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Under The Awning Here is where you can carry on a conversation, just like............well, like you were sitting under your awning at the campsite.

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  #21  
Old 09-22-2011
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via aircard in my case.
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  #22  
Old 09-22-2011
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For an aircard, the answer is pretty simple, just an antenna and the associated cables. Those also are fairly inexpensive. A power amplifier will sometimes help a bit also, but I don't think it is worth the money (I have a 3-watt amp that I usually keep out of the circuit).

First and most important is that the aircard must have an external antenna port. Most do, some do not.

Then you need an antenna. I use this: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0006VSHD0 which has to be mounted through metal and uses this cable: http://www.amazon.com/Wilson-8-Inch-...bxgy_cps_img_b

I'm mounting in the square plate that used to support the round TV antenna. The alternative is to use a magnet mount like this which comes with the cable: http://www.amazon.com/Wilson-Electro...6735160&sr=1-1

Try to mount so that you will not need more cable, as there can be significant line loss.

At the aircard end you will need an adapter specific to your device. I have a Verizon/Novatel 4G aircard and this is the appropriate adapter: http://www.wpsantennas.com/WA-1095--...ion-MC551.aspx
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Don Bradner
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  #23  
Old 09-22-2011
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I have been using the Wilson Sleek for a couple of months with my EVO 4G phone which has the Wi-Fi hotspot feature. It is just a cradle that your phone sits in and it amplifies the signal from an external antenna. I bought a better antenna for mine than the one that comes with the Sleek. So far it has been a good solution for weak areas, for less than $100. ( $75 plus shipping from buy.com ) It will not do 4G data but does 3G and phone calls just fine.

https://www.wilsonsleek.com/
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  #24  
Old 09-22-2011
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Don,

I am interested in an RV park type situation, one with poor reception or being in an area that has WiFi available close to it but maybe from a greater distance? I do not think I need an air card because of the amount of large spaces in time between needing it? Am I off base here?

Many thanks!
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  #25  
Old 09-22-2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Turbokitty View Post
Don,

I am interested in an RV park type situation, one with poor reception or being in an area that has WiFi available close to it but maybe from a greater distance? I do not think I need an air card because of the amount of large spaces in time between needing it? Am I off base here?

Many thanks!
Traveling internet cost/value differ from user-to-user. No question that it is overkill for most people to pay $50 or more per month for an air card that is used just one or two months per year. "Most people" does not include those that make their living on the internet and can't afford to be without it. So, you have to decide for yourself on that one. I freely admit that my multiple connections are not for everyone!

Now as to using WiFi, I've used a number of solutions. I currently have a complicated one using an external access point/repeater, but I actually use it less than half the time because I have a simpler choice that usually works. I have one of these: http://www.amazon.com/Linksys-WUSB11...uct/B00005AW1H

Note that, while I'm pointing to Amazon, there are a number of other much cheaper sources for this particular item, which I think has been discontinued as it is B (11Mbps) only.

It has a decent-length USB cable, and I put a piece of velcro on a window sill to let it sit where it can get good reception. I also carry a USB cable extender, and in a few cases I've used that to move the antenna to the windshield.

I think the current model is this one: http://www.amazon.com/Cisco-WUSB200-.../dp/B000MPNWM6

My external repeater setup is detailed in the first post of this thread. It takes quite a bit more finagling with each different park's WiFi, but when I need extreme range it definitely works well. At Q this year we will see how well it works when reversed to provide WiFi from my satellite connections.
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  #26  
Old 09-22-2011
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I meant to mention that I know a number of people who use and swear by a Hawking USB adapter that is directional and quite competitive: http://www.amazon.com/Hawking-Hi-Gai.../dp/B002N8A0XO
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Don Bradner
Current: No RV at this time
2015 Jeep Grand Cherokee
Prior: 2004 M380 Double Slide
Prior: 1990 WB40 "Blue Thunder"
My location: www.bbirdmaps.com/user2.cfm?user=1
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  #27  
Old 09-23-2011
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Great help Don! Thanks for helping to unravel the mystery!

I have been eyeballing an 11db marine antenna to mount up on the roof tv antenna platform like yours. Would this be of help? http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll...=p5197.c0.m619

Thanks again!
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Timberlake Products Group, Inc.
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  #28  
Old 09-23-2011
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Don,
Not wanting to bug the heck out of you on this subject but you mentioned the three sources of internet as being, air card, wi-fi, and phone and each having a different need. Could you touch on what would be the best solution to boost the phone signal? Thanks.
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  #29  
Old 09-23-2011
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From what I read, the "phone booster" products don't really help much if the signal is too low from "on top" of your coach (or building). I live where there's a nearly non-existant Verizon signal -- but since the signal is equally bad both inside and outside, I've been advised to not bother with paying $$$ for a booster system.

The metal skin of our coaches interferes with cell-reception. I had a magnetic (6" tall) antenna that (with an end adapter) worked both with my USB port "air card" and with my cell phone. Most of the time, I could just open one of the windows and stick it on the skin just outside. In some circumstances, the external antenna worked better when placed on the top of the coach (limiting mobility inside the coach as the wire was barely long enough).

As my laptop has reached an age where I really needed to replace it with a new one, after considering my needs, I got an iPad with both WiFi and Verizon service. Instead of the $50-$70 per month "air card data plan" the iPad costs $20 per month (higher $$ for more data, but $20 will cover a lot of basic email and internet access -- if you want movies, etc., it will cost more.) AND you can stop and start the service as often as you like (a month at a time) without extra fees.

Set up is easy, go to the control panel, and click "connect to wireless" and then a "Welcome to Verizon" screen appears and you give 'em a credit card and the service starts immediately. From the control panel, you can click "my account" to shut off the service.

The iPad automatically finds all available WiFi service -- and will automatically re-connect to "known" WiFi (if you wish). It prefers WiFi over Cell (Wireless) so that it keeps data charges as low as possible.

While I can't run the software I could on a laptop, I've found that the "apps" that are available cover 96% of what I might have done on a laptop. I can live without that other functionality.

The iPad, however, does not allow use of an external antenna, so that might cause problems in low-reception areas -- but probably sitting up in the "fishbowl" front of the coach would reduce the need for the external antenna. (It's worked OK in my all-steel Roadtrek, so far.)

For those who want to type more than a little -- I do recommend a bluetooth keyboard -- I got one for $50 that works great with the iPad.
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  #30  
Old 09-23-2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Turbokitty View Post
Great help Don! Thanks for helping to unravel the mystery!

I have been eyeballing an 11db marine antenna to mount up on the roof tv antenna platform like yours. Would this be of help? http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll...=p5197.c0.m619

Thanks again!
I've used, and am using, a 9dB similar antenna with my external access point. The question becomes: What are you attaching the antenna to, and how long is the cable run to that device? With anything but very heavy cable it is easy to kill 9 or 11 dB with a 15-foot run.
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Don Bradner
Current: No RV at this time
2015 Jeep Grand Cherokee
Prior: 2004 M380 Double Slide
Prior: 1990 WB40 "Blue Thunder"
My location: www.bbirdmaps.com/user2.cfm?user=1
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