Motorhome Wifi – Repurposing a TV Antenna

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Pictured is one half of a Grade Status 530 TV and FM antenna, it’s guts removed and replaced with an Engenius EOC-2610 wireless access point.

The motorhome already had the TV antenna fitted, and we don’t watch TV, so it was an ideal place to fit wifi externally to the vehicle. After figuring out how to get into the casing, it was easy to remove the TV antenna to make space for the Engenius. I had to remove the Engenius from its own casing, which mean cutting the external antenna cable, but I don’t think for now I’ll be needing that. I left the FM antennas in place, although disconnected, as they only provide reception to points in the habitation area and not to the cab radio (Doh!), so not much use. I may yet try to connect them to these radio as the reception is crap – the antenna is probably behind the dash somewhere. I then zip tied the Engenius into the case, reassembled and put it back on the roof.

Finally it was necessary to route some Ethernet cable from the antenna to a nearby cupboard so that I could connect it to the rest of the kit. The Engenius runs in ‘Client Router’ mode, which means it makes a client connection to the remote wifi network, and then acts as a local router on it’s wired LAN link. In my case, I attached an Apple Airport Express via Ethernet, operating as a wireless access point. This allows me to connect a number of devices (MacBook, iPhone and iPad) wirelessly to share the link.

The Status 530 means I can lift the mast about 50cm above the roofline, and rotate the direction antenna of the Engenius to locate the nearest good signal. It certainly picks up signals that the devices alone cannot see from within the vehicle, so it’s doing it’s job of adding range, and sharing a single connection (for those occasions when I need to pay, should save a bit!).

The Engenius firmware is sufficient to get access to secured and unsecured wifi including access points such as BT OpenZone and FON, although I seemed to have problems with both of those via a BT Business Hub at a campsite last night. Why getting wifi Internet access in this day and age has to be so difficult is anybodies guess.




One thought on “Motorhome Wifi – Repurposing a TV Antenna

  1. Motorhome WiFi

    This is a great idea, I love seeing what people can come up with to increase their WiFi range in a motorhome. The best thing about it is, nobody will know your picking up WiFi with one of these! Brilliant! 🙂

    Reply

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