Dedicated GPS/Cellular antenna setup

roving1

Well-known member
Do you live down there??
That's a great signal.
What year is the Tab A? I had run across some new ones that supposedly dont have GPS, but I know older ones do....we have one but I'd like to get the 10" modle.
LOL, I literally just discovered the sub menu that displays the signal strength in Gaia so I went searching for the crappiest signal I could find where I was at the time. Even I was surprised how good it was. Compared to 90's and early 00s devices everything works pretty amazing now.

It's a 2019 10.1 SM T515 but it's a global spec LTE with an unlocked GSM SIM I bought off of Amazon so I could run any network I wanted and have it be a back up phone if I need to. Just have a data SIM in it now since it's free from Google Fi anyways and pulls from my phones data bucket. FWIW it runs Gaia OK but the processor speed and the 2GB of RAM are a bit laggy in this. I would probably get something different or higher spec if I did it over again. Also Samsung things kind of just bug me anyways. Going from my Pixle 3 XL to the tablet is always an exercise in frustration until I slow my expectations of speed down.
 
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TaTaco

New member
I get that it frustrates you when someone has an idea, and everyone says you don't need it. Well, I don't know what I don't know. I've never relied on a tablet for anything, not even to watch youtube. I haven't had good luck with them, find them to be annoying to use. They're too big to use like a phone and too awkward to use as a laptop.

So, I wanted to explore the idea of the setup I initially posted. I guess more for the cellular signal than anything. I like this antenna, as it will provide my wifi puck a little boost, which is needed when traveling. I stumbled across the two in one, and wanted some opinions.

Where I'm at currently, my wifi puck could use a boost. Some of the guys here have added external antennas, and it has increased their signal. And from the reviews on the Nighthawk M1, it could use a little help.

Thank you for your opinions.
 

billiebob

Well-known member
I agree, I hate bluetooth. Everything we do is wifi now including satillite speakers, or hard wired. Your conundrum is the same as mine, and no one ever seems to be able to give a clear solution. Everyone knows what they like and that is what they sell, gone are the days of a sales professional who listens to the client and offers the solution, equipment to git 'er done. My tablet is wifi only, but for nav in the truck I'd want it all hard wired.
 

Rando

Explorer
There is no requirement to use bluetooth here. What is being suggested is to use the built in GPS in the tablet. This is by far the most rugged and reliable option.

If you want to improve your cellular signal (it is not the wifi signal that matters), then a cellular amplifier (aka a cell booster) with an external antenna would be the way to go. An unamplified antenna on a long wire to the roof will not buy you all that much.
 
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roving1

Well-known member
I agree, I hate bluetooth. Everything we do is wifi now including satillite speakers, or hard wired. Your conundrum is the same as mine, and no one ever seems to be able to give a clear solution. Everyone knows what they like and that is what they sell, gone are the days of a sales professional who listens to the client and offers the solution, equipment to git 'er done. My tablet is wifi only, but for nav in the truck I'd want it all hard wired.
The wifi only tablet is the problem. It's pointless. The problem isn't how to hard wire your tablet it is why do you have an unfit for purpose item and why do you resist just buying the correct easy to use item in the first place?

No one would buy a Garmin to use as a GPS if the unit could not receive a GPS signal. Why people want to use a tablet that can't and then complain about the complexity of it is is beyond me.
 

Photobug

Well-known member
The wifi only tablet is the problem. It's pointless.
That would only be a problem if your pad is an Ipad. Ipads require a "cellular" model to have a built in GPS. I have had 3 Android tablets one a Nexus 7 and two Samsungs. All have worked for nav purposes. The only time I have had a pad based nav failure involved an Ipad. It was not an Ipad issue it was the fault of the software chart provider, still it was why I tried to carry an Ipad, and Android and a paper option whenever possible.

To the OP I would buy a $200 Android Tablet before I drilled holes in the roof of my vehicle. If you are looking for a cell signal booster, is the one you are installing the best available or is it more convenient because it also gives you a GPS?
 

JackW

Explorer
I'm trying to use an android based Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 Active 8" tablet for my GPS running Gaia and think I'm getting real close to a working, highly accurate system.
This tablet has external power points that can be used with a cradle that has contacts that correspond to it. That would leave the single USB-C port available for an antenna input via a USB-A to USB-C dongle or other purposes.
I started with the tablet and found the onboard GPS antenna was sluggish so I tried a wired external antenna (BU-353S4) but couldn't get it to talk to the tablet so I did some research and found this tablet seems to like a bluetooth antenna better.
So next up was trying a Garmin GLO-2 bluetooth antenna - after a deep dive into the menus I figured out how to get the two to talk to each other - Success!

The bluetooth antenna is about 3" x 1-1/2" x 1/2"and will sit on the dash at the base of the windshield. It seems to work well and acquire satellites very quickly - when it warms up and stops raining I'll give it a run around the block in my Defender and see how it works.
I thought I was done spending money on Garmin products but their remote antenna seems to be a good piece of hardware. At least it communicates with the Samsung tablet!
 

Mil T

New member
I use a seperate blue tooth gps antenna that I put on my dash when using my non cell Ipad. Works great. I use OnX, Gaia, Google Earth and others all the time. I can use up to 4 different units with the one blue tooth GPS antenna. Why make is so difficult.

Dual XGPS160 SkyPro Bluetooth GPS Receiver
 
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