cancel
Showing results for 
Search instead for 
Did you mean: 

Do cellphone boosters work for RV camping with poor signal?

SFVdave
Explorer
Explorer
I was wondering what effect a cellphone booster would have on signal while camping in mountains with only one bar? Any recommendations?
16 REPLIES 16

Gulfcoast
Explorer
Explorer
Last Friday I was way out in the sticks with barely one bar on my phone. I got a phone call and could barely hear the caller. I turned on my weBoost booster and the phone call came alive just like I was in town. It works well for me.

I will say though, if I have three or more bars I don't see any improvement.
RV'ing since 1960
Dodge Cummins Diesel
Mega Cab
Jayco Travel Trailer

agesilaus
Explorer III
Explorer III
Well I've seen some folks run the cable to the external antenna thru the slide seal. But you will have a interior antenna and the amplifier inside.

Right now we are 25+ miles to the nearest town and have 3 bars of Verizon with no cell towers within miles. We are sitting right, about 30 feet away from a thousand foot cliff and there is a town about 26 miles away in that direction so I think we are picking that signal up.
Arctic Fox 25Y Travel Trailer
2018 RAM 2500 6.7L 4WD shortbed
Straightline dual cam hitch
400W Solar with Victron controller
Superbumper

profdant139
Explorer II
Explorer II
Without hijacking the thread, which product would you recommend that does NOT require any permanent installation in the RV? I'm hoping for something very simple -- a "plug and play" device.

Obviously, a simple device is not going to match the performance of a high-end unit. But when we go camping, we sometimes have great cell coverage. We often have absolutely no coverage in the boonies. So we only need a boost for those times when there is some weak coverage, maybe a third of the time.

Thanks to the experts who are chiming in!! Very informative.
2012 Fun Finder X-139 "Boondock Style" (axle-flipped and extra insulation)
2013 Toyota Tacoma Off-Road (semi-beefy tires and components)
Our trips -- pix and text
About our trailer
"A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single list."

Sagebrush
Explorer
Explorer
I use a Surecall home type system with the omni directional antenna, it works better than my older Wilson mobile unit. I haven't tried the current weboost models or another mobile unit. So I can't compare the performance, but it reall helps to have the antenna up high. I like the higher gain antennas of the fixed types. My antenna is mounted to rigid electrical conduit strapped temporarily to a ladder. Probably 15' off the ground. Makes a big difference in the rural areas.

EMD360
Explorer
Explorer
I have an old Wilson booster with trucker antenna atop the ladder. The booster has a wireless access connected to the device inside the RV. Bought it with advice here at least a decade ago. It is still working for 1900 MHz. Even outside my house it boosts our signal from one to three bars. Used to be able to read that in MHz but they took away that feature! I’ve also used an antenna locator app but that was before antennas were so widespread. Just moved the setup to our new RV and realize I might want to upgrade. My Wilson is still selling for about $35 on eBay.
2018 Minnie Winnie 25b New to us 3/2021
Former Rental Owners Club #137
2003 Itasca Spirit 22e 2009-2021

Bumpyroad
Explorer
Explorer
wow, a lot more positives than i was expecting
bumpy

Fisherman
Explorer
Explorer
From my experience, I've had 3/4 bars when nothing showed on the phone itself. Used a WeBoost with the little 6 inch antenna and about 10 feet of cable. Set the antenna on the middle of the truck roof and bingo, it works.

agesilaus
Explorer III
Explorer III
I'll agree on everything but NO signal. I've used boosters for 20 years or so and there are quite a few places we camp where the phone will show "no signal" on the display but I can end up getting several bars with a booster.


Some of that may be because you are standing on the ground with the cell phone but the cell phone booster antenna is usually at least on top of the camper. Much higher. And many people mount the antenna on an extendable pole, I can get mine up 20 ft.
Arctic Fox 25Y Travel Trailer
2018 RAM 2500 6.7L 4WD shortbed
Straightline dual cam hitch
400W Solar with Victron controller
Superbumper

ktmrfs
Explorer
Explorer
wa8yxm wrote:
Poor signal (IE one bar) yes.. NO signal. no.
Also some work only on voice but may not work well with data
And some .. Well it might or might not work with your phone and or carrier.

