LTE 4G Aerial Installation on a Motorhome

The moment I’ve been waiting for, for a few weeks now, came today.

I have been testing the system over the last week or so and been getting some good throughput  but my son ( a tech person) suggested last weekend that if the router supported two aerials, get another one and install it. I think he’s right as the throughput is amazing.

The aerials and bits all over the table
The aerials and bits all over the table before starting.
The Truma panel with the TV wiring behind
The Truma panel with the TV wiring behind

I took the van up to Vantage RV at Silverdale this morning and Phil got right onto it. Using the TV for a power source as the wiring was easily accessible and installing a Dethleff switch to match the others in the van.

The switch all done
The switch all done

Then on went the aerials. The aerials need to spread apart if you have more than one so they don’t interfere with each other. Something to do with the wave they have and the rule of thumb is 1.5 times the height of the aerials apart minimum. Ours are much more than that anyway.

Click on the images to see Hi Res or a slideshow

After a couple of hours of running conduit, screwing it onto the roof and setting it up, we fired it up and in the industrial part of Silverdale, this was the result:

Test Date: 27/04/2016 10:39 AM
Download: 29.91 Mbps
Upload: 17.48 Mbps
Ping: 46 ms
Connection Type: Wi-Fi
Server: Auckland
http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&q=-36.626536,174.676301

Later when I got back to Milford and parked up. I tried again.

Test Date: 27/04/2016 12:02 PM
Download: 34.55 Mbps
Upload: 17.77 Mbps
Ping: 56 ms
Connection Type: Wi-Fi
Server: Auckland
http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&q=-36.767335,174.765883

Both tests showed only 3 bars out of 5 for 4G reception so it can only get better but given that ADSL mostly averages around 5 – 6mbs download and we’re getting 34 mb plus, its pretty impressive all the same.

Phil on the roof setting up the aerials
Phil on the roof setting up the aerials

Now the data package.  After searching high and low for weeks looking for someone who could do mobile cellular without any geographic constraints (like Skinny) or being in a fixed position, (like RBI), I got onto Netspeed in Dunedin.  They were happy to provide me mobile data as long as I used one of their routers which they provided by courier. They assured me it worked at 12v and there would be no problem with the fluctuating voltage from either the solar panels or the alternator and this has all worked faultlessly.The whole thing was setup in a blink (by me) and there were no issues at all.

The day after I received the router, we were meeting friends up at Mahurangi West (Sullivans Bay) and even there where you can’t get a cell phone signal, Fiona was able to watch Netflix movies on her Ipad with no issues and that was without an aerial.
See the Blog I did on Sullivans Bay.

The end result
The end result

So we’re all setup for fast broadband on the road.
I’m impressed and very happy with the setup.

Hmm. It’s that smell again.

One thing about Rotorua is your nose tells you when you’ve arrived. It’s that unmistakeable smell of the sulphur.  It’s has been a while since we’ve been here so it was nice to hear that our friends, Gary and Dianne from Taupo,  were heading that way too and funnily enough had intended to stay at the same place.

We arrived early in the afternoon on Friday and headed to the Ngongotaha NZMCA park. A fabulous spot with a bit of a view of the lake from an elevated platform which used to be a sale yard.

The view from the park with a peep of the lake.
The view from the park with a peep of the lake.

The local committee have done a great job turning this into one of the NZMCA’s premier spots to stay. It has full recycling of rubbish, a dump station and fresh water and is huge. A nice grassed area at the back for the kids to play in (or grandkids) and lots if trees.

They have even very thoughtfully signposted where not to park if you don’t want to lose your satellite tv signal 🤓 A really nice touch!

After settling down with Rafe, opening some vents and meeting the neighbours, I wandered over to the back of the park where several Traillites were parked up. Some really nice people  who I later had a drink with. They were from Cambridge and were on a group trip to some hot springs over by Whakatane. From what they were saying, it sounds like a great spot. Somewhere we’ll have to check out sometime soon.

"Traillite Corner"
“Traillite Corner”

Early the next morning, Peter, one of the Cambridge group from “Traillite corner ” as I named it 😊 Popped over to see my temporarily installed Internet and I gave him all the info on how to and where to get it.

A foggy start
A foggy start

Not long after they left with their friends, Dianne arrived in her car and then Gary with Luka their Grandson in the XLI.

