one at any of the cell phone booster places ever told me that when I was talking about alternate antennas to use with the new booster I got. I wonder how you can find out if any particular antenna has been tested with any particular booster.

I bought the WeBoost 4G-M and have tested it in our car to make sure it worked (and it gave me about a 25-30 dB boost) but also bought a trucker antenna to use with it, thinking that it would solve the problem of having to get and attach a ground plane to the top of our RV. I have been reluctant to let anyone start drilling holes into the roof and thought that the trucker antenna, attached to our regular TV antenna (which we never use) might provide a better signal with less trouble (we do not have a roof ladder which seems to be the typical place to attach such an antenna). I guess I need to find out if it has been tested with this booster.

SargeW

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Re: Cell phone booster systems
« Reply #14 on: July 19, 2016, 07:58:49 AM »
I usually go to these folks with my cell/internet issues. They are pretty sharp and have techs that will talk you through your particular problem.  3Gstore.com
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Sun2Retire

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Re: Cell phone booster systems
« Reply #15 on: July 19, 2016, 09:04:56 AM »
Related to this subject, while doing research I stumbled across this, shows you how to switch your phone from signal strength in "bars" to much more accurate DB
Scott
2005 Newmar Dutch Star 3810, Spartan, Cat C7 350 "OURVEE"
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MikeFromMesa

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Re: Cell phone booster systems
« Reply #16 on: July 19, 2016, 10:32:43 AM »
Related to this subject, while doing research I stumbled across this, shows you how to switch your phone from signal strength in "bars" to much more accurate DB
That is good information. I found the same web site a couple of weeks ago and changed my iPhone to dB display and that is how I knew what the effect of the WeBoost 4G-M was around my house, but it has not changed back to normal bars (or, in the case of the iPhone, dots) as it was supposed to after rebooting. I still have the test display of dBs. It does not matter to me very much as the value readout is probably a better display than the simple bar display but it does puzzle me as to why.

My wife's phone, also an iPhone, is still showing bars and the comparison has been informative. When we were camping in the mountains her display said no service while mine gave a signal strength of -112 dBs so "no service" does not necessarily mean "no service".

Sun2Retire

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Re: Cell phone booster systems
« Reply #17 on: July 19, 2016, 11:43:49 AM »
That is good information. I found the same web site a couple of weeks ago and changed my iPhone to dB display and that is how I knew what the effect of the WeBoost 4G-M was around my house, but it has not changed back to normal bars (or, in the case of the iPhone, dots) as it was supposed to after rebooting. I still have the test display of dBs. It does not matter to me very much as the value readout is probably a better display than the simple bar display but it does puzzle me as to why.

My wife's phone, also an iPhone, is still showing bars and the comparison has been informative. When we were camping in the mountains her display said no service while mine gave a signal strength of -112 dBs so "no service" does not necessarily mean "no service".

To change back to "bars" you can touch the DB display, thus toggling back and forth.

I was very glad to have found this info. I figured everyone had some special DB meter they had purchased to get the readings they had reported.

I'd be interested in how those with directional cellular antennas go about aiming their antennas. I presume it takes some sort of "real" DB meter that reacts instantly, combined with some knowledge of where to start (i.e., roughly where the tower is). As the article states, the best signal may not be by pointing directly at the tower due to hills, etc.

attached to our regular TV antenna (which we never use) might provide a better signal with less trouble

This is an option I'm going to explore as well. A local RV shop I like seems to think the Winegard could lift another couple of pounds, I have my doubts. Going to test with a lightweight telescoping painter's pole and some simulated weight to see if it works.
Scott
2005 Newmar Dutch Star 3810, Spartan, Cat C7 350 "OURVEE"
Eezrv TPMS, VMSpc, 800W Solar
2002 Dodge RAM 1500 Quad Cab "RTOAD"
Stowmaster towbar & Brakemaster

MikeFromMesa

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Re: Cell phone booster systems
« Reply #18 on: July 19, 2016, 04:03:13 PM »
To change back to "bars" you can touch the DB display, thus toggling back and forth.
Yes. I know and that is what I have been doing, but I do wonder how to put the phone back to its initial state without completely resetting it. It is not that I care a great deal as the dB rating suits my needs better than the bars, but I am a bit of a curious guy and things like this make me wonder how to do it, even if I don't really want to.

