I know it’s only November but the weather finally cooled down enough to start working on RV projects. Since we did not go on any long trip this summer I had made a “to do list” for the RV. It’s been solid 80 degrees plus since mid September and hotter still all summer long. Even at 80, the inside of the RV is about 95-100 depending on how much sun shine there is. Not one thing got done from the to do list. It was just too hot.
A few days ago I woke to 63 degrees! Great, I can start on one of the RV projects. This job required several hours on the roof. It was just not possible to do till the cooler weather.
We have written on previous posts of poor campground WIFI and how we resort to using our mobile phone to upload blog posts and check weather etc. We have also written on how we improve the cell signal inside the RV using the weboost from Wilson electronics. In short the weboost uses an antenna outside and inside the RV with an amplifier in between. Bottom line for us is that the weboost turns an unusable cell signal inside the RV to a very usable one.
Since we first got the weboost we have been using a temporary tower to mount the outside antenna. I didn’t want to install anything permanent until I knew it would work for us. Well it does work and now we need a nice clean install.
I know some of you out there are starting to panic that there are not any pictures yet. Not to worry, pics are down below with the install!
My plan was to replace the low profile TV antenna with a retractable batwing type and mount the weboost to it. This would allow me to raise and lower the antenna as needed. I needed to do this because our RV is 13 feet 2 inches tall. Mounting the weboost would have pushed the hight to 13′ 8″ or so. The first bridge I went under would knock it clean off!
I thought it would be simple to mount the new antenna, use the old cable to pull the new cable through, then connect everything. No,no, no! It seems during the RV manufacturing the cable got glued between the roof and the insulation. The old cable was NOT moving an inch! I had to come up with a plan B. Why do I always need a plan B?
Luckily the roof is insulated with 5 inches of styrofoam. That should be easy to get a hole through. The problem I now had was how to drill a hole 7 feet long? The longest drill bit I could find was only 5.5 feet, a little short!
Here I got lucky again. I noticed I had three ceiling fixtures in a straight line. I had the tv antenna mount, then 18 inches toward the front a light fixture, then again 18 inches forward a speaker. After removing the light and speaker I was able to drill from the antenna hole to the light hole, then from the light hole to the speaker hole! Bingo half way there. I’ll take that as a gift of the day!
From the speaker hole I had to turn slight left and go another 4 feet. I got lucky again! The insulation ran only another 2 feet or so and then it was open space in the very front. Wow, two gifts in one day!
With all the hard parts done what remained was to mount the new antenna on the roof, fish the cable through and put everything back together. This step went very well. Everything got connected just fine, turned the power on and in fact all components worked just fine.
As a final note I did some signal testing. Without the weboost the signal inside the RV was -106db, a very weak signal maybe 1 bar. With the weboost turned on the signal strengthen to -70db. As we have found during past trips the weboost will allow us to have a very usable internet connect using our phone hotspot.