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Old 12-20-2020, 09:38 AM   #1
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RV Mobile Internet Part One: Extendable Mast Mounted Cellular and WIFI Antenna

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My wife and I need high quality internet access in our motorhome so that we can work sometimes. This a blog article on the first part: assembling a mast mounted antenna. With the mast extended the antenna reaches 18 feet above ground.

https://blog.tom-goetz.org/2020/12/rv-m ... dable.html
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Old 12-20-2020, 10:02 AM   #2
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Good stuff, Tom.

I'm about to go out the door and down to where my RV is parked to see where I'm at with my antenna project.

Today might finally be the day when I nervously drill a hole in the roof

I got a Poynting 5-in-1 from MobileMustHave along with a Pepwave Max Br1 Mk2 as part of a bundle when we bought the RV about 5 months ago. The ladder mounted antenna like you have is a tempting alternative. Will you be able to use that while moving? I mean with it down low obviously.

My main project initially is to get a nice sealed cable entry box installed. That will allow me to run the cable to the Poynting and then potentially add more cables without more holes. My plan is to use the Poynting in reasonable signal areas and while moving but have the option of putting up a directional yagi if needed for a weak signal.
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Old 12-20-2020, 10:47 AM   #3
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Today might finally be the day when I nervously drill a hole in the roof

That's one of the reasons I'm going with cables exiting through the grommet in the box in the bedroom closet into the rear cap. That gets me right to the ladder halfway up where the base of the antenna will be mounted.



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Will you be able to use that while moving? I mean with it down low obviously.

The plan is when lowered, the antenna is just below the roof line and in the wind shadow of the motorhome. I expect diminished signal, but expect it to still be better than signal on a phone.



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My plan is to use the Poynting in reasonable signal areas and while moving but have the option of putting up a directional yagi if needed for a weak signal.

The pole mounting instructions for the Parsec Husky include two antenna scenarios so you could mount both on the pole.


The core of my setup is a "Ultimate Road Warrior" bundle from MMH (Pepwave Max Transit Duo with Parsec Husky adding in the pole mount and extension cables). Then a bunch of DIY stacked on top.
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Old 12-21-2020, 08:40 AM   #4
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Nice write up. Looking forward to the next parts.
Most interested in how your cellular reception is going down the road with the mast retracted.
I am still pondering how I want to mount my Pointyng 7-1 for CAT-18. Your solution is very interesting.
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Old 12-21-2020, 08:47 AM   #5
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I'll be following. I thought I was almost an IT guy until I started researching all this mobile internet stuff. I mean I did build my first computer over 20 years ago.....lol.
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Old 12-21-2020, 09:17 AM   #6
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Most interested in how your cellular reception is going down the road with the mast retracted.

I'll post signal levels for retracted vs extended when I install it and again during the season when I've been using it in a few different places. I'll also post on what carriers I settle on part way through the season after I get some usage in.
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Old 12-21-2020, 12:17 PM   #7
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Being a pole mount, I'm guessing the Parsec antenna doesn't need a ground plane?
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Old 12-21-2020, 01:02 PM   #8
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Being a pole mount, I'm guessing the Parsec antenna doesn't need a ground plane?

Not according to MMH and the pole mount instructions.
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Old 12-21-2020, 01:27 PM   #9
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Not according to MMH and the pole mount instructions.
That's interesting. It's obviously intended to be used with a pole mount but my guess is that it works better with a ground plane.

If this is it or similar, https://parsec-t.com/wp-content/uplo...Data-Sheet.pdf the specs are "based on antenna with a 2 ft. x 2 ft. external ground plane".

When you're stationary with the pole up high, the question will of course be do you gain more from the height than you lose from lack of a ground plane. I don't know the answer. I guess it depends if the height really lets it "see" above anything.

My Poynting says something like "ground plane not required but it works better with one". That's why I'm mounting it on the roof on top of a metal plate and intend to use a yagi on a pole for some serious directional gain when required.
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Old 12-21-2020, 02:26 PM   #10
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My Poynting says something like "ground plane not required but it works better with one". That's why I'm mounting it on the roof on top of a metal plate and intend to use a yagi on a pole for some serious directional gain when required.

I could mount a aluminum disk between the antenna and the pole mount plate. Don't think I'd want one two feet in diameter though.


I have it setup and am running it in my house for a test now. I get 10-12db better WIFI signal with the husky on 25' of cable than with the included Pepwave stock antennas.


I should compare the Pepwave cellular signal for AT&T with and without the Husky. Apple to oranges, but my iPhone 11 gets one bar AT&T here and the Pepwave with Husky gets four bars.
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Old 12-21-2020, 03:04 PM   #11
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That's why I'm mounting it on the roof on top of a metal plate and intend to use a yagi on a pole for some serious directional gain when required.

Apologies to OP for a slight hijack, but what are you thinking about using for that metal plate? Iím looking to install an LTE antenna myself.
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Old 12-21-2020, 04:08 PM   #12
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Apologies to OP for a slight hijack, but what are you thinking about using for that metal plate? Iím looking to install an LTE antenna myself.

24 gauge aluminum sheet. Availabe a Home Depot, Lowes, or, any hardware store. Will screw Pointyng 7-1 antennae to aluminum sheet where magnets go. Will then screw entire assembly to rubber roof with copious amounts of Dicor & Eternabond. There is 1/4 plywood under rubber roof & then about 7" of foam.
24 gauge aluminum will conform to roof curvature.
So far, I've been pleased with the just the paddle antennas with the cellular signal (both AT&T & Verizon) about 4 miles away.
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Old 12-21-2020, 04:42 PM   #13
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Apologies to OP for a slight hijack, but what are you thinking about using for that metal plate? I’m looking to install an LTE antenna myself.
I bought this overpriced galvanized steel sheet from Amazon.

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0..._title_o05_s00

I'm going to cut it down to about 2 ft x 2 ft. My plan is to stick it on the roof with double sided eternabond tape and single sided around the edge.

Someone elsewhere suggested a pizza pan. The biggest look almost perfect and cheap but I could only find aluminum and I want it magnetic.

A got the magnetic mounting buttons for the Poynting. It's quite low profile and minimal air resistance so I think it will be safe.

The thing I don't know is how much having the external antenna will really help. On our drive from NH to TX, we had the Pepwave sitting on top of the microwave with the paddle antennas and it worked well. My partner was online working most of the time while I was driving. We never got off main highways so probably not a good test but it still occurs to me that the antenna on the roof will be only a foot or so higher than the top of the microwave, the roof is non-metallic and the microwave provides a bit of a groundplane.

I want the cable entry box for other things so I'm still going ahead with that.
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Old 12-26-2020, 12:57 AM   #14
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There is no need for a ground plane at those frequencies. At 600 Mhz the ground plane is less than 5 inches in diameter. At 2.4 Ghz it is about an inch. Almost all antennas today are broadbanded enough to not need a ground plane. I sell a lot of radio at 150 Mhz and they are now manufacturing antennas that don't need a ground plane.
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