This is an option I'm going to explore as well. A local RV shop I like seems to think the Winegard could lift another couple of pounds, I have my doubts. Going to test with a lightweight telescoping painter's pole and some simulated weight to see if it works.
My plan is to mount a flat piece of ferrous metal, large enough to serve as a ground plane, and thick enough so that it will not bend from the moving air when the RV is going down the road at 70 mph. I do worry a bit about it acting like a plane wing and trying to raise the antenna so I will have to find some way to latch the antenna down to keep it from being pulled up by the moving air. I have only raised that antenna once, and that was to make sure the crank worked.  :)

We never watch over-the-air TV when we are traveling although we do watch DVDs.

The alternative is to use one of those truck antennas that don't require grounding but that presents two new problems - the antenna is considerably higher and thus subject to wind pressure and bending and there is always the problem of low hanging branches and/or bridges. The RV is only about 9 1/2 feet tall but adding anther 2 feet to that for the antenna seems like asking for trouble. Not on the highways, of course, but on some of the local roads where bridges are really low and, of course, in some of the parks where the trees shade the camping spaces.
« Last Edit: July 19, 2016, 04:06:19 PM by MikeFromMesa »

Larry N.

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Re: Cell phone booster systems
« Reply #19 on: July 19, 2016, 04:20:06 PM »
Quote
...mine gave a signal strength of -112 dBs so "no service" does not necessarily mean "no service".

A 3dB change is doubling or halving, so -112 dB is such an extremely low signal that you may have "no service" in spite of there actually being a very weak signal. On the other hand, if yours actually had service, then there was a signal difference between the two units (not unusual).
Larry and Mary Ann N.
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MikeFromMesa

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Re: Cell phone booster systems
« Reply #20 on: July 19, 2016, 06:44:45 PM »
A 3dB change is doubling or halving, so -112 dB is such an extremely low signal that you may have "no service" in spite of there actually being a very weak signal. On the other hand, if yours actually had service, then there was a signal difference between the two units (not unusual).
Oh. I guess I was not clear in my post.

What I meant was that a display that says "no service" does not actually have to mean that there is no signal at all - only that the signal strength may be so low that dependable connections can not be expected. I was not even complaining, only showing that it is more helpful to have a dB display than the standard signal strength display as you generally would have more information as to what is actually going on.

blw2

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Re: Cell phone booster systems
« Reply #21 on: July 29, 2016, 12:42:14 PM »
I was sure thinking about this thread a lot during the past week.  We took the RV up to the NC mountains.  ZERO reception in all of the CG's where we stopped.  Un-plugging a bit is good form time to time, but this came to almost be a problem.

In hind site, i wish that i would have crawled up on the roof a few times just for sampling sake and checked the signal db up high, just to see if it was no signal, or just no usable reception.... down low on the ground, the db thing told me nothing..... just no reception.
Brad (DW + 3 kids)
13 Thor Chateau 31L Class C on Ford E-450
'06 Silverado
'05 Rockwood Freedom 1910 (5-1/2 years)
former tent campers

JiminDenver

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Re: Cell phone booster systems
« Reply #22 on: July 30, 2016, 10:22:47 AM »
You don't need to get up there, a long pole and a baggie will do for testing. At Tarryall res. I had to walk to the middle of the road, put the phone on a pole over my head to see if it beeped. If it did I would bring it down to see the text, (all it would get) type a reply and put it back up until it beeped again. I would repeat depending on if I were expecting a reply and how quickly.


JDOnTheGo

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Re: Cell phone booster systems
« Reply #23 on: July 30, 2016, 11:31:30 AM »
Hi Brad, I have not perfected my "elevated antenna" yet but this may give you some ideas.
http://jdfinley.com/cellular-data-antenna/

I use an older Wilson Sleek which makes a significant difference with the short little omni antenna (that comes with it) stuck out the window.  I haven't spent a lot of time on the "elevated antenna" because I haven't needed it in a while.  Not an expert yet but I suspect RF signal loss in the cable may be the big hurdle.
JD - Full timer out west
1998 MCI 102 EL3 Revolution | 2010 Wrangler (daJeep) | 650 Watts Solar
My Adventures

