Tower of Power - RV Enthusiast Magazine

Tower of Power

by | Mar 24, 2022 | Cool Gear, RVEXPERT

weBoost’s redesigned Destination RV cellular booster brings more power, 5G to parked RVs

It’s amazing how far cellular data and communications have come over the last decade. So much of the continent is peppered with cell sites, there are fewer places where cellular connectivity can’t be found than where they can be. However, just because your device shows there’s service available doesn’t mean it’s usable service. For those of us who work on the road, a solid digital connection is truly essential. To help with that, Wilson Electronic’s weBoost cellular repeaters for vehicles and RVs should be considered essential gear.

To be fair, cellular repeaters are not a panacea for all connectivity problems. Having installed and tested many of these units over the years, we have found that there are times when the improvement is minimal — or even times when the booster is actually detrimental to cellular operation. Knowing when to use a booster is just as important as determining what system to select.

The Destination RV kit laid out
the kit mounted to the RV
The Destination RV kit comes complete with everything you’ll need to get up and running. The instructions show passing the antenna cable through a slide-out seal. We don’t recommend this; instead, we permanently wired it with a cable TV port by Furrion, mounted to the fifth wheel’s J wrap.

weBoost’s Destination RV booster system brings some notable improvements to the connected traveler. The newest system from Wilson Electronics offers 5G capability and a maximum gain of 65dB in comparison to the 50dB of the company’s Connect RV 65 system.

Unlike the weBoost vehicle-mounted units, the Destination RV and its predecessor, the Connect RV 65, utilize a 25-foot tower that is clipped to the side of the RV to hold and aim a directional antenna that is pointed toward the closest tower for your provider. Finding that tower can be done manually, turning the antenna until it works best, or you can download a smart-device app to help locate towers from all providers. One such app we found for Apple iOS is Find Tower.

assembling the antenna
The antenna is assembled and attached to the top of the mast. The hardware allows for easy removal of the antenna should you need to do so, then just slip it back on and hand tighten the wingnuts. We found the cover for the antenna would not stay attached, but a little Lexel sealant fixed the problem.
the power supply hooked up
The kit comes with both a plug-in 120-volt AC power supply and a 12-volt DC supply. We used the 12-volt DC supply and wired it into the Montana’s control panel wiring.

During installation of the system on a Montana fifth wheel, we realized owners should consider permanently installing the system, using a CATV input jack on the RV for the cable connection. This is a much better solution than feeding the cable through a window or slide-out seal — it will make set up much easier and quicker. Also, be sure to follow the directions for antenna separation carefully. Know, too, that when collapsed, the antenna tower — which is a telescoping mast — fits neatly in a pass-through compartment, but won’t fit in a standard storage compartment.

We found the Destination RV system to greatly improve our communications while at the Elkhart Campground in Elkhart, Indiana. Surprisingly, the closest Verizon tower is across the Indiana Toll Road, and the signal is pretty weak inside the RV. With the weBoost Destination RV installed and operating, the signal and throughput increased nicely. The only problem we’ve experienced is the plastic cover would easily fall off the antenna, a situation which was easily fixed with some glue.

showing the unit mounted
The base unit features a slide-on mounting bracket, which can either be screwed to a wall or cabinet or stuck on using 3M Command-type adhesive strips. We mounted the unit in a cabinet directly below the control panel, which also houses a solar charge controller and a Wi-Fi Ranger router. It’s important to unplug the base unit when the system is not in use, but you can always use a switch to operate it as needed.
the pole "mast" the antenna runs through
The kit includes adhesive wall-mount brackets for the mast, which work really well. Make sure you adhere to the distance separation recommendations for the inside and outside antennas. The lower bracket has a pin to ensure the bracket won’t come apart.
the inside antenna mounted on the wall
The inside antenna is mounted in a convenient spot, facing the rest of the unit. Again, separation from the outside antenna is critical.

There’s no question that having to set up and aim the antenna requires extra time and effort versus the vehicle-based models, but the increase in reception is worth it — especially if you’re working and parked for a while. The initial installation takes a few hours when making it more permanent, (depending on the RV), but setup at the campsite takes maybe 10 minutes. As with all Wi-Fi routers and access points, it is recommended to shut the unit off before disconnecting the antenna or traveling.

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