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Monday, October 8, 2012

Good things come from bad things

We are at Cape Disappointment State Park for three nights.  This was originally planned to be a longer test of the RV and associated items to make sure we had fully recovered from our recent robbery.

One of the things that was taken was my cell phone booster.  It was a nice system from a Canadian company called Smoothtalker and it worked marginally from here.  With the extra antennas and all, I had over $600 invested in it.

I went to replace it and found a better system from Wilson.  I have tried other Wilson products here at Cape Disappointment with very poor results.  But this new system is working great!  And it is $150 or so cheaper that the current Smoothtalker system.

My old system would only work with one phone at a time and the new one works with any phone within 2500 sq. ft. of the internal antenna.  I’m getting about 2 bars of 3g signal now where my old system would get 1-2 bars of 1x.  So this is a great improvement.


Above you can see my external omnidirectional antenna that I have about 20’ feet up in the air.


The picture above is of the actual amplifier that sits inside.  This unit does two different frequencies so it covers just about any cell phone system and you can control the gain on each one individually.  There is also a 6”by 7” internal antenna that provides a virtual cell tower inside the RV for the phones to use.

We planned to stay here 3 nights but something else has come up.  I am a state observer for high school football games.  Occasionally I am asked to go and watch a game and evaluate the performance of the officials and provide written comments to the state on their performance.  I was just assigned a game to observe that is about half-way between here and home.  So we are extending our stay here 1 more night and then will move the RV close to the game location on Friday morning.  Saturday morning we will make a quick dash home so that I can work my varsity game Saturday afternoon.

Meanwhile I will need to make a quick visit home, probably on Wednesday, to get the items I need to do the evaluation.

Next week I will need to make some modifications to the RV to more permanently mount this cell phone booster system.  It will be nice when it is all done and should stay that way, assuming the robbers leave it alone!

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

A slow recovery but we are getting there!

As you may have read on Carol’s Blog, back on September 7, our RV was burglarized and we lost anything of value in it.  The list is too long to mention here, but all the electronics (TVs, DVDs, DVRs, etc.) were taken along with bedding, clothing, and miscellaneous other stuff.

We have slowly been putting things back together and re-acquiring what was taken.  We have just about replaced everything except my cell phone booster.  Hope to get that later this week.

We decided to make a one day trip close to home to try everything out.  There were some cut and damaged cables and I found another one just before we left home.  So I fixed that one and we drove up to Columbia River RV Park in Woodland, about 30 miles or so from home.

We did discover two more missing items.  First was the little ear bud I use with my cell phone while in the RV.  That was easily replaced with a trip to Wal-Mart, conveniently located 2 miles from the RV park.  Last night Carol discovered that our laundry bags are also missing.

Other than those items, it appears we are just about recovered.  Most of the electronics has more features and about 50% of what we originally paid for them, so I guess that is a plus.  One of our new DVRs can record 5 programs at once which will be handy.  Our new printer is about twice the size of our old one, but it costs half as much and can also scan/copy which will be nice.

Next week we will try a 3 night trip to Cape Disappointment to see how the phone booster works.  Here’s hoping it does.  The old one costs about $150 more than the new one and it only worked marginally.

This RV park is right on the Columbia River main shipping channel.  We keep hoping to see some large ocean ships, but so far all we see are tugboats and barges.


I use a fee phone app called from that locates my position and tells me what ships are coming along.  I can see details about the ship and also see it positioned on a map.  A neat app if you watch ships.

We stayed at this park many years ago but the park was not near as nice then as now.  All sites are paved, great hookups, and lots of green grass in front before the river.


Now if I can just get a big ship to come by in the next hour before we leave!