Last week at the end of my post about installing a solar panel on the roof of my Teardrop, I mentioned my next project was to solve my internet connection problem. I use my Verizon/ Samsung Stratosphere phone as a mobile hotspot, but I’ve been having a hard time finding descent cell service on the road.
I got a bunch of emails from readers with a lot of really great ideas (confession: technology is not my strong suit so input is always welcome!). One person suggested I contact Wilson Electronics, an all-American company that manufactures cell phone signal boosting devices. When I looked up Wilson, I was surprised to find they’re based in southwest Utah, one of my favorite places on Earth.
I sent a brief email to firstname.lastname@example.org just saying I was a travel writer living and working on the road, looking to solve my internet connection problems. I also mentioned that if they were in need of road testers, I’d be happy to stop by St. George and bring any of their products along on my journey from Utah, to California, to Alaska.
Within hours I got an email back from somebody with Wilson’s PR firm who said if I stopped by the office St. George, they’d hook me up with everything I could possibly need, for free! At the time I was in Laramie, Wyoming, a 10-hour drive via interstates. I told them I’d be in St. George in four days.
Yesterday morning, I showed up in St. George and a representative from Wilson met me in the parking lot, curious to see my Teardrop. I ended up spending most of the day there, meeting the team, touring the assembly line (all components of all Wilson products are made right there in St. George), having lunch, and hanging out while master wire-hider Mike installed not one but two mobile boosters in my rig: a Sleek 4G-V in my car and a dual-band mobile wireless unit in the Teardrop.
I’ve had the boosters for less than 24-hours so this is not a fully informed review, but yesterday I drove aways up Beaver Creek Canyon, a deep narrow defile, and when my phone was out of the Sleek booster cradle my phone alternated between the dreaded “searching for service” and one bar and when it was in the Sleek cradle, I had full service.
Right now I’m working from BLM land in the middle of nowhere, western Utah. When the wireless booster unit in the Teardrop is unplugged (I run it off my solar panel but it also comes with a car charger) I have no service and when it’s on I have full bars!
Now if I can just get Verizon to tell my why my phone keeps displaying this annoying and frustratingly mysterious “Could not connect to AM Server” error message and I’ll be all set! Good customer service is hard to find, unless you’re working with Wilson!
I should note that the team at Wilson installed both my boosters for free with no strings attached. No requests for reviews, publicity, or road reports. Hanging out with the crew yesterday, it was clear that they just thought living and working on the road is awesome and a unique use of their product and they wanted to do their part to help make my Teardrop dreams come true. A big thanks to Clay, Jon, Blake, Mike and Derek! You guys made my day and my road trip! :)