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Simple TV for AC - stream? Aerial?


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Im thinking of installing (temporarily) a tv on the boat for the AC.  12V tvs are easy enough to come by, but am not sure whether to use mobile data to stream race coverage or to install an aerial for normal TV.

Will all the boats in the same area using the cell sites mean mobile streaming is too slow?

A quick google brings up some small omni-directional antennae. Anyone have any experience on how well these work?

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Poorly. Depends on where you expect to be anchored, but you need to be fairly close to a good signal for a multi directional to work. I would suggest you could make it work in the Auckland Marinas, but I doubt it will from even just Waiheke. And it would have to be line of sight. Any island in the way will likely drop the signal too much.
The next choice is to go for a dish. If you can anchor and have a couple of stern lines so as you can stop the boat moving too much, there are some auto seeking Dish units available for Caravans that are not anywhere near as expensive as the Marine ones. But slightest movement will drop out the signal. Cost still starts at around $900 and go up from there. They do not have verticle seeking, so the boat must remain absolutey stable. The best choice is of course the Marine units. But they are expensive at $2000 to $3000 and on up.

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My advice would be to get a mobile data plan and stream it. As Wheels mentioned and in my experience, TV aerials on boats are a pain in the ass unless you throw considerable loot at it.

As a tip, when we've been cruising in remotish spots, a mobile hotspot gizmo in a bucket pulled up the mast will give you pretty good range and data speed 

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1 hour ago, tuffyluffy said:

My advice would be to get a mobile data plan and stream it. As Wheels mentioned and in my experience, TV aerials on boats are a pain in the ass unless you throw considerable loot at it.

As a tip, when we've been cruising in remotish spots, a mobile hotspot gizmo in a bucket pulled up the mast will give you pretty good range and data speed 

Thanks, thats useful advice

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12 hours ago, Dtwo said:

Been using Wireless Nation for 3 years now, we now have an anchoring system that involves checking that we have 3 green bars.  Be fine for streaming AC I would hope.

Likewise using WN. Keeps whole crew connected 24x7 and never struggled with coverage expect in holes where there literally is no coverage like the blind spots out at Barrier that don't receive Spark or Voda.

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2 hours ago, Clipper said:

I assume wireless nation work s better than just hotspotting a mobile? Why? Is there a mounted antenna?

Wireless Nation mobile plans use the Spark Network via an MVNO agreement.  Any number of devices on the market can have an external antennas attached which will increase the range.

RBI connectivity uses 4G on the mobile network but can be carrier independent depending on where you are, it is typically set up with uni-directional antennas, such as a Yagi, resulting in maximum signal strength.  Uni directional is no good for a boat unless it's auto tracking - which is mega bucks.  RBI can and does work with omni directional antennas.  You aren't contractually allowed to move your RBI base station around willy nilly, it's priced to be a replacement for your fixed wire broadband and isn't intended to be used as a mobile service.  Technically your carrier may or may not detect or limit this, I believe that most lock you to a specific tower or two.

Fundamentally there is no difference to a Mobile Nation mobile hotspot or a Spark Mobile Hotspot.

For what you are looking to do, I would recommend a battery pack and a QUALITY phone in a dry bag hung off the pushpit, if you wanted to see if you could extend the coverage you could hoist it up the mast.

We have one of these units on board with it's own SIMM which is connected to the B&G wifi, this provides us with "Boat-Wifi".  I have mounted it at the top of a bulk head, have never not been able to get coverage on my phone and not the boat-wifi, often it's the opposite.  This is more a function of the boat-wif being left in one place, not having hands blocking the signal, not being put under a pillow, etc, than the fact it's any better than a phone, infact it is identical signal strength wise to a phone. I have not opted to install external antennas, but it has plugs for external MIMO antennas which would improve connectivity.

You're welcome to look at our set up - but if boat wifi isn't a permanent fixture you want then this is probably overkill.

 

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On 30/09/2020 at 3:29 PM, CarpeDiem said:

Wireless Nation mobile plans use the Spark Network via an MVNO agreement.  Any number of devices on the market can have an external antennas attached which will increase the range.

RBI connectivity uses 4G on the mobile network but can be carrier independent depending on where you are, it is typically set up with uni-directional antennas, such as a Yagi, resulting in maximum signal strength.  Uni directional is no good for a boat unless it's auto tracking - which is mega bucks.  RBI can and does work with omni directional antennas.  You aren't contractually allowed to move your RBI base station around willy nilly, it's priced to be a replacement for your fixed wire broadband and isn't intended to be used as a mobile service.  Technically your carrier may or may not detect or limit this, I believe that most lock you to a specific tower or two.

Fundamentally there is no difference to a Mobile Nation mobile hotspot or a Spark Mobile Hotspot.

For what you are looking to do, I would recommend a battery pack and a QUALITY phone in a dry bag hung off the pushpit, if you wanted to see if you could extend the coverage you could hoist it up the mast.

We have one of these units on board with it's own SIMM which is connected to the B&G wifi, this provides us with "Boat-Wifi".  I have mounted it at the top of a bulk head, have never not been able to get coverage on my phone and not the boat-wifi, often it's the opposite.  This is more a function of the boat-wif being left in one place, not having hands blocking the signal, not being put under a pillow, etc, than the fact it's any better than a phone, infact it is identical signal strength wise to a phone. I have not opted to install external antennas, but it has plugs for external MIMO antennas which would improve connectivity.

You're welcome to look at our set up - but if boat wifi isn't a permanent fixture you want then this is probably overkill.

