Cell Booster install

CBs / FRS / GMRS / MARS, radios, stereos, computers, tools, etc. The stuff you use to support wheeling or use of your PW.
Post Reply
User avatar
Mule
250_Posts
250_Posts
Posts: 419
Joined: Sat Nov 22, 2014 2:29 am
Location: Rocky Mtns
Contact:

Cell Booster install

Post by Mule » Sun Nov 18, 2018 11:45 pm

Got tired of shitty coverage in the mountains. Have a booster (older Wilson) in the F550, and it works well. Time to get one in the PW.
Mag-mount/NMO antenna up last week. Might drill a hole next summer, for now i'll deal with mag-mount. (If I do drill the roof, i'll probably knock out a hole for UHF too).
Swept the antenna with my analyzer, found a bad connection on the PL259 side. Cut and reterminated with Mini-UHF (was going to do that anyways).
Image

Wilson cell antenna. Better performance than the dinky little mag-mount that comes in the booster kit.
Image

Fired up the label printer and went bananas. Labelled the booster, coax (since i've got several dangling back there now), and mount.
WeBoost Drive 4G-X. Wilson amplifier's consumer stuff was rebranded ZBoost, guess there was a copyright claim with that name so now they're WeBoost.
Image

Pulled the rear platform/seat, tek-screwed the bracket to the floor with some standoffs to elevate the bracket/amplifier off the carpet. Little more airflow for the device (air vents on the bottom sides), and a little more elevation to clear the power cables to the amp.
Image

I have good battery-power back here. Since the amp's back here, I've got turn-on from the headunit... Quick wiring harness to a relay - coil driven by the remote turn-on, switching power to a connector.
Image

Acceptably clean.
Inside antenna is in the lower center console - close to the phone in the cupholder or on the center console, and should provide a good bubble of coverage anywhere in the cab.
Image

Kind of a shitty design for the power supply, given it's designed for mobile/automotive use. Not sure why they didn't integrate the power brick into the booster itself.
Image

Cut the cig.lighter connector off, install 5A inline fuse, and crimp on an Anderson connector.
Image

Seat in, platform in. Seat protects the equipment from abuse/damage caused by gearbag/tools/etc.
Image

Didn't completely "hard-wire" this in here - I wanted it to be somewhat removable. Most of its use is going to be in my pickup.
We've got a booster in the F-550 that pulls our avalanche education classroom trailer, but we currently don't have anything in the trailer. Some areas we teach out of have very weak service even with the booster in the pickup, but we can usually "drag in" signal to the trailhead with the omni on the roof.
I ordered a surveyors tripod, going to get a directional antenna and some cable/hardware early this week. Build something so I can pop the booster out of my pickup and use it in the trailer when we're in weak areas, and bring cell service into the trailer (it's a very good faraday cage). Being somewhat portable also gives me some options in the summer if needed.

Back seat down and everything's hidden away. :)
Image

User avatar
DamageWagon
Vendor
Vendor
Posts: 2027
Joined: Tue Oct 11, 2016 1:21 am
Model Year: 2011

Re: Cell Booster install

Post by DamageWagon » Mon Nov 19, 2018 1:02 am

I dig it!! How much of a difference are you getting from the boosters? Most of the places we have gone in the West there has usually been some form of coverage and it was more an issue of weak signal than no signal. I’ve wanted to do one of these for a while.

User avatar
Mule
250_Posts
250_Posts
Posts: 419
Joined: Sat Nov 22, 2014 2:29 am
Location: Rocky Mtns
Contact:

Re: Cell Booster install

Post by Mule » Mon Nov 19, 2018 2:08 am

Testing in the truck this evening I got about 20dB better on voice and 10dB better on 4G. (Measured on the phone's info screen.)
Testing in the house earlier I got about 10dB better all around, but the outside antenna was in a real shitty position and had no ground plane. It did help though, and I saw the same 10dB gain in PCS band on my spec an (didn't look at everything, just pulled up the first preset in the list).

My house is in a big radio hole - can't get out to anything reliably.
Voice on the phone drops in ~5min in the house, and it's hard on the battery.
Data will show 1-bar 4G if i'm on wifi, if I shut wifi off it'll drop to 1-bar 3G, then if I try and do anything more than the occasional email or telegram message (like loading a webpage or trying a speed test), it'll drop to 1x and toggle between that and no-service.
UHF and 800meg are the same way - i'm in the shadow-zone of the foothills from the big sites. I have LoS to a few sites (broadcast, public safety) but the foothills are in the fresnel zone.

Out in the pickup in the driveway I've got better service (it'll hold a 4G data connection, and voice calls work pretty well).

Real test will be in the mountains this winter.

User avatar
Mule
250_Posts
250_Posts
Posts: 419
Joined: Sat Nov 22, 2014 2:29 am
Location: Rocky Mtns
Contact:

Re: Cell Booster install

Post by Mule » Mon Nov 19, 2018 2:32 am

Also worth noting, and it might seem obvious, but - It's not going to "make" service where there isn't anything.
It will boost a weak signal into something useable.

