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Storm Chaser fields tests the SureCall Fusion2GO 3.0 and SureCall Fusion4Home Units

 

 

 

Just when we thought that SureCall had made one of the best cellular amps on the market today, the have done it again with the SureCall Fusion2GO 3.0.  Last year we were fortunate to review the SureCall Fusion2GO 2.0 unit.  This was again a major improvement over the already much improved SureCall Fusion2GO cell amp.  The Fusion2GO 3.0 is a refinement of their past two versions of the Fusion2Go line of amps.

The Fusion2GO 3.0 is physically similar to the 2.0 unit but is about a 1/3 less the size of the 2.0 version.  Visually, it still has the indicator lamps to indicate what bands are currently being used/boosted. This unit also seems to handle oscillation better still than the 2.0 version as the boost up time seems to be much longer as well. The unit utilizes the same internal patch antenna and external antenna as the 2.0 unit.

Below are some of the screenshots using my AT&T hotspot webgui.

This is a sample before the booster is used.

 

This is the signal with the booster active.

 

As you can see, the booster significantly boosted my signal. This is a drastic improvement in signal compared with no boost at all.

This also provided a significant boost in my download speeds as well as shown below.

Speeds without the booster on.

 

Speeds with the booster on.

 

As you can see, with the booster on, the speed improvement was just as dramatic as the boost in the signal as well.

 

Below are the specs of the SureCall Fusion2GO 3.0 unit from their website.

Product Specifications
Uplink Frequency Range (MHz): 698-716 / 776-787 / 824-849 / 1850-1915 / 1710-1755 (G Block Included)
Downlink Frequency Range (MHz): 728-746 / 746-757 / 869-894 / 1930-1995 / 2110-2155 (G Block Included)
Supported Standards: CDMA, WCDMA, GSM, EDGE, HSPA+, EVDO, LTE and all cellular standards
Input/Output Impedance: 50 Ohm
Maximum Gain: 50 dB
Noise Figure: ≤5 dB
VSWR: ≤2.0
Gain Adjustment: 20 dB (Automatic)
DC Car Charger: 6-15V
Maximum Output Power: 1 Watt EIRP
Exterior Antenna Cable Type / Length: RG-302 / 10 feet
Interior Antenna Cable Type / Length: RG-174 / 10 feet
RF Connectors: FME Male (both ends)
Power Consumption: <10W
Dimensions: 5.625″ x 4″ x 1.125″
Weight: 1.43 lbs

The SureCall Fusion2GO is an excellent choice for a mobile booster.  As with any mobile booster, separation of the internal and external antennas is critical for proper operation of the unit. In my experience, this is where most people have problems is because they do not have the proper separation between the antennas.  I have tested this unit throughout the 2018 storm chasing season from Texas to the prairies of Canada and this has been the most reliable and “hands-off” booster that I have used.  Simply put, it just works with little interaction needed from the end user.

We also have tested this season the SureCall Fusion4Home cellular booster.  This booster consists of the boost unit, a yagi directional outside antenna, 50′ of RG-6 cable and the inside panel antenna.  The booster unit works very similar to the mobile unit with the home unit boosting to -71db on the AWS band and the max boost of the mobile unit around -50db.  Installation of the home unit was very simple with mounting the antenna pointed to the nearest cell tower.  There are several apps out there that will help you to locate your nearest cell site for your particular provider.  The internal antenna was mounted in a 2o’ x 20′ room.  This provided plenty of boost for all 4 major carriers that we run. Some examples of the tests are below.

 

Signal strength without the booster inactive.

Signal strength with the booster active.

Speeds with the booster inactive.

 

Speeds with the booster active.

 

Product Specifications

Uplink Frequency Range (MHz): 698-716 / 776-787 / 824-849 / 1850-1915 / 1710-1755 (G Block Included)
Downlink Frequency Range (MHz): 728-746 / 746-757 / 869-894 / 1930-1995 / 2110-2155 (G Block Included)
Supported Standards: CDMA, WCDMA, GSM, EDGE, HSPA+, EVDO, LTE and all cellular standards
Input/Output Impedance: 75 Ohm Donor Port / 50 Ohm Server Port
Maximum Gain: Cellular – 65 dB / PCS – 72 dB / LTE(A) – 63.5 dB / LTE(V) – 64 dB / AWS – 71 dB
Noise Figure: 8 dB
VSWR: ≤2.0
AC Power Transmitter: Input AC 110 V, 60 Hz / Output DC 5-15 V
Maximum Output Power: 1 Watt EIRP
Cable: RG-6 / SC-240
RF Connectors: F-Female (Outdoor) / N-Female (Indoor)
Power Consumption: <15W
Dimensions: 7.875″ x 5″ x 1.188″
Weight: 2 lb. 3 oz.

