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Antenna FAQ

1. Can the Magnet-Mount Antenna be Mounted Horizontally?

That is not recommended! Because cell tower antennas are vertically oriented, you will get the best performance from the magnet-mount antenna if it is also vertically oriented. Antennas are polarized when they are both in the same orientation. This is the most efficient way for them to transmit and receive signals.

2. Is It Okay to Paint My Antenna?

Yes, it is! Provided the paint does not contain metal flakes, you can go ahead and paint our weBoost antennas. Unfortunately, the particles in metallic paint alter and disrupt the transmission characteristics of antenna’s signal.

3. Can The Magnetic Mount Antenna Be Placed On The Trunk Deck Of My Car, Instead Of On The Roof?

This would depend on whether the truck location provides sufficient distance between outside antenna (tower) and inside antenna (device). Both antennas will pick up each other’s signals if they are too close together, and create a feedback loop condition known as oscillation.

All cell-phone signal boosters are required to automatically detect oscillation (this is an FCC Regulation). Upon detecting, they must immediately either reduce power, or shut down when oscillation is detected: This will stop oscillation. To correct an oscillation condition you must increase the distance between both antennae. When they are sufficiently far apart, the signal booster will be free to operate at full power. When the magnet-mount antenna is located on the vehicle's roof, the metal roof acts as a shield by blocking each antenna from picking up other's signals. However, there's no shield to prevent oscillation if antenna is located on the truck deck. This means that, in this situation, antenna signals can pass through the rear window glass, creating oscillation: Unless, of course, there’s sufficient separation distance.

You should test the trunk deck antenna location and observe whether the signal booster is able to operate at full power. If it cannot, then the magnetic antenna should be located on the roof.

Generally, we find that cradle boosters such as the Drive 4G-S and Drive 3G-S work really well with the magnet mount antenna located on the truck lid. However, for other booster models, you should test antenna trunk location.

4. Can a Trucker Antenna Be Used on My House?

From a technical perspective, the answer is yes. A Trucker antenna will provide the same improvement to signal when mounted on a structure as it would, when mounted on a vehicle. However, our recommendation is that you use a Yagi, or directional antenna for fixed-site installations. With a Yagi antenna you get more signal enhancement, or gain, to better compensate for lost signal caused by the length of the connecting cable.

Another factor to consider is that both the FCC and Industry Canada now require that all cell phone signal boosters be sold to the public as a kit, complete with appropriate antenna. Therefore, there would be no reason to use a trucker antenna on a building, unless you were attempting to cobble together a booster system from other miscellaneous parts.

5. Can a Yagi Directional Antenna Be Used on my RV?

Technically, the answer is yes. However, there would be very little benefit of doing that. To start with, it would not be convenient. The Yagi is directional, therefore, every time you change the location, you would have to re-aim it at a cell tower. This means that you would first have to determine the location of your carrier's tower from wherever you are parked. In addition, if you have a motorhome or a pickup camper, the Yagi antenna will not provide any cell coverage at all while you're on the road. It would work when you parked, but only if it is aimed properly at the cell tower.

The best solution for recreational vehicles is to purchase a signal booster system that is specifically designed for RV use. By buying an RV signal booster kit, you will have the perfect booster and antenna to provide the coverage you require while in your recreational vehicle.

6. Can I Use My Phone's Signal Strength Bars Display to Optimize my Yagi Antenna Placement?

Yes, you can, but remember that the bars display is only a graphical representation of signal strength - It is not a true signal strength reading. Therefore, the accuracy of antenna placement may not be ideal. It is weBoost's recommendation that you locate and aim the Yagi antenna based on actual signal strength reading of your phone. The signal strength reading is generally displayed in decibels (dBm). The reading is often displayed as a negative number, such as -91 dBm. Sometimes on phones, the minus sign is omitted, leaving a reading display of 91 dBm. Either way, a signal strength reading closer to zero is stronger. For example, a -86 dBm (or 86 dBm) reading is stronger than a -91 dBm (or 91 dBm) reading.

Locating the signal strength reading in your mobile phone menu tree will vary by manufacturer, model, and operating system. You should consult the operations guide that came with your phone. Alternatively, use a search engine with the term "Field Test Mode" or "Signal Strength Reading". Or, the easiest method might be to simply contact your phone manufacturer's customer service department. Or you may refer to our blog entry, field test mode, to find out how to put your cell in a field test mode so that it displays its accurate signal strength in any specific location.

7. Do weBoost Antennas Work on Both Analog and Digital Signals?

Yes, they do. All weBoost antennas work on both analog and digital signals.

8. Does the Yagi Directional Antenna Need to Be Grounded?

The Yagi antenna does not need to be grounded. However, we do recommend an installation of a lightning surge protector between the signal booster and the Yagi antenna. In an event of a lightning strike to an antenna, a lightning surge protector will prevent damage to your signal booster system.

9. What is the Best Way to Place and Aim a Yagi Antenna for Optimal Performance?

First, you need to find the location of your cell carrier's nearest tower. You can do this by either downloading a tower finder app, or alternatively by using a search engine. Once you have located the position of the tower, point the main center beam of your Yagi antenna in the direction of the cell tower. Ensure that antenna radials are pointing up and down. If you have a signal detector, you can slowly turn it 360 degrees to determine direction of incoming signal.

Display the signal strength reading of your phone. Locating the signal strength reading in your phone's tree menu will vary from manufacturer, model, and operating system. You should consult the operations guide that came with your phone. Alternatively, contact your phone manufacturer's customer service department. Or simply use a search engine like Google and type the keywords, "Field Test Mode", or "Signal Strength Reading".

