Workamping: Mobile Signal Boosting

Workamping: Mobile Signal Boosting

Alaska has great cell phone service, considering it’s size and geography.  There’s also no shortage of dead zones.  Both of us work from home/motorhome and having voice and data service is crucial!  This is why we decided to install a mobile signal booster.

3g signal boosters have been available for a while.  In the spring of 2014, Wilson Electronics released the first mobile 4g signal booster.  Aside from being compatible with the latest phones it also boosts signals on 3g and 2g devices.

Wilson 4g mobile signal booster.
Wilson 4g mobile signal booster.

It was worth the wait!  We’ve been very happy with the improved signal and coverage area.

What I wanted from the installation.

  • Ease of use, push a button and turn it on.
  • Not having to set it up every time.
  • To work when driving, not only when camping.
  • I did not want to drill holes in the motorhome.
  • Not to be permanently installed.

There’s a few requirements for the booster to work properly.

  • It has to have a ground plane to work properly.
  • 12v cigarette socket for power.
  • Proper spacing between the amplifier and antennas.

 

The mounting plate "ground plane" for the external antenna.  This is a 6'x6' piece of galvanized metal that I primered. painted, and adhered to the roof with an epoxy.
The mounting plate “ground plane” for the external antenna. This is a 6″ x 6″ piece of galvanized metal that I primed. painted, and adhered to the roof with an epoxy.
The external antenna wire ran down the outside of the motorhome.
The external antenna wire ran down the outside of the motorhome.
An interior view of the external antenna wire ran down to the amplifier.
An interior view of the external antenna wire ran down to the amplifier.  The wire is ran through the door jamb, no holes were drilled.  There are also no air leaks because it’s a very small wire.
My chosen mounting location for the amplifier in the drivers foot well.
My chosen mounting location for the amplifier in the drivers foot well.  Note the neatly coiled up interior antenna cord and another Command hook to hang it on.  The interior antenna has a 2′ working radius so you will want to be able to move it around.
The 12v socket we behind the in dash television.  We have previously removed the ancient AC voltage tube TV and installed 12v flat screens in other locations.
The 12v socket we found behind the in dash television. We previously removed the ancient AC voltage tube TV and installed 12v flat screens in other locations of our motorhome.
Inside antenna.  It has a 2' working radius.  Be sure to leave the cord accessible so you can move it around.  I used Velcro strips in several locations where we want boosting; table, couch, drivers seat, passenger seat.
Inside antenna. It has a 2′ working radius. Be sure to leave the cord accessible so you can move it around. I used Velcro strips in several locations where we want boosting; table, couch, drivers seat, passenger seat.

In closing, the 2′ interior radius sounds like it’s difficult to work with but when you use a Bluetooth headset or wifi hotspot it’s not that big of a deal.  Overall we’ve been very happy with this booster.  It’s opening up a whole other part of Alaska where we can go workamping!  I would recommend it for any one who recreates or travels in low service areas.

I hope you found this information useful and helpful.  If you’ve installed a signal booster in your rig we would love to hear about your experience!

 

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