Technical / Installation
Articles - Body Interior / Exterior
Installing a Wilson® Cellular Signal Amplifier
Article written by Moab Man
Date Added: 03/24/2009
Can you hear me now? You can if your vehicle has a Wilson Mobile Wireless Cellular Signal Amplifier. And we want you to try it out in Moab, Utah during Easter Jeep Safari 2009.
Cell phone coverage across America is pretty good in most of the country. However, the addition of cell phone towers is relative to population. Consequently, if you live in the West, cellular service starts to thin causing spotty cell service when off the beaten path.
But don't think that a weak cell phone signal just applies to those of us geographically, cellularly challenged. Since you read MOABJEEPER Magazine, you probably venture out in to areas that present their own cellular issues. Thick forest, valleys, and mountainous terrain, will all cause cellular dead zones.
Often times many of these cellular "dead zones" are... well, to quote Monty Python and the Holy Grail, "I'm not dead yet." They are merely cell phone signals barely clinging to life. What I mean is, your phone indicates a signal is there, but it's just not enough to keep your phone call alive. Dr. Wilson, aka Wilson Electronics Inc, says they can not only resuscitate your cellular signal, but make it better.
Before you jump right into this installation, take some time to make sure the components are in the right spot. To do this, we are going to start with a "soft install" where we position everything and power up the system to check for audio interference before hard mounting any of the components.
1. Each kit comes as a complete package. Not the kind of "complete package" that requires additional purchases but truly complete. The suction cup windshield mount shown is an option that we recommend.
2. Place you cellular phone cradle in the location you ideally want the phone. The 7' length of the cradle's cable will dictate where you can place the Mobile Wireless Dual-Band Amplifier.
Each kit is supplied with a dashboard vent mount, and a more permanent adhesive dash mount, for attaching the phone cradle.
3. Choose a location within reach of the cradle's cable to mount the Mobile Wireless Dual-Band Amplifier. Connect the cradle's cable (internal antenna) and the amplifier together and place the amplifier, but don't secure it. After testing your system you may need to pick a different location.
4. Mount the magnetic antenna. A couple of things to consider: the antenna's 11' cable must reach the Amplifier, and the further away you can get from other antennas the better. Connect the antenna to the amplifier.
5. And the last piece of hardware, connect your power supply to the 12V Power Outlet (cigarette lighter for the old school people). We save this step for last because its 9.5' cord will reach the amp anywhere you place it so long as the rest of the system is connected.
6. At this point your Wilson Mobile Wireless Cellular Signal Amplifier is "soft installed" and can be powered up to check for proper operation. It can't get any simpler than this, power it up and look at the 800 MHz and 1900 MHz lights on the amplifier - green is good - red is bad. The system is not easily faulted to cause a red light. If you do get a red light, simply follow the outstanding troubleshooting instructions in the manual.
Once you have solid green indicators on the amplifier, you need to check for interference with other things in the vehicle. We will go point by point over some of the placement considerations for each item of your cellular amplifier kit. After testing the system; we hard mounted the amplifier under the drivers seat.
7. External antenna: On our Jeep the antenna stands out like a single quilled porcupine. Sure the Jeep has plenty of good looks on its own, but that small black antenna on our Jeep seemingly provokes every pants-halfway-down-their-backside kid to rip it off the vehicle. For this reason we tried to camouflage it the best we could. Our first magnetic mount location was on the after market hinge mounted mirror bracket. It blended beautifully next to our Jeeps radio antenna. What we found is FM stations had no problems, but it would interfere with AM radio stations. Admittedly there are only about 5 of us that listen to AM radio, but if you are one of the other 4 people, be aware that it will interfere. Ultimately we used the same location but on the drivers side. The center of the hood would probably have been a much better location; but at the risk of it being involuntarily removed from our vehicle, we will live with whatever small shielding of the antenna the windshield frame might be doing.
8. Internal and external antenna cables: Don't cross the cables! No there isn't anything catastrophic or cool that will occur, but antenna cables don't like to be crossed and may interfere with each other.
9. After you have tested all the electronics in the vehicle for interference and made any adjustments, place a phone call. Of course the phone must be mounted in or near the cellular cradle, and inside a TJ cruising down the freeway at roughly one billion decibels, we suggest the use of an Earbud over the speaker phone option.
Our last bit of diagnostics before making our soft installation permanent was a short road trip. Driving didn't cause any additional interference, but we wanted to be sure before we hard mounted the system. Think of that little annoyance in your Jeep that bugs you but you just don't want to make the effort to change it - we wanted to avoid that kind of annoyance.
10. Once you're satisfied with the location of all the components, hard mount each piece of hardware. Hide the cables, screw down the amplifier, attach the cell phone cradle, and run the external antenna cable into the vehicle in a permanent location. Sorry, you do need to supply the screws/bolts to mount the amplifier.
11. A Couple Points of Praise
Cellular Cradle: This cradle has lots of adjustment to fit any phone we placed in it. We never realized how many different buttons in different locations could be on a phone. Yet the cradle could always be adjusted to fit any phone and held them all securely.
American Made: This product is made and assembled here in the state of Utah. There was a time when Made In America meant something. This product IS the type of product that built that kind of reputation. Solid construction, easy to use, and it works like it should just as you should expect it to.
We're glad to report there were no installation issues.
We have been using the Wilson Mobile Wireless Cellular Signal Amplifier for a few months now. During the time we have been using it, we can't give it any higher praise than... IT WORKS! Gone is the frustration from our cell phone; weak cellular signal cutting in and out, dropped calls, and a generally poor experience that goes along with owning a cell phone in the mountain states.
After months of urban jungle testing under our belts, our next stop is Moab, Utah. With the exception of the town itself, in the surrounding desert the cellular signal is off life support and fading fast. We will truly test the skills of Dr. Wilson, aka Wilson Electronics Inc, to save the dying cellular signals on the open Moab slickrock.
As we said at the beginning of the article, we want you to try out the Wilson Mobile Wireless Cellular Signal Amplifier. During the Easter Jeep Safari 2009 we will have two of these systems in operation. If you see either of the vehicles and have a weak cell phone signal, flag us down on CB channel 4. Or simply walk up and introduce yourself. Either way, we want you to place a call from your cell, check out the system, and tell us what you think.
The Wilson Electronics Wireless Mobile Cellular Signal Amplifier Kit (801213), as well as the company?s wide range of powerful mobile wireless amplifiers, is available at authorized Wilson Electronics? dealers. Visit the dealer locator page at www.wilsonelectronics.com to search for dealers by ZIP code, or to buy the product immediately from an online retail partner. For more information on what products might best fit your needs, call our friendly and knowledgeable tech reps. at 1-866-294-1660.
Wilson Electronics consistently leads the industry in performance standards and its designs consistently outperform the competition in real world performance. Engineered, assembled and tested in the company?s headquarters in St. George, Utah. Wilson Electronics amplifiers fully comply with FCC regulations for cellular devices and are FCC and Industry Canada type accepted. For more information, visit
Purchase / Vendor Info
Wilson Electronics, Inc.
3301 E. Deseret Drive
St. George, UT