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Cell Signal Booster Hacks

Surely, you’ve experienced it before. You invest money into some new-fangled invention and expect it to change your world. I’ve been left disappointed by technology on more than one occasion. A SureCall cell phone signal booster should almost NEVER leave you with that disappointed feeling. In this article, we’ll explore a few cell signal booster hacks that might help you get more from your booster.

First off, cell phone signal boosters are not magic. Because they aren’t magic, they will not create cell phone signal where none currently exists. They take a crappy signal and make it a little less crappy. Sometimes the little less crappy version of the signal is enough to bring LTE Nirvana. Sometimes not.

You are never going to get blood out of a turnip, but before throwing in the towel, there are a few simple things that you can do to try to get a little more from your booster.

Change The Outside Antenna

One of the simplest things that you can do to get more coverage from your booster is to replace the outside antenna with one that has a little more oomph. If you have an omnidirectional outdoor antenna like this one:

Exterior Omni Antenna

You can easily replace it with the Yagi directional version of that antenna and aim it towards the nearest cell phone tower to get a lot more “bang for your buck.”

SureCall SC-231W wide band directional antenna

There are a few online tools that you can use to find your nearest cell phone tower. All you have to do is aim your new antenna towards the tower, or use this handy Signal Meter to help you dial it in for max signal gain.

Get Rid Of Excess Cable

Every cell phone signal booster kit comes with the necessary cable for installation. Sometimes, the pre-terminated cable that comes with your booster is longer than you need. In those cases, you will likely end up with a coil of extra cable. Cutting off this extra cable and re-terminating the connector is a great way to remove extra loss. Removing this extra loss will help to increase the overall booster performance. This is a great cell signal booster hack that costs very little to implement.

To shorten a cable, cut one end off at the desired length. Strip back the shield and the foil or braid, and crimp on a new connector. It’s really pretty easy to do. For a standard Fusion4Home Omni/Whip Kit, the included 50-feet of RG-6 cable can cause about 3.5 dB of loss (@ 1000 MHz). Cutting that cable in half will reduce that loss by half. Just to give you an idea, removing 6db of loss will double your coverage area.

 

Upgrade The Cable

Another of the great cell signal booster hacks is to upgrade the cable in the system. If you have installed your booster using cheaper RG-6 coaxial cable, you can almost halve the amount of loss by changing out the cable with a lower loss cable like RG-11. For example, with the Fusion2Go 3.0 RV Kit, you could get an increased 2-3 dB of signal over the 40-foot length by replacing that cable with a better low-loss cable like SC-400.

Fusion2Go 3.0 RV Antenna Cable

SureCall 400 Black Coax Cable 100 foot SC-001-100

Cable replacement isn’t the easiest or cheapest way to increase your booster system’s performance, but it is a really great hack that shouldn’t be overlooked.

Replace The Inside Antenna

The last of the cell signal booster hacks that I will share in this post is that of replacing the indoor antenna. Replacing the indoor antenna with a dome or panel antenna isn’t always feasible. But, in situations where it is possible without causing oscillation, replacing an indoor whip antenna like the one included in the Fusion4Home Panel/Whip kit with a directional indoor antenna can provide an additional 6-7 dB of gain.

Fusion2Go 3.0 RV Interior Whip Antenna

SureCall Wide Band Panel Antenna SC-248W

As a reminder, 6 dB of gain should DOUBLE your coverage area.

Summary

In summation, reducing cable loss whenever possible and changing out antennas for better, higher-gain antennas are great ways to increase booster performance. If these little hacks don’t help, then you could always get a better amplifier. There’s tons of different options out there!

If you need any help figuring this stuff out, just drop me an email to contact@cellbooster.us and I will be happy to help you figure it all out. Thanks for stopping by!

– Rob

Now Selling RF Explorer Handheld Spectrum Analyzers

We are proud to announce that we are now officially selling the entire line of RF Explorer handheld spectrum analyzers and signal generators. RF Explorer manufactures a very affordable hand-held spectrum analyzer that fits into any budget… and now you can get one directly from us! Spectrum analyzers are a great way to measure your cell phone signal strength levels (or other RF signals) to see how strong or weak they are being received. (More about that later.)

What is a Spectrum Analyzer anyway?