**These tests were performed in a rural area so speeds did not exceed much more than 25 Mbps.

 

As you can see, the SureCall Fusion4Home is an excellent choice for those areas that are “signal challenged”.  This was in a metal building which does not allow cellular signals to enter it.  This booster was a dramatic increase in signal and speed to allow us to have communications with other storm chasers/media. This unit is perfect for those that needs a booster that “just works” with no user input to keep the boosted signal working.

I highly recommend both of these units. These boosters can be found at the links below.

https://www.surecall.com/signal-booster/vehicle/FUSION2GO-3/

https://www.surecall.com/signal-booster/home-office/FUSION4HOME/

Steve Polley is a 15 year storm chaser and also the owner of MesoExtreme Media Productions LLC. His interest in severe weather began at an early age of seven when a grain bin partially collapsed a truck that he was sitting in. Since then, he has been fascinated with all facets of severe weather from large hail and tornadoes, to ice and snow storms. Steve is also a storm chaser for KWCH-TV in Wichita, KS and KKTV-TV in Colorado Springs, Colorado. You can also follow Steve @stormchaseguy on Twitter. Steve’s work has been featured on many local and national media outlets such as the Weather Channel, Good Morning America, CBS This Morning, CNN, KAKE-TV, KSNT-TV, KQTV, KWCH and KKTV.

 

 

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Davis Vantage Vue/Vantage Pro 2 proves vital for storm chasers

The use of weather stations in a storm chasing environment can be a challenging but necessary one. Many stations have been used in a mobile environment but with usually less than desirable results.  Problems such as mounting the unit, the location in proximity to the roof of the vehicle and the usual hazards of the road play a part in how well the station will work in this environment. The Vantage Vue/Vantage Pro 2 have been seen mounted in mountain top environments which are subjected to extreme conditions all winter long.

There are several weather station options out there but clearly one stands out among the rest.  This is where the Davis line of weather stations comes in.  These stations are rugged built and can stand the rigors of being mounted in a mobile environment such as a storm chasing vehicle.  Here is a look of the Davis Vantage view mounted on my vehicle.

 

The Vantage Vue works very will in a mobile environment.  It can be easily mounted in a number of configurations and since the unit it wireless, this make it a very easy install in the vehicle.  I mounted the unit using a fabricated mount using a tri-magnet mount setup.  This worked very well with the cross winds that one experiences with the inflow and outflow of the storms.

The unit proved vital multiple times this past spring and summer.  Using the Vantage Vue in close proximity to the storm environment was very useful.  This was proven by being able to know where the warm front was in location to the storm itself.  As a storm chaser, low level helicities are necessary for tornado genesis.  These helicities are found on or near the warm front.  We were able to tell exactly when we were on the “warm” or “cool” side of the warm front.  Generally if you find yourself north of the warm front, your chances of seeing a tornado generally decrease.  The Vantage Vue helped us to fine tune are location in relation to the warm front.

Being able to tell wind speed and direction as the storm is developing was very helpful as well.   We were able to provide “ground truth” to the National Weather Services offices by providing this information to them.  This allowed them to be able to know if the storm was intensifying or decreasing in intensity based on the with speed and direction in relation to our location with the storm.  The Vantage Pro 2 was also used as seen below.  This unit was deployed was we were in close proximity of the storm for data collection.  This unit can easily be adjusted so that the anemometer is at the proper height for wind speed collection also.

The stations held up very well to the rigors of being mounted on the vehicle and day after day of being on the road. This attests to the build quality of the station and its ability to hold up to the elements for years to come.  I would highly recommend the Davis Vantage Vue and Vantage Pro 2 line of products.

 

 

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Review of the New SureCall Fusion2Go 2.0 Cellular Signal Booster

Many of us in the storm chasing community are always looking for better ways to improve our mobile internet capabilities.  This has been achieved in different ways in the past few years by using Mifi’s or Jetpacks located on the dash, external antennas and cell boosters that claimed to “boost” signal. Back in the early days of cellular boosting,  boosters were able to be connected to devices directly through the use of antenna ports on cell phones, mifi’s, etc.  Those days are long gone.

