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Mounting a 5G antenna

M

Moggymog

Lifetime VIP Member
Messages
27
Location
Cornwall
Vehicle
T6.1 Ocean 204 4 motion
Hi everyone,

I'm new to the forum and haven't introduced myself yet as I'm still awaiting delivery of my new Cali, but I've been looking into setting up a 5G system as I want to use the van as a mobile office during the week.

Probably not something I should be asking with all the leaky pop-tops at present but does anyone have any experience in mounting an antenna to the pop-top roof? I've been looking at the Poynting Mimo-4-17 https://poynting.tech/antennas/mimo-4-17/?compare=29520,34147 but it involves drilling through :Nailbiting but at least the cable run can come down within the bellows then I guess? :thumb
 
I haven’t yet gone for an external aerial yet, but am researching.

This video gives a lot of good advice and well worth a watch.

General advice for an external aerial seems to be get it as high as possible. My current thinking was to get a suction mount and put it on the very highest point of the pop-top at the front and loop the cable (making sure you put a drip loop in the cable) in via the zipped front window. I don’t want it permanently fixed, so this will work for me.

Anyway, I’ll be interested to see what others advise.

PS: I’ve found putting SIM in my dual SIM phone (on a different network) gives me coverage 99% of the time, especially if I put the phone in the pop-top. So maybe an external aerial isn’t really needed.

PPS: I’m going to try the inbuilt hotspot on the Cali. For £9.99 for a months data plan it’s probably the cheapest way to test if it works better than my phone in low signal areas. It uses dual aerials in the puck above the front windscreen I believe.
 
Thanks for your input @couplands and for the video link

Will be interested to know your experience using the inbuilt hotspot - although I believe (could be wrong) that data usage is expensive with that option.

I also have Starlink for when I'm parked and really struggle but hoping to only use that occasionally as it's not cheap. This is why I'm thinking to invest in a decent 5G antenna/router.
 
I use something to similar what @couplands suggests above. I've got a Netgear router mounted in the top of the rear cupboard, next to the solar controller (and powered directly from the load terminals of it).

Use a Poynting aerial attached to the router with a suction mounting option on a long cable which comes out of the cupboard and can be safely shut in the tailgate and left outside. I generally "clip" it into the awning rail on the passenger side (with some slack) and stick it to the front of the roof before putting it up. On occasions I've forgotten or need to restick / adjust it, it's an easy reach out of the front zipped windows. If I'm not putting the roof up, the aerial just gets stuck wherever the best reception is.

I've been able to get decent speeds most places and been able to WFF (work from field) a few times. Having a Teams call where your colleagues ask if there is a real cow behind you is quite amusing!

SIM wise, I have an O2 one with 60GB data for £8 a month and never get anywhere near using it. I do "only" use 4G as the price of 5G mobile kit was prohibitively expensive when I bought it all in 2022. Both the router and antenna were Amazon warehouse specials, about £350 total for both.

It's been good enough for me. Used it for three weeks travelling in Europe last year with little problem.
 
Thanks for your input @couplands and for the video link

Will be interested to know your experience using the inbuilt hotspot - although I believe (could be wrong) that data usage is expensive with that option.

I also have Starlink for when I'm parked and really struggle but hoping to only use that occasionally as it's not cheap. This is why I'm thinking to invest in a decent 5G antenna/router.
Indeed the VW data plan isn’t cheap, 5GB/£9.99 I think, but I was only thinking of trying it as a proof of concept.

The other advice (from that video) was to avoid going 5G as there is limited signal coverage when away from cities and the mixed 5G/4G routers don’t perform as well as a 4G only router.

I’m currently sat in my van on the Northumbrian coast and have a decent 4G signal (Three) and my other SIM is showing an equally good signal on Vodafone so it’ll be interesting to see how they perform when I’m further into the wilds…;-)

I guess Starlink is the ultimate fall back if you’re really out of terrestrial signal coverage..!
 
