Rural internet antenna setup HELP!

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Rod Smith
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Rural internet antenna setup HELP!

Post by Rod Smith » Fri Mar 26, 2021 11:04 am

Okay here goes.
I have two Wilson 314411 antennas close together on a pole, each antenna is 45 degrees to the horizon and 90 to each other pointed in the same direction (usual setup I think)with two KRM400 cables 15' long. Also I have a ZTE MF279 modem on an AT&T plan and Network Cell Info Lite app on my Android phone for signal strength and tower location.
The towers in my area are 10 to 14 miles away except for one that my phone app says is 2 to 3 miles away, the odd thing is I can drive to the GPS location provided by the app and there is no tower to be found. My suspension is there is a tower in that general direction it's just further away. If the tower information on the app is crowd sourced maybe it's not reliable? But the app tells me that the phone or ZTE is using that suspect tower.
So my issue is I can't seem to get any improvement with these antennas. Standing on the roof of my house with just my phone (not using the ZTE) the best I can get is -98db, not great. I can use the ZTE while stand on the roof with no external antennas and can't get as good as the phone by itself. If I add the two Wilson antennas no matter where I point them the signal never really improves it pretty much stays in a range of 105 to 110 about the same as with the ZTE and no external antennas. My method of locating the signal is, point the antennas wait for the app to react slightly rotate the antennas wait for the app and repeat. I'm lost, I don't know what to do or try. Anyone got some suggestions? Thanks!

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Didneywhorl
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Re: Rural internet antenna setup HELP!

Post by Didneywhorl » Fri Mar 26, 2021 1:03 pm

A tower survey from LTEFix.com will get you the exact location of your chosen number of towers. No guarantees THAT exact tower will show, as the FCC databases aren't updated or reported to as often as they should be. But if they find it, they show you a satellite picture of its exact location.

https://ltefix.com/product-category/tower-survey/


Or you can fire up the cellmapper app on your phone and make a login so that you can drive around for a week or so and upload all the data and hope like hell it moves to a more accurate location.

MattB29
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Re: Rural internet antenna setup HELP!

Post by MattB29 » Fri Mar 26, 2021 2:54 pm

Pointed antennas is a frustrating thing. Especially if like me you live in a heavily wooded hilly area. I just got in a 18db mimo flat directional antenna that my first attempt to mount on my roof (with the 15 ft of supplied cable not much choices)proved less than what I would wish for. I have been using two magnetic base mount whip antennas hooked to my WG3526, EM7565 that are stuck to the bottom edge of my metal roof just outdoors from the router. It allows me to connect to band 12 (AT&T) with about 3-15mbs down and 3-12mbs up. My signal with this has been usually about 67%, RSRP of -97 main and -99db (A) No carrier aggregation.

When I hooked up the panel and guessed at the direction of my signal I noticed my signal quality dropped to 38% but all of a sudden I was connected to band 2 and carrier aggregating with Band 66. My RSRP number were terrible at about -120db. The dl test however jumped up to 18-20mbs but the upload was abysmal at .3mbs. The problem is to keep climbing on the roof to play with the stupid thing. (I don't have a buddy that can relay any information to me so it is up the roof, adjust, back down and check)

Not really what I would find usable. However as I was on the roof it struck me my TV antenna has a rotator and is much higher and more open of an location. My new plan is to get longer cable (about 15m) and temporary mount to the TV pole and than play around with adjusting the direction to see what will be my best possible signal. Once found I can than mount the LTE antenna separately but I will know where to point it. With the TV antenna rotator it should go a lot easier to dial it in.

Just out of curiosity I did some research on a cheap antenna rotator and noticed that some of the less expensive TV antennas have them powered through the CO-AX cable. Something like this; https://www.ebay.com/itm/480-Miles-Outd ... 1570061050 Model TA-001 adapted to remove the TV antenna might be a trick for someone. All you would need is a extension cord to power to the unit from the ground and a simple coax run up. That would avoid having to climb up each time you need to move the antenna.

Just a thought.

websiteperson
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Re: Rural internet antenna setup HELP!

