One of the main causes of poor cellphone reception when you’re traveling in an RV is that you may be located far from the nearest cellphone tower. When driving long distances, this is fairly common, since you’ll normally drive into and out of areas where towers are located. When you leave a tower behind, it can mean that you also leave good reception behind.
What can you do when this occurs? If you’re using your cellphone to provide GPS directions in an unfamiliar area, it could be very inconvenient to suddenly lose reception. That could mean you also lose your way and take a wrong turn somewhere that will cost you hours of makeup time. Here are some suggestions about how to improve reception when traveling in an RV.
Of course, if you’re lost, you can always find nearby restaurants, parks and clinics by using this areaguides.net website. But there are even better ways to find out where you are, and you’ll be able to use your cellphone with these methods. Continue reading below to find out how to maximize your cell phone signal, even in areas that fall between towers.
Check with your cellphone provider
The first thing you should do when you experience an outage is to check with your cellphone provider. They may tell you that they don’t service the area you’re currently in, and in that case, you’ll need an alternate plan. However, if they tell you that they do provide service in your area, you may just have to drive a bit further.
That might bring you back into the service area and allow your cellphone to receive the tower signal from a new line of sight. There can also be some obstructions between your location and the cellphone tower. It’s fairly common for tall mountains and hills to interfere with signal transmissions, so you may just have to get past some tall landscape features before you start receiving signals again.
Try a cell phone signal booster
A cell phone signal booster functions by detecting an incoming signal, strengthening it considerably, and then re-broadcasting it to the surrounding location. With regard to increasing signal strength in an RV, there are three primary options you can consider:
- Cradle signal booster: This equipment is capable of boosting the signal for one cellphone at a time, so it may not be the best solution for a family. To use this device, you’ll have to rest your cellphone in a cradle, and it will have a boosted signal while it rests in this cradle. It uses an antenna that you mount somewhere on the RV in order to strengthen any local signal. This is a good option for a single person traveling alone, and it's also very portable. That means you can switch back and forth between your car and your RV, so you can use the booster in both settings.
- 3G RV signal booster kit: This equipment can be installed in your RV permanently, so you can use it every time you travel. When using this kit, you’ll enjoy a much stronger signal, so you’ll have reception from anyplace within your RV. Multiple users can enjoy this stronger signal with no degradation.
- 3G and 4G RV signal booster kit: This option includes all the same features as the previous one, but also offers the opportunity for 4G service. That means you’ll be able to boost the signal for whatever is in your area, and it could even be a high-speed option.
How much do cell phone signal boosters cost?
Since a cell phone signal booster probably represents your best bet for boosting signals regardless of where you are, you’ll need to know about its cost. When you’re planning your next travel adventure, you can then budget that cost into the total expense of the trip, and it will just be part of your anticipated expenses.
The cost of a cell phone signal booster can vary between $200 and $1200, depending on several factors including:
- The number of cellphone carriers supported by the signal booster – devices that only work with a specific carrier will cost less than those that support multiple carriers
- The number of users or devices that the booster will be required to support – it will always cost much less to support a single device rather than multiple devices
- The overall performance of the signal booster
- Ease of installation of the kit itself
- Power capability – the more powerful a booster kit is, the more it will cost
- How much area is covered by the booster kit
How long does installation take?
As a general rule, installation of a cell phone signal booster only takes between 10 and 15 minutes. Once you’ve purchased one, it should be a simple matter to follow the manufacturer’s instructions and start using the booster very quickly. When you find that you have perfect reception no matter where you travel, it will be very worthwhile to have your booster installed. By contrast, installing a signal booster in your home might take several hours, because it requires that you run some coax cable to facilitate the booster.