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Old 09-05-2010, 01:04 AM   #1
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Location: Ontario, Canada
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Internet Access - Cellular Amplifier

Hi Everyone,

While we were away on our first camping adventure, we had little to no cell access at our campsite. While it was great to be able to leave the phone alone, as luck would have it, we had some issues back at our office that needed our help. Unfortunately for my wife and myself, we need to have cell access as well as Internet access, as we operate our own business and need to be available in case of an emergency. We normally use our cell phones as a bluetooth modem, to access the Internet when needed, as this works quite well for us. Does anyone have any recommendations on any products we could use, to boost our cell signal? I see there are some products like the Wilson Dual band kit, however I am not sure how well these products work and also which antennas would be best to use?

Any help will be greatly appreciated.
Chuck
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Old 09-05-2010, 08:44 AM   #2
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I have installed cellular amps in trucks and buildings for our company, I am the radio shop. Installing one correctly would require an outside antenna that is best mounted correctly outside. this will require drilling holes for a mount. Many RVs are fiberglass, affording no ground plane for an antenna. You must assure that the antenna used is a non-ground plane or a ground plane if your roof is metal.
You also must have an indoor antenna, which you can usually use the little rubber one that comes with the amp. One thing that you don't find out until you get the amp and read the directions is that the manufacturer wants 40 to 60 feet between antennas for the 45dB and 55dB models (stronger amp). I know I can't figure out how to get that distance with a 26 foot TT. Some of the amps come with a glass mount antenna for the exterior antenna, well this puts the indoor and outdoor antenna close to the same plain, causing the amp to alarm and not function properly.

The bottom line with the amp, IMO, is they are a lot of money for what they are. They HAVE TO BE INSTALLED CORRECTLY. It is an amplifier, if there is nothing to amplify then there is still no signal. There is a pretty good chance that it will not meet your expectations. They don't meet mine.

Consider: in my experience, many times a campground may not have cell service but they offer WiFi. Think about a product such as Skype that is VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol).

Consider: Satellite phone. Depending on the urgency of your business, a fixed or hand held satellite phone will also provide reliable (not perfect) communications.

Please, if you decide to go with the cellular amp, please have a reputable technician install it that is familiar with the product.

Just my 2 cents.
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Old 09-05-2010, 09:31 PM   #3
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Location: Ontario, Canada
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Many thanks for the reply!

I need both cell and internet access, so something like just a VOIP service will not do unfortunately. If one of my servers has a problem, then I need to gain shell access to address this, as we operate an Internet based business and I am the IT guy. The places we will be camping at do not have WiFi, so thus why I am looking into these amplifiers. Since my cell signal at the campground we were just at was very low, I would hope this would compensate enough to bring in a usable signal. So I am open to all suggestions

Best Wishes,
Chuck
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