Post by websiteperson » Fri Mar 26, 2021 7:28 pm

MattB29 wrote:
Fri Mar 26, 2021 2:54 pm
Just out of curiosity I did some research on a cheap antenna rotator and noticed that some of the less expensive TV antennas have them powered through the CO-AX cable. Something like this; https://www.ebay.com/itm/480-Miles-Outd ... 1570061050 Model TA-001 adapted to remove the TV antenna might be a trick for someone. All you would need is a extension cord to power to the unit from the ground and a simple coax run up. That would avoid having to climb up each time you need to move the antenna.

Just a thought.
I have this exact* antenna; well, 2 of them, now for my attempt at getting more channels.
The rotor seems to turn in a random direction each time you press/hold the button. That said, you could still theoretically find a good spot, eventually, but you won't know which way it moved, to fine tune.

Side note/off-topic: the mile range on these cheap antenna listings is hilarious. 480mi... 990mi... 😂

gscheb
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Re: Rural internet antenna setup HELP!

Post by gscheb » Fri Mar 26, 2021 8:09 pm

When I tune in my antennas take my phone with me on roof. Log into rooter and watch signal strength and quality as I turn it.
If try to run speed test on roof it is junk. But the slightest wifi signal will allow to get into the UI and watch those signal readings.

MattB29
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Re: Rural internet antenna setup HELP!

Post by MattB29 » Fri Mar 26, 2021 9:12 pm

websiteperson wrote:
Fri Mar 26, 2021 7:28 pm
I have this exact* antenna; well, 2 of them, now for my attempt at getting more channels.
The rotor seems to turn in a random direction each time you press/hold the button. That said, you could still theoretically find a good spot, eventually, but you won't know which way it moved, to fine tune.

Side note/off-topic: the mile range on these cheap antenna listings is hilarious. 480mi... 990mi... 😂
Would not be great for repeatability than. You would have to move it to a spot and than go inside to check your readings. Still might be better than climbing onto a roof each time you need to move the thing.

My RCA TV rotator is a much more sophisticated (able to handle the weight of a big antenna)and is graduated in 360 degree readout so it is a lot more able to be dialed in. However it cost a great deal more than one of these cheap setups.

*Yes the 480 mile claims are funny :)*

MattB29
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Re: Rural internet antenna setup HELP!

Post by MattB29 » Sun Mar 28, 2021 9:42 am

Using the TV rotator mount this morning I was able to work for the best signal. It was not what I would have thought. For one thing it really depends on the band and cell tower the modem latches to and sometimes you need to reboot the modem to get it to change. I needed to not only change the direction and wait I also had to be prepared for numbers that seem to defy the actual speed tests I could get. it seems Band 2 is mostly what it runs on with Band 66 sometimes aggregating (also band 12) and sometimes being the connected band. One thing for sure being able to sit at my computer and not climb up and down off the roof was a major help.

Doing my testing early Sunday morning may also change things once I get into the more congested time of day. I was impressed to see an actual d/l of near 30mbs most around 22mbs. Never had that before. My best upload however was only 3.5mbs with most of the tests running around 1.3mbs.

Time will now tell if this is better or not than the 2 simple whip antennas I was using that always operated on band 12. In terms of signal quality the best I get from the new mimo panel antenna is 41% (band 2) whereas the best the whip antennas provided were 70% (band 12)

DogTho
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Re: Rural internet antenna setup HELP!

Post by DogTho » Thu Apr 01, 2021 8:20 pm

If you can get the eNB ID number from your phone or something, go on cellmapper and put your carrier in, and down in the left side is a 'tower' dropdown list. Put that eNB number in, not the hex, the real number, like mine is 59771 for TMob (VA) and it should take you right to the tower and it should be near you. Cellmapper is the only one I've found useful data on, the cellphone apps don't report very good info from my experience. I've had them show a tower not 3 miles from me and I can drive to the location, there's no tower there, and I know it, it's right next to a church. Cellmapper will also tell you the bands on that tower. For mine it's very accurate. I use B4 because it's 20MHz wide, I get 20-30 Mbps down where on B12 which is much stronger but only 5MHz, I only get 5Mbps.

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Re: Rural internet antenna setup HELP!

Post by MattB29 » Wed Apr 07, 2021 2:42 pm

I just had to show this latest speed test on my Cricket simply data plan with my new antenna setup. Possible just atmospherics since it is well beyond anything I have seen before. Image

If I could get this all the time I would be ecstatic. Not likely though.

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