IT on the road

Submitted: Tuesday, Jun 02, 2015 at 19:56
ThreadID: 119066 Views:1861 Replies:6 FollowUps:4
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Any experts out there re IT on the road? I run a Telstra 4gx Aircard, and its haemorrhaging every time I leave the signal. Thrashes itself it death if the signal is low to zero, and goes into a lockup, uses all the battery etc. So external aerial, and I have one- 7.5 DB, bulbar mounted (way too low for my judgement)

But the patch cable is the wrong one apparently, spoke to a very clued up visitor at the camp site, he directed me to
and I ordered some patch cables etc.
Seems 4g mobile modems like 2 antennae's, not one. I have 2 of them, but not here, one is one the way. Will try it with the one on the truck, and the one in the mail (once it gets here)- and the 2 correct patch cables. Do 2 dissimilar aerials work ok? One is bulbar, the other is a magnetic roof jobbie

But regardless of the DB rating of the antennae, I am told that height is everything, put it up high by whatever means? Any experiences? Can a lesser Db antennae work ok (stationary) at increased height?
We are heading back to civilisation, Hitch issues etc, and I am determined to sort this. What do I buy? I have a mate with a basic magnetic aerial on the roof, and an old phone that has an external aerial socket that romps in? He is currently at Kilcowera Station and has a very good signal
I don't want a big bux solution.
We really, really need halfway decent IT as we have a couple of businesses. I am aware that when there is no signal, there is no signal. But Telstra have done a pretty good job of spreading it round.
thanks in advance
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Reply By: TerraFirma - Tuesday, Jun 02, 2015 at 20:36

Tuesday, Jun 02, 2015 at 20:36
Patch cables can only be right or wrong as they physically need to connect the antenna to the device whether that be modem, cradle or whatever. You don't really need 2 antennas and bull bar antennas can be up to 9DB. You can get combo 3G/4G antennas and most of these lean to delivering a better 3G signal than 4G. Remember in most remote locations 4G is not obtainable anyway so a combo gives you the best of both worlds but leans to 3G would be my choice. As for the height well that's obvious, but I don't believe mounting a bull bar antenna on a roof is practical. You can try magnetic antennas if you don't care about having to use and pack it up as needed. A Yagi directional antenna is the most powerful but needs to be aligned to the direction of the signal, see below.

Comnet Bull Bar Antennas

Yagi Directional Antennas

AnswerID: 554521

Follow Up By: Member - Jim B8 - Tuesday, Jun 02, 2015 at 20:47

Tuesday, Jun 02, 2015 at 20:47
Terrafirma, thank you for your input, will follow the links. I agree with the bull bar vs height. My current patch cable is very wrong but new ones are "coming" apparently. Yagi is not my first option, But it may come to that, as I acknowledge that directional will become the drama, I was more looking at the "everywhere" signal. And yes, I know that will diminish as we go out further I am not foolish enough to think I can buy another "thing" to solve the issue, just chasing real world solutions in "almost" remote areas
FollowupID: 840634

Reply By: Motherhen - Tuesday, Jun 02, 2015 at 23:41

Tuesday, Jun 02, 2015 at 23:41
Hi Jim

For lots more about antennae and communications on the road, there is a comprehensive e-publication as outlined in this Blog "Staying in Touch on the Road"


Red desert dreaming

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My Profile  My Blog  Send Message

AnswerID: 554527

Reply By: Dennis Ellery - Wednesday, Jun 03, 2015 at 15:33

Wednesday, Jun 03, 2015 at 15:33
I am not an expert on aerials but I met one who said that “height is might”
I use a Telstra 3g/4g Sierra modem
I carry an old fibre glass windsurfer’s mast about 4 to 5 metres long - which into the top I slip a 2 metre wooden dowel with the aerial on top of that.
I think I am up about 7 to 8 meters high.
I often get a signal when others around me fail.
AnswerID: 554536

Reply By: Member - Milton477 - Wednesday, Jun 03, 2015 at 23:15

Wednesday, Jun 03, 2015 at 23:15 do a 4.8m telescopic 3G antenna which I have found to be very effective & folds up small for transport. This antenna can be the difference between no signal & 2 bars.
AnswerID: 554548

Follow Up By: Member - Jim B8 - Thursday, Jun 04, 2015 at 07:44

Thursday, Jun 04, 2015 at 07:44
Yes, the bloke out at Bowra Station put me onto telco, - I have ordered 2 of the 6.5db bullbar ones initially, and an interested in the telescopic one as well.
FollowupID: 840673

Reply By: brian sutherland - Thursday, Jun 04, 2015 at 08:36

Thursday, Jun 04, 2015 at 08:36
Is the single antenna in the antenna port marked 1? Vaguely recall seeing this mentioned on a web site somewhere..
AnswerID: 554550

Follow Up By: Member - Jim B8 - Thursday, Jun 04, 2015 at 17:03

Thursday, Jun 04, 2015 at 17:03
I use the No1 Socket, but the drama seems to be a lot worse when the sugnal is low. My current aerial is a poor quality one. mounted low, and the patch cable is the wrong one.
We canceled the run to Camerons corner etc, and turned back, nearly at Sunshine Coast now, so I will fit the 2 new antenneas, and the 2x patch cables, new modem, and it should work. Modem has a faulty power socket and cant charge reliably.

Of course we will still have no signal in some places, we are aware of that
FollowupID: 840691

Reply By: Sat Phone Sales - Thursday, Jun 04, 2015 at 19:59

Thursday, Jun 04, 2015 at 19:59
I wouldn't worry about the two antennas too much. This is only useful for getting extra speed. The two antennas use "MIMO" technology - "Multiple In, Multiple Out" It is used to gain bandwidth not signal strength.

As mentioned outside of metro areas you will not have 4G anyway. Your device will fall back to 3G. Height is not always might, indeed you can often do your self a dis-service extending the "patch" lead - to antenna. Any antenna cable runs over 2 - 3 metres will need very good cable indeed.

At a minimum LMR240 and ideally LMR400 - this cable is about half an inch thick. Using cheap cable will introduce losses that outweigh the extra height.

A good quality yagi, or parabolic grid pack is the way to go. Don't believe advertising figures for gain on 3G Anything over 15 to 16 dB is a fib. A 16 dB antenna is over 1.5m long!

As far as Telstra go - it might cover the bulk of the population but only provides coverage to a small fraction of Australia.

AnswerID: 554578

Follow Up By: Member - Jim B8 - Thursday, Jun 04, 2015 at 20:31

Thursday, Jun 04, 2015 at 20:31
Yes, cables seem to be a very big player, I was shown a 2 inot 1 type patch cable, vs a good quality single, both only 200mm or so, and the single one romped in. "Losses with cheap cable" sums it up, thanks for your input
FollowupID: 840703

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