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Old 09-11-2020, 01:50 PM   #21
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Thanks, I'll try to clarify, the setup I described in the OP is my requirements.

I need solid Mobile (LTE/5G) coverage wherever possible. At least initially I'll have a Verizon MiFi from work (only 15Gs/month on "unlimited"). The MiFi will be plugged into an external MiMO antenna to get the best coverage at a given location.

I can use my T-Mobile phone as hotspot (with no external antenna) when it's working (not likely in remote locations.)

We will be in campgrounds, or potentially parking outside libraries etc, so I need an external antenna to bring in WiFi signals.

I'm very reluctant to use a booster, I think the benefit they provide usually comes from the antenna more than amplification.

If you have any specific recommendations based on these needs, particularly for a type of Antenna, where to mount it and of course if I'm making a big mistake!
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Old 09-11-2020, 02:14 PM   #22
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I can use my T-Mobile phone as hotspot (with no external antenna) when it's working (not likely in remote locations.)
I'd like to shim in my good experience with T-mobile lately (even in the boonies where AT&T was not giving me a signal). I think it's in good part because of converting some of their network to use the 600MHz band 71 which allows for further coverage in rural areas (600Mhz is also to be used for 5G, but works really well for 4G/LTE). I would highly recommend anybody having T-mobile to make sure their phone or cellular hotspot supports band 71.

Also of note, they do offer a free 30 days/30GB tryout with a free hotspot which is locked to their network: https://www.t-mobile.com/offers/free-trial

There is no external antenna ports on that modem, and my experience, things like a WeBoost are marginally effective with band 71 and in general a lot of external antennas are not tuned for 600MHz.
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Old 09-11-2020, 02:47 PM   #23
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I have the model of Jetpack that Avanti cites. Regrettably, it's probably $50 per month. I don't use it nearly enough to justify that price, but it is what it is (I need it for business reasons).
Ours is $10/month, added as an additional device to DW's Verizon plan--sharing data with her.
Concur that anyone who really cares needs both Verizon and AT&T.
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Old 09-11-2020, 03:34 PM   #24
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I have the model of Jetpack that Avanti cites. Regrettably, it's probably $50 per month. I don't use it nearly enough to justify that price, but it is what it is (I need it for business reasons).
Ours is $10/month, added as an additional device to DW's Verizon plan--sharing data with her.
Concur that anyone who really cares needs both Verizon and AT&T.
I need to examine my contract, clearly.
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Old 09-11-2020, 03:51 PM   #25
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We will be in campgrounds, or potentially parking outside libraries etc, so I need an external antenna to bring in WiFi signals.
We have two 'external' ways to tap into WiFi access points. The first is using our Pepwave/Mobilemark combination. We don't use this solution as we find the Ubiquiti Rocket modem/antenna solution works better. We have a little stand for the Ubiquiti that we place on the roof (stationary use only) as shown in the first picture and, if we get really desperate, we can elevate the Ubiquiti 30' on a mast as shown in the second photo.




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Old 09-11-2020, 04:00 PM   #26
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..... we can elevate the Ubiquiti 30' on a mast as shown in the second photo.....
What's the brand of that mast?
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Old 09-11-2020, 04:14 PM   #27
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Focusing on the OPís question about placement of a rooftop MIMO antenna, mine is on a Sprinter forward of the AC unit and aft of two solar panels. It is a low-profile mag-mount and working well. MIMO can be magical. I was recently in a state forest campground with -120dbm (1 bar) signal streaming video thru my Apple TV.

Overview of my mobile internet setup: WifiRanger Spruce router with a SkyPro3 WiFi antenna/router on the roof (slaved to the Spruce), Novatel 7730L hotspot USB tethered to the Spruce for Verizon, Netgear Nighthawk hotspot Ethernet tethered to the Spruce for AT&T. Either hotspot can be connected to the rooftop cellular antenna, and are easily replaced as hotspot technology progresses. Verizon plan is primary - unlimited for $65/mo (grandfathered, no longer available). Cricket/AT&T plan is secondary - 20gb to 100gb starting at $35/mo (and easy to change as needed). Both hotspot plans are subject to network management, so I keep an iPhone on a Verizon plan that is not subject to network management and can be linked to the Spruce router via WiFi.
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Old 09-11-2020, 10:49 PM   #28
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What's the brand of that mast?
The mast is manufactured by Rohn, a major tower manufacturing company. They sell these in a variety of lengths from 20' to 40' or more . . . they telescope down to 10'. Ours is 'stored' under the van in a 10' stainless 5" diameter 'tube' . . . two sections of welded truck exhaust stack.

