I realize there are a ton of useless over-priced RV specific Internet access solutions out there so I thought I would post up how a former network engineer gets his Internet by repurposing the ancient TV antenna. You know, that odd looking thing that you crank up into the air and have to put back down before you leave?
This is a real cheap and real fast solution. So cheap, and so fast, that you might miss it. So here it is....btw, it's less than 100 USD.....and it's 10,000x better than whatever 'RV' solution you bought.
First, we remove the existing antenna and then we cut off the piece that holds the two bars together on the roof. This is really easy because the antenna is plastic....
With the antenna removed (just two circlips and pull two pins) we have the antenna on the ground. As you can see, I take out my oscillating saw and cut off the part we need, the bracket that holds the two pipes together on the roof. It's plastic, you can cut with a hacksaw blade in your hand if you want to or maybe even a serrated knife....it's that easy.
Once that's done, we go back on the roof and put the bracket back on the two poles. It's literally just line it up, push the pins back in, and then put the circlips back on.
At that point, the antenna assembly is back to stock, minus the TV wings.
Then we install the dish with a 2" hose clamp around the front pole. The front pole only, or else you will not be able to raise and lower it.
I had previously ran a network cable onto the roof. How did I do that?
I removed one of the speakers inside the unit, the one closest to the antenna, and then drilled a hole through the roof. Don't' worry, it's really easy to seal it better than Monaco ever could have. Push the network cable on up through the roof, leave yourself lots of slack on both ends, and then use URETHANE to seal it up (windshield adhesive). Good for at least 50 years and will never ever leak. Where do you get Urethane? Any auto parts store. Fresh Urethane is better than old (read the date code).
At this point it's clear that one end of the network cable goes into the dish, where does the other end, inside the motorhome, go?
I was easily able to route it into what I call the electronics bay. That is the shelving above your windshield where your VCR used to sit (you know, the one you replaced with a Blu-Ray player?). Either way, that's really where you want it to go as that's where all the electrical outlets are. In my case, the network cable goes to a firewall and then to an internal 833MB access point. But that's not important. That end is up to you.
Mount the dish with the hose clamp, and then run the network cord into it after you put new ends on. At that point, the dish is in place and it operates exactly the same as the TV antenna....Ie, you raise and lower it before leaving and you can align it both vertically and horizontally (aim it for best signal) !!!
In my pics, the network cable is outside the arms, I will fix that tomorrow and put it through the holes built into the side of the arms where the cable used to go. That way it will clean and neat like the factory did it.
Btw, the dish is rated for something like 125 miles per hour...and that's accurate. But your TV antenna mount is not - so pull it back down before you leave or you will see the warning light on the dash.
How does it work? First, you need an access point to connect to. Most parks have Wifi, so they give you that info. Or maybe you have, as we do here, open access points all over the place. Just connect to one of those and away you go. Remember, you can rotate the dish for best signal and raise/lower it for best signal.
The Internet company in my country, Canada, has something like 450 Wifi Access points that are open for their customers. Or, maybe you can share with someone across the street. Whatever. If there is Wifi out there, that you can access, this dish will do 30km's so you can pretty much nail anything out there. In my case, I routinely bore through trees for 250 meters to a local access point.