22/09/2017 at 8:29 am #2329
We are thinking of putting a Mobile phone Booster/Repeater in our trailerboat to increase our Mobile Phone reception around Koolan Island and out from Derby when we again visit next April. We have an aerial with a patch lead at present and while it helps a bit, we still don’t receive a much better reception with this system. We were wondering if anyone has had any experience with a Booster/Repeater, how much better this will increase our signal and if it is worth the effort and cost to get one.
25/10/2017 at 3:35 am #2340
I have considerable knowledge of this topic. I liveaboard a sailing catamaran and we are nearly four years into a circumnavigation of Australia.
We are with Boost – which uses Telstra’s network and is a lot cheaper. Using the Telstra network is a very good idea as from what others have told us, other carriers have no-where near the coverage.
You say you have an aerial with a patch lead. There are aeriels and there are aerials… There are leads and there are leads….
We use a Powertech 3G antenna, up the top of our 17m mast, and with LMR400 cabling coming down to an Ericsson W35 mobile gateway. You are looking at $250 for a decent 3G antenna, $6 a metre for the cable, and about $500 for the W35.
If I was doing it all again from new, I would have a 3G antenna (4G/5G frequencies will be the same so it should be future-proof) and a Cell-Fi Telstra repeater at the masthead. That way I can keep using the normal mobile but with significantly enhanced range.
The LMR400 cabling is necessary! Anything smaller and the losses from the long cable run basically wipe off any gains. If you take anything away from this post, use LMR400!!
Before I had this system, I was running a booster (ebay buy from the US) but with ‘normal’ grade cable. It was always turned off when we were near civilization because they are illegal and DO cause issues. A chap I know left his on by mistake and soon had a van with antennas asking questions! We spent a couple of months in the Kimberley with this setup, and still had very little coverage, and I put it down to the fact that the cable was introducing too much loss. It would have worked better if I had mounted the booster near the antenna, but it needed a separate 12V supply which would have been messy.
The current setup provided me with service all the way across Bass Straight… which should not even be possible!
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