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Seeking advice on BLM LTVA with internet/cell connectivity


outwestbound

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Hi. I've been a fulltimer park rat for a couple years, but will start boondocking this winter in southwest US. I just installed 960 watts of PV panels and 830AH batt bank and amps for cell and wifi. Also, I'm getting an extra water bladder and macerator/tote for black water. I'm in a fifth wheel with 100 gallons of water, 38 black, 72 grey, with 18 gallons of propane (2 x 40#). I'll use my satellite for TV.

I'm trying to find a BLM LTVA location where my WiFi Ranger Elite and weboost 4G-X cell amp may find a signal, because I still work. I haven't used either amp yet so I really don't know their capability. I'd like to be able to watch youtube videos. I'm just using the "stock" 4" stubby omnidirectional antenna with the weboost 4G-X, but I gather there is a "trucker" style Omnidirectional antenna that's better (which I'd get). If necessary, I could get a directional antenna if that is necessary.

Don't know if this kind of connectivity is ridiculous or whether there are suitable locations. Any advice is greatly appreciated. I'd like to stay in this spot for 3-4 months.

Thanks

2011 F350 Lariat, 6.7L, 3.73, CC, DRW, 8' Bed, Reese Elite 25K, TST 507
2011 Carri Lite 36XTRM5, MORryde IS/ Pin Box, Hydraulic Jacks/ Brakes, 17.5" Wheels/ G114 Tires

Solar 960 watts, (2) 50amp controllers, 3,000 watt hybrid inverter/charger, 830 AH batt bank

WiFi Ranger Elite Pack; weboost Drive 4G-X

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The only time you'll have cell connectivity issues in Quartzsite will be during the third week in January during the Big Tent and QIA shows, when thousands apon thousands of users come to town and completely overwhelm the infrastructure. Even then you should be able to reliably get online during the off hours.

Most all of the LTVAs in western Arizona and California have 4G service, except for the remote Wiley's Well LTVA.

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Sounds like you're pretty well set up. Just a couple of comments...

You didn't mention what internet options you're currently using (wifi only? cellular? sat?). I have a similar setup and boondock full time. I recently went through an ever changing transition from sat internet, limited wifi (starbucks, mcd's, etc.), and data access on my cell phone, but never used it for connectivity... just limited on-the-fly use on the phone itself. Long story short... what I've finally ended up with is an unlimited cellular internet hotspot (mobley@$20/month), weBoost 4G-X w/trucker antenna and sat.

I've found that the WFR EliteAC turned out to be a waste of money and I've never even taken it out of the box. Not that it doesn't work, it's simply that with the cell hotspot and a weBoost, I've never been in a situation where I couldn't get a cell signal but wifi was within range.

I will say that there is a VERY big difference with the trucker. I mounted mine on an extendable painters pole (6'-18') to gain elevation and pull in signals in areas I never thought possible. My sat usage has dropped to around 30% of what it used to be. (The annoying bit of it... it also pulls in phone calls and text's. ;))

I've not tested in the SW LTVA's yet, but from my experience so far, I think you're likely in VERY good shape with your weBoost and a truckers.

I have my own feelings about a blue boy. IMHO, they are generally more a PITA than they are worth, but I DO pack one and use it on occasion. I use a Barker. The larger pneumatic tires and metal handle do better than most on rougher roads under tow.

A water bladder is a great idea. This past year, on the recommendation of a trusted friend (he's been running the same bladder for over 7 years), I've switched out my "heavy duty" (aka expensive) bladders with an aquatank 2. I was pretty skeptical as they are "extremely" light weight, but it's held up extremely well, and when not in use, weighs about a pound and folds down to the size of a paper sack. What I don't like.. they are like a rolling ball of jello and must be fully restrained, but the space savings and light weight when not in use is priceless. That... and the fact that they are DIRT cheap. I went with a 60gal, but still also carry 4-6gal hard shell jugs as an emergency supply.

The only thing I could suggest to fill out your "boondocking suite" might be an independent portable water pump and filter system so you can fill your bladder/rig on the fly from any available water source. I don't know if you've spent much time in the SW, or if you're the bottled water only type or not, but it gives you the ability to maintain a consistent/trusted quality of water in your rig as well as adding in a level of freedom. Ie., being able to drop down to the river to fill your bladder without having to move your rig or make a long drive into civilization.

