WIFI and cell antennas on a telescoping rotating mast

Some time ago, I removed the television antenna from the telescoping rotating mast on the top of the RV and installed in its place a directional cellular antenna. We tested it up in the Catskills in a location where my cell phone by itself got no signal, and when we raised the antenna, aimed it at a tower, and powered up the booster, we went to four bars on the cell phone. The mast is raised by cranking a handle on the inside of the RV, and rotating the mast is accomplished by turning a rotating bezel that is on the outside of the handle.

Today I added a wifi grid antenna to the mix, the image and video below show it in action. In order to get them all to fit, I kept the cell antenna in its mounting bracket but mounted the WiFi antenna directly to the mast so that they both lay flat when the mast is lowered:

image

Here’s the video:

If you don’t laugh heartily when watching the video, you can’t call yourself a geek!

Like a (wireless) bridge…

…over troubled waters? Well not exactly, but we are pretty far from the house here in the driveway and the question was how to get wireless access here in the RV. The solution was to use a pair of the devices pictured below to setup a wireless bridge between the house and the RV. From a network topology perspective, it’s like the RV is plugged into the network in the house. We then hang a normal wireless router off of this device, and all of our wireless devices in the RV connect to the router as if the router is installed in the house. Pretty slick!

image

Swing low, sweet voltage

Okay, it’s true, you have to hold the last word for quite a bit to get it to match the tune, but its not bad really. We’ve been having trouble with the air conditioner today cycling on and off. The temperature was slowly rising throughout the day, so when it got to about 80 in the RV I went into diagnostic mode. Initially I thought it was a problem with the coils freezing up in the air conditioner, but then I decided to test the line voltage. I found that we’re getting 105 volts when the air conditioner is off, but when it cycles on the voltage drops to about 90 volts and after 30 seconds or so the compressor shuts off.

The temporary solution was to bring out our generator and use that to power the RV. here’s what the voltage looks like when we’re running of the generator, a near-perfect 120 volts:

image

In a little while I’ll try plugging the RV back into the garage. I’ve moved the extension cord that we’re using to power the RV from an outlying outlet in the garage to the outlets immediately adjacent to the breaker box where the wires come into the garage from the house. That wiring is 10 gauge, as is the extension cord, so we should be OK. I suspect the problem is with the wire that connects the outlying outlets to the breaker box of the garage.

We will see how it goes, but it’s always an adventure when you’re living in an RV in your driveway!