Our mount is 'home designed' and consists of a side-facing trailer hitch and a hinged insert (into which the mast slips). It is fairly easy for a single person to rotate the mast vertical and secure it by threading in a pair of large thumb screws. We can prepare/attach photos if that would be of interest.
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Old 09-12-2020, 01:00 PM   #29
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The mast is manufactured by Rohn, a major tower manufacturing company. They sell these in a variety of lengths from 20' to 40' or more . . . they telescope down to 10'. Ours is 'stored' under the van in a 10' stainless 5" diameter 'tube' . . . two sections of welded truck exhaust stack.

Our mount is 'home designed' and consists of a side-facing trailer hitch and a hinged insert (into which the mast slips). It is fairly easy for a single person to rotate the mast vertical and secure it by threading in a pair of large thumb screws. We can prepare/attach photos if that would be of interest.
That's brilliant. I am shopping for a telescoping mast right now and my first question to myself is why didn't Rohn pop up in my search? Answer: Because they don't sell a 25-footer, and that's what I was looking for.

Thus far, I've been considering Signalbooster, Channel Master, and one called Easy Up EZTM-30. No decision yet, because it might depend on what my engineer husband designs as a base (although they are all similar).

Storing under the chassis would be far preferable for a 10' unit, which two of those 3 are (the Signalbooster appears to have been created for the Wilson / RV market and collapses down to 5' instead of 10'). I initially thought about strapping it to the roof, but that's a tougher prospect. I'm going to investigate our chassis to see if I could get a 10-foot sleeve inserted safely under there.
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Old 09-12-2020, 02:06 PM   #30
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I just camped last week 50 miles from the nearest cell service surrounded by the BWCAW (Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness) in Minnesota so I doubt any booster could get me cell service. I kind of liked getting away from the news. I could have turned on Sirius/XM radio and there was one over the air radio FM signal in WTIP relayed to cover the whole Gunflint Trail if I needed a weather report. It was peaceful. So, is there any solution to that type of area?
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Old 09-12-2020, 02:37 PM   #31
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"So, is there any solution to that type of area?"

I think you may have found it

"I kind of liked getting away from the news." "It was peaceful."


Not sure I understand but maybe like we're beating our heads against the wall and then stop. Ah, that feels good, not listening to the news.
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Old 09-12-2020, 03:42 PM   #32
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That's brilliant. I am shopping for a telescoping mast right now and my first question to myself is why didn't Rohn pop up in my search? Answer: Because they don't sell a 25-footer, and that's what I was looking for.
Of course, one can extend the sections of a 30' mast to just 25' . . . if that's the goal. The Rohn looks similar to the Channel Master in its locking mechanism and guy rings . . . in that latter regard, we're hoping to remain mostly unguyed . . . the ease by which we can lower the mast if the wind picks-up is our solution to guying. So far, we've attached a single 'clothes line' to the top . . . as the top always seems to lean in one direction or the other . . . we just give it a little tug to keep it vertical (mostly an aesthetic touch).
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Old 09-12-2020, 03:46 PM   #33
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. . . so I doubt any booster could get me cell service. I kind of liked getting away from the news.
But Davydd, we want to see you here on the Forum . . .
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Old 09-12-2020, 03:50 PM   #34
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I just camped last week 50 miles from the nearest cell service .... is there any solution to that type of area?
Starlink. My husband (an aerospace engineer who works at Johnson Space Center) is obsessed with it. He has been on some kind of waiting list for beta testing, but it wasn't ready this year. Next year he vows that we will find a way to have it, but I am not counting on it, hence my antenna mast search.
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Old 09-12-2020, 04:21 PM   #35
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Starlink. My husband (an aerospace engineer who works at Johnson Space Center) is obsessed with it. He has been on some kind of waiting list for beta testing, but it wasn't ready this year. Next year he vows that we will find a way to have it, but I am not counting on it, hence my antenna mast search.
We stayed at the Gunflint Lodge 4 years ago in the winter which is on the Canadian border not far from our last week's Trails End campsite and they had satellite internet service. It was very slow at the time. I don't know what it would take to do that in a van. A 30 foot antenna mast would do no good on the Gunflint Trail's rolling and wooded hills.
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Old 09-12-2020, 04:28 PM   #36
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We stayed at the Gunflint Lodge 4 years ago in the winter which is on the Canadian border not far from our last week's Trails End campsite and they had satellite internet service. It was very slow at the time. I don't know what it would take to do that in a van. A 30 foot antenna mast would do no good on the Gunflint Trail's rolling and wooded hills.
I think it was 'camp skunk'? that traveled in a roadtrek with a satellite and more yet. I don't know or recall anything more. But I was curious about why don't more Ber's use it other than cost. This is dated and my recollection (very suspect), but too much hassle vs need.