 

Don't agree with a couple of these statements:

- in my experience the WN modem exceeds the performance of a phone, in both reception and streaming capabilty.  The modem sits on the chart table and provides excellent coverage most of the time.  There are black spots in some places.

- we have been cruising around on the boat using WN.  It is sold to the Motor Caravan Association, who are mobile.  I have never seen anything to suggest I am not able to travel with my WN modem and I would suggest it would be unlikely that they would be advertising and selling something that wasn't able to be moved.

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48 minutes ago, Dtwo said:

Don't agree with a couple of these statements:

- in my experience the WN modem exceeds the performance of a phone, in both reception and streaming capabilty.  The modem sits on the chart table and provides excellent coverage most of the time.  There are black spots in some places.

- we have been cruising around on the boat using WN.  It is sold to the Motor Caravan Association, who are mobile.  I have never seen anything to suggest I am not able to travel with my WN modem and I would suggest it would be unlikely that they would be advertising and selling something that wasn't able to be moved.

The WN "Mobile Caravan" plan is not RBI.  I did not intend to imply that the WN Caravan product was RBI, I was just going off on a tangent explaining RBI vs normal Mobile.  These days RBI is generally marketed as "Fixed Wireless Broadband", which is kind of a contradiction in terms.

Regarding better coverage from the modem, the devices all use common chipsets, they have the same antenna configuration and they have the same transmit/receive limitations which are all part of the LTE standard.  A lot of phones do not support dual frequencies (often called 4G+) and other features such as carrier aggregation, the WN modem does. I had previously updated the post to indicate QUALITY phone.  I probably should of said large, top of the range e.g., any flagship Samsung (Note20, S20).

Dollar for dollar your WN Modem will outperform any mobile phone acting as a hotspot.  Side by side with a top of the range $2000 phone with the same chipset, antennas facing the same way (eg propping it up), sitting stationary, not being touched/handled, I doubt you would see any difference.

In summary, I agree with everything you just said.

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We did pretty much that. Got a smart TV with baby inverter and just use the built in TV on demand apps to stream live TV. To get the data connection you can just hotspot from your phone, and if connection is a bit patchy sometimes sending the phone up the mast on a halyard helps.

The 12v TVs we saw in the marine shops didn't look very good hence why we got the inverter.

Generally the cell tower at barrier over summer seems saturated (I think the backhaul is microwave) but other achorages seem ok. 

If netflix is your thing then download before hand.

 

 

 

 

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2 minutes ago, Black Panther said:

Does anyone have a cheap and efficient means to get a decent cellphone signal. On our mooring we have to climb the mast to make a phone call.  Once out of the river no problem 

Wireless headset and hoist the phone up on halyard

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On 4/10/2020 at 9:40 AM, Black Panther said:

Does anyone have a cheap and efficient means to get a decent cellphone signal. On our mooring we have to climb the mast to make a phone call.  Once out of the river no problem 

Our solution:

  • Change your phone to 2 degrees and get a new phone from them that has "Wifi Calling" - basically phones works as normal but over wifi rather than cellphone network.  https://www.2degreesmobile.co.nz/wificalling/ 
  • Then Steal the neighbours wifi and go for gold.
  • Or the more honestway - We often hoist our Cell to Wifi modem (https://www.gowifi.co.nz/wireless/rbwapgr-5hacd2hnd_r11e-lte6.html) to the top of the mast in a drybag, with a second 2 Degrees simcard in it. 2 Degrees allows you to share your data plan with another simcard for free so it can just use your normal phone data. The Modem can be powered with with a cheap Eithernet cable from a 12v cigerette lighter adapter. Then you have Wifi broadcast from the top of the mast over the whole boat (and bay so make sure you have a password) and cell reciption as its up high. 

 

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The TV thing first,  if the signal is reasonable in the area you are in... Believe it or not but a set of $5 rabbits ears, attached to the shrouds with a plastic clamp works way better than all the omni directional units I have ever tried !! ...and no, they are not at the top of the mast...just as high as I can reach from the deck.

I still use them (they do rust out ) and in my current marina I get 64 channels.  When I travel , after docking I get them out and just point them in the same direction as the local roof top antennae are pointing. Press search on the TV and... usually bingo.  I dont bother when I am sailing. 

 

BP you may wish to consider a (Chinese) signal booster. ..its powering this as I type. At about $100 for a single band, they work very well. They cant boost nothing though !! Or to put it another way , if you have no signal from time to time ( as opposed to very low signal) it will drop out accordingly. You will need to know what band or frequency your phone and its matching cell tower . I am running on the 3G 850 ( B5) band.   Pinching your neighbors wifi works well : )  I did this (with permission) until just recently when they installed a barely usable tower 10 km away.  Wifi switchable phones are quite common. The problem is the carrier you are with... Here in Oz, one major one supports vox only the other vox and txt.  It is just plain software . As interim technology until full 5G , its very common OS, and offices run "live" wifi just for that reason.

The bag up the mast with a data only unit is another way we used to run. For calls we used whatsapp or skype.  Because we are on a perpetual tight budget, we try and do everything we can to keep the number of sim cards to a minimum. I currently run 3 to cover the necessary gaps that the different providers have.  I recently let my satphone run out of time...dumping $2500 of built up credit !! ( bloody annoying) but it was just to expensive to keep paying to hold the credit. 

 

and just for fun and interest you may want to have a look at starlink.  In the future it will provide global broadband via cheap satellite. At the moment there is 120 satellites (?) ..internet says 480 ..(?)  with the aim at having ( I think) about 1000 . Love him or hate him...Elon Musk is one very clever man.

 

 

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