Connect antenna to your cell phone once the signal strength reading is displayed. Pan the Yagi right and left in 10 degree increments, until you locate the best signal strength reading from your phone. The signal strength reading will typically be displayed in decibels (dBm). It is often displayed as a negative number, like -91 dBm. However, in some phones, the minus sign is omitted leaving a reading display of, for example, 91 dBm instead. Either way, a signal strength reading closer to zero is stronger; Meaning that a -86 dBm (or 86 dBm) reading is stronger than a -91 dBm (or 91 dBm) reading. Be sure to let go when you pan the antenna to take the reading: It may give inaccurate readings if you're in contact with antenna. Once you locate an antenna position that offers the best signal strength, then you can lock down Yagi's position. Now you should achieve optimum performance from your booster system.

10. What Is a Boosters "Gain" When Mentioned in weBoost Product Descriptions?

"Gain" simply means the measure of an antenna's or booster's signal output, relative to its signal input. Gain will usually be expressed in decibels (dB), which is a standard unit of measurement for signal strength. If a booster provides a maximum 50 dB gain, this means that the boosted signal coming out of the unit is up to 50 dB stronger than the (un-boosted) signal that entered the unit. Basically, gain represents the relative level of signal boost that an antenna or booster is capable of providing. A booster with a higher gain value should provide a larger coverage area and/or a stronger signal than one with a lower gain value.

weBoost signal boosters that offer the greatest gain, such as our Connect 4G, are designed for installation in larger buildings. Boosters designed to provide signal coverage in smaller areas, like an inside of a vehicle or a small room, have lower gain values.

11. What is the Range of Inside (Device) Antenna?

The distance or range that your phone can extend from a device antenna, also known as an inside antenna, without affecting the connection depends on two factors:

• The strength of the signal from the cell tower; and

• The output power of your signal booster.

The stronger the tower signal prior to being amplified by the signal booster, the greater range you will achieve from the device antenna. And, of course, a more powerful signal booster, providing a higher level of signal amplification, allows greater range.

12. What is the Best Location for the Device Antenna for an Indoor Cell Phone Signal System?

The device antenna, also known as inside home/building antenna, should be located in an area where service is needed the most. Interior antenna should be kept away from electrical wiring and devices, and out of contact with metal objects. In some situations, coverage may require more than one device antenna. Make sure that you retain the Minimum Required Separation Distance (A.K.A. MRSD) between the tower (outside) antenna and the device antenna.

13. Should I Choose a "Directional Antenna" or "Omnidirectional Antenna" for an Indoor Cell Phone Signal Booster?

Both omnidirectional and directional antennas have their own advantages. The one that is best for you, will depend entirely on your specific situation. It should be noted that FCC Regulations state that every weBoost cell phone signal booster must come as a kit, complete with the tower side antenna included. It is only in very rare circumstances that you might need a different tower antenna, than the one purchased with your kit.

Generally, an omni-directional antenna works best in areas where the available cellular signal is reflecting off nearby objects. These objects may be naturally occurring objects such as hills, trees, foliage, and other terrain features. They might also be man-made objects, like buildings. The 360 degrees beam-width is the great advantage of this antenna. Because it is capable of bringing in signals from every direction, it does not have to point in any specific direction to pick up a signal.

If the signal is weak, then the best solution is a wide-band directional antenna. This antenna is recommended far more often than omni-directional antenna because it has double the gain, or signal boost, than omni-directional antenna. The directional antennas also work with the common frequency bands used for the 4G LTE and 4G LTE Advanced service.

The directional antenna can help prevent feedback loops that are created when the device and tower antennas pick up each other's signals. The directional antenna do require a more precise installation because it needs to be pointed in a specific direction of the nearest cell tower of service provider being used for cellular service. However, it also serves to prevent feedback loops by isolating the directional antenna signal. It is necessary to know the location of your carrier's tower when using a directional antenna. Furthermore, the towers must be located in approximately the same direction if you need the antenna to collect signals from more than one tower.

14. Why Must the Tower and Device Antenna Be Installed so Far Apart?

This has something to do with the law of physics. When the tower and device antenna are placed too close together, they can pick up on each other's signals and create a feedback loop. This condition is known as oscillation.

If left uncorrected, oscillation can damage the cellular network, and it is for this reason, that all cell-phone signal boosters used by the public must auto-detect oscillation. This is an FCC requirement. When oscillation is detected, per FCC regulations, the signal booster must shut down immediately. Therefore, that is what happens when oscillation is detected.

Booster shutdowns caused by oscillation can easily be prevented by locating the device and tower antennas far enough apart. This is what weBoost refers to, as the Minimum Required Separation Distance (MRSD). Check the installation guide that came with your signal booster, and it will explain the Minimum Required Separation Distance for your specific booster model. Alternatively, you can download the installation guide from your booster's product page at our website under, "resources" tab.

For a booster that is providing signal boost or gain of 50 dB, antennas need a Minimum Required Separation Distance of 40 feet. Antenna's Minimum Required Separation Distance is 75 feet for a 60 dB booster. A wall or roof between these two antennae may reduce this distance.

Should you fail to observe the Minimum Required Separation Distance, your signal booster will shut down automatically. Note that it will not restart until the oscillation condition has been corrected.

15. Will the Magnet Mount Antenna Work When Placed on a Non-Metal Surface?

No, it will not work. For a magnet mount antenna to work, it must be placed on a ferrous metal surface, like steel or iron.

16. Regarding Glass Mount Antenna, What is an Acceptable Temperature Range of the Glass for Installation?

3M Corporation produces the Very High Bond tape used on the glass-mount antenna. It provides high-quality adhesion to any flat, clean, glass surface. The glass should be around 70° F when you attach an antenna. Once the adhesive has set within twenty-four hours, extreme temperatures will not affect the bond.

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