Rohde & Schwarz Spectrum Analyzer
Rohde & Schwarz Spectrum Analyzer
I thought you’d never ask! You’ll find the official Wikipedia definition of spectrum analyzer here. But to paraphrase, (and save you 30 minutes of your life that you will never get back) a spectrum analyzer is a nifty little device that lets you “see” what RF frequencies around you are doing. It takes the RF energy that it receives from the connected antenna and outputs that information on a visual display. This display gives you visual representation of how strongly or weakly the RF frequency that you are looking at is being received at the antenna of the spectrum analyzer. It can also give you a bunch of other readings that are helpful if you are a true RF geek.

In other words, a spectrum analyzer basically gives you a visual readout of whatever frequencies exist in the range that you have specified and the strength of the RF received at those frequencies. If that doesn’t make sense, you might need to brush up on your RF skills by quickly skimming through this article titled “What Frequency Does My Cell Phone Use” that I wrote a while ago about RF.

Why Do I Need a Spectrum Analyzer?

It’s a tool. You never need an excuse to have another tool. In fact, I’m usually looking for excuses to justify the purchase of a new tool. In fact, just last week I needed to dig a really deep hole for a basketball hoop that I was putting in for the kids. For some reason, I didn’t have a digging bar in my pathetic arsenal of tools. I could have borrowed one from a friend, he even offered it to me… but I decided to get my own (thanks anyway, Tyler)… because it’s a TOOL and I needed one. Tools are awesome! You can never have enough tools.

RF Explorer Handheld Spectrum Analyzers

Anyways, if you are looking for reasons to own one of these spectrum analyzers, here’s a list of reasons you might need one:

List of Reasons:
  1. It is a tool (see above).
  2. It’s basically the only way there is to measure (RFI) radio frequency interference. I can double check to see if that radio tower behind my house is broadcasting within their licensed power limit and bandwidth.
  3. Using one before installing a cellphone signal booster can give you an idea of where is the best location to put your outside antenna. It can also give you a good idea of where the cellular dead zones are in your house or building.
  4. It can be a troubleshooting tool to help you identify faulty devices. For example, If my laptop gets a terrible wifi connection I might assume that my wifi access point is bad. But if I take a reading with the spectrum analyzer and notice that it gets a good reading on the wifi band, I might have to blame my laptop instead.
  5. All kinds of sweet electronics projects.
  6. If I notice that my wifi always takes a dive when I fire up the microwave to warm up my frozen burrito, then I could use one of my nifty RF Explorer handheld spectrum analyzers to verify that my microwave isn’t properly shielded and that it’s been bombarding me with radiation.
  7. I could verify if my neighbor is transmitting his own pirate radio station.
  8. I could use one to sweep my house for wireless transmitting bugs (put on your tinfoil hat) to see if the FBI is using wireless technologies to monitor my private conversations.

In all seriousness though, with almost everything now days becoming wireless, having a good tool to measure those frequencies is really worth having around when you need it. RF is very complex and dealing with it is only feasible if you have the right tool in hand.

Why RF Explorer Handheld Spectrum Analyzers?

RF Explorer Handheld Spectrum Analyzers

 

For as long as I can remember, spectrum analyzers have always been super expensive. Like, many thousands of dollars. Even refurbished, used spectrum analyzers have traditionally been 1-3 thousand dollars. And they have traditionally been HUGE too. Like, take up the entire desk huge. And traditionally, operating a network analyzer required a degree in nerd to be able to do anything more than just turn them on.

That is what makes the RF Explorer handheld spectrum analyzers so amazing! They offer 90% of the features that their expensive big brothers do at about 5% of the cost. They are also much smaller, super portable compared to the ginormous expensive ones. Also, they can run for hours on a single battery charge. The “portable” versions of the expensive network analyzers are still comparatively massive.

I’m amazed at how well they function and I’m totally recommending them for anyone that would like to elevate their RF ninja status to expert level.

Conclusion

Don’t forget that I am more than happy to sell you some of my RF Explorer handheld spectrum analyzers here in my store. ****LINK TO STORE****

If you have any questions about the capabilities of any of the RF Explorer products that we carry,( or anything else for that matter) please feel free to drop me an email to contact@cellbooster.us and I’ll get back to you as soon as I can. As always, thanks for stopping by!

