This summer I have been hitting up some campgrounds with the new camper, and most of them have WiFi access. Usually, we are behind trees, a hill, or other RV's of most AP antennas. At an earlier visit to a favorite campground, I could connect at a blistering 6~11 mbps with a weak signal (2~3 bars at best) wanted to see what was out there that could help me out, and found that there are many products geared for RV's and extending WiFi's but nothing in the budget I wanted to spend.

I did a search and found a couple of programs: NetStumbler and Easy WiFi Radarand loaded them into the laptop.

I also found this website:
Dusty Dragon Free Wifi Anywhere

I watched many of the youtube videos about extending your WiFi range and such, making antennas, cantennas, wifi dishes etc and it looked easy enough. so I went to work with what I could get my hands on cheap.

Making your own seems to be the gig, pretty cool perspective I think.

I had the USB wifi dongle that I had been using so there was no expense there. The task was to find a dish that had a focal point in the right place, was small enough to use in a camper (no big thing that eats up space) and had to weather the elements of camping.

So, after an hour of searching around the house, 30 minutes with some bench time and tools, and 15 minutes with the laptop this is what I came up with:



Shown here with my Homemade HD antenna, perched up above my camper you can see my own Mini WiFi dish. Its gain is amazing! From my place, I could only see my own network but with this mini dish I can find 28 access points just looking one direction, and looking another, I can connect at full speed, full strength to the public library's public access point about 6 blocks away, since it's within direct visual range with no obstructions to worry about.

Back at the campground 2 weeks later, I connected easily and found another 16 AP's that I could connect to! The gain was no less than -15db. but what was more amazing was how many AP's I could find and jump right into. I was able to aim the dish across San Diego Mission Bay, and connect to the AP at the Hyatt Regency about 3 miles away.

Amazing. I never knew it was so easy! Ya gotta love learning stuff on the internet.

SO, the question now is, has anyone else here done any local wifi sniffing? did you get the results you hoped for?

The Home made HDTV antenna you see there actually works BETTER than the set on my roof that I paid $350 for 2 years ago.


If you need any help with these amazing little DIY projects let me know.

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Email sent.
We got your email..
Thanks Jim,

Hi! I'm a new member and just saw this blog. Do you still make them? I would like one.  and any updates you have. Looks like a big winner. My e-mail is binghamtonbill@hotmail.com  thanks tons!!

Jim,

 

Topper here.... I asked you to email me at jatopper@yahoo.com or call me at 918-625-7943. I need to obtain one of these fancy scifi wifi widgets!

THANK YOU !!  TOPPER

 

trying to contact Jim. want you to make one or send the plans..just tell me how much and where to send it. thanks, Bill Palmer

Jim, We got the Sci Fi Wi-Fi gizmo and it's great!! Way kewl. BIG PROBLEM thought. our friends, jim and lynn where hereand they want it!! Drat so we're gonna be helpin them install it and have them read your article and notes about the install. So, keep those parts handy, man. I'm trying to buy a really neat Canned Ham from the 50's so if that deal goes thru I'll need another.

We'll post the "fire up" and the install and let you know.

Can one be made out of a metal hubcap? if i send it too you?? Have a "Moon" hub cap from my old rig that's like new with the logo.

Nice video!! thanks. pat, linda & lady dog.

Community member: Track Jim & Lynn's install in the blog when they do the Wi-FI sci thing. E-mail Jim here if YOU can't stand it and want one too! :)
Hey Pat!

Speedy shipping is my deal. You just say the word and I'll have another roll out the door to you.


The hubcap is a fair idea, some concerns: The focal point of the dish, the weight/wind consideration, and the reflective surface of the inside of the hubcap. If it is rusty/crusty then its not a good reflector. If you are a math guy, you can figure out the focal point. If it is at the point of the WiFi's antenna, you're good. If not, its pure decoration. Next, if the hubcap is heavy and large, wind will work it good, so you'll need a rigid pole, and beefy mounts.

The dish I used is light, and the focal point is dead on.

One thing I didn't mention, is that there are longer range USB's that can be used with this dish to increase the range even longer (Wireless N). I ordered a few and they are on the way. A slight price increase of about $20 but via the specs, should DOUBLE the range of the current dish (so far my best is 3 miles) I'll be excited to try those when they arrive.

I've spent the last two days doing some research on commercially available Wi-Fi extenders, and this one is a BARGAIN. I cant bring myself to pay $300 to extend the RV wifi range knowing this dish is a winner.



I'll be "Tuned In" waiting for your performance report!
Hey, Jim! That extender sounds great! When i get my bumper pull classic let's test that one. be good for an article for our rv community. Taking your sci fi wi fi over to Lynn & Jim across the lake now. See Lynn's picture under blogs... she's the gal soakin wet driving the boat with the way worried look on her face.

Stay "tuned" ! pat
Heeeey~! we need that hubcap~! and it has a logo? what kind of logo?
I need two moons for restored rims (15")
Airstream would be nice!
I want to see how your Sci Fi Wi-Fi turns out too.
I want one like theirs Jim!
I have a Hub Cap... or?
Great stuff all this, and really fun...
Thanks Pat
and Jim....
One more thing I left out is we have inside our trailer a directional handle that rotates and through a small keyshaped viewing hole (3/4"X 1") see the direction : N, S, E, W, and increments.
I can show you a photo if you need.
The only wires coming in from the old antenna is the old brown two wire kind as Grandma's old rotor T.V. Antenna.
Hi Jim,

I am a new member. Was chatting with Pat Daly. He mentioned that you might have space for me to park my 37' toy hauler near San Diego? Or... know someone with space? I am trying to offer $400 to cover my electric and balance to homeowner's discretion. Not going so well though? People tend to want that plus electric and for that I can stay in any common park? Trying to save a buck and help out homeowner too... Anyway, your input would be appreciated... All my best. Dale
Hi Dale,

I did book my space, sorry!!

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