I use something to similar what @couplands suggests above. I've got a Netgear router mounted in the top of the rear cupboard, next to the solar controller (and powered directly from the load terminals of it).

Use a Poynting aerial attached to the router with a suction mounting option on a long cable which comes out of the cupboard and can be safely shut in the tailgate and left outside. I generally "clip" it into the awning rail on the passenger side (with some slack) and stick it to the front of the roof before putting it up. On occasions I've forgotten or need to restick / adjust it, it's an easy reach out of the front zipped windows. If I'm not putting the roof up, the aerial just gets stuck wherever the best reception is.

I've been able to get decent speeds most places and been able to WFF (work from field) a few times. Having a Teams call where your colleagues ask if there is a real cow behind you is quite amusing!

SIM wise, I have an O2 one with 60GB data for £8 a month and never get anywhere near using it. I do "only" use 4G as the price of 5G mobile kit was prohibitively expensive when I bought it all in 2022. Both the router and antenna were Amazon warehouse specials, about £350 total for both.

It's been good enough for me. Used it for three weeks travelling in Europe last year with little problem.
Indeed the VW data plan isn’t cheap, 5GB/£9.99 I think, but I was only thinking of trying it as a proof of concept.

The other advice (from that video) was to avoid going 5G as there is limited signal coverage when away from cities and the mixed 5G/4G routers don’t perform as well as a 4G only router.

I’m currently sat in my van on the Northumbrian coast and have a decent 4G signal (Three) and my other SIM is showing an equally good signal on Vodafone so it’ll be interesting to see how they perform when I’m further into the wilds…;-)

I guess Starlink is the ultimate fall back if you’re really out of terrestrial signal coverage..!
Loving the idea of 'WFF' - kind of why I need to get this right to enable me to get away easier/more often.

Think I may get the router first (Teltonika RUTX50) and try with the included internal antennas with the option to upgrade the antenna later if needed. This router has dual SIM capability and will also allow me to attach the Starlink when needed too.

@couplands Good luck in the wilds :thumb
 
I just use my iPhone with an EE 160GB plan as hotspot for my laptops. I work in IT.
My major problems have been Apple/EE not willingly giving me both IPv6s and ipv4.
Hardware and signal strength have always been tertiary issues
 
IMG_6848.jpeg
Starlink works great :thumb
 
IMG_8416.jpeg
Two pucks stuck on my self made aluminium plate extender for 3rd solar panel. Cable goes into the same hole as the solar cable. I get great 5G reception and also pump out wifi on the two outputs from a GliNet Spitz AX3000 router.
With a Smarty Sim £9 a month, I sometimes get 700mb down and 100 up.
 

1 of these.
poynting 4-in-1 LTE/WiFi PUCK... https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B08GCTP18N?ref=ppx_pop_mob_ap_share

And 1 of these
Poynting LTE MiMo PUCK 2-in-1... https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B07N86Y83D?ref=ppx_pop_mob_ap_share
Wow.....yeah that's an impressive set up - Sounds like you need connectivity too.
I was wondering about a bracket for the Starlink, did you fabricate that yourself?
Was thinking about solar too.....what are you feeding that into?
 
Check out the thread here
 
Check out the thread here
That was a lot of reading - you've been on quite a journey.

Got more of an idea what I'm doing now (just need my van now). Thanks for your advice
 
The cheapskate option - a TP-Link 7350 4g mobile router, about £80, with an IQ mobile sim, £20 a year plus £20 a month for an uncapped eu roaming 100Gb of data, 3 months consecutive max. That ties in with our Schengen max stay.
While travelling we plonk the router on the dash or if it's too hot in the sun, the little recess in front of the speedo.
Parked up we use a 2m usb cable and put the router on the flat shelf in the pop top.
Signal is pretty good generally. Forget about 5g though, it's a city-centric townie option with a very limited range. No good at all for proper travelling.
 
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