Cake
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    • I've been on the road car camping for a couple of weeks now. The biggest hurdle I haven't solved is a strong cell signal. In the National Parks and National Forests, I get almost no coverage. In other places, I might get a bar or two.

      Looking around for possible solutions, I found cell signal boosters on Amazon. They range from $300 - $1,200 for the complete package.

      That is a lot of money for an impulse buy. So I'm curious if anyone has experience with them. Do they work in the real world?

    • I was not aware that such a product was offered and I could use one because my residence is in a bad reception spot.

      If you find your answer to this question outside of Cake, please post what you find out on Cake.

      Your absence, btw, is felt because Cake has been having technical difficulties kind of like television in the 1960s.

    • I've never used cellular boosters, but I have spoken with several RV campers who swear by them - they tend to say that if there is no signal, there just is no signal - but if there is just a bar or two, then the cellular booster will make a significant improvement for voice and data transmission - more for voice than data. A larger external antenna can make a significant improvement in an area with a marginal, but present, signal. Generally a higher antenna is better than a lower one, and the top of an RV is better than a hand held device in a low sports car or motorcycle.

      Don't expect them to let you watch Netflix in the outback however.

      And I would point out that some cellular services have much better cellular coverage out west than others - there are counties out west - where a county may be 50 or more miles in diameter, where there is only one cellular carrier even present.

      If you go to your carrier's website, they should have a map of their coverage across the country.

      I know that some National Parks cellular coverage is effectively non-existant, but it varies greatly depending on where the park is and what its size is. There were certainly areas in Yellowstone last winter without any service, but sometimes when we got higher in a pass, we could grab our email out of the sky. Some National Parks, more in the east, tend to have better coverage.

      One other distinction needs to be mentioned - some of the cellular boosters are for fixed base/ non mobile situations - rural homes needing better cellular service, like the Cel Fi in your post above. They also tend to be cellular carrier specific - that is they are specifically set up for a specific carrier.

      The We Boost is a mobile unit - the truckers tend to have cellular boosters in their cabs these days so their websites might be a place for a recommendation as well.

      I would also mention that the Overlanders who really get off the beaten path tend to drift over to 2 meter FM for more reliable communication in the field. But for that you need a radio license.

    • We have a WeBoost unit marketed for RV's, with an omnidirectional antenna mounted on the rear roof of our small Class C RV. We use the Verizon network and my iPhone as a hot spot to stream data when possible. In our experience, if one or two bars of signal strength are showing the booster will often amplify that into 3 or sometimes even 4 bars, enough to stream Netflix or other services. Not always, but often enough to make the booster worthwhile. A higher and directional external antenna should offer better performance but we haven't pursued that as yet. It helps to place the phone very close to the inside antenna; I usually have them side by side. We have used this set up from Tennessee west to the Rocky Mountain states. Verizon's network seems to be as comprehensive as any out west, but there are still plenty of places with no signal and you can't boost what isn't there. Hoping that Elon Musk's satellite network will provide workable and affordable internet out there someday soon.