Tuesday, 27 September 2011

The Missing Link

Waiouru was always going to have an external internet aerial mounted on the roof and we carefully researched the antenna ‘gain’ and required telephone frequencies before bring with us the aerial off our 4x4.  Prior to us leaving Australia we also purchased a Huawei usb internet dongle which had an external aerial socket and a ‘patchlead’ to connect the dongle to the external aerial.

All this has proved to be a success and we currently get a very good internet signal from the aerial mounted on a pole beside Kelly-Louise.  However, it has proven impossible to get an internet signal inside the boat and the voice signal is also poor.  This started me thinking about how I might improve the mobile phone reception.

To my surprise I discovered our Samsung Galaxy S mobile phone actually has an external aerial socket underneath the back case.  You can see it in the following photo.

Apparently the socket is used by Samsung technicians to test the signal reception.  However it is a functioning antenna socket.  In order to connect the phone to the aerial I needed to find a supplier of a suitable ‘patchlead’.  I know the aerial has a FME socket however the socket on the Samsung appears to be a propriety size and type.

Eventually; and to my surprise; I found two suppliers of a ‘patchlead’ back in Australia.

The lead looks like this

And the socket on the end of the aerial looks like this

I will need to drill a small hole in the back of the phone case to allow me access to the Samsung aerial socket. 

Our current mobile phone plan is with 3 Mobile.  We have selected a pre-paid 15 per month plan which gives us 300 minutes of voice, 3000 text messages and unlimited internet data.  We’re making very few phone calls and sending almost no text messages but the unlimited internet data is something we’d really like to use.  This is because the Samsung mobile can be configured to act as a wireless router.  Now you will understand why I want to improve the Samsung phone reception inside the boat.

It will also enable us to purchase a sim card from another internet provider for the usb dongle.  This will give us alternative internet coverage.

Just to complicate things I’d like to connect both the usb dongle and the Samsung mobile to the external aerial.  This can be achieved by purchasing a FME splitter as shown in the following photo.

But at A$86 I’m not sure if it’s a priority purchase.

So what are we doing at the moment!  Well I’ve used plastic cable ties to mount a 2 litres ice cream container to the pole (see photo below).  I then placed the mobile phone in the ice cream container. Of course I had to eat the ice cream first (a difficult job, but someone had to do it!).  When the phone is in wireless router mode is rapidly consumes battery power so I plugged the Samsung into the 240v using the external charger.  The ice cream container keeps the Samsung out of the rain but the down side is…… I can’t hear any inward calls!

So the patchlead for the mobile phone will allow me to have both the usb dongle and the phone inside the boat and connected to the external aerial.  This will improve the internet and voice reception.  Plus, I will be able to have two separate internet provider signals connected via the same external aerial.

Great theory…….. wonder if it will work! Smile with tongue out


nb Chance said...

Hi Tom, We use the tethering facility on our LG smartphone, similar to the Samsung, and just place it in the window of the boat, we have never had a problem with reception yet since May. Always gives a good wifi internet signal via the tethering facility. Don't know if you have tried this? Doug

Tom and Jan said...

Hi Doug, Maybe we are just unlucky with our moorings but we have experience problems.

I'm looking to achieve a consistantly good signal.