Internet at FMCA rallies

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Tom

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For those of us who are roof-mount challenged and who may not be near other Framily members who aren't ......

Does anyone have experience getting online at a large rally such as the upcoming FMCA rally at Pomona? I doubt I'd get online with my t-mobile air card, partly due to the density of coaches and partly due to the competition for bandwidth/radio access.

TIA
 

Ron

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Are we going to be installing your roof mount at Moab???

The tripod will work just fine as long as you don't have trees or some other obstruction in the way.  I would expect you will see other tripod set ups around there too.  The last time we were at a FMCA rally I don't think there were any DW options.

 

Tom

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Ron said:
Are we going to be installing your roof mount at Moab???

Moab would be too late for the upcoming rallies Ron. The monaco rally is next week and the FMCA rally is the week after. I assumed we wouldn't have enough space to put up the tripod because I heard they squeeze you in (this will be our first such rally), so was looking for alternatives.
 

Ned

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FMCA has offered CoachConnect at at least some of the international rallies (ABQ was the first, I think) but service was not uniform nor reliable.  There is usually some room behind the coaches where you may be able to set the tripod.
 

Tom

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Thanks Ned & Ron. I'll take the tripod along and hope there's room because that would be the best option if it's possible. I'm just having difficulty picturing the scene, given the prior comments I'd heard/read about how tightly they pack you in.
 

Ron

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There has always been room to park the car and with that room to set up a tripod as I recall at the rallies we attended.
 

Tom

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I'm crossing my fingers Ron. I can count on one hand (maybe two) the number of days I couldn't get online wherever I was in the world over the last 20 +/- years. I get withdrawal symptoms if I'm offline for more than 24 hours  :(
 

Ron

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Tom said:
I'm crossing my fingers Ron. I can count on one hand (maybe two) the number of days I couldn't get online wherever I was in the world over the last 20 +/- years. I get withdrawal symptoms if I'm offline for more than 24 hours? :(

I  understand completely, guess that is why so many of us have a means to help assure we don't get into a position where withrawal occurs.  ;) ;)
 

Tom

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LOL Ron. I'm already thinking of creative solutions such as double sided tape, velcro, or sand bags to hold the roof mount in place  ;D

BTW yesterday at lunch I was sitting between two gals who are in the real estate lending business and thus need to be continually "reachable" by their customers. They were going on about their Treo handhelds and how they sent/received email and did this and that with their respective Treo. When one of them started complaining about limitations, I went into my speech about toting heavy "luggable computers" around the world and having to carry a kit of tools. I received a swift response:

"I'm talking with respect to today's technology, not stuff that was available 20 years ago".

Rubbing salt into sore wounds, the gal's husband asked "what did you do when the tubes failed in the computers back then?"

I guess I must have appeared as a dinosaur  :(
 

Ron

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I really thought I had it made when I got my Zenith laptop.  Why it only weighed about 16 lbs.  No matter what the technology is they just can't please everybody.

If you don't get the roof mount glued or taped into place by Moab be sure to bring it along.  I'm sure it will be satisfactorily installed by the end of the Moab rally.  Why we might even get Chris trained on setting up the dish with it. ;D ;D
 

Tom

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Ron said:
I'm sure it will be satisfactorily installed by the end of the Moab rally.  Why we might even get Chris trained on setting up the dish with it.

That sounds like an offer that can't be turned down Ron.
 

Betty Brewer

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Tom said:
I assumed we wouldn't have enough space to put up the tripod because I heard they squeeze you in (this will be our first such rally), so was looking for alternatives.

Tom,
With the advent of coaches with quad slides, the rallies have  provided MUCH more space  than in past.  You will have room to set up your tripod.  We go to lots of rallies and know this to be the case  all the time now.
Betty

ps Terry has from time to time found open systems that you could luckily log into .
 

Wendy

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You might be able to drill holes in our roof, too, and help install our roof mount.
 

Tom

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Thanks Betty. That's good to know. I was getting a little concerned and was even trying to figure out how I could cheat on my arrival time and sneak in with the folks meeting at Spotlight 29.
 

Tom

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Ron said:
I am sure Terry will have no problem drilling holes in your roof.

I'm sure he'd get a big kick out of it Ron  ;D
 

Tom

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Wendy,

I read somewhere that your roof mount came without a mast. Was Mike able to acquire a mast?
 

John From Detroit

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Tom said:
Does anyone have experience getting online at a large rally such as the upcoming FMCA rally at Pomona? I doubt I'd get online with my t-mobile air card, partly due to the density of coaches and partly due to the competition for bandwidth/radio access.

You may find T-Mobile access works better than you expect... For one thing it's not the most popular (Though I do agree it should be) nor do they advetise the modem aspects of their phones all that well. (Vorizon does)

An external antenna might help... If you are roof top challanged here is how you can do it.

1: Obtain a good Mag Mount antenna and the required adaptor(s) to connect to your air card

2: Obtain a good size square of steel sheet,,, NOTE: It can be painted or not, I have a bar sign (Coke-a-cola or some such) I use for this,  A piece about the size of a speed limit sign is more than large enough

To protect your roof you might wish to put felt on one side of the sheet of steel

3: Assemble,,, Put mag mount on top (non-felted) center of the sheet

4: "Install" Using ladder or "long reach" tool place sheet, antenna up, on roof

5: Route cable (in via handy window

6: Connect

I got about 2 extra bars in one campground doing this.  (The campground is just below the coverage area, it's one of those places where hill-toping works)

Option 2: The tower option....

Simular in every way except you use a tower and base,  The base is the same as the flag-pole bases sold at QZ last January, it's a plate of steel you park your Duals on,, the plate extends out past the side of the MH and has a tower mount there... Bolt in the "tower" (single bolt at the bottom,  Walk it up, and put in the 2nd bolt,, The antenna is now {tower height] in the air and your feet never left the ground.  This works well with towers up to around 20 feet

You can put some serious antennas at the top of these things (directional for example) if you want to spend the money... WilsonElectrnoics is the antenna place for cell phones
 

Tom

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Thanks John. That's quite creative.

I had a Wilson antenna and extension coax in my hand at the QZ RV show, but decided not to buy them. I'm still vascilating over my consolidation to a single service (DW, cellular, cable - it's tough giving up the 6Mb/s speed when we leave home). Having a boat in addition to the coach makes the choice a little tougher. The t-mobile air card works great while we're afloat, but I doubt the DW dish would work.

t-mobile has their EDGE technology available, although it's not advertised. This provides up to 4x the speed of their existing GPRS system, but it does require the purchase of a different wireless card from the one I've been using.
 
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