Sunday, May 20, 2012

Wilson Sleek Cellular Signal Booster

usbackroads product--Wilson Sleek Cellular Signal Booster

Backroads safety and the ability to communicate with the outside world has always been a hit and miss proposition, mostly miss.  If you worked for the Forest Service or BLM during work hours the agency dispatch and radio systems provided fairly good communications.

However, if you were out fishing, hunting or camping on your public lands.  A accident could place your life in danger just because it took so long to get help.  With the advent of cellular phones the public had access to the outside world, but in most cases you needed an external antenna and amplifier.

We covered external antenna's in a previous posting Cell Phones in the Backcountry.  We still have our antenna and cell phone with an external antenna plug.  It was the last of the breed.  Today you can no longer buy a cell phone with an external antenna jack.

There are a lot of issues with the use of amplifiers and antennas.  If used in close proximity to a cell tower the combination would literally knock the other users off the cell site.  You can see why cellular companies hate amplifiers and antennas.

The new generation of amplifiers and antennas is just starting to come out.  These are much more friendly to cell towers.

If you travel the us backroads you should have a way of boosting your signal.  I just purchased the Wilson Sleek Cellular Signal Booster.  It works with all service providers except IDEN and Nextel.  The good news is that one model works with all cell phones.

What you get is a small, magnetic antenna that goes on the metal roof of your vehicle.  The metal is necessary for a ground plane that makes the antenna function correctly.  If you need to create a ground plane you can attach the antenna to a metal pie plate of cookie sheet!!

You need a ground plane for the Sleek to function.  The Wilson Cellular Antenna comes with a built in ground plane.   If you have a  Wilson Cellular Trucker Antenna you will need an adapter to couple the antenna plug to the Sleek.  The part number is 971119.

There is a signal booster cradle that amplifies the signal.  The phone MUST remain in the cradle for the signal boost to work.  Last there is a 12 volt power adapter that plugs into your cigarette lighter plug.

There are wires from the antenna to the cradles and also out to the power plug.  You definitely want a Bluetooth earpiece or a wired headset to connect with the phone.  Believe me holding the entire mess to your ear is complicated.   Of course, you can always use the speaker on your phone.

How well does it work??  Well, sitting in our driveway at Camas Susie's IPHONE showed NO SERVICE.   Placing the antenna on top of the Dodge and plugging in the Sleek showed a jump to three bars of signal.  Now phone signal bars are an exercise in imagination in most cases.  However, three bars is a respectable signal.  A quick call to the house confirmed that the sleek works as advertised.

Here is picture of the Wilson Cellular Antenna on the Cameo camped on the Snake River.  No signal on the cell phone until we connected to the Wilson Antenna.  Then we were connected to the world!

You do need a signal for the Sleek to amplify.  In some cases, there will be no signal and therefore nothing to amplify.  Just think of multiplying by ZERO.  It is always still ZERO.  If you have a smidgen of a signal there is a good chance of getting the cell phone to actually work!!  For under a $100 well worth the price.  And if your in an emergency situation on a backroad somewhere it is a bargain at any price.

There are a couple of supporting reasons for buying the Sleek.  It is made in the USA!!  Yes, in St. George, Utah.  There are so few consumer products manufactured in the US that I almost feel like sending a contribution to those companies.  Buying their product is a nice touch to show support.

The second is their customer support.  I have called their customer support twice looking for accessories and have been very pleased with their response.

Made in the USA, great price, and excellent customer support.   A product that I am pleased to buy!!


Carol K said...

This is another interesting post. We recently tried a more expensive Wilson antenna when we were on our recent trip to Cape Disappointment State Park. That park has NO cell service, and even the town of Long Beach only has 1X service. The new antenna didn't work, so we took it back and reverted to using an older antenna booster which we keep in our motorhome which only gives us 1 bar of service. After reading your blog, Dave wants to try his old system with using a ground plane.

Vladimir Steblina said...

I am not an expert on electronics by any means, but I do try everything with reason and price.

A direct antenna connection should beat an inductive connection like the Sleek.

That ground plane, however, is important.

Good luck!!

dart said...

Love your blog. But i did want to correct your perspective on trade and US manufacturing. We make domestically, 75% of the manufactured items that we directly consume. We also dominate the international trade of manufactured items when measured on a dollar value. While our percentage is falling and our growth rate far surpassed by China's, we still have a ways to go to be unseated as the #1 international trader. Sometimes our trade imbalance is confused with our actual manufacturing prowess. As a worker in the manufacturing sector (semiconductors), I'm sensitive to this issue.

Vladimir Steblina said...

No, I did mean manufacturing rather than the trade imbalance.

I have been reading a lot of books by Mark Twain, Theodore Roosevelt and others set in the early 1900's. What is really striking is the comments by the English on that new manufacturing upstart the United States.

It is word for word a repeat of "what me worry" crowd is saying about China today.

There is the issue of design and engineering being moved to the manufacturing location for added value. If that happens Apple's corporate headquarters will be moved from Cupertino to China!!

Hopefully, I am wrong and your right. I really do hope so.

Did you read the posting on the SST toilet?

Thanks for the kind comments about the blog.