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R.F. Connections Rocket Hub Antenna

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The Rogers Rocket Mobile Hub review that ran at Storm Gods a few months ago attracted more comments and general attention than anything before or since. Offering high-speed Internet in parts of Canada that don’t even enjoy pizza delivery, it promised to do what various levels of our government have been lying through their respective teeth over for the better part of a decade.

Anyone with a computer and forty-five dollars a month can have broadband.

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At least, they can if they can get a signal. The Rocket Hub is a clever box, but its internal antenna is distressingly limited. Rogers’ packaging for the hub intimates that this can be remedied with the installation of an external antenna, for which the hub is equipped, but it makes no mention of from whence such an antenna might spring.

A more detailed and windier discussion of external antennas can be found at the original Rocket Hub review.

In fact, the magnitude of the antenna required to make the Rocket Mobile Hub truly quick and reliable will vary considerably with its location. Our original installation of the hub barely needed an external antenna at all – with careful placement of the hub in a nearby window, it could just maintain a grip on Rogers’ 3G cellular data network.

This having been said, more signal, which would have resulted in more bandwidth and quicker Internet access, would have been seriously agreeable. We looked at several external antenna options, all of which seemed to be one of two types:

  1. They didn’t work.
  2. They required the installation of a forty-foot radio mast or a roof-mounted tripod, followed by a great deal of drilling and the possible deployment of high explosives to attach the hub to its antenna.

The latter group of devices is unquestionably worth what they cost if your access to Rogers’ network is genuinely awful. Ours, however, just needed to be cranked up a notch or so.

One of the issues surrounding the choosing of an antenna option for this device is the growing plethora of candidates. In the event that you don’t have a background in low power UHF telecommunications, selecting one – and then ordering the right cables and connectors and such to coerce it into playing nicely with the Rocket Mobile Hub – could be a bit daunting.

The R.F Connections window mount Rocket Hub antenna isn’t so much an antenna as it is a solution. Someone who knew more about radio signals than I do found a reliable commercially-available cellular phone antenna, a suitable cable and a workable suction-cub window mount bracket, ensured that they all got along with a Rocket Hub and stuck them all in the same plastic bag. The antenna itself is actually a product of Wilson Electronics, a well-known and thoroughly reliable American antenna manufacturer.

For just over a hundred dollars, you can buy one of these things, plug it in and see one more bar on your Rocket Mobile Hub than you’ve ever seen before. It requires absolutely no installation, unless you insist on counting licking the insides of the suction cups.

While this is unquestionably not the antenna to buy if your hub needs a major signal improvement just to connect to the net, it offers enough of a boost to make a marginal 3G connection into a solid, quick one. It will reduce the Rocket Hub’s propensity for locking itself up and requiring a restart to a rare monthly occurrence.

The R.F. Connections antenna comes with absolutely no instructions, nor does it require any. It has two moving parts, and little possibility for incorrect assembly.

It should be said of R.F. Connections that they answered our queries about their products with commendable alacrity, clearly knew their stuff and expressed themselves willing to let us return anything we bought and subsequently didn’t see a satisfactory number of bars as a result of.

It’s also worth noting that R.F. Connections offers a number of larger and more capable permanently-mounted antenna packages, should your hub require a bigger gulp of the sky.

Easily the best hundred-dollar gadget to arrive here in months, the R.F. Connections window mount hub antenna does what it would have said on the box if it had come in one, and does it impeccably. It does it with no adjustments or uncertainty – and it does it with a metal Venetian blind closed behind the antenna, which was something of a surprise.

It also allowed us to rescue the hub from its window sill, and deploy it somewhere a bit less perilous.

Those bars have never looked finer.

Comments (1)

Jeanette McKayOctober 22nd, 2011 at 10:31 am

You are wonderful. I will try the RF antenna. Thank-you for providing this venue.

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