New incar wi-fi setup

Thanks for posting that about wifi set up

Interesting that it was on a mac website. That set up is too costly for me . I will try to make due with a wifi pcmia card and set up in OS9 with my older but still love g3 mac laptop.
Hopefully that will tide me over. I can't afford a new laptop. (I already have a desktop and bought my wife a new Macpro which she loves).

Thanks for that link Dave, that article answers a few questions. Looks like we'll have some good feedback on this system within a few months now that a few chasers will be using it.
Phil and I have tried to contact them again a number of times without luck and have no clue when these devices will be available and with vacation starting in 9 days we may not get to test it out like I had hoped.

Just to make sure I did have internet access gor my Gr3 I bought a cingular sierra aircard 875 and it works ok (except in NW oklahoma ofcourse) but needs an external antenna so I ordered an external 40" 11db gain antenna to plug into the card. if I cant hold a signal with that then its hopeless :)

If we get the autonet device in time we will test it against the sprint card and cingular card. botht cards having external antennas.
I'm using a device this year that seems to be working great.

I use an updated Sprint card for internet that gets the fast EVDO (or whatever its called..), and a Lynksys WRT45G3G router for mobile broadband.

Basically, the Lynksys box turns your cellular card into a WIFI hotspot. You plug the card into the router box...and turn it on. Works like a WIFI signal. Converts the cellular data connect to a WIFI hub. Several laptops can use it at the same time. Connect an amplifier with an outdoor cellular antenna...and you're good to go. You can also put an external WIFI antenna for multiple vehicle connectivity.

You can leave the device running in the vehicle, and then several laptops can get to it while you're grabbing a bite to eat at McDonalds (my favorite).

Works great.

I don't know Bill, I don't know if it was the Nextel merger or the new roaming agreement with Alltel, or the new towers, or a combination of them all, but Sprint has TREMENDOUSLY improved areas where we have data.[...]Needless to say, I have been very impressed with Sprint's efforts in that area.

I'm still not real big on my Sprint coverage. I use a Sprint contract through my biz and I will not renew with them. If I'm not travelling the interstates, my coverage is spotty to nil in S SD, NE, W IA, or N KS.

My fiance gets a discount on her Alltell service through her employer. I just ordered a PC data card from them yesterday for $189. A lot, yes, but, since it's through a business channel partner, they waive the $25 activation fee. Also, I don't have to sign ANY contract and I can drop anytime and renew anytime with no activation fee. If I only use it in Spring/Summer, I should save about $600 over two years up this way.

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Dave Carroll and I did not receive the test version in time for our May 13-26 chase trip ... but it has come later and I'm going to give it a spin on vacation with my wife driving to NM the next several days ... a spontaneous storm chase could break out on a few of those days crossing Okla/Tex and returning Colo/KS
Autonet Mobile

...I'm posting this via the Autonet mobile is pretty cool! Simply plug-n-play. GR3 absolutely flies on it! The unit is much smaller than I thought it would be(7x6x1"), and DOES have external antenna jacks. I haven't had a chance to compare the jacks, but it looks like it could be the same as those on the Peak Reception amps & antennas (Gordon Spencer's MaxSignal amps). Kevin will give it a good southern plains test(I told Kevin to head to the data black holes even if there are no storms to test it out!), and we will hopefully add the Ohio Valley for a good chase set-up this month, and even Southeastern U.S. (VA/NC/SC/GA/AL/FL) for the chasers in those areas. I would imagine it will work well in both of those locations, since they do use Verizon infrastructure among others, and Verizon coverage is typically very good in the northern plains, midwest, OH Valley and in the east. So far, my initial impression of this rig is VERY positive. If the coverage out in the plains is solid, this unit will certainly be in our vans each year!

The rig also comes with an A/C adapter, so you can plug it in to any outlet and viola'...wi-fi in your home or hotel room. Cool rig.
Thanks Dave for the information. I've been keeping an eye on the system, I plan on getting it and using it next year for chasing!
Autonet Mobile

...the antenna jack on the unit DOES work with the external antenna from the Peak Reception kit. To use the amp, I need a different with a TNC male on both ends I believe. After my experience with the Peak Reception amps this spring (which really did well), I am salivating over the possibilities of combining the amp with the Autonet Mobile unit. This combo could come pretty close to data connection nirvana...
For that cable go to . He has a great selection and great prices on cables and connecters

...the antenna jack on the unit DOES work with the external antenna from the Peak Reception kit. To use the amp, I need a different with a TNC male on both ends I believe. After my experience with the Peak Reception amps this spring (which really did well), I am salivating over the possibilities of combining the amp with the Autonet Mobile unit. This combo could come pretty close to data connection nirvana...
I'm traveling with the Autonet unit now, in fact I'm using it right now in my parents' living room in Arkansas (you can plug it up in your room once you've stopped somewhere). It's performed well so far. Yesterday, traveling across Tennessee through some more rural, off-interstate areas, my wife was able to stay connected on the wireless while at the same time I was losing my dad talking on the cell phone.