After cups of tea and a catch up, we went in Diannes car into Rotovegas for lunch and a look around the shops as you do.

Fiona bought me some new clobber from Katmandu, some nice shirts and a couple of pairs of shorts and Gary was checking out lawn mowers.

A couple of hours later and we were back at the Ngongotaha park sitting outside have a few cold ones. It’s definitely no longer summer so we ended up with Gary, Dianne and Luka in the XLI having a nice tea.

Sundowners at Ngongotaha
Sundowners at Ngongotaha

The  last time we stopped at Ngongotaha park, it had just opened and was pretty barren but the committee here have done a great job of making it one if the better places to stay.

 

Softer underfoot with the finishing touchs

We were heading to Rotovegas for Anzac weekend and the carpet was ready. It needed to be collected. You can see the carpet layer at work here.

Looking forward
Looking forward

Although it was held up a week by the school holidays, it was well worth the wait. The result was stunning.

After picking them up in the car from Albany and after a quick vacuum clean of the floor, I set out the carpet into their relevant places. There is nothing better than new carpet, especially when it fits well.

By the shower
By the shower

As we headed down to Rotovegas, we both agreed that the whole van sounded a bit quieter but the feel underfoot was sensational.

Digital Art

Over the last few years, I’ve been grabbing the odd piccie during my travels around and just tucking them away.
I did at one stage sell prints from them  through a few local Devonport Galleries and although it went reasonably well,  it wasn’t ever really something you could live off.

Muriwai Beach
Muriwai Beach

These images are literally lurking in far off directories on back up removable drives and have generally been getting in the way. This is just a small selection of them.  More can be seen here

Click on the gallery below to see them in a Slideshow.
All images are protected by copyright.

I am putting these online so those who want them can buy sensibly priced prints off them. The shopping cart isn’t configured yet but will be soon. 🙂

All the South Island images were taken when we took our wee caravan “Wee Rafe” around Otago and beyond in early 2014. The Europe images were taken when we went on a Canal boat trip and bus tour through Italy and France in 2010.

2027One last one of Burano to finish off with.

Enjoy

 

The Ultimate test for Wifi

My friend Rob rang me out if the blue the other day, to say he was standing by our Motorhome outside our house and was gasping for a cup of coffee!
Not long after we were sitting on our deck in Milford, coffees in hand, and planning the weekend. Rob and Helen were keen to head to Sullivan’s Bay, Mahurangi. The forecast was the only niggle but as the week went by, but the forecast changed and we were on.
On Friday, a package arrived in my letterbox from Dunedin. It was my new Wifi 4g router for Rafe. A bit of a gamble as I’ve been hanging out for a NZMCA system that is in the pipeline.

The new Router
The new Router

The router is a little beauty as it runs on 12v, has the usual Ethernet ports, supports external aerials and best of all, is reasonably priced. This is the first broadband priced system that I have found that will work in a Motorhome. To say I couldn’t get the package opened fast enough was an understatement!
I plugged it in with the 240v transformer that comes with it and I was immediately able to connect to it and was surfing the web. Even though, I’m pretty tech savvy, this rarely happens so I was impressed.

The next day as we headed north to Sullivan’s bay to meet Rob, Helen and Chloe, we stopped at the Silverdale Pak n save for a few groceries. While Fiona went in, I was keen to give the router a go while were in a coverage area. I plugged it in with our newly soldered 12v temporary ciggy plug and away it went. I was surfing at a phenomenal speed in the carpark!
After loading the fridge and cupboards with goodies, we were off.
As we headed north to Sullivan’s, the forecast on the radio had changed dramatically and it was awful. Heavy rain and lots of wind from the east, perfect for Sullivan’s Bay 🤔🍷🌂 !(Sullivan’s faces into the east )

Despite the miserable weather, being the first weekend of the school holidays, there were quite a few campers and plenty of day trippers enjoying the beach and foreshore. Sullivan’s is always good and it doesn’t really matter about the weather when you have good company.

Its place above the door
Its place above the door

Having been here before, I knew that a cellphone signal was hopeless unless you were virtually paddling on the beach so had prepared myself for a no network situation and no playing routers.

wifiAfter settling down Rafe, in went the ciggy plug and we plonked the router temporarily above Rafes doorway inside. It was away. We had three bars out of five of 3G data streaming in an area where you can’t normally get a cell signal with no external aerials.. Amazing! The throughput wasn’t that flash ( nowhere near as fast as Silverdale’s 4g ) but it worked and for an area with no cell signal, a fantastic result.

wifiFiona later hooked in with Netflix and watched a movie. Even the ranger was excited about it and poked his head in the door for a look!

