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Old 04-26-2013, 05:43 PM   #1
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Cell phone booster installation

Hello,

I'm looking to install a Wilson Electronics SOHO cell phone signal booster. There needs to be separation between the outside and inside antennas.

I have both a smart phone and a tablet that make use of cellular data and would like to offer a boost to either/both.

I was thinking of installing the outside antenna in the rear cap and the inside antenna and amp in the cabinets in the cockpit and adding a switch on the dash to power the 12v transformer for the amp only when I'm someplace where I need a boost. That way if I'm driving and need it I can activate it.

Is there any way I can run the outside antenna coax in the ceiling somehow? Is there a channel already there that I can make use of?

Any ideas/tips would be appreciated.

Thanks
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Old 04-26-2013, 05:58 PM   #2
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I have this system in my MH and it does work however there are a few things you
need to under stand.
First all of the feed line you use HAS to be very low loss at cell phone freq's other
wise you are wasting your money.
Second I suggest you use one of their high gain inside directional antennas mounted just above the floor about mid cented of the coach.
I mounted mine there after many trials to locate a good spot.
I found in this location both the driver and pass will have communication.
Another item is sometimes your phone will have to be very near the inside antenna
to work, it all depends on the signal the repeater is able to get.
If there is any help I can give you let me know as I have many years in the communication field.
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Old 04-26-2013, 09:03 PM   #3
rmw
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If you're using the inside panel antenna, having the inside antenna in the front pointing back probably isn't the best because it will be pointing at the outside antenna. It would be better to have the inside antenna near the back pointing forward, away from the outside antenna.

The Wilson SOHO 60 dB systems work well if you have an ok signal available outside. If you have a really weak signal outside, you're probably not going to get full inside coverage because the amp just isn't strong enough and the cables are too lossy. I just upgraded my older system to a 4G LTE RV Signal Booster Kit and while I usually have to turn down the gain controls when we're in an area with good signal, when we're in a deadzone, it's nice to have the extra power!
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Old 04-26-2013, 10:16 PM   #4
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Thanks for the responses.

I travel through the desert a lot and drop calls all the time AND while camping out in the desert, I drop a lot of calls even though I can see the tower way off in the distance. I thought this system might be of help. I have the cradle version for my phone in the car and it helps while driving in the mountains where I live.

Is this system worth the investment for what I would use it for?

I'm trying to imagine a location within my MH where I can mount it as you suggest and cannot think of a place other than on the slide out. I'd prefer to avoid that if possible.

Is the coax they include in the kit a low loss cable for those freqs?

I can't imagine leaving it powered up all the time. Only when I need it. But, I suppose driving down the road I'll find myself going in and out of good and bad areas and if the "gain" is too high, that could cause problems.
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Old 04-26-2013, 10:37 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by barney_g View Post
Hello,

I'm looking to install a Wilson Electronics SOHO cell phone signal booster. There needs to be separation between the outside and inside antennas.
I have both a smart phone and a tablet that make use of cellular data and would like to offer a boost to either/both.
I was thinking of installing the outside antenna in the rear cap and the inside antenna and amp in the cabinets in the cockpit and adding a switch on the dash to power the 12v transformer for the amp only when I'm someplace where I need a boost. That way if I'm driving and need it I can activate it.

Is there any way I can run the outside antenna coax in the ceiling somehow? Is there a channel already there that I can make use of?

Any ideas/tips would be appreciated.
I have looked at some cell signal boosters and been thinking on how to run the wiring. My thought is to place the exterior antenna on the roof behind the refrigerator roof vent and thread the wiring down thru the vent (like my solar panel wiring) and then go horizontal and forward behind the upper cupboards or lower cabinets. This would keep all wiring hidden.
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Old 04-27-2013, 04:14 AM   #6
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I just installed the Wilson trucker cradle amplifier about a month ago, and it is working very well for us. The antenna is mounted about midway back on the curb side of the coach, where I drilled a hold just under the drip rail to run the coax into the overhead cabinetry. This made it easy to hide the coax and get it over to my monitoring panel. I then drilled a hole in the panel and mounted the cradle there. The antenna is about 8-9 feet away from the cradle and that seems to be plenty, no problems with signal or feedback. I also installed a cigarette-style outlet inside the power panel so I could plug in the amplifier without modifying the end, although you could easily hard-wire it if you prefer.

We leave our MiFi device in the cradle and run a short usb cable from the amplifier to the MiFi to power it, which reduces wiring, and we have it powered all the time. We located the cradle where it's easy to remove the MiFi and put a cell phone into it if it needs a boost. We really see the signal bars come up, although of course we have to put the phone on speaker to use it that way. There is a photo of our cradle setup here:

Southern Sojourn -Gulf Shores, AL | The Lowe's RV adventures

I guess the bottom line is that you probably don't have to run the coax all the way back to get the separation you need. One side of your RV should have enough cabinetry and distance to make the coax installation easy. Inside the ceiling can be very difficult, since much of the wiring there is just stuffed in with the foam insulation - I haven't seen any channels for wiring but it would sure be nice if they'd provide one. You could run quality coax on top of your roof, although I understand if you hate that idea as much as I do. But it really doesn't look that bad if you strap it down nicely.
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Old 04-27-2013, 06:06 AM   #7
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barney g,
To answer some of your questions.
The cable supplied by the retailers is normally RG 58 low loss but at cell freq's the
signal loss is great.
Also they require 20 feet or more distance between antannas with no gain antennas.
For the run to the back(you did not indicate lenght) you need to use Andrew 400
cable and the stuff they supply needs to be as short as possible.
This will require getting the proper connectors and putting them on the small cable
they supply after you have shorten it. If you have not done this type of work you need to find someone that has.
I mounted my inside panel antenna near the floor at the front of the vehicle to give
the two seats up front access during weak cell signals.
The distance from that location to the rear as well as the vertical distance coupled
with the fact the outside antenna is above the metal fram of the roof will shield
the two antennas so they do not interfer with each other except when very close
to cell site towers.
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