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Old 17-11-2015, 17:49   #1
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Extended cell phone coverage

I've read over some old threads and am looking for some updated info and advice.

Although I am retiring in January my Wife will continue with a phone based psychotherapy practice out of the boat. She will "see" or talk to patients about 3 days a week, the rest of the time we will be free to travel and cruise. She is going to do this for 2 or 3 years, or at least that's the plan. In this interval we will be somewhere along the East coast of NA. We have 2 STEEL sailboats, one will be our main abode and will go South from the Chesapeake. That may take us as far as the Bahamas before she "retires." The other (Canadian registry) will go North and will be based in Lewisporte, Newfoundland. We have that route planned: Hudson, Erie Canal, St Lawrence, Quebec coast, Labradore, NL. I've done the last bit of that before, she hasn't.

On the South boat I installed a Wireie Pro which is a wireless router that boosts wifi signals and can also use cell signals for the donor or source although I havent yet used that function. The North boat has nothing.

I had considered buying a weBoost signal booster (bi directional amplifier) but the damn things are pricey. According to one pretty comprehensive online review the mobile versions are power limited to -50dB so you have to sit within a foot or two of the indoor antenna to make it work. OR I could buy a model for fixed usage and get much better indoor coverage as they have a higher repeated power output. Being steel boats that should not be a problem, practically. Legally is another issue.

But, maybe, I should just use the cell Wiriepro function and have her work over a (HIPPA compliant) Skype type connection. I can buy a lot of data for the price of a Weeboost.

But then how do I move the Wiriepro, or weBoost, from boat to boat?

At the moment I'm leaning towards a fixed Weeboost model and a "soft" installation so I can keep it mobile.

Thoughts, experience, observations, sympathy are all appreciated.

FWIW I also have an Iridium with a bunch of prepay minutes but we have not found that to be sufficiently reliable and of adequate quality to do what she needs.
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Old 17-11-2015, 18:26   #2
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Re: Extended cell phone coverage

I may be wrong but I think the cell signal for the wiriepro is only boosted to allow data and not for cell phone reception (for voice). I have the wirieap and am strongly considering the wiriepro. I also have a cell phone booster (I forget the brand at the moment), it works great but as you said you have to be a foot or less away from the indoor repeater stubby antennae. You guys will love cruising notre dame day and the bays north and south of it here in Newfoundland, your plan for both boats is very exciting...
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Old 17-11-2015, 19:00   #3
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Location: Meandering about the Gulf of Alaska coast [NNE Pacific] where the internet doesn't always shine... [Even Elon's...] Homeport: Wrangell Island
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Re: Extended cell phone coverage

I don't know if this is of interest to you, but we have great success using a Wilson Sleek 4G cellular amp so we can pick up weak distant cell signals and use a cell phone as a data hot spot. [This when our WiriePro can't find an open WiFi- we haven't tried the cellular data side of it yet either...]

With the Wilson Sleek 4G, the cell phone can also be used for voice calls- but only on speaker. (You wouldn't want to hold the amplifier cradling your phone next to your body... but perhaps an earphone/mich combination would work...?)

If you go this route, get a 3rd party external antenna for the boat. [There is one listed with the above link] The one that comes with it won't do the job on a boat from our experience. I have also seen 3rd party marine antennas for the Wilson Sleek at boat shows...

Let us know what you end up with and how it works for you.


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Learning every day- and sharing if I can.
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cell phone, phone

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