Excursion: weBoost 4G-M rural test results

This weekend I visited a remote site with poor cell phone reception, and gave the weBoost 4G-M a shot to see what kind of difference it would make.

Before:

After:

My wife’s T-Mobile phone went from one bar to four bars on LTE as well.

I believe the scale changed between the two images above due to a different radio band used between the two.  Obviously, the backup/secondary tower went from no service to some service after the booster was engaged.

Very satisfied with my purchase at this point, as I use it more and more in the rural areas.

Excursion: weBoost 4G-M Installation!

I was trying out a new area to drive for Uber, and found myself in a situation where my Google Fi device (Nexus 6) was having trouble staying locked onto one carrier.  This caused my data to constantly go in and out of service, and I missed a couple fares because of this situation.

The idea of installing a cell phone signal booster is one I have had for a while, and now seemed like the perfect time.  After driving to a couple local truck stops, I managed to find one that sold the weBoost 4G-M package, for roughly the same price as you would find online.  I bought the device, and proceeded to install it in the parking lot.

Installation is fairly simple.  You have the booster unit itself, which requires both the internal and external antennas to be connected BEFORE you apply power.  The external antenna is a small magnet mount device that goes on top of your vehicle’s roof.  The internal antenna is a small thin omni-directional antenna that comes with a strip of Velcro, so you can mount it in your vehicle.

The instructions state that your internal antenna should be mounted no closer than 18″ to your cell phone (or other device you wish to use with the signal booster), and no farther away than 36″.  I found that you need the internal antenna to be much closer than that to see any appreciable effect in signal strength.  At least, that was the case with my phone, and I have seen some other folks on YouTube report the same experience.  I ended up mounting the internal antenna directly below my cell phone mount, so it is within a few inches of the phone.

Once both antennas are mounted, and connected to the correct ports on the booster, you can then connect the power, and turn on the device.  If all is well, you should see four green lights on the booster!

I’m pretty satisfied with my purchase.  The weBoost 4G-M definitely improved my phone’s performance in the rural areas where I sometimes drive for Uber.

Here’s a screenshot of my phone’s signal in a good reception area with no booster:

This is what it looks like in the same location with the booster enabled:

I’ll have to drive out to a fringe area for cell signal and get some before and after photos there as well, for more data points.

The app in the photos is “Network Cell Info Lite“, and it’s a neat little app for looking up your Android phone’s cell service reception information.

Upgrade to WordPress 4.7

The site has been upgraded to WordPress 4.7, and I also installed the 2017 theme, which looks pretty slick.  I’ll have to play with some of the newer features when I have a moment.

Driving a Ford Excursion for Uber

Yes, I drive a Ford Excursion Limited 4×4 with the 7.3L diesel as my Uber vehicle.  Yes, it actually can generate a profit!  It’s also advantageous to drive versus a regular FWD vehicle in these colder winter months now that the snow is starting to fall.

It turns out the portly SUV manages to average around 17MPG driving around the city, which isn’t too horrible for the amount of idling I do in the colder weather to keep the truck warm.

I’ve only been driving part time for the past few weeks, but every night I turn a bit of a profit, after counting costs for fuel and added cost of commercial insurance.

The purpose of driving for Uber is to put the truck to work so it can pay for itself.  I have sunk a lot of money into the truck since I purchased it, after finding a lot of hidden problems due to neglect from the previous owner.  Right now the Excursion is super solid, runs/drives great, and the riders seem to love it.

If anyone out there is driving for Uber in Rockford, IL, I would be curious to hear about your experiences.

Thinking of driving for Uber?  Sign up here!

The Badlands – Attica, IN

This next playlist contains video I shot while wheeling over the years at the Badlands off-road park in Attica, IN.  The Badlands is a great place to wheel, with lots of different types of terrain to navigate.

There are trails in the woods, an old rock quarry to climb around, sand dunes, and plenty of water features.

Another great feature of the Badlands is a campground located just before the entrance to the park.  If you have an off-road vehicle that cannot be driven on the street, this makes for a convenient weekend if you camp at the park.  Unload your ATV/UTV/Jeep/whatever at the campsite, and go back and forth between the park and camp all weekend with no hassles.

The Cliffs Insane Terrain – Marsailles, IL

Here is a playlist of YouTube videos I uploaded from years past.  These are all from The Cliffs Insane Terrain in Marsailles, IL, and feature some old friends and their rigs on the muddy trails.  Good times!

Anyone in the central to northern Illinois area, this is one of the only parks you can easily drive to for a day trip to get muddy.  Trails are pretty decent, and it’s usually pretty sloppy.  I’d strongly suggest wheeling with a friend, and having recovery gear.  Some of those holes are DEEP!