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Old 01-11-2015, 17:58   #1
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Anyone mounting Bullet wifi antenna at masthead?

Bought a Bullet M2 Titanium last year and while in the marina and fairly close it was mounted on the bow pulpit rail. We are wanting to reduce packet loss this year, so it needs to go higher.

Anyone out there have the antenna mounted at the masthead? If so, did you just put the antenna up there and the Bullet lower? Or is the antenna screwed directly into the Bullet and all is mounted at the masthead?

Any special equipment or installation tricks you can suggest to get good reception as well as lightning protection. My antenna is about 15 inches tall or so (omni) and would end up being the highest thing up there if I mounted the Bullet next to the mast with the bottom of the antenna starting at the top of the mast. Though I think I may need to figure out a way for it to not block the masthead anchor light.

Thanks for any insight you can give!
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Old 01-11-2015, 18:14   #2
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Re: Anyone mounting Bullet wifi antenna at masthead?

Mine's at the masthead, fed by Ethernet cable.
12 db antenna and Bullet are meant to be used as a single assembly.
Netgear AP behind the DC panel.
The whole thing draws about a half amp.
Longest distance I ever was able to connect was while crossing the Strait of Georgia on the way to Desolation Sound.
The signal was good for almost an hour. Finally it got choppy and I lost it.
When I checked the distance from the station on the Bullet's page, it was...

drum roll please....

Definitely not typical.
18.5 miles !
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Old 01-11-2015, 18:46   #3
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Re: Anyone mounting Bullet wifi antenna at masthead?

Nice! I sail in Mexico. When I bought my kit from PDQ, the tech I talked to said he wouldn't be surprised if I can get 20 miles or more being as how there isn't as much interference out there and that it's pretty much open coastal spaces in the Sonoran Desert area.

You wouldn't happen to have a picture of the antenna install lying about would you?
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Old 01-11-2015, 21:44   #4
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Re: Anyone mounting Bullet wifi antenna at masthead?

Mounted my bullet on the first spreader with a right angle adapter to the antenna. So the bullet lays horizontal on the spreader and the antenna is upright. Its out near the end of the spreader, just far enough so I can tie the tip of the antenna to an angled side stay to keep it upright. Has worked very well for 6+ years now.
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Old 02-11-2015, 08:36   #5
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Re: Anyone mounting Bullet wifi antenna at masthead?

Mine is at the top of the mast; always has been.
The bullet mounts directly to the antenna.

You can see pix of our installation both in our gallery early refit (sorry I don't have a specific cite within - all the improvements were done streaming, rather than by project as in later refits. Click the gallery link in my sig to see them if you like.

You can see my installation at Marine PC's & WiFi by IslandTime PC (no commercial interest; fanatically enthusiastic customer, computer included) under installation considerations...

L8R

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Old 02-11-2015, 09:00   #6
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Re: Anyone mounting Bullet wifi antenna at masthead?

It's raining buckets outside, so I shot this with full telephoto from my home's covered porch.
It's a typical mounting. I insulated the right angle bracket from the mast to eliminate any ground loops.
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Old 02-11-2015, 09:05   #7
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Re: Anyone mounting Bullet wifi antenna at masthead?

Hello, I'm going to heading back down to SC towards the end of this month. Do you have an email, boat name or some way to contact you? I would like to see how you are hooking this up and how it is working for you. Thanks, hope we can hook up.
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Old 02-11-2015, 09:15   #8
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Re: Anyone mounting Bullet wifi antenna at masthead?

i'm considering adding this myself, but my question is how often does one get a signal that is not password protected? It seems that this would be a deciding issue. Thanks in advance.
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Old 02-11-2015, 09:21   #9
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Re: Anyone mounting Bullet wifi antenna at masthead?

Quote:
Originally Posted by mud bug View Post
i'm considering adding this myself, but my question is how often does one get a signal that is not password protected? It seems that this would be a deciding issue. Thanks in advance.
Much depends on where you are. We still do very well in the Bahamas, and the recent xFinity move to provide each of its routers with an XFinity login (comcast customer login) makes US cruising very easy in my S. FL experience. I've used it elsewhere, but don't know about the level of penetration or saturation for comcast...