Just food for thought. I didn't exactly answer your question but I always get excited when a new boondocker emerges. ;)  

 

 

 

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We get a good Verizon signal at the LTVAs in Quartzsite, Pilot Knob west of Yuma, and Midland north of Blythe.  Those are the only LTVAs at which we've stayed, so I can't speak to the others, or to the signal from other carriers.

LindaH
2014 Winnebago Aspect 27K
2011 Kia Soul

 

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7 hours ago, Yarome said:

1.         You didn't mention what internet options you're currently using (wifi only? cellular? sat?).

2.       I've never been in a situation where I couldn't get a cell signal but wifi was within range. I will say that there is a VERY big difference with the trucker. I mounted mine on an extendable painters pole (6'-18') to gain elevation and pull in signals in areas I never thought possible.

3.       I have my own feelings about a blue boy. IMHO, they are generally more a PITA than they are worth, but I DO pack one and use it on occasion. I use a Barker. The larger pneumatic tires and metal handle do better than most on rougher roads under tow.

4.       A water bladder is a great idea. I've switched out my "heavy duty" (aka expensive) bladders with an aquatank 2.

5.       The only thing I could suggest to fill out your "boondocking suite" might be an independent portable water pump and filter system so you can fill your bladder/rig on the fly from any available water source. 

Yarome, Thanks for your comments. Here are my thoughts by number.

1-2.  For WiFi, I have the WRF Elite Pack, with the antenna component mounted on my batwing and the Go2 router inside. I use Dish with a Wineguard Carryout G2 portable automatic antenna, but not for internet, just TV. For cell, I have a Verizon unlimited plan. I get throttled down from 4G LTE after 10GB on hotspot, but unlimited thereafter @ 3G for $130/mo. It's for my business, so I gotta have data/cell. This plan was an attempt to save a little money, cuz I was on 40GB/mo plan, all 4G LTE, for $244/mo. I'm thinking that the environment I'll be in will mostly be 3G, and that the throttling won't practically matter, but time will tell whether this "unlimited" plan by Verizon makes sense. I have an iPhone 6, older iPad and JetPack AC791L. 

For cell antenna, I'm using the weboost 4G-X with the stock 4" stubby antenna. I just started using the 4G-X and have the "candy bar" inside antenna on my desk and put the phone or MiFi right on top of the candy bar. I've got ample separation with the exterior stubby, so I'm not getting any oscillation. At this point, I think it makes sense to upgrade to the "trucker", which is the newer looking "paddle style", not the older type. The flag pole makes great sense. I have to assume that the longer cable run's gain loss is more than made up with the stronger signal, cuz that cable run to the top of a flag pole is LOOOOOOONG!

3.   I'll get a large (40 gallonish). Thanks for the info. Haven't bought yet, but looking at the Flojet portable macerator pump model 18555 I think for like $200.

4-5.   I'm a backpacker, so been drinking out of rivers for years using various filter systems. I may end up going that "wild" route for water sourcing, but initially, I think I'll stick with "potable city water" and my on-board 3M whole-house filtration system. Aquatank 2 looks good; thanks. Someone recommended using my little portable drill for pumping, but my drill is small, plus it may be dead when I need it, or not with me. Hence, I'm thinking of using a more typical pump like in the fifth wheel - SHURflo. My truck has an opening sliding rear window that I can rum my 12vDC extension cable out of so I can plug in the pump. That's my current thinking.

Thanks for any comments.  

2011 F350 Lariat, 6.7L, 3.73, CC, DRW, 8' Bed, Reese Elite 25K, TST 507
2011 Carri Lite 36XTRM5, MORryde IS/ Pin Box, Hydraulic Jacks/ Brakes, 17.5" Wheels/ G114 Tires

Solar 960 watts, (2) 50amp controllers, 3,000 watt hybrid inverter/charger, 830 AH batt bank

WiFi Ranger Elite Pack; weboost Drive 4G-X

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Thanks all for comments. It would appear the most likely data source will be cellular. I've been studying comments on forums, plus reading Jack Mayer's site and joined Technomadia's Mobile Internet Resource Center. With rapid change in the industry, it's insane trying to keep up with best practices and technology!!!!!!!!!!