SargeW

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Re: Cell phone booster systems
« Reply #24 on: July 30, 2016, 05:25:00 PM »
Here is a post I made about a month ago regarding an extendable antenna mast for a cellular antenna (for WiFi).  This may give you some ideas.

http://www.rvforum.net/SMF_forum/index.php/topic,95425.msg860577.html#msg860577
Marty--
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decaturbob

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Re: Cell phone booster systems
« Reply #25 on: November 18, 2016, 05:29:01 AM »
I had a WeBoost 4G-M that did an adequate job most of the time. Now I have the new MaxAmp RV Mobile amplifier/repeater from Maximum Signal, and it really outshines the WeBoost. Pretty much as long as it gets at least a sniff of a signal, we get good data speeds. The MaxAmp also gives us good signals the entire length of our 34' coach, instead of just within the 3'-4' range of the WeBoost inside "Hershey Bar" antenna.

I have spent some time in reviewing and researching numerous (mobile) cell phone boosters and all have issues with interior transmit/receive range of having to be with a few inches or to a max of a couple feet from the interior antenna.  I really find this to be a killer as I want to be able to be able to use the booster when sitting in the cab or sitting at the dining table.  Unless I take a "home" unit and only use it when "parked".  Are you still satisfied with the MaxAmp system? And it does provide the necessary field of coverage inside your coach? Do you have any info on the db loss as you move from 5ft away to 15ft to 20ft away from interior antenna?
proud to have a 2008 Tioga 31M MH

NY_Dutch

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Re: Cell phone booster systems
« Reply #26 on: November 18, 2016, 06:51:32 AM »
I have spent some time in reviewing and researching numerous (mobile) cell phone boosters and all have issues with interior transmit/receive range of having to be with a few inches or to a max of a couple feet from the interior antenna.  I really find this to be a killer as I want to be able to be able to use the booster when sitting in the cab or sitting at the dining table.  Unless I take a "home" unit and only use it when "parked".  Are you still satisfied with the MaxAmp system? And it does provide the necessary field of coverage inside your coach? Do you have any info on the db loss as you move from 5ft away to 15ft to 20ft away from interior antenna?

The inside coverage with our Max Amp RV indoor antenna is excellent. We see no more than a 1dB fall off at the back wall of our motorhome, the farthest point from the antenna at about 18 feet. We also get a very usable signal out to about 10 feet on the passenger side of the coach that allows us to sit outside under the awning and still use our phones in poor cell service areas. I haven't checked signal levels outside, but I'm sure the wall and intervening cabinetry are attenuating the signal somewhat more out there.
Dutch
2001 GBM Landau 34' Class A
F53 Chassis, Triton V10, TST TPMS
2011 Toyota RAV4 4WD/Remco pump
ReadyBrute Elite tow bar/Blue Ox base plate

decaturbob

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Re: Cell phone booster systems
« Reply #27 on: November 18, 2016, 11:45:29 AM »
thanks Dutch...I can tell you the bulk of the cell boosters aren't worth the cost if my cellphone has  to be inches away from the crappy inside antenna
proud to have a 2008 Tioga 31M MH

NY_Dutch

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Re: Cell phone booster systems
« Reply #28 on: November 18, 2016, 03:52:20 PM »
thanks Dutch...I can tell you the bulk of the cell boosters aren't worth the cost if my cellphone has  to be inches away from the crappy inside antenna

That's one of the primary reasons I was interested in the Max Amp RV in the first place. Now that I have one, I'm even more impressed by it's ability to sniff out signals at significantly lower levels than other amps.
Dutch
2001 GBM Landau 34' Class A
F53 Chassis, Triton V10, TST TPMS
2011 Toyota RAV4 4WD/Remco pump
ReadyBrute Elite tow bar/Blue Ox base plate

decaturbob

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Re: Cell phone booster systems
« Reply #29 on: November 20, 2016, 08:23:53 AM »
That's one of the primary reasons I was interested in the Max Amp RV in the first place. Now that I have one, I'm even more impressed by it's ability to sniff out signals at significantly lower levels than other amps.

