Since we love to travel but still need to be connected to our clients for our Macintosh computer consulting / web design business while being on the road I needed to find a solution for having solid cell data and voice network connections while traveling. There are many choices out there but after thinking it all through, I decided to keep my options open and settle on a cellular phone signal booster solution that simply amplifies the cell signal to the interior of the Airstream.
This allows us to use our iPhones and a 3G laptop data adapter or tethering the iPhone to my MacBook Pro inside the Airstream to connect to the internet.
My biggest obstacle was where to mount the external antenna and not have interference or feedback to the interior antenna.
So I decided to mount the antenna to the existing extendible TV antenna. Since I would only use this when stationary I could get more height and separation. The cell repeater antenna erects itself when I crank up the TV antenna, and folds back down when traveling.
I ran the cell repeater antenna cable trough the same hole the TV antenna was using and then routed the cable into the compartment behind the stereo system. This was quite tricky because there is a cross beam I had to drill through. Once I got the cable through; it was like a miracle. I had to remove the TV antenna crank cover on the inside of the Airstream and use a very long drill bit very cautiously to drill a hole in order to pass the cable to the other side.
Then I mounted the signal booster amplifier with it’s 12V adapter inside the overhead storage just next to the stereo. Next I connected the interior antenna to the signal booster amp and then fired it up. Wow! The signal is so much stronger and the data connection works much better.
I was able to remote into my clients computers from the iPad running on 3G. This is very helpful in areas where there is cell service, especially when it is quite weak.
I will often leave my iPhone in the Airstream and use my bluetooth headset to talk while walking around the Airstream.
Of course, I do recommend that when traveling being disconnected is part of the beauty, but we are not retired yet and still need to run our business while still being able to experience the beauty of all the State and National Parks.
Here are the parts I purchased (I replaced the small outside antenna from the kit with the Truck/RV antenna):