A fairly gloomy looking Sullivans Bay. Definitely movie time
A fairly gloomy looking Sullivans Bay. Definitely movie time

Now we need to get serious about installing it properly so I’ve booked in to my favourite installers at Vantage RV to get an external aerial installed so we can get the best out of it. For an area like Sullivan’s which is well known for bad cell service, a great result.

Rob and Chloe logged in from their van three parks away and on the other side of another Motorhome so that was good too.
Later we had Fiona’s homemade buttered chicken with Rob, Helen and Chloe.

Us on the left. Rob and Helen on the right and a visitor from Hawkes Bay in between.
Us on the left. Rob and Helen on the right and a visitor from Hawkes Bay in between.

Just give you an idea with the broadband, I speed tested it tonight with 4g and got 13 Mbps down and nearly 7 up. Pretty fast with no aerials and we’re talking over 100gigs a month for under $100!
A successful day and I’ll post more on this soon as we install it permanently next week, and do a few more tests on it with aerials, but I can’t fault it so far.

A few hidden surprises

Huntly is another town that has a few hidden surprises up its sleeve. I was keen to see what the holiday park looked like on the edge of Lake Hakanoa. 

Lake Hakanoa
Lake Hakanoa

Yep, Huntly has its very own lake with a Holiday park on the edge. It all looks very nice. We didn’t go in but stopped for lunch in the park next to the lake. The council have set it up well with nice planting and paths. I’m not a big bird watcher but there were some pretty unusual looking ones there apart from the swans. 

Lake Hakanoa
Lake Hakanoa

After lunch and a cup of tea, we headed off to another parking spot, I was keen to try on the edge of the Waikato river, the Huntly golf club. 

Click on the images to see hi res or the Gallery below for a slide show

Our motorhoming friends Rob and Helen are the golf club experts and have stayed at lots but this was our first ever golf course and it looked like a purler! As we arrived, I got talking to a local who was keen for me to spread the word about motorhoming here as they’re keen to promote it. 

Huntly$10 including power and the use of their toilets and showers which I thought was very good value.  After plugging in and settling things down, we went for a walk through the golf course and went right across to the Waikato river. It was a bit grey and gloomy but still nice to be near the water.

Waikato River
Waikato River

After an hour or so, the last player finished and we were on our own.  Another great spot, not too far from home!

Looking over lake Waikare

After a couple of nights catching up with our grandchildren in Ardmore, it was time to head off and check out some places we haven’t stopped at before but seen in the NZMCA bible. We did a quick visit to the Papakura dump station to empty the tanks and as we arrived, there was a mattress vanner, on his knees at the dump station washing his dishes under the tap! I’ve seen it all. Unbelievable! 

Look at that view
Look at that view

 With that, we headed of down the motorway south. We turned off at Te Kawhata and slowly made our way to the Te Kawahata domain where there are two big fields and a huge carpark with power points for Motorhomers dotted around the outside. You have the choice of staying on grass or asphalt. There is power, toilets, a dump station and fresh water as well, all for a donation of $5! 

We pulled up at the edge of one field close to a power point where we were looking over Lake Waikare. The lake is massive and unless you’ve had a good look at the map, driving past through Rangiriri, you’d never know it was there.

One of the many mattress vans there.
One of the many mattress vans there.

There were two or three other vans there, all mattress vans but a Britz Motorhome turned up a bit later. 

Fiona and I went for a walk into the township, only two blocks away to check it all out. Being Sunday, most things were shut so it was very quiet. An Indian takeaway, a pub, a 4 square. All the things a good Motorhomer needs 😎. 

Te Kauwhata's main street
Te Kauwhata’s main street

We headed back to Rafe and watched some TV and later, crashed. The only noise in the night was the siren for the volunteer fire brigade. A nice quiet night and although we found skid marks in the middle of the field the next day, it did feel safe. In the morning we went for a drive around lake Waikare to check it out, it’s huge.

Lake Waikare from further up the road
Lake Waikare from further up the road

Another one of those places that we tend to drive last and not give a thought about but a nice easy place to stay and at the best price!