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Old 2010-03-21, 11:04 AM   #1
Henry_W
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Default Rogers Rocket Hub and Antenna Issues

I have a Rogers Rocket Hub in a rural environment just outside of Barrie. The Internet I get is pretty pathetic even when I have a Yagi antenna on a 50 ft tv tower and an Amplifier attached to the unit to boost signal.

The unit is locked at 100% signal.. never wavering supposedly pointing at a tower 8.1 km away. However the aim is a guess as at 8.1 km and the trees surrounding property makes a visual aim an impossibility. I had some satellite guy who was willing to assist but he did not have any "equipment" to aim to the tower so we used speeds of downloads as measure. But that was did not really help.

I don't have a Roger's smart-phone that I could use to look at signal in the service menu to aim it. It's highly unlikely that I would waste my time with Rogers service even though I am in market to replace my current crop of phones. The data is so so bad that I would be nuts to do so until I could confirm it was just my antenna aim.

Is there any way to accurately aim an antenna to a cellular tower that involves signal strength when you cannot see the tower. Or conversely, does anyone know of any service that would do that for me. It seems that antennas and tower expertise is in short supply these days of cable and satelite TV.
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Old 2010-03-21, 03:47 PM   #2
envirogeek
 
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I bought a Rocket Hub and the RF Connection antenna kit to use at a rural location south of Edmonton. I know I can get a reasonable signal without the antenna from the testing I've done so far, but I'm hoping to improve it.

Here is what I'm going to try for aiming.

Go to http://www.spatialdatabox.com/map-de...anada-map.html, find the tower you want to aim at, then export a csv file of the current view.
This will give you a lat/long you can paste into Google Earth.
Create a placemark for the tower, then create a place mark for the location you're trying to aim the antenna from.
Using the ruler tool, draw a line from your location to the tower. This will give you distance, and a heading.
I believe Google Earth gives the heading in true, so make sure you are using the same method when you try to get a direction from a compass or GPS.

I won't be able to confirm that this method is really of any help until the end of the month when I am back at the cabin. If it helps you at all please let me know.
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Old 2010-03-21, 11:34 PM   #3
Henry_W
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Thanks for your input. I already used that and had lines drawn on a map... I actually provided the csv latitude and longitude to the guys who were trying to aim the antenna. They are hoping to input the information into a special mapping program they use for wireless and get back to me with more accurate "guesses".

I am further researching some way to take measurements without spending money on a Rogers phone plan when evidence so far shows real crappy service. (I may be wrong hopefully- but not willing to give them 3 years phone plan to use a phone and its signal testing capabilities)

Using some phones like Blackberry, you can attach to antenna and get into SERVICE mode and get signal readings to aim the antenna. I would rather hire someone to do that.

Also I discovered that for a USB device, you can use hyperterminal and command line to get accurate signal measurements. SO still in investigative mode.
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Old 2010-03-22, 10:42 AM   #4
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I've got a few Nokia GSM phones around. I'm also going to attempt enabling Net Monitor to see if it gives me any info.

If I discover anything useful in my aiming attempts I'll post again in a week or so.
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Old 2010-04-01, 09:06 PM   #5
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Henry W,

No hard numbers or signal measuring tools to report. I've aimed my Wilson 304411 antenna using the compass on my GPS and Google Earth.

I found while experimenting with my antenna aiming that I could leave the antenna pointed in one direction and not always get 3G. In my location there appears to be cell tower traffic/activity conditions based on the time of day that prevent getting a 3G signal.

As I write this I am seeing a steady 4 green bars 3G/3G+ in the web gui pointed at a Rogers tower near Warburg, Alberta approximately 7.4 kms from my location at Sundance Beach, Pigeon Lake. I'm getting 3.5 to 4.5 Mbps download and .85 to 1.7 Mbps upload depending on when I run the test and whether I use speedtest or testmynet.

Hope this helps.
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Old 2010-04-03, 08:48 AM   #6
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Envirogeek,

I am almost finished my tower installation - top section still missing due to mismatch (getting that Tuesday). However, the installed put my TV Rotor and the antenna up in temporary on the last section's "legs". So I am at same height as before and potentially skimming my trees. However, I can accurately aim my tower.

The best idea I had was to spend 130 on a Rotor used for TV. They install and point to NORTH (0 degrees) - right now it was eyeballed because it was temporary for weekend. I have the remote control in my home office at my desk and can aim the antenna by 1 degree increments sitting at my computer. The data I put in is a number between 0-360 degrees.

I found a calculator on Google site that would let me enter latitude and longitude or TWO points and it calculates distance and Degrees. I get the towers lat/long from http://www.spatialdatabox.com/map-de...anada-map.html and then used a Google map addin that gave me the long/lat of my House. So now I have chart liek this:

Horseshoe Tower 36.0 deg 3.4 km 44.546667 N 79.681667 W
Midhurst Tower 183.4 deg 6.7 km 44.460833 N 79.712222 W
Hillsdale Tower 314.4 deg 8.1 km 44.572778 N 79.780278 W
Menesing Tower 230.2 deg 13.4 km 44.444444 N 79.836667 W

It takes me 2 seconds to accurately aim my antenna to whatever tower I want.

As you mentioned there are more factors than distance.

Distance
Geography (hills and trees)
Time of day load on Tower

Won't be 100% done until Tuesday - extra 10 feet and accurate compass point of rotor to north

Best to worse:

8.1km , 13.4km, 6.7km and 3.4km....

Geography has major impact on the closest.. i might get lucky and change with extra 10 ft making tower 70ft.

After 4:30 - the first 2 towers switch positions due to load --- but due to my rotor that won't be problem as it takes 1 button push to reaim accurately.

By the way my signal never various from 100% at any tower even ones 30 km away so the main issue is obstacles in way - trees and hills. The clearest towers to me are the furthest. 3.5 to 1.8MB down - really various and upload is the bitch.. 0.10 to .80 Up... still have work to narrow that down.

But at least for the first time in 3 weeks my son was able to play his online games and not get booted after 20 seconds of play. He just has not bothered while we sort this out.
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Old 2010-04-04, 12:01 PM   #7
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That rotor idea sounds great. I've got my antenna on an unused satellite dish mount near my eaves for now, but I'm considering putting a post up on my chimney.

I'm shooting through trees for each of the 3 towers I have available to me. My other two choices are 13.22 and 23 kms from me with some houses to clear. I suspect that the tower I'm shooting at will have the least traffic, but may have the worst line of site even though it is shortest distance.

Since you're getting good signal at 13 kms it would be nice to easily test my options with the rotor. I've been considering picking up an SG2100 motor for some satellite dish aiming experiments. Might be able to use this temporarily to experiment with. I will also look at TV rotors.

Thanks for the info.
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Old 2010-05-15, 12:31 PM   #8
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Well after 2 months of use of the Rocket Hub, I finally dragged out of Rogers support an answer why my service is so inconsistent. Its been 23 days in 2nd line support.

They admitted that the signal they get from me and I receive is strong and no problems. The problem is the towers are over congested. The solution is on their side and they have not worked out what they can do... add to the tower or offload to new tower.

The only thing positive about the call is the guy saying the problem will be fixed - just no time frame. Rogers is committed to 3G wireless for now and future. (The portable Internet they share with Rogers is on life support - in that not pushed and will supported until costs > users) They need to have un-congested towers to sell their mobile internet which is Sticks and Rocket Hubs.

So I have to live with great service during day and crap between 5-10PM and weekends.
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