2011 F350 Lariat, 6.7L, 3.73, CC, DRW, 8' Bed, Reese Elite 25K, TST 507
2011 Carri Lite 36XTRM5, MORryde IS/ Pin Box, Hydraulic Jacks/ Brakes, 17.5" Wheels/ G114 Tires

Solar 960 watts, (2) 50amp controllers, 3,000 watt hybrid inverter/charger, 830 AH batt bank

WiFi Ranger Elite Pack; weboost Drive 4G-X

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20 hours ago, outwestbound said:

Thanks for any comments.  

1-2. Have you checked out the AT&T Mobley option? $20+taxes a month for unlimited 4G LTE internet. I don't know what your cell plan is like, but if it works for you, it might cut your monthly's even more going with a stand alone hotspot and just a basic unlimited talk/text w/limited data plan. Just throwing out an idea.

"I have to assume that..."
Exactly! I keep it on the 10' most of the time, but have a 10' extension to run the pole up. The trucker is actually mounted at the top of the 6' pole when closed (roof level with a 3' of slack cable) so it's only a 12' rise when fully extended. But, yes. Stronger lower gain or a low gain signal beats none.

3. Just a storage idea. They travel very well underneath and between the frame rails if you're the handy sort putting together a holding frame. If you get into really rough country, I've also seen folks using those flat pull wagons to shlep their waste totes. 

4-5. Those drill pumps are pretty flimsy and generally have really low gpm's as well. I run a standard RV water pump (sureflo) with it's own battery to keep it portable. At worst I can run it off the house, rig or genset so it's kind of no brainer. If you've got that 12vdc extension out the back of your rig then I'd say you're good to go.

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On ‎7‎/‎29‎/‎2017 at 1:14 AM, Yarome said:

 I've never been in a situation where I couldn't get a cell signal but wifi was within range.

We have.  Two that come to mind right off the top of my head are Mesquite Springs Campground in Death Valley -- no cell signals at all and, of course, no wifi -- and the BLM area near the Schellbourne Rest Area on US-93 in Nevada.  No Verizon signal and no wifi.  (There was a period in the morning where we picked up a weak 1X signal, enough to get email.  If we'd had an exterior antenna and a booster, perhaps we could have pulled in a signal, but we've never bothered to put an antenna on the RV in my signature and the only booster we have is an old Wilson Sleek, which I'm not sure would work with our current phones.  Regardless, there was no wifi around.)

LindaH
2014 Winnebago Aspect 27K
2011 Kia Soul

 

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34 minutes ago, LindaH said:

We have.  Two that come to mind right off the top of my head 

My dear.. that's what I said. I meant I have yet to be in a situation where wifi was available but not cellular. Cellular but no wifi, yes. No wifi or cellular, yes. Wifi but no cellular... no.

But I've only been at it a few months with this new configuration. Who knows.. maybe I will. ;)

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1 hour ago, Yarome said:

... I meant I have yet to be in a situation where wifi was available but not cellular...

Two places come to mind immediately, Bottomless Lakes State Park and Hidden Valley RV Park, both in New Mexico. This use to also be the case at Fishing Bridge in Yellowstone; however, the wifi was supposed to be for employees only. However, none of these are boondocking sites. I am sure we have been in other locations where either the campground or a nearby small  business had wifi and 4G internet was not available.

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Thanks for the good advice. I was referred to this site: https://freecampsites.net/blm-ltvas/

I'm going to study this site and target some LTVA's.

2011 F350 Lariat, 6.7L, 3.73, CC, DRW, 8' Bed, Reese Elite 25K, TST 507
2011 Carri Lite 36XTRM5, MORryde IS/ Pin Box, Hydraulic Jacks/ Brakes, 17.5" Wheels/ G114 Tires

Solar 960 watts, (2) 50amp controllers, 3,000 watt hybrid inverter/charger, 830 AH batt bank

WiFi Ranger Elite Pack; weboost Drive 4G-X

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Depending on where you park, we've always had good Verizon at Senator Wash, LTVA north of Yuma.

