Testing the Wilson AG Pro Quint, and hello Shakespeare Anywhere cell boosters

Ben Ellison

Ben Ellison

Panbo editor, publisher & chief bottlewasher from 4/2005 until 8/2018, and now excited to have Ben Stein as very able publisher, webmaster, and editing colleague. Panbo is going to the next level in 2019 and beyond.

13 Responses

  1. Compass Marine says:

    Ben,
    That Wilson is very interesting. We have run a Wilson on our boat for a number of years and it certainly can boost cell calls from the poor cell holes here in Maine. We have had it pay for itself in a rare family emergency where it was literally a “save the day” piece of equipment. Without the Wilson we could not make a cell call at all. With the amp turned on we got our call out and it never dropped. Where it fails is in data, which is what I really want & need it for.
    Our amp is older and does not have gain adjustments though I often wish it did. It does claim 3G support however.
    One thing we notice is that with the amp turned off I can get 4G off and on in some locations. When 4G works it is fast. When I turn on the amp it seems to force the phone to 1X for data. I know our amp does not do 4G, and will do 3G, but it is very frustrating that it seems to force us into a 1X connection more often than to boost the 3G signal.
    For voice our Wilson is a decent tool, but I don’t consider it a panacea. For data it really does nothing except to slow us down and most often force us into 1X rather than 3G. Wilson has not been able to help or explain why this happens.
    When I know there is 3G or 4G I usually get all Rube Goldberg on my phone. I do this by raising it in a small ditty bag up the main halyard to increase 4G reception. That $3.00 bag outperforms our Wilson for data hands down…
    I raise it up the halyard until my wifi signal in the cabin is starting to fade. At that height I often get great data performance even from some real Maine cell holes….. Next year I plan to go gourmet Rube and treat my phone to a waterproof ditty bag for when it is raining..
    Please let us know when Wilson gets the data thing sorted out. For now I’ll just send the phone up the stick in a bag if I want data.
    -RC Collins
    Compass Marine Inc.

  2. Ben Ellison Ben Ellison says:

    Great stuff, RC, but do you realize how much you’re spending to have that tall antenna mast on your boat? Not to mention all the sail schlepping required to commission and decommission. I’ve been watching a lot of that from the cozy comfort of Gizmo’s solar heated and powered (and on deck) cabin 😉
    As for “save the day” communications, I’ve got to put in a good word for the DeLorme inReach SE. The original model worked great but the SE gives the device a ton more standalone functionality at very little extra cost.
    Also, it was funny to mention the inReach today and immediately get some pr about two free months of service Holiday promotion if an inReach user activates in Nov. or Dec. The page needs updating but here’s the link:
    http://inreachdelorme.com/holiday/
    Also the inReach web map link I put in the entry just shows where I was when I did this testing and sent an inReach message about it. Here’s what the sharemap looks like (if you want it to):
    https://share.delorme.com/BenEllisonPanbo

  3. Don Joyce says:

    Ben,
    Did you put your lightning arrester up by the antenna (I don’t see it by the QUINT input)?
    I’ve had the QUINT in a butler building for the summer where it works great. Will be taking it with us this winter using a masthead antenna.
    All the best!
    Don

  4. The “anywhere” labels from both Wilson and Shakespeare are very US-centric. 850, 1800, and 2100 MHz bands outside the US are tough to come by in an integrated product. For those that travel far afield today the solution seems to be a US system and an international one switched separately.

  5. Jonathan says:

    RC,
    I work for Wilson Electronics, and I wanted to let you know that what you are experiencing is not normal for our products. Would you please send me an email at twhite@wilsonelectronics.com so I can further look into the issues you are having? I would love to get this fixed for you so that you can enjoy our products to their fullest potential! 🙂
    Thanks

  6. Ben Ellison Ben Ellison says:

    Fast moving technology! The Wilson 803470 AG Pro-Quint Selectable booster I tested in this entry has already been replaced with 803670 AG Pro Quint:
    http://www.wilsonelectronics.com/store/display/242/47/ag-pro-quint
    The difference is that the new model can work with both AT&T and Verizon 4G at once, no selection needed. The new model also lost the LCD screen, though unfortunately not the high price tag.

  7. Don Joyce says:

    Of course this has to happen. Wouldn’t it be nice to be able to update the 803470? Any chance Wilson would be amenable?
    Cheers

  8. Don Joyce says:

    Just received word that its both a hardware and firmware change and updating the 803470 isn’t an option.