Dutch, I found an external antenna I like, the weboost 4G-OTR Cellular Antenna Truck Edition,,but I have no idea if this and the Max Amp are compatible.  I like this antenna as I can make it work well with the extendable antenna system I have going off the rear ladder as I can have the upper half of the antenna just above my roof line while traveling and then extend it up 10ft above my roof line when parked pretty easily.  I have emails to Max Amp and waiting to hear back from them. 
proud to have a 2008 Tioga 31M MH

NY_Dutch

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Re: Cell phone booster systems
« Reply #30 on: November 20, 2016, 12:58:27 PM »
Maximum Signal gives you a choice of a magnetic mount or a trucker clamp mount with the Max-Amp RV. Both antennas have similar gain characteristics, and both have been FCC approved for use with the Max-Amp.
Dutch
2001 GBM Landau 34' Class A
F53 Chassis, Triton V10, TST TPMS
2011 Toyota RAV4 4WD/Remco pump
ReadyBrute Elite tow bar/Blue Ox base plate

rbertalotto

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Re: Cell phone booster systems
« Reply #31 on: November 26, 2016, 09:17:24 AM »
You do not need to drill into your roof to mount a magnetic antenna on a metal ground plane. Get a 12" x 12" piece of thin steel material (a cookie baking pan works well) and use Eternbond to tape all four sides down to the roof. Run wire down refrigerator vent....no holes and no,leaks
RoyB
South of Boston
2006 Dodge 2500 Diesel
2011 Forest River Grey Wolf 19RR
Whole bunch of motorcycles
www.rvbprecision.com

NY_Dutch

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Re: Cell phone booster systems
« Reply #32 on: November 28, 2016, 12:06:17 PM »
You do not need to drill into your roof to mount a magnetic antenna on a metal ground plane. Get a 12" x 12" piece of thin steel material (a cookie baking pan works well) and use Eternbond to tape all four sides down to the roof. Run wire down refrigerator vent....no holes and no,leaks

Yep, that's pretty close to what I did. I used a 12" x 18" piece of 18 gauge scrap I had laying around, and stuck it to the roof with 3M double sided trim tape and Dicor lap sealant around the edges. I also have a mag antenna ground plane plate on top of the rear A/C shroud, but that one is just screwed in place with the edges sealed.
Dutch
2001 GBM Landau 34' Class A
F53 Chassis, Triton V10, TST TPMS
2011 Toyota RAV4 4WD/Remco pump
ReadyBrute Elite tow bar/Blue Ox base plate

rbertalotto

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Re: Cell phone booster systems
« Reply #33 on: November 28, 2016, 07:58:00 PM »
There is an article on my RV web site about my Cell Phone Booster install and the performance I saw.

http://rvbprecision.com/rv-projects
RoyB
South of Boston
2006 Dodge 2500 Diesel
2011 Forest River Grey Wolf 19RR
Whole bunch of motorcycles
www.rvbprecision.com

NY_Dutch

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Re: Cell phone booster systems
« Reply #34 on: November 28, 2016, 08:28:28 PM »
There is an article on my RV web site about my Cell Phone Booster install and the performance I saw.

http://rvbprecision.com/rv-projects

Our first cell booster was a WeBoost Drive 4G-M that was loaned to me by a friend that had taken ill before he could install it. We used it successfully enough in many locations, but we found the 3-4 foot range of the inside "Hershey Bar" antenna very limiting for use with our multiple cell devices. When the Max Amp RV became available, I bought one and installed it in place of the 4G-M. On our first trip with it, we quickly noticed that we were getting reliable Verizon 3G and 4G signals in locations in the Adirondack mountains that had always been cell dead or unreliably weak for us, even with the 4G-M. We were also quite pleased to find that the Max Amp omni-directional inside antenna was providing us with good repeater signals throughout our motorhome, and even in the under awning area so we could use our cell devices while sitting outside. The Max Amp does cost a bit more, but we've not been sorry about spending the extra money for it.
Dutch
2001 GBM Landau 34' Class A
F53 Chassis, Triton V10, TST TPMS
2011 Toyota RAV4 4WD/Remco pump
ReadyBrute Elite tow bar/Blue Ox base plate

decaturbob

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Re: Cell phone booster systems
« Reply #35 on: December 02, 2016, 06:56:31 AM »
Our first cell booster was a WeBoost Drive 4G-M that was loaned to me by a friend that had taken ill before he could install it. We used it successfully enough in many locations, but we found the 3-4 foot range of the inside "Hershey Bar" antenna very limiting for use with our multiple cell devices. When the Max Amp RV became available, I bought one and installed it in place of the 4G-M. On our first trip with it, we quickly noticed that we were getting reliable Verizon 3G and 4G signals in locations in the Adirondack mountains that had always been cell dead or unreliably weak for us, even with the 4G-M. We were also quite pleased to find that the Max Amp omni-directional inside antenna was providing us with good repeater signals throughout our motorhome, and even in the under awning area so we could use our cell devices while sitting outside. The Max Amp does cost a bit more, but we've not been sorry about spending the extra money for it.

