​Can A Yagi Antenna Be Used On a RV?

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With our popular new RV signal booster with panel antenna outside, the question arises whether you can replace the directional panel antenna with a directional Yagi antenna. Yes you can, but since the Yagi antenna is also directional, you would need to re-aim it at the cell phone tower at each new location.

Choosing an Outside Antenna for Your RV

When you’re deciding on an outside antenna for your RV, you can choose to use the antenna that comes with the standard vehicle signal booster kit (usually a magnet-mount antenna) or replace that antenna. For example, the RV4G comes with a panel antenna, but it can be replaced with a Yagi antenna.

You can also choose between a directional antenna, and an omni-directional antenna for your signal booster.

Directional Antenna versus Omni-Directional Antenna

Yagi antennas are directional. Trucker and Magnet-mount antennas (two other common antennas used for RVs) are omni-directional. Directional means that the antenna must be facing the direction of the cell phone tower in order for it to work properly. Omni-directional means that the antenna can receive signals from any direction. Both directional and omni-directional antennas have pros and cons.

Directional Antenna Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Better in Low Signal Areas: The directional antenna has a more powerful gain (ability to increase the power of a signal) than the omni-directional antenna, so it picks up and powerfully focuses on weak signals better.
  • Compensates More for Signal Loss: Signal loss naturally occurs when devices are connected together with a length of cable. Because a directional antenna has more gain, there is more signal left over after signal loss.

Cons

  • Doesn’t Work When RV is Moving: The Yagi directional antenna will not work properly when the RV is moving (because it will be unable to keep facing the cell phone tower). It will only work when the RV is parked (after the antenna has been re-aimed.)
  • Needs Clear Line of Sight: Directional antennas will only work on flat lands and straight line-of-sight situations. They will not work in mountainous areas, since they have to be pointed towards the cell phone tower on a straight line without anything else in the middle.

Omni-directional Antenna Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Some Get 4G: Magnet-mount antennas and RV Trucker antennas are able to pick up 4G. Other 3G Trucker antennas only pick up 3G.
  • Works When Moving: Since an omni-directional antenna can receive signals in any direction, you will be able to get a signal when the RV is moving.
  • Faster Set Up: The omni-directional antenna takes less time to install because you don’t have to search for the direction of your cell phone tower.

Cons

  • Unable to Reach Long Distance Signals: Omni-directional antennas may not pick up a cell phone tower's signal from as great a distance as a directional antenna. This may cause problems when you're in a location far away from any cell phone towers.

How To Choose

When choosing between a directional antenna and an omni-directional antenna, there are two things to consider:

1) Your situation

2) Your price range

Your Situation

To find out which antenna is right for you, answer these questions.

Your Price Range

After you have an idea of what you want/need, you will want to look at what you can afford.

The prices of antennas vary, but antennas with more gain usually cost more. Table 1 shows the price range and gain for Yagi, Trucker, and Magnet-mount antennas.

Table 1. Price Range and Gain for Yagi, Trucker, and Magnet-mount Antennas

Antenna Type

Price Range

Gain
Yagi Antennas

$42 to $60

Wide band version: 8 to 10 dB High-gain version: 8 to 14 dB
Trucker Antennas

$20 to $43

5 to 6 dB
Magnet-mount Antennas $18 to $21 3 to 6 dB

Yagi antennas are the most expensive and are priced between $42 to $60. However, you will get anywhere from 8 to 10 dB for wide band versions and 8 to 14 dB for high-gain versions.

Trucker antennas are the second most expensive and are priced between $20 to $43. With these antennas you will get anywhere between 5 to 6 dB.

Magnet-mount antennas are the least expensive of the three and are priced at $18 to $21. With these antennas you will get anywhere between 3 to 6 dB.

Making Sure Your Antenna Works With Your Signal Booster

Once you have decided on the type of antenna you want, you will need to make sure the antenna is compatible and functional with your signal booster.

Checking the Compatibility

To check the compatibility, look at the connector type and the max gain on the signal booster and the connector type and the impedance on the antenna. The max gain and impedance should be the same. The connector types do not have to be the same, but if they're different, you will need an adapter to connect them.

Here's an example:

The Drive 4G-X Signal Booster has a max gain of 50 ohm and its connector type is SMA-Female. You have a Yagi antenna with an impedance of 50 ohms and an N-Female connector. Your signal booster and Yagi antenna are compatible, but they cannot connect to each other because their connectors are different. To solve this problem, you purchase an SMA-to-N conversion adapter. Now your devices are compatible and the Yagi antenna can connect to your signal booster.

Checking the Functionality

To check the functionality, look at the frequencies on the signal booster and the frequencies on the antenna. Make sure that both the signal booster and antenna have similar frequencies. The frequencies don’t have to be exact as long as they’re in the same range.

Here's an example, using the Yagi antenna and signal booster from before:

One of the Drive 4G-X's frequencies is 1900 MHz. One of your Yagi antenna's frequencies is 1850 to 1990 MHz. Since 1900 is within the 1850 to 1990 range, your Yagi antenna will function with the 4G-X signal booster on that frequency.

Conclusion

Once you have chosen your antenna and checked the compatibility and functionality with your signal booster, you will have the antenna you need to get great signals for your RV. If you have any questions during this process, please call us!

Questions? Call us for a FREE product recommendation. Need a cell phone booster installer? We offer installation services by a certified installing team that installs boosters nationwide across USA and Canada. Submit your details for a quote to have your amplifier kit installed by professionals.

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