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chisel
Premium
join:2009-09-01
Henderson, KY

Antennas - Yagi or Grid?

I have had a 4620L for a week and would like to improve my 4G LTE signal from Verizon so I would appreciate anyone's help/advice. I am within 4 miles of 2 Verizon towers, but there is a line of trees within 50' of my house plus power lines between the house and the trees. I can get a 4G signal in the house, and mostly have good speeds, but they are highly variable. Sometimes signal will revert to 3G.

Some info: RSSI SINR Up Down

Inside house: -105, 12, 11, 2
Outside: -101, 13, 13, 4
Top of chimney 28' up: no better than outside
200' from house and other side of trees: -89, 26, 17, 12
1 mile from house: -78, 29, 3, 10

Stability and reliability of signal are paramount...speeds not so much, and I am willing to run 200' of low loss coax and/or add an amp if necessary. I cannot see the Verizon towers but hills are not in the way on 1 tower, just tree tops plus my tree line. So which antenna is best to get through the trees and maybe over slight hills at 4 miles? I was going to buy a 15dBi gain Grid antenna but then I read this on EVDO-Tips (great site Jim!) and now I'm thinking maybe I don't need such a high gain antenna since I'm 4 miles from the tower:

"A small dBi antenna can actually be more beneficial if you are relatively close to the tower because you will have less signal loss due to trees, buildings etc. as a result of having a wider RF pattern to capture the signal."

I have read that Yagi antennas need a line of sight and grids are best to punch through trees. Comments?



Jim_in_VA

join:2004-07-11
Cobbs Creek, VA
kudos:4

I'd use a grid or panel, the Yagi would be my last choice.
--
... need help? »evdo-tips.com/


davidhoffman
Premium
join:2009-11-19
Warner Robins, GA
kudos:3
reply to chisel

I use a parabolic grid, for 3G, in a similar situation. About 5 miles through dense forest to tower. I also have to use a Wilson Electronics bidirectional amplifier. You might want to try just the antenna in various locations first, it might be good enough. Amplifiers are somewhat expensive and a slight annoyance to install and care for. As soon as Verizon installs closer LTE antennas, that work well, on new towers, I am ditching the 3G amplified setup and going antenna only. AT&T just installed a new tower about a mile away that gives great service, but they cost too much per GB.


chisel
Premium
join:2009-09-01
Henderson, KY
reply to chisel

I thought I was subscribed to get email notifications of new posts in this thread but I guess not...

Thank you all for your advice. I ordered a 16dbi yagi from zdacomm.com on Wed. the 21st. The salesman was pretty adamant that a yagi would work better in my situation, so maybe I left out some info in my original post. If it doesn't work well, I can send it back and try the parabolic. I will test with just the antenna/no amp and go from there. I will update when I know more in case anyone is interested.


chisel
Premium
join:2009-09-01
Henderson, KY

2 edits
reply to chisel

Click for full size
Sweet spot
Click for full size
180' out
Click for full size
next hill over
Update: I purchased high gain yagi and grid antennas from ZDA. After testing them, I did not see much if any, difference between them. But I could use some opinions as to where to place the antenna...or any other advice. I plan to connect the antenna to a Jetpack 4620L with a Cradlepoint MBR95 router set up in WiFi as WAN mode to feed my desktop computers.

Best readings with antenna 4' off ground - RSSI SINR:

Next to house: -92, 16
100' from house in a sweet spot: -78, 28
10-20' from sweet spot: -91, 16
180' from house, other side of tree line: -74, 30
Next hill over: -76, 30

My main concerns with the 100' sweet spot are that it will get a much poorer signal once the trees have leaves next spring, and that the sweet spot is a small area. Also note the electrical lines that may cause some interference...I don't know for sure, but about 32' up on top of the chimney with antenna pointed in the same direction the signal was -85, 16.

1st pic: view from sweet spot
2nd pic: view from 180' but will cut limbs and small trees to get a clear LOS
3rd pic: view from next hill over.

I am considering putting the antenna 180' out. Mainly because it will be on the other side of the trees and the signal there is as good as I can get in this area. The small area of the sweet spot 100' out concerns me as well. Would an amplifier help the signal loss due to the cable length? Thoughts?

jamesonnorth

join:2012-12-22
Modoc, IN

Take it from a guy who tried very hard for a very long time to get a long wireless link to work: higher antennas function better in all circumstances, and amps usually help when dealing with external antennas. If you can elevate the antenna so it goes through an area that's only 60% as dense as on the ground, do it because that's another 40% more signal that can get through. I'd use a parabolic dish or a parabolic grid with an amp and high quality low-loss cable as high as you can get it. If it's feasible, go for above the treeline, but with LTE being below 2GHz, line of sight isn't such a huge deal. You might be able to get away with a large omni or sector/panel antenna and a really high powered amp, as it'll be less difficult to aim and an omni will be best for wind-resistance.


chisel
Premium
join:2009-09-01
Henderson, KY

I agree about height, but that didn't help on top of my chimney because of the trees and possibly the power lines. Going higher than the treetops was cost-prohibitive (I looked at crankup/crankover towers) so I put up a 4.5" diameter 16' pole approx. where I'm standing in the second pic. Will need to cut some small trees and larger limbs, and at 16' up, the antenna will have nothing in the way except maybe distant tree tops. I might even be able to see the tower but haven't been to the top of the pole yet.

Along with a high-powered amp., I purchased 1/2" coax and have trenched in the ground wire and conduit, but haven't finished the installation yet because I ran out of good weather...about 4" of snow on the ground now but next weekend the high is supposed to be 40 so maybe then.