Dutch,
I received the MaxAmp mobile RV system about a week ago and testing it with my house and gotta say its been looking good.  I mounted my telescoping mast and y directly outside my house on a garden shed and routed the antenna cable into my basement.  My basement area has poor cell service where 4g/LTE signal is between range -117 to-121db.  I mounted the magnetic base interior antenna on the bottom of my heat supply duct about center in my mancave space. I have approx 24ft of horz separation of the antennas....(and 15ft vertically.)   I fired the maxamp booster and the signal went to a range -90 to -104 within a 6ft radius of the interior antenna...so i'm pretty happy with that. The data dl/ul speed improvement wasn't as great but that maybe impacted more with the phone I have as its a T-Mobile LG3 that I am running on the ATT network and not all the bands are available to me with this phone.  But there was an improvement in data flow...with no booster, I was getting .35/mbs download and with the booster I am getting 1/mbs upload.....of course when I go upstairs from basement I get 10/mbs with no booster.

I won't get to mounting the system to my RV until we get to arizona in March as its really to cold here now to do it.  I still need to figure our the cable routing but don't see a big problem.
proud to have a 2008 Tioga 31M MH

NY_Dutch

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Re: Cell phone booster systems
« Reply #36 on: December 02, 2016, 07:28:01 AM »
That's great to see, Bob! I'm sure you'll be equally pleased with the performance in your RV as well. Where we are right now, we have good Verizon and AT&T signals, but next month we'll be heading south and passing through some areas that have always been weak or non-existent cell wise for us without an amplifier. We fully expect the Max Amp will keep us connected, just as it did in some notoriously poor signal areas in NC and TN in September.

One thing I found out quickly when we tested T-Mobile service for a couple of months, was that band 12 coverage was mandatory for a good, or even any, 4G/LTE signal in some areas. Band 12 seems to be what T-M has used for much of their recent build out. We also found that our T-M service seemed to be subject more to tower congestion than either Verizon or AT&T, suggesting more limited backbone connections. All in all, we opted to drop T-M in favor of our Verizon and AT&T hotspot services.
« Last Edit: December 02, 2016, 07:38:09 AM by NY_Dutch »
Dutch
2001 GBM Landau 34' Class A
F53 Chassis, Triton V10, TST TPMS
2011 Toyota RAV4 4WD/Remco pump
ReadyBrute Elite tow bar/Blue Ox base plate

decaturbob

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Re: Cell phone booster systems
« Reply #37 on: December 03, 2016, 11:10:19 AM »
That's great to see, Bob! I'm sure you'll be equally pleased with the performance in your RV as well. Where we are right now, we have good Verizon and AT&T signals, but next month we'll be heading south and passing through some areas that have always been weak or non-existent cell wise for us without an amplifier. We fully expect the Max Amp will keep us connected, just as it did in some notoriously poor signal areas in NC and TN in September.

One thing I found out quickly when we tested T-Mobile service for a couple of months, was that band 12 coverage was mandatory for a good, or even any, 4G/LTE signal in some areas. Band 12 seems to be what T-M has used for much of their recent build out. We also found that our T-M service seemed to be subject more to tower congestion than either Verizon or AT&T, suggesting more limited backbone connections. All in all, we opted to drop T-M in favor of our Verizon and AT&T hotspot services.