– Rob

SureCall Fusion2Go 3.0 RV vs weBoost Drive 4G-X RV

SureCall Fusion2Go 3.0 RV vs weBoost Drive 4G-X RV
Photo by Alan Caldwell from Pexels

A few days ago, I had the opportunity to compare the SureCall Fusion2Go 3.0 RV vs weBoost Drive 4G-X RV. We tested both RV kits at a location we found with terrible cell phone reception.

I temporarily installed both booster kits and made a series of test calls and data speed tests to see if one booster would perform better than the other. I had a friend there to help me film the results, and I was pretty surprised at the difference in performance.

Here’s a quick teaser video that gives a briefer overview of the test results:

Test Procedure

We used the following procedures to compare the SureCall Fusion2Go 3.0 RV vs weBoost Drive 4G-X RV kits.

  • I mounted both the SureCall and the weBoost antenna to the ladder on the back of the RV.

The SureCall antenna mounting kit was better suited for the smaller diameter of the ladder rails on this particular RV. Because the nuts ran all the way to the end on the U-bolts that came with the weBoost outdoor antenna, it wasn’t quite enough to secure the antenna to the ladder. On the other hand, the U-bolts that came with the SureCall outdoor antenna had more room. I was able to firmly secure the antenna to the ladder with the SureCall U-bolts.

  • I ran the wires to a centrally-located area in the RV.

Because this was just a temporary test (I didn’t want to drill any holes into the side of the RV that I borrowed from a friend), I did a really quick, rough installation by running the wires along the top of the RV and then poking them through the kitchen window.

  • I plugged the devices in, one at a time and made a few phone calls and then ran several bandwidth tests using the “speedtest.net” app.

For the tests in this video, I made sure that the phone was the same distance away from the inside antenna for each booster. Then, I performed the download tests 5 times and the average speeds of those 5 tests are the mentioned numbers.

  • Different antennas were tried in differing configurations to see which one gave the best performance.

First, we tried both boosters with their configuration out of the box. Then, we tried differing configurations. The different tests and their results are outlined below in greater detail.

Test Results

  • Test 1: Out of the Box.

First, I tested the boosters as they come out of the box. In this test, the Fusion2Go 3.0 RV beat out the weBoost Drive 4G-X Rv with a download speed of 2.85 Mbps and completed all 5 tests. The Drive 4G-X RV failed 3 tests and came in with a download speed of 1.66.

SureCall – 2.85 Mbps Download and .18 Mbps Upload.

weBoost – 1.66 Mbps Download and .03 Mbps Upload.

  • Test 2: Optional Antennas SureCall.

Next, I tested the optional antenna that came with the Fusion2Go 3.0 RV. It actually beat the previous results with a 3.97 Mbps Download .29 Mbps Upload. The Drive 4G-X RV does not come with any additional antennas so I had nothing to compare here.

SureCall – 3.97 Mbps Download .29 Mbps Upload.

weBoost – This booster comes with only one antenna.

  • Test 3: Stationary Yagi Antenna SureCall

Finally I tested the two boosters with a higher gain Yagi antenna. Again, the SureCall Fusion2Go 3.0 RV beat the weBoost Drive 4G-X RV hands down with a whopping 18.7 Mbps download speed over the 3.43 Mbps down that weBoost provided.

SureCall – 18.7 Mbps Download .87 Upload.

weBoost – 3.43 Mbps Download .05 Upload.

The Full Video

Here’s the lengthier video comparison:

My Conclusions

For me, performance is the most important factor to consider when comparing cell phone signal boosters. The results of this test were very clear. When comparing the SureCall Fusion2Go 3.0 RV vs weBoost Drive 4G-X RV, the SureCall Fusion2Go 3.0 RV kit is the undisputed champion. The SureCall Fusion2Go 3.0 RV Kit clearly out-performed the weBoost Drive 4G-X RV Kit.

Fusion2Go 3.0 RV Kit

So, If you are looking for a reliable cell phone signal booster for an RV, I would definitely recommend the SureCall Fusion2Go 3.0 RV cell phone signal booster kit. In my tests, I found that it easily outperformed the WeBoost Drive 4G-X RV booster.

If you are looking for the vehicle cell phone signal booster that I tested in this video, you can find the Fusion2Go 3.0 RV Kit here in my store.