We're taking it west to Amarillo tomorrow on the way to New Mexico. This is primarily a vacation, but a close to I-40 storm chase is not out of the question if the mood strikes us. On the way back we're going to head into more remote areas of the Plains from the interstate ... partly to test the rig in that enviornment, partly to take my wife into some states she's never been, and just maybe we can bump into some storms.

As for agreements with phone networks ... it works on Verizon, Sprint and Nextel. It's Verizon where I'm at now (Jonesboro in NE Arkansas)
Is there a one or two year contract required to get this, like the data cards from Verizon or Sprint, etc? I've looked on the site, but can't see if you need one.
Back from our trip (well, at least back to my parents' place in Ark.)... unit worked great everywhere except for the Comanche National Grassland in SE Colorado (no surprise there), and a few spots in the Okla panhandle. Had solid coverage across SW Kansas, most of Oklahoma, TX panhandle, and even a good part of central and NE New Mexico. We wired it to an external antenna through much of the High Plains. Connectivity was consistent and pretty quick.

We even had some pulse storms along I-40 in W. Okla and TX panhandle to give it something of a "live run" with GRLevel 3.

I definitely want this to be part of our gear in future chase seasons. Heck, my wife and I want to get one for ourselves (we'll be relinquishing this back to Dave Carroll sometime in the next several days)
So you never had to "reconnect the modem" or anything like that? If it did lose service, did the resumption require you to do anything or did the software running on your laptop just go back to doing its thing without your manual intervention?
Autonet Mobile connection

The unit has a blue LED, which indicates whether it is connected (and whether you can connect using it). It is all automated: whenever you plug it in, it automatically senses and hits whatever cell tower is strongest. The blue LED flashes when it is warming up and connecting. The LED stays on when the unit is connected, and at that point you are ready to roll. For a user, there is no dialing or set-up if connectivity is temporarily lost...the unit automatically connects again whenever it senses the appropriate signal. I never had to reboot my laptop or change any configuration to reconnect again. The entire process is very seamless.
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so , is there a access plan with this unit? I'm confused as to how it works on the networks without some kind of agreement...

I called AutoNet today asked about access plans and contract lengths. The guy I talked to said they will have different plans with various contract lengths and data subscription levels. After telling him that I would only want service 4-5 months a year, he said that they will have a monthly plan as well. This sounds great in theory, but I think the guy was just telling me what I want to hear. In reality, I think they haven't made any decisions on what types of subscriptions they will have for individual customers.

I guess all we can do is wait and see. :rolleyes:
We never had to do anything to reconnect when we ran out of signal, other than maybe re-opening a Internet browser. It got to a point where my wife was just checking the little blue light on top to see if we had a signal or not ... we were able to get on a couple of times like that approaching small towns in SE Colorado (it's too darn bad we weren't coming through Tuesday when there was a tornado within sight of the highway!)
Curious, did you ever notice any delays in the downloading the radar on GRL3? (sometimes with a slow connection you have to wait a while... effectively slowing your updates to the 8-10 minute range... or worse)
The GRL3 updates were coming in about every 4-5 minutes like they're supposed to, the images changing very quickly once they did change ... and we had some pulse storms on our route a few times (and solid moderate-heavy rain the last 4 hours of our trip back to VA) to test the accuracy of what it was showing ... the connection was really fast, just a hair slower than what you would get with standard high speed Internet in a home or business (and quite a bit faster/more reliable than many hotel wi-fi setups)
Autonet Mobile Update

I put the Autonet mobile wi-fi rig through the paces this past week throughout the southeastern U.S., stretching from VA all the way south to Sarasota Florida. Coverage was fact, 100%. I checked the LED status when I wasn't actually on my laptop, and it simply stayed "on" throughout the entire trip. Flirted with some photogenic storms along the Gulf Coast for a few days and web data/GR3 blazed when loading. For southeastern U.S. chasers, coverage would appear to be complete and very fast. The general Ohio Valley (WV/KY/OH/IN) region is next in line. This unit continues to be VERY impressive.
Last Test for Autonet router

Steve Keighton, the SOO at the Blacksburg NWSFO will roll through the Ohio Valley and then into IL/WI and west to the northern plains beginning later this week, which will pretty much complete our coverage "test" of the Autonet Mobile unit. This should give the OH Valley & WI/MI/MN chasers a good idea of coverage there. I'll post the final tally of coverage when he reports back.
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