I'm wondering what "it" is.

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Old 09-12-2020, 05:11 PM   #37
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...they had satellite internet service. It was very slow at the time. I don't know what it would take to do that in a van. A 30 foot antenna mast would do no good on the Gunflint Trail's rolling and wooded hills.
Just so everybody understands:
Starlink (and its competitors) is NOTHING like that kind of satellite internet. You were connecting via a single satellite 25,000 miles above the equator. The speed of light alone guarantees that such links will always be slow.

Elon and his friends are launching constellations of many thousands of little satellites only a few HUNDRED miles high. It works more like Sirius/XM than current-generation sat-Internet, except that it is two-way. The satellites form a bucket-brigade to get your connection where it needs to go.

Your van will need an antenna the shape and size of a laptop glued to the roof.

This really is a game-changer that most folks don't see coming. But Starlink has already launched almost 700 satellites, and is manufacturing 120 new ones/month. NOT pie-in-the-sky.
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Old 09-12-2020, 06:00 PM   #38
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Just so everybody understands:
Starlink (and its competitors) is NOTHING like that kind of satellite internet. You were connecting via a single satellite 25,000 miles above the equator. The speed of light alone guarantees that such links will always be slow.

Elon and his friends are launching constellations of many thousands of little satellites only a few HUNDRED miles high. It works more like Sirius/XM than current-generation sat-Internet, except that it is two-way. The satellites form a bucket-brigade to get your connection where it needs to go.

Your van will need an antenna the shape and size of a laptop glued to the roof.

This really is a game-changer that most folks don't see coming. But Starlink has already launched almost 700 satellites, and is manufacturing 120 new ones/month. NOT pie-in-the-sky.
avanti, the explanation I've provided for a general understand is that it is kind of the opposite of a cell phone. You're in motion in a vehicle with the call being automatically moved, transferred from cell phone tower to tower. The other is you're stationary with the 'call' moving from satellite to ...........

I agree with game-changer for many around the globe plus ?

I used to use something the size of a laptop for satellite television with my B. You undoubtedly know about that.

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Old 09-12-2020, 08:23 PM   #39
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Why does Starlink sound so close to Skynet? And does it worry anyone else?

It always bothers the wife and myself when we watch Sci-Fi movies where bad things happen in the future. Because all the futuristic stuff they dream up eventually exists.
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Old 09-12-2020, 08:40 PM   #40
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Why does Starlink sound so close to Skynet? And does it worry anyone else?
BECAUSE it may be!

Elon Musk has tried to explain that AI is an international, global threat that can only be addressed by, well, it is global political/governmental issue. Man Made Climate Change being an example. As I recall each of the Tech outfits have said the same with the internet. It is a threat and needs to thought out and regulated.

The sum total of facts known to mankind has and is growing at a scary exponential rate. In order to stop it, understand it, control it - may not happen without a catastrophic event, which may very well happen imo.

avanti, I'm 8 years old and that rowiebowie kid started it. This is a KOA event in the making. Need to shup-up again.

Oh well, imagine that AI is so dangerous and whatever that we have to lock it up (Terminator), so it can't hop on the internet and reproduce itself in about 3 nanoseconds. I think Elon understands that locked-up AI can figure out how to bribe a human in less than one nanosecond.
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