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The Ultimate RV Internet Access Project – Part Five. Equipment List.

After two weeks of research, the equipment to upgrade internet access in my motor home is on the way. Let’s look at it and I will try to explain why I bought each particular piece. Starting at the top….

The outside antenna from Cellantenna.com:

Yagi 14 element dual band cellular antenna

Yagi 14 element dual band cellular antenna

CAY819 Dual Band/World Band Yagi  59.95 + $13.25 shipping =  $73.20

Outside antenna selection is so critical to an internet access setup.  The omni-directional antennas like the popular Wilson Trucker’s antenna are not a consideration.  The best omni antennas are less than 6db gain.  The good part is that they will pick up a signal from a 360 degree radius.

A directional antenna has to be pointed, much like you point the dish for your satellite reception.  I really wish I could have gone with a single band antenna but after speaking with Dustin at Wilson Electronics I knew that it would have to be a dual band antenna and I would just have to deal with less db gain.  Had I just been concerned with one band,  first choice would have been a parabolic grid antenna with more than 20db gain,  second choice would have been a single band yagi that was over 5′ long (!) but boasted a 15db gain.

With a dual band antenna, you give up some performance to receive both bands.  The 34″ yagi I ordered promised a modest 10db gain.   Just a word of caution here–  antenna claims are all over the board – with less than truthful performance claims.  That is why I went with cellantenna.com. Dan C. at Boxcarcabin had good results with their antenna products and I based my buying decision on that.  Want to hear how off base antenna claims can be?  Read I Really Wanted this YAGI Antenna – Caveat Emptor!

The cable from  Custom Cables USA

Description Unit price Qty Amount
FME female to N female Adapters 2pc-pack
Item# , :: FME female to N-female Adapters- 2-piece pack
$7.38 USD 1 $7.38 USD
19-20′ ft LMR 400 cable
Item# 19-20ftLMR400 , 1st Connector: N-Type male , 2nd Connector: N-Type male , Length:
$29.45 USD 1 $29.45 USD
36-40′ ft LMR 400 cable
Item# 36-40ftLMR400 , 1st Connector: N-Type male , 2nd Connector: N-Type male , Length:
$47.20 USD 1 $47.20 USD
Subtotal $84.03 USD
Shipping and handling $18.92 USD
Total $105.95 USD

I had to go with the LMR400 cable due to signal loss. The RG58 cable loses 2.5db per 25′ run. The

LMR400 cable

LMR400 cable

LMR400 cable only loses .9db for the same 25′ run. So you can see it was a no brainer but man oh man that stuff is expensive! I did quite a bit of shopping and Custom Cables USA was highly recommended in several of the two way radio forums. They will sell you any length cable and attach the ends you specify. They were about $0.25 cheaper per foot than buying Wilson cable on eBay.

The bi-directional cellular amplifier –  Wilson Electronics 801245 from eBay – $299.95 with free shipping.

Wilson Electronics 801245 SOHO amplifier

Wilson Electronics 801245 SOHO amplifier

The amplifier is the heart of my internet access system and I made  a mistake when I bought the 801201 Wilson amp 2 years ago that was designed for a mobile system.  I need a wireless amp rather than a direct connect amp because I want both my aircard and my cell phone amplified.  The 801210 amp performed as advertised but you have to be 8-12″ from the wireless antenna to get the benefit.  I guess if you are in a car, that works fine but having to stay that close in the Fish Bus is a drag.

The 801245 SOHO (small home office) amplifier is designed to broadcast a 50db wireless signal over a much broader area and I figure it will cover the interior of the Old Girl as well as out on the porch.  It also has the best receiver sensitivity figures of any of the Wilson Electronics products. Wilson tech recommended this amp over all others for my motor home application.  This particular amplifier only requires 25′ of separation between the 2 antennas to prevent signal oscillation.

The interior antenna – Wilson Dual Band Panel Antenna 301135 from eBay $60+free shipping.

I wanted a directional interior antenna because Wilson tech support explained that if I pointed the

Wilson Dual Band Panel Antenna 301135

Wilson Dual Band Panel Antenna 301135

internal antenna signal away from the outside antenna, I would get a better signal with less oscillation and less separation between the two antennas.  This panel promises 10db gain on the lower band and 7db gain on the PCS band which is almost as good as the dual band yagi.  If you are using a panel outside as the primary antenna, they still have to be aimed but they are not as critical as the yagi.  At least one internet store is selling the 301135 as an indoor/outdoor antenna.  Can you see where I am going with this?  If the yagi turns out to be difficult to use, I will try the dual band panel outdoors  to see what it does.

So there you have the results of many hours of  research and I am hoping it meets my expectations.  I will spend the next few days figuring out the location of the new equipment and most especially how and where I am going to mount that yagi so I can get it up high and still be able to aim it.

BTW, total cost was $539.10. I should be able to stay within the $600 budget  even after I purchase the antenna mounting poles for the outside antenna.  I still plan on recouping part of the cost by selling my old equipment on eBay.

Read the previous installment in this series – The Ultimate Internet Access Project -Part Four

Read the next installment in the series — Part 6

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1 comment to The Ultimate RV Internet Access Project – Part Five. Equipment List.

  • andyj,
    I am fascinated with your descriptions and would like to ask you questions directly as I get into assembling this in my 40 ft Alfa See Ya motorhome. At 73, I still work full time and I have to have good communication. While I have a DataStorm Satellite, it is no good for voice communication. Skype to Skype seems to work marginally. Skype to a land line is terrible. I am going to purchase all of the items you recommend, but I am totally ignorant with electronic technical issues. If possible, could you sketch a schematic of how and where these components interact and should mount in the coach. I am using AT&T Blackberry Bold and Razor phones. both are dual band according to AT&T.
    I have a “bat wing” TV anntena on the roof that I never use. I plant to attach the Yagi to the top of that antenna, and that will allow me to lift it and rotate it from inside to get a signal. Is there some type of commercial meter that I can use when pointing that will be more accurate and sensitive than just the bars on the phone? The bat wing antenna is five feet back from the front of the coach. I plan to run the cabling along the roof to the back of the coach and then come down to the inside devide back in the bedroom, which will give me about a 31 ft distance. However, I just don’t understand which components go where.
    I contacted ATT and for my phones they tell me they use frequencies1900, 2100, 900, and 850, but that means nothing to me. Any direct advice you can give me, particularly a pictorial schematic will be greatly appreciated.

    My sincere thanks, Mel Terry

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