2019 Airstream Flying Cloud 27FB
2011 Ford F350 CC SRW
 

"Be thankful we're not getting all the government we're paying for."       Will Rogers        

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I'm liking imperial/senator LTVA. Are any sites treed, or are they all bare? Just looking from google. 

2011 F350 Lariat, 6.7L, 3.73, CC, DRW, 8' Bed, Reese Elite 25K, TST 507
2011 Carri Lite 36XTRM5, MORryde IS/ Pin Box, Hydraulic Jacks/ Brakes, 17.5" Wheels/ G114 Tires

Solar 960 watts, (2) 50amp controllers, 3,000 watt hybrid inverter/charger, 830 AH batt bank

WiFi Ranger Elite Pack; weboost Drive 4G-X

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4 hours ago, outwestbound said:

I'm liking imperial/senator LTVA. Are any sites treed, or are they all bare? Just looking from google. 

Senator Wash is a wonderful place and a wonderful community with lots of activities.  But, if it's trees you are looking for, it's not the place.

2019 Airstream Flying Cloud 27FB
2011 Ford F350 CC SRW
 

"Be thankful we're not getting all the government we're paying for."       Will Rogers        

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Thanks for all the advice. Did some homework and decided on Imperial Dam LTVA. I've been in Alaska for a year, so this will be a change from -40 in Fairbanks!!!!

2011 F350 Lariat, 6.7L, 3.73, CC, DRW, 8' Bed, Reese Elite 25K, TST 507
2011 Carri Lite 36XTRM5, MORryde IS/ Pin Box, Hydraulic Jacks/ Brakes, 17.5" Wheels/ G114 Tires

Solar 960 watts, (2) 50amp controllers, 3,000 watt hybrid inverter/charger, 830 AH batt bank

WiFi Ranger Elite Pack; weboost Drive 4G-X

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4 hours ago, outwestbound said:

Thanks for all the advice. Did some homework and decided on Imperial Dam LTVA. I've been in Alaska for a year, so this will be a change from -40 in Fairbanks!!!!

If you buy a permit for Imperial Dam then don't like it, or just get hitch itch, that same permit is honored at Quartzsite and Blyth BLM LTVAs.

Linda Sand

Blog: http://sandcastle.sandsys.org/

Former Rigs: Liesure Travel van, Winnebago View 24H, Winnebago Journey 34Y, Sportsmobile Sprinter conversion van

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8 hours ago, sandsys said:

If you buy a permit for Imperial Dam then don't like it, or just get hitch itch, that same permit is honored at Quartzsite and Blyth BLM LTVAs.

Linda Sand

And at Pilot Knob, Tamarisk, Hot Spring, and Mule Mountain LTVAs.  http://telusplanet.net/public/waters/mapa.htm

There are also summer LTVAs, which require a separate permit:  https://freecampsites.net/blm-ltvas/#summer-ltvas

LindaH
2014 Winnebago Aspect 27K
2011 Kia Soul

 

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4 hours ago, LindaH said:

And at Pilot Knob, Tamarisk, Hot Spring, and Mule Mountain LTVAs.  http://telusplanet.net/public/waters/mapa.htm

There are also summer LTVAs, which require a separate permit:  https://freecampsites.net/blm-ltvas/#summer-ltvas

Thanks for you help.

2011 F350 Lariat, 6.7L, 3.73, CC, DRW, 8' Bed, Reese Elite 25K, TST 507
2011 Carri Lite 36XTRM5, MORryde IS/ Pin Box, Hydraulic Jacks/ Brakes, 17.5" Wheels/ G114 Tires

Solar 960 watts, (2) 50amp controllers, 3,000 watt hybrid inverter/charger, 830 AH batt bank

WiFi Ranger Elite Pack; weboost Drive 4G-X

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And if you're a Naturist there is 320 acres of the La Posa South LTVA near Quartzsite designated by BLM as clothing optional.    If interested see      http://magiccircleaz.net   

And yes we do get good cell service there.  I just perch my mifi device on the windowsill of my rig that faces town and i get at least three bars.   Plenty for good service. 

 

Dave J    SKP 100681

Dave and Joyce Jeffries

Dodge 2500 and a 34' Copper Canyon 5er

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