As always, if you have any questions or need help in figuring out which cell phone signal booster is right for your situation, please feel free to drop me an email to rob@cellbooster.us. I love this stuff and I’m always happy to help out!

Thanks for stopping by!

-Rob

SureCall Fusion5x 2.0

Recently, SureCall released a new and improved version of their Fusion5X cell phone signal booster… creatively called the Fusion5X 2.0. The Fusion5X 2.0 is part of SureCall’s line-up of products for midsize-to-large homes and offices. The original Fusion5X has been discontinued and replaced with the Fusion5X 2.0.

The major difference between the Fusion5X 2.0 and the previous is that the newer has much higher downlink power. Because of this increased downlink power, the Fusion5X 2.0 has the ability to cover about double the area of the original. Not only does it cover more area than its predecessor, but the Fusion5X 2.0 can also cover double the area of it’s closest competitor.

What is Downlink Power Anyway?

The downlink is the signal that the cell phone receives from the cell phone tower. Now, the Fusion5X 2.0 is capable of up to +16 dBm of downlink power. Most competitor products, and the previous Fusion5X model are only capable of +10 dBm of downlink power. So, this new Fusion5X booster has +6 dBm higher downlink power than anything comparitive on the market.

So, what does an extra +6 dBm get you? In theory, it will give you about twice the coverage area. That means more of your home or office area will be swimming in great cell phone signal. Of course, like with all cell phone signal boosters, you will need to have as good an outside signal as possible to truly take advantage of all the gain and potential that the Fusion5X can provide.

Other Features

The SureCall Fusion5x 2.0 has what SureCall is now calling SureIQ technology. Basically, SureIQ technology is a fancy new version of the internal software that allows the booster to perform better in urban environments. This new technology prevents the booster from prematurely shutting down or backing off power when it’s not absolutely necessary. It uses a better method of self-adjustment that works constantly in the background to make sure that you are getting the most out of your signal booster.

Also, the Fusion5X 2.0 is compatible with the SureCall Sentry monitoring system. The Sentry system allows for remote control and monitoring of the cell phone signal booster’s performance and status.

Where to Use

SureCall Fusion5X Omni 4 Panel Diagram SC-Poly5X-72-OP4-Kit

SureCall Fusion5X Omni 4 Dome Diagram SC-Poly5X-72-OD4-Kit

The SureCall Fusion5X 2.0 is a great booster for mid-size to large offices and homes. Conveniently, this booster is available in several different kits, depending on the area that you are trying to cover. These kits come with all the antennas, splitters and cables that you will need for a complete install.

The kits come with either an Omni or a Yagi outdoor antenna, and options for either one or four indoor panel or dome antennas. While SureCall will no longer tell you a square footage that this Fusion5X kit will cover, past spec sheets have placed the amount of square footage in the range of “up to 20,000 square feet.” And with the extra +6 dBm of downlink power, it is feasible that this Fusion5X 2.0 booster could cover up to 40,000 square feet.

Different Fusion5X 2.0 Kits

 

Do you have an application that you think might be a fit for the Fusion5X 2.0? I’d be more than happy to sell you one here in my online store. If you have any questions or concerns, I would love to hear from you. Drop me an email to contact@cellbooster.us and I’m always happy to help out where I can.

As always, thanks for stopping by!

– Rob

SureCall Fusion2Go 3.0 vs WeBoost Drive 4G-X

Recently, SureCall announced the release of their new Fusion2Go 3.0 mobile cell phone signal booster. Normally, a company releasing a new version of a product wouldn’t be that big of a deal. But when the Fusion2Go 3.0 came out, the folks at SureCall knew that they had really hit a home run. So, they hired an independent lab, CKC Laboratories, to run a detailed comparison of their new Fusion2Go 3.0 booster against the more popular WeBoost Drive 4G-X. The results were pretty awesome! As a nerd, I see this as a sort of virtual MMA fight. A virtual bout that I am inventively calling SureCall Fusion2Go 3.0 vs WeBoost Drive 4G-X.

SureCall Fusion2Go 3.0 vs WeBoost Drive 4G-X
SureCall Fusion2Go 3.0 vs WeBoost Drive 4G-X

With the deep booming voice of a ring fight announcer:

“In this corner… wearing red trunks, formerly known as Wilson Electronics. Hailing from the southwest corner of the state of Utah, the WeBoost Drive 4G-X.”