If you want service where there isn't anything, you'll need IP (Satellite works well; ~$1000 hardware and $100/mo) and a cellular network extender ($100-$250).
Mutual-aid for sheriffs office this summer... verizon pushed a bad update to the sites, took cellular down for over a day. Phone still had bars, but something between BTS and switch was broken. Couldn't make/receive calls.
Satellite up and aligned, turned on; Incident-command trailer now has internet. Network extender turned on, now there's a little bubble of phone service around the trailer that's completely independent of any local infrastructure.
Image

TankerZak
500_Posts
500_Posts
Posts: 572
Joined: Sun Nov 13, 2016 1:43 pm
Model Year: 2016

Re: Cell Booster install

Post by TankerZak » Mon Nov 19, 2018 7:46 am

I have this same booster. I get about 2 bars. I have an antenna installed in my RV and a mobile kit for the truck. So if you have 0 coverage you still have nothing. But if your in that, i have coverage but nothing works or barely works it becomes useable. You do have to basically be right ontop of the internal antenna though with your phone.

Sent from my SM-G955U using Tapatalk

2016 Granite Crystal Metallic Power Wagon Laramie, no graphics, debadged, Thuren front and rear coils, Traxada rear 1 inch spacer, Thuren rear swaybar links, Thuren rear trackbar, King 3.0 (Stage 4) front shocks, King 2.5 (Stage 3) rear shocks, Boogie front bump stops, Toyo RT 37x12.5R17 on Raceline Avenger 17x9 +20 wheels, DOR steering brace, Thuren King Steering Damper, White Knuckle rock sliders, Dethloff skid plate, Purple Cranium Half Spider front and rear diff guards, Airlift Ultimate airbags with Daystar cradles, Bakflip Revolver X2 tonneau, AMP BedStep, Factor55 Ultrahook with 100ft 7/16 synthetic winch line, Zroadz Grill with slim 20 inch light bar, DDM Tuning LEDs/HIDs, Magnaflow 19200 modified with upgraded resonator and after axle dump, tinted front windows 35%.

User avatar
BoldAdventure
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 2140
Joined: Fri Mar 25, 2016 11:23 am
Model Year: 2015
Location: Nomadic
Contact:

Re: Cell Booster install

Post by BoldAdventure » Mon Nov 19, 2018 5:30 pm

I've had two of these for years. It's in my build thread. One in the truck, one in the Airstream. they work.
2015 Power Wagon Laramie - "ROCKLANDER"
[Build Thread] [Instagram] [Youtube]

User avatar
Mule
250_Posts
250_Posts
Posts: 419
Joined: Sat Nov 22, 2014 2:29 am
Location: Rocky Mtns
Contact:

Re: Cell Booster install

Post by Mule » Fri Nov 30, 2018 12:20 am

Portable booster is a go. Tripod, adapter plate, pole mount, and antenna.
~90ft of (kinda shitty) RG58, might try a different/better brand with a little more shielding... don't really want to make the jump to LMR400, but it'd help with the cable loss quite a bit.
Will give it a go from the mountains near Togwotee Pass in a little over a week.

Image

Mule007
50_Posts
50_Posts
Posts: 176
Joined: Mon May 16, 2016 9:27 pm
Location: Colton, Oregon

Re: Cell Booster install

Post by Mule007 » Fri Nov 30, 2018 7:09 am

Good work & good luck !
2005 Mineral Gray PW; Alloquin 3" rock rails w/low profile steps; 2.5" Skyjacker suspension lift kit; Open Range All Terrain-35 x 12.5 x 17- MP3 10 ply,s; McQuay-Norris Extreme ball joints; T-steering upgrade w/Bilstein 5100 steering damper; updated Bilstein 5100 Mono tube nitrogen gas shocks; new OEM radiator; updated U-joints; Denso 180 amp alternator, Interstate Mega-tron 850 CCA HD battery; MoPar rear wheel well liners, black accent fender flares, remote start, and Ravelco Anti theft device; Hopkins Trailer Mate trailer brake controller; Hemi 1 ton transmission cooler; Uniden Bearcat Pro 68XL CB radio; Linex Platinum black armor truck bed & lower rock panel armor coating; Matching Range Rider cab high fiberglass canopy; 2" Linex (matches Alloquin) round brush guard light bar w/ 4- KC HiLites Rally 400 Series 4" Halogen Driving/off road lights; Dyna-flow cat back dual exhaust; GT Platinum srt-10 A-pillar pod mount programmable performance chip, monitor, tuner; an S&B CAI; 60” Extreme High Lift jack& off road kit, bumper lift & tire lift kit; other rigging

User avatar
BoldAdventure
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 2140
Joined: Fri Mar 25, 2016 11:23 am
Model Year: 2015
Location: Nomadic
Contact:

Re: Cell Booster install

Post by BoldAdventure » Fri Nov 30, 2018 8:42 am

Mule wrote:
Fri Nov 30, 2018 12:20 am
Portable booster is a go. Tripod, adapter plate, pole mount, and antenna.
~90ft of (kinda shitty) RG58, might try a different/better brand with a little more shielding... don't really want to make the jump to LMR400, but it'd help with the cable loss quite a bit.
Will give it a go from the mountains near Togwotee Pass in a little over a week.

Image
That's similar to what I use on the Airstream, but I did opt for the LMR400. Quality stuff, very stiff though.
2016-09-10165.jpg
2015 Power Wagon Laramie - "ROCKLANDER"
[Build Thread] [Instagram] [Youtube]

Post Reply