FWIW, my Bahamas connections range out to 12 miles (where I was - I might have been able to do more distance from a different location), and there and stateside I've often been under way at least 7 miles from my connection point.
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Old 02-11-2015, 09:27   #10
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Re: Anyone mounting Bullet wifi antenna at masthead?

Quote:
Originally Posted by senormechanico View Post
It's raining buckets outside, so I shot this with full telephoto from my home's covered porch.
It's a typical mounting. I insulated the right angle bracket from the mast to eliminate any ground loops.
Great shot, that's exactly the way I imagined doing mine. Glad too see someone else what thinking that way.
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Old 02-11-2015, 09:33   #11
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Re: Anyone mounting Bullet wifi antenna at masthead?

Quote:
Originally Posted by critter View Post
Great shot, that's exactly the way I imagined doing mine. Glad too see someone else what thinking that way.
I had mine that way to begin with - but stood it and the VHF antenna off to avoid any interference (well, to, within reason, minimize interference) by moving the antennas away from each other and any other metal (Davis and electronic wind indicators, anchor/running light).

Original location was this:
Pictures: Flying Pig Refit 2009/Repairs_And_Upgrades/Electronics

Other pix ('next') show transition from board to bullet installation.

This frame starts the fabrication and installation of the bracket (interspersed with other stuff going on at the same time, sorry):

Pictures: Flying Pig Refit 2009/Repairs_And_Upgrades/Electronics

L8R

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Old 02-11-2015, 09:35   #12
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Re: Anyone mounting Bullet wifi antenna at masthead?

Quote:
Originally Posted by mud bug View Post
i'm considering adding this myself, but my question is how often does one get a signal that is not password protected? It seems that this would be a deciding issue.
We cruise outside the US (Central America for now), so our experience is more limited than others. But we need it for work, so we don't mind paying for a wifi service while we are near a town. In San Carlos there is a company where we give them the MAC address of the Bullet and they open up a bridge so we can access their antenna signal. Last year I think this cost 300 Pesos per month (200/mo if you do 6 months), which is super cheap. Then we would point the bullet at that or the marina's wifi depending on whichever one was the better signal.

We can occasionally be in a bay or anchorage where restaurants, hotels, and bars can be accessed. Sometimes they have the passwords posted on the wall for their guests. These are not always reliable, depends on what kind of setup they have.
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Old 02-11-2015, 09:39   #13
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Re: Anyone mounting Bullet wifi antenna at masthead?

This shot shows the bullet on the left, and the VHF on the right.

http://skip.justpickone.org/gallery/...=640&start=112

Both feeds were replaced later; the VHF got very heavy duty and milspec cable, and the Bullet got external cat5, important and necessary in the installation's moisture security.

Not shown, use 3M 2228 tape to seal it up after you've made up the waterproof gland - on the antenna/bullet connection (and the lightning arrestor in my case, too) as well as the gland-to-bullet and gland-to-cable points. Once wound around, squeeze it with your hand to make 'one unit' - which, if you have to get into it later, will slit vertically with a utility knife and peel right off...
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Old 02-11-2015, 09:42   #14
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Re: Anyone mounting Bullet wifi antenna at masthead?

What antenna are people using? I used a cheapish one I got off ebay and it got ripped off the boat during a storm - which I guess is a lesson
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Old 02-11-2015, 09:50   #15
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Re: Anyone mounting Bullet wifi antenna at masthead?

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What antenna are people using? I used a cheapish one I got off ebay and it got ripped off the boat during a storm - which I guess is a lesson
Note to the OP title: Bullet is an amplified WiFi adapter with an n connector in/out, powered by 10-24VDC over POE (the non-data wires in a Cat5 cable), and not an antenna.

You need an antenna to make it work. My original pix (in the NEMA box) used a 6" pigtail because it was a board to begin with, but doesn't need one for direct connection to a regular stick antenna with n connector built in.

If you used a direct connection, the antenna should have withstood a hurricane, even at the cheap level. Most will have that spec (wind force endured) if you look. 8dbi gain is about the best you can do (due to pitching) on a mono; you might get away with a 12 on a cat. I have one but have not tried it as I'm still in the land of bridges and would not make it under fixed bridges with the 12. It's also longer, so requires a different mounting scheme to not be stressed to more than the connector could withstand...
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