We have since been using “wireless” boosters with very mixed results until now.  The SureCall Fusion2Go 2.0 Cellular Signal Booster seems to eliminate the headaches of traditional “wireless” boosting solutions.  This booster “self-attenuates” which is a welcome blessing to previous units.  The problem with older units was that they always had problems with oscillation because there was never enough vertical and horizontal separation of the internal and external antennas because of the limited space of the vehicle. Also of note, cellular boosting companies have went through a total revamp of their boost devices due in part to the FCC rules pertaining to these boosters.  The power in which these boosters were running had to be modified so as to not cause interference with the cellular towers.

This booster will work with all US carriers and has the correct LTE Bands to support them as well. This will also boost traditional voice and text networks in addition to the LTE bands. Also of note, the booster itself is of a rugged, all metal construction and the supplied external antenna comes with a very wide and strong magnetic base so the worry of the magnetic antenna leaving the vehicle in those strong inflow winds is not a worry anymore.

In my testing, I have found the boosting of the RSSI (the raw signal strength level) to increase the signal strength to as much as 20-30 dbm gain.  As you can see in the picture below, the signal is boosted to a -58 dbm (the lower the number the better with -54 being about the best signal you can get).  Without the booster on, the signal drops to around -84 dbm. As with any booster, you have to have some signal to boost it, no signal at all can be boosted.  What the booster will do is give you faster download speeds and improve your upload ability when trying to get that money shot to the networks. Also, the closer the device is to the internal patch antenna, the better your boosted signal will be as well.

Below are some of the specs from there website listed below.

  • Boosts voice, text & 4G LTE signals for all North American cell carriers
  • Reduces dropped and missed calls
  • Increases signal strength & extends battery life for all cellular devices
  • Improves 4G LTE data speeds and connectivity for more miles of uninterrupted coverage
  • Automatically optimizes gain ensuring the booster is always operating at maximum performance
  • No cradle or docking station required
  • Sets up in minutes – simple plug-and-play install

Kit Includes:

Fusion2Go 2.0 booster, magnetic roof-mounted antenna, interior patch antenna (with Velcro mounting tape) and standard 12V DC power adapter. *Kit also includes a free magnetic phone mount.

Booster Specifications:

Uplink Frequency Range (MHz): 698-716 / 776-787 / 824-849 / 1850-1915 / 1710-1755 (G Block Included)
Downlink Frequency Range (MHz): 728-746 / 746-757 / 869-894 / 1930-1995 / 2110-2155 (G Block Included)
Supported Standards: CDMA, WCDMA, GSM, EDGE, HSPA+, EVDO, LTE and all cellular standards
Input/Output Impedance: 50 Ohm
Maximum Gain: 50 dB
Noise Figure: ≤5 dB
VSWR: ≤2.0
Gain Adjustment: 20 dB (Automatic)
DC Car Charger: 6-15V
Maximum Output Power: 1 Watt EIRP
Cable: RG-174
Exterior Antenna Cable Length: 12.5 ft
Interior Antenna Cable Length: 10 ft
RF Connectors: FME Male (both ends)
Power Consumption: <10W
Dimensions: 5.625″ x 4″ x 1.125″
Weight: 1.43 lbs

 

I would highly recommend this booster as it seems to overcome the past hurdles of oscillation of the unit and actually shows a drastic improvement in signal strength.

These units are available at the following address.

https://www.surecall.com/signal-booster/vehicle/FUSION2GO-2/

 

Steve Polley is a 14 year storm chaser and also the owner of MesoExtreme Media Productions LLC. His interest in severe weather began at an early age of seven when a grain bin partially collapsed a truck that he was sitting in. Since then, he has been fascinated with all facets of severe weather from large hail and tornadoes, to ice and snow storms. Steve is also a member of the KAKEland Stormchasers of KAKE-TV in Wichita, KS and KKTV-TV in Colorado Springs, Colorado. You can also follow Steve at supercellnut on Twitter. Steve’s work has been featured on many local and national media outlets such as the Weather Channel, Good Morning America, CBS This Morning, CNN, KAKE-TV, KSNT-TV, KQTV and KKTV.

 

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3pm MDT Chase Update

Currently sitting in Belle Fourche, SD waiting for storms to fire to our North/Northwest. Latest model guidance appears to show storm initiation around 4pm MDT…Mesoscale discussion just issued for the area. http://www.spc.noaa.gov/products/md/md0857.html

sp

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steve polley storm chaser