In March 2014, I posted about the addition of an exterior antenna to my internet system. This is an update to report on the effectiveness of the antenna mod.
- Wilson Dual-band Cellular Trucker Antenna #308401
- Wilson Sleek Booster for Verizon
- Verizon Jetpack – Novatel 4620LE
- Millenicom 20GB per month Hotspot Plan
The purpose of this set-up was to improve a cell signal when it exists, but is weak. Obviously, if there is no signal, the equipment is useless. In places like Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument, or Death Valley National Park there was no signal.
The antenna was mounted on a raisable mast in hopes that the added height would be of benefit. It turned out that with the antenna down, almost flat with the roof, a one or two bar gain was possible in some areas. With the antenna fully up, the gain was usually two to three bars.
Coconino NF dispersed north of Flagstaff AZ, flat area amongst short Juniper trees
without booster or antenna 2-bars 4G LTE, but poor connection
with booster and antenna down 4-bars 4G LTE good reception
Kaibab NF dispersed near Jacob Lake AZ, 7000 ft in tall pines
without booster or antenna 1-bar 3G, but poor connection
with booster and antenna up 3-bars 3G good reception
BLM boondock north of Kanab UT, hilltop near highway
without booster or antenna 4-bars 1X, but would drop out
with booster and antenna up 2-bars 3G, but slow
BLM boondock near Bishop CA, flat between hills and nearby mountains
with booster 4-bars 1X
with booster and antenna up 2-bars 4G LTE
This Jetpack can be set for the tower type; so, it is possible to use it with just the 3G or 4G network. When no signal was found on 4G LTE, I could switch to 3G only and often find a usable signal.
I’m satisfied with the performance of this mod. It allows me access to the internet when in marginal areas. And, is an improvement on the stubby antenna that comes with the Sleek. Since, using the internet is important to me, it is worth the cost.
Upgrading the Millenicom to the Pantech (vs the old Novatel 4620) was such a dramatic improvement – I highly recommend the change.
I have not had the issues with the Novatel that many complain about. I like being able to specify the signal type, which I understand the Pantech lacks. For now the 4620LE works fine for me. Perhaps a change will come later.