  9. Ben Ellison Ben Ellison says:

    If you want a 2 or 3 Watt cell booster now’s the time. There will be some interesting new boosters coming out as the new FCC rules take effect — and I hope to test a couple — but this is from a reliable source:
    “FCC Booster Rules after May 1, 2014:
    (D) Power Limits. A booster’s uplink power must not exceed 1 watt composite conducted power and equivalent isotropic radiated power (EIRP) for each band of operation. Composite downlink power shall not exceed 0.05 watt (17 dBm) conducted and EIRP for each band of operation.
    After May 1st there will not be any approved 3 watts or high powered systems manufactured or sold by Sure Call, Shakespeare, Wilson or Digital Antenna.
    The new guidelines do not affect the systems already sold prior to the May 1st deadline; these systems WILL be allowed to operate under a grandfather clause. No amplifier manufacturing can sell 3 watt boosters in the USA past May 1, 2014.
    If someone wants/needs a high powered system now is the time to purchase inventory.”

  10. Compass Marine says:

    Ben,
    Just an update. There was an issue with my Wilson amp (Mobile Wireless Dual Band)and it finally died altogether in June. For a long while it would hone in and boost 1X signals but did not want to lock in on 3G?? Wilson had no answer for this behavior.
    Unfortunately it was older and well out of warranty by the time I realized it was malfunctioning. On my Dual Band amp everything appeared to be working but no gains could be detected, even on 1X, when it finally went. Wilson was very good with trouble shooting and support but the amp was a gonner. It lasted about 4 years which is really too short for this type of product, at least in my opinion….
    Wilson had no idea what caused this amp to die, other than to say “this sometimes happens”….
    I have installed quite a few of these and mine has been the only one with any issues.
    What do I have now?? The new replacement, the Wilson “Mobile 4G”, which has 4G capability, is nothing short of amazing (compared to the old amp). I am seeing far better gains than I ever saw with my older Wilson Dual Band.
    I was very, very skeptical because the power on newer amps is considerably less (FCC changes) but I am seeing -30 to -43 dBm gains regularly and it holds and locks in 4G when it is available. There are areas that without the phone on I am barely getting a 3G or 1X signal, PAINFULLY SLOW..! I can flip on the amp and in 30 seconds or so I am downloading & uploading over 4G with speed and ease. The dBm gains really mean little to me, what really matters is that it actually works, in the real world. So far, darn impressive.
    I have paired the new 4G amp with my Wilson marine antenna, LMR-400 cable and all the crazy adapters required to make it all work. Wilson REALLY, REALLY needs to work on the number of adapters Type N to FME to SMA… The new Mobile 4G is an SMA on the amp end not FME like it used to be, Wilson claims this was driven by the FCC????? Regardless of the who or why, it is CRAZY!!!! I suppose if it were not for all the silly adapters I might get close to -50 dBm…. (grin)
    So far, two thumbs up for the new Mobile 4G amp. I will let you know on reliability in a few years….
    The nice thing about the Mobile 4G is that one amp does all carriers, something the older versions did not. I can now stock one amp for installs…
    While I am far from happy with the life of my first amp I chalk it up to a random event/$hit happens/Murphy etc… The new amp is working really well and is exceeding my expectations despite the FCC stepping in on the industry…
    RC Collins
    Compass Marine Inc.

  11. Ben Ellison Ben Ellison says:

    Thanks, RC! I didn’t even realize that Wilson had come out with the Mobile 4G and it looks right for a lot of boat situations:
    http://www.wilsonelectronics.com/store/display/245/38/mobile-4g
    Dare I ask if your combination of antenna, cable, and amp meet the new FCC rules? Also, how are you connecting phone to amp, and did you register the amp?
    Meanwhile I just got a Wilson Sleek 4G cradle booster to test
    http://www.wilsonelectronics.com/store/display/236/43/sleek-4g
    I should be able to try it with the Wilson marine antenna and also the Digital Antenna 1285 wideband bullet, which is supposed to be excellent with 700 MHZ LTE:
    http://www.digitalantenna.com/prods/cellantenna_wideband_bullet_deckmount.html
    I believe that Digital is very close to having a 4G quad band booster approved by the FCC. Shakespeare already seems to have a 4G wireless solution but it’s carrier specific:
    http://shakespeare-marine.com/halo-ca-v-ca-or-ca-t-2g3g4g-cellular-booster-kit

  12. Compass Marine says:

    Ben,
    Posting this from deep in Perry Creek. No service at all with the amp OFF, 4G with the amp ON… 4G speed at Perry Creek is nice….

  13. Ben Ellison Ben Ellison says:

    4G in Perry Creek is really nice, especially when those massive squadrons of Perry C. mosquitoes are on the blood hunt 😉
    For readers from away, Perry Creek is on the NW corner of Vinalhaven, only about 11 miles from Panbo HQ in Camden, as the crow flies. But it’s a lot further in terms of cell service. With all our topography and a relatively thin population, cell holes are major and multiple, but they do exist elsewhere. RC and I just happen to cruise in an area that’s excellent for testing cell boosters.

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