We have ATT plan but ported our TMO phones over to ATT, I suspect both phone radios don't have ALL the ATT bands available at least on the data side....we will play it by ear once we hit the road in February
proud to have a 2008 Tioga 31M MH

NY_Dutch

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Re: Cell phone booster systems
« Reply #38 on: December 03, 2016, 07:10:18 PM »
We have ATT plan but ported our TMO phones over to ATT, I suspect both phone radios don't have ALL the ATT bands available at least on the data side....we will play it by ear once we hit the road in February

Ok, with ATT the 4G/LTE bands are 2,4,5, & 17, where TMO uses 2,4, & 12, so yep, I think it unlikely your TMO phones will cover all the ATT bands. As long as you get good service where you travel though, that's all that counts.
Dutch
2001 GBM Landau 34' Class A
F53 Chassis, Triton V10, TST TPMS
2011 Toyota RAV4 4WD/Remco pump
ReadyBrute Elite tow bar/Blue Ox base plate

decaturbob

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Re: Cell phone booster systems
« Reply #39 on: December 04, 2016, 06:22:25 AM »
Ok, with ATT the 4G/LTE bands are 2,4,5, & 17, where TMO uses 2,4, & 12, so yep, I think it unlikely your TMO phones will cover all the ATT bands. As long as you get good service where you travel though, that's all that counts.


thats my opinion too at this time...I think sometime next year I'll get an ATT badge phone off of Swappa and retire my LG3 thats been awesome workhorse.  I have greater hopes with the wifi repeater system I should have this week where I can grab weak wifi,. especially xfinity hotspot ones.  I just wish I had another month of warm weather here to get everything on my RV....
proud to have a 2008 Tioga 31M MH

NY_Dutch

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Re: Cell phone booster systems
« Reply #40 on: December 04, 2016, 07:41:06 AM »

thats my opinion too at this time...I think sometime next year I'll get an ATT badge phone off of Swappa and retire my LG3 thats been awesome workhorse.  I have greater hopes with the wifi repeater system I should have this week where I can grab weak wifi,. especially xfinity hotspot ones.  I just wish I had another month of warm weather here to get everything on my RV....

We have a WiFi repeater on board, although we seldom use it. A repeater can help bring in a weak signal better, but it can't to anything about too little bandwidth to support all the usage in a given park. Peak usage times are often no better than dial-up speeds when too many people are trying to stream the latest episode of their favorite program or movie. Fortunately, we fare much better with our two unlimited data cell plans and Max Amp RV booster amp.
« Last Edit: December 04, 2016, 07:44:25 AM by NY_Dutch »
Dutch
2001 GBM Landau 34' Class A
F53 Chassis, Triton V10, TST TPMS
2011 Toyota RAV4 4WD/Remco pump
ReadyBrute Elite tow bar/Blue Ox base plate

NY_Dutch

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Re: Cell phone booster systems
« Reply #41 on: December 24, 2016, 08:40:57 PM »
There's an interesting comparison of the Maximum Signal Max Amp Mobile and the WeBoost Drive 4G-X cell boosters on the Stormtrack storm chasers forum. I think the following quote covers what is most important to most of us for reliable cell connectivity in adverse conditions:

"Well two things I need to add. Most importantly, I was able to get into a dead zone on Att. The Weboost got me a signal, but not LTE. The Max amp got me LTE. And 3 bars of it. Now I hate to reference bars, but there's no way to know the exact gain since you can't go less than "no signal" db."

stormtrack.org/community/threads/weboost-vs-max-mobile-maximum-signal-test
Dutch
2001 GBM Landau 34' Class A
F53 Chassis, Triton V10, TST TPMS
2011 Toyota RAV4 4WD/Remco pump
ReadyBrute Elite tow bar/Blue Ox base plate

cpaulsen

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Re: Cell phone booster systems
« Reply #42 on: December 25, 2016, 06:33:15 AM »
I have had a Wilson Sleek for over 4 years and using my Verizon service and a Wilson Trucker omni-directional antenna mounted to an extendable pole on my rv ladder.......I have never had a problem getting a signal.
2008 Ford F250/CC/SB/V-10/Montana 3670RL

NY_Dutch

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Re: Cell phone booster systems
« Reply #43 on: December 25, 2016, 08:58:44 AM »
I'm glad your Sleek is working well for you in the places you travel to. I haven't heard anything yet about how well the current Sleek is working under the new FCC requirements. For our usage, the one device at a time Sleek doesn't do what we want in a cell booster amp.
Dutch
2001 GBM Landau 34' Class A
F53 Chassis, Triton V10, TST TPMS
2011 Toyota RAV4 4WD/Remco pump
ReadyBrute Elite tow bar/Blue Ox base plate

 

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