At the frequencies used for cell phone HEIGHT IS MIGHT. so the higher you can get the OUTSIDE antenna on your booster...... the better. as a rule.
Also you can get a directional outdoor antenna from some places and ain the thing.


I'll agree on everything but NO signal. I've used boosters for 20 years or so and there are quite a few places we camp where the phone will show "no signal" on the display but I can end up getting several bars with a booster.

When your phone tries to connect to a tower, it sends out a signal. IF the tower sees a strong enough signal it will then start the process of connecting and adjusting power. Typical phones broadcast with around 500mw of power IIRC. Now with a booster, the booster can broadcast with around 3-5 Watts of power, so can be possible for the booster to get a strong enough signal to a tower to initiate and complete the process to enable communication.

Now once connected, as mentioned, in very weak signal areas you may find you get voice only, or voice and text, but no internet or ability to send text with images etc.

And don't use the "bars" on the display to tell you much about the real signal quality. In the phone setting menue there should be a way to see actual signal strength in db. -80db or less is very good, -100 about the point where you may run into issues with texts etc. -115 or so, gets real marginal.
2011 Keystone Outback 295RE
2004 14' bikehauler with full living quarters
2015.5 Denali 4x4 CC/SB Duramax/Allison
2004.5 Silverado 4x4 CC/SB Duramax/Allison passed on to our Son!

Lwiddis
Explorer II
Explorer II
Yes, signals can be boosted. Bandwidth can’t be expanded however.
Winnebago 2101DS TT & 2022 Chevy Silverado 1500 LTZ Z71, WindyNation 300 watt solar-Lossigy 200 AH Lithium battery. Prefer boondocking, USFS, COE, BLM, NPS, TVA, state camps. Bicyclist. 14 yr. Army -11B40 then 11A - (MOS 1542 & 1560) IOBC & IOAC grad

Dutch_12078
Explorer II
Explorer II
I second the vote for RVMobileInternet.com as an info source, and strongly suggest checking out their take on MIMO antennas versus boosters. Our dual Yagi MIMO setup has outperformed or equaled our Max Amp booster everywhere we've been with it so far.

Understanding MIMO...
Dutch
2001 GBM Landau 34' Class A
F53 chassis, Triton V10, TST TPMS
Bigfoot Automatic Leveling System
2011 Toyota RAV4 4WD/Remco pump
ReadyBrute Elite tow bar/Blue Ox baseplate

theoldwizard1
Explorer
Explorer
One of the reasons people buy a "hot spot"/external WiFi receiver internet router is because it can be mounted on some kind of an elevated surface. If you can get it higher your 1 bar might become 2 !

Second_Chance
Explorer II
Explorer II
There's a lot of good information here:

RVMobileInternet.com

Rob
U.S. Army retired
2020 Solitude 310GK-R
MORryde IS, disc brakes, solar, DP windows
(Previously in a Reflection 337RLS)
2012 F350 CC DRW Lariat 6.7
Full-time since 8/2015

wa8yxm
Explorer III
Explorer III
Poor signal (IE one bar) yes.. NO signal. no.
Also some work only on voice but may not work well with data
And some .. Well it might or might not work with your phone and or carrier.

At the frequencies used for cell phone HEIGHT IS MIGHT. so the higher you can get the OUTSIDE antenna on your booster...... the better. as a rule.
Also you can get a directional outdoor antenna from some places and ain the thing.
Home was where I park it. but alas the.
2005 Damon Intruder 377 Alas declared a total loss
after a semi "nicked" it. Still have the radios
Kenwood TS-2000, ICOM ID-5100, ID-51A+2, ID-880 REF030C most times