I bought the Wilson Sleek 4G-V in order to boost my Verizon 4G LTE cellular signal at the mountain cabin. But first I gave it a try at home. It’s designed for mounting in a car, but I also bought the separate Home/Office Accessory Kit which includes a desktop cradle, a suction cup window mount for the antenna, and an AC adapter. Here is a photo of everything except the carrying case. Continue reading
One day back in March, I was walking around town, and my Verizon iPhone 5 switched from 3G to 4G LTE! But only one bar of signal. Continue reading
I work from a home office, and now with the warmer weather (at least in Southern California) I’ve been looking to spend some of that time working outside. Though the biggest obstacle to doing so is being able to see my laptop screen in the sunlight. So I bought a Compushade for my laptop, here’s what it looks like in my outdoor home office. Continue reading
I’ve posted many times here on this blog about my latest gizmos at my cabin in the Southern California mountains, but it’s been piecemeal and I’ve never summarized everything in one place. Hence, this post.
Below is a photo of my “network closet” in the crawl space. I use the crawl space because it says relatively cool in the summer, which is best for the electronics. The inside of the cabin, as well as the attic, can get pretty hot in the summer when it’s all boxed up in our absence. In most places, condensation on the equipment would be an issue, but here the outdoor and crawl space humidity is very low year round. The crawl space location also kept everything away from the renters, back when we were using this as a vacation rental. Yet despite the apparent tight quarters in the photo, it’s still easy access, as the access opening is immediately to the right, just outside the frame of the photo.
I’m at a crossroads with my internet connection at the mountain cabin, in a small town with a population of 5,000. A long time ago, I got the most basic DSL connection, 1.0 Mbps, good enough for remote access to the thermostat and the webcams. That was long before streaming movies and working from home, so now it is too slow. But Verizon has run out of capacity in town, and no new connections or speed upgrades are available. Continue reading
In my last installment, I talked about how I set up a UHF antenna at my cabin to pick up the Los Angeles area TV stations rebroadcast from the Victor Valley Translator in the high desert.
My cabin is only about 25 miles (as the crow flies) from the Los Angeles area broadcast antennas on the top of Mount Wilson. The bad news is that there are several peaks between there and my cabin. But according to the TV Fool report, Ihad a chance of getting the VHF stations (7, 9.11, and 13), while I would have little chance of picking up the UHF stations. That makes sense because VHF signals can propagate down hillsides, unlike higher frequency UHF signals. Also, trees do a good job of blocking UHF signals, but that’s not much of an issue for VHF signals.
Here’s a detailed map for one of the VHF stations broadcasting from Mount Wilson (top center on the map). My cabin in Wrightwood is indicated by the red pointer in the top right center. Continue reading
When we first got our cabin in Wrightwood almost ten years ago, I briefly looked at the possibility of putting an antenna on the roof and getting free TV. The consensus was that reception was limited to a few homes on the east side of town with a clear view of the high desert, where the Los Angeles area stations are rebroadcast from the Victor Valley Translator.
So with cable or satellite the only options, we got an entry level package for Dish Network, which we were able to later scale down to $7/month for local channels only. Over time that has crept up to $15/month, and given that now have other viewing options such as Netflix, I decided to revisit the idea of free TV. Continue reading
I was only getting 130 Mbps on my Buffalo WHR-HP-G300 router which is supposed to be good for 300 Mbps. The router defaulted to a channel width of 20 MHz. I changed it to 40 MHz, and voila, I connected at 300 Mbps. Though that only worked because my router was able to find some uncrowded channel space.
The other challenge was that I wanted to increase the range of the router. Continue reading
My mountain cabin is located in a small town which has a two lane state highway running through it, with no stop signs or traffic lights. Normally it’s a pretty quiet road, but on winter weekends it is very busy with motorists passing through on their way to the winter resorts. The winter traffic is often so heavy that it can be difficult to find a break when trying to turn left onto the highway from the side streets or businesses. Not to mention that there is also a significant amount of pedestrian traffic wishing to cross the highway. Continue reading
Each springtime, many hikers make the trek on the Pacific Crest Trail all the way from Mexico to Canada. The small town of Wrightwood in the mountains north of Los Angeles is known as one of the hiker friendly stops on the way. Locals often meet hikers where the PCT crosses the highway and give them a five mile into town so that they can resupply, and sometimes even offer an overnight stay.
The same can’t be said for long distance bicycle tourists. Not that Wrightwood is a bad place to ride, it is simply off the beaten path for cyclists, though there are a few coast to coast riders who wish to avoid the suburban sprawl of Los Angeles and don’t mind a lot of uphill and downhill through the local mountains to do so. (Though who knows, there may be more bicycle tourists due to Adventure Cycling’s new Sierra Cascades Bicycle Route, which follows the PCT via roads.) Continue reading