“In the opposite corner… wearing teal trunks, with an amazing backstory of fulfilling the American Dream, the SureCall Fusion2Go 3.0”

Then the “Let’s Get Ready to Rumble” guy, who by the way, has made over $400 million for trademarking the phrase says,  “Let’s get ready to rumbllllle!!!!”

If you head over to the neat little raiseyourbars.surecall.com best vehicle page that SureCall set up, you can see a brief overview of the comparison test results. If you’re a total nerd, like me, you can enter your email address and download the complete report. I did. It’s 51 pages of complete nerdvana. Therefore, it’s interesting to only the biggest of RF nerds.

Lab Results

Independent lab testing of SureCall Fusion2Go 3.0 vs WeBoost Drive 4G-X

With the right amount of caffeine, I was able to make it through all 51 pages of the report. These two amplifiers (or signal boosters) were both given the same 8 tests in identical environments. The results of each of these tests would provide real insight into the actual performance capabilities of each signal booster. You are welcome to go over the test results if you want, but I’m going to paraphrase it all below.

WARNING! Things are about to get technical!

The different tests were:
  • Downlink ripple in the pass band – which, as the name would suggest, tests the amount of ripple in the pass band. A lower ripple is desired. Lower ripple means that the booster is more evenly amplifying all frequencies in the frequency band being tested. Winner = Fusion2Go 3.0
  • Output power uplink – measures the output power for the signal from the booster back to the cell phone tower. Better uplink power means you can get a better connection further away from the cell tower. Winner = Fusion2Go 3.0
  • Downlink EVM – measures the Error Vector Magnitude of each RF path received from the cell phone tower. Basically,  the EVM is the difference between the expected signal and the received signal. A lower EVM percentage is more desirable. Winner = Fusion2Go 3.0
  • Uplink EVM – the same test as above, but it measures the EVM in the direction of the signal from the booster to the cell phone tower. Winner = Fusion2Go 3.0
  • Uplink sensitivity – measures how well the booster works at really low signal levels. The signal was turned down until the EVM reached 13.5% for each amplifier. Lower sensitivity is better. Winner = Fusion2Go 3.0
  • Uplink adjacent channel power – measures how much of the amplified signal “spills into” the neighboring channel’s path. The amplifier that can get to higher power and still remain within spec is better. Winner = Fusion2Go 3.0
  • Uplink mask emission – measures the uplink signal and verifies that it is operating within the emission limits. This is a pass/fail kind of test. But SureCall passed at at higher power level. Winner = Fusion2Go 3.0
  • Intermodulation – measures output power of the booster at two-tone input signals where the intermodulation products of those tones are operating at the FCC consumer limit. Higher power at limit is better. Winner = Fusion2Go 3.0

Real World Results

Clearly, test results in a lab don’t always equate to better results in real-world applications. I know that a while ago I tested the Fusion2Go 2.0 booster at a remote cabin location and I was greatly impressed with the results. It would seem logical that with much better test results, the Fusion2Go 3.0 amplifier would do even better, right?

I have every intention to create a comparison video of my own to compare the SureCall Fusion2Go 3.0 vs WeBoost Drive 4G-X as soon as I get some free time. But for now, I found a SureCall comparison video that beat me to it. Check it out!

 

My Thoughts

Fusion2Go 3.0 winner in Fusion2Go 3.0 vs WeBoost Drive 4G-X matchup
Fusion2Go 3.0 winner in Fusion2Go 3.0 vs WeBoost Drive 4G-X matchup

So, who wins in this virtual matchup of the SureCall Fusion2Go 3.0 vs WeBoost Drive 4G-X? Clearly, looking at all the evidence above, the SureCall Fusion2Go 3.0 is the unanimous winner. I was pretty impressed by the test results. I’m super excited to break out my fancy network analyzer and do some independent testing of my own.

If you’re sick of dropped calls, dead zones and terrible data speeds and you’d like to stay connected while on the road, the SureCall Fusion2Go 3.0 Kit is the best mobile cell phone signal booster on the market. Don’t forget that I am always happy to sell one to you in my online shop here!

If you have any questions about any of the products that we sell, I’m always happy to help out. Just drop me an email to contact@cellbooster.us and I’ll get back to you as soon as I am able.

As always, thanks for stopping by!

– Rob