Let’s start with the dashcam. I use a dashcam for two reasons: One, as protection and security. In the event of an accident – and an RV is the second most expensive purchase most people make next to their house – the dashcam provides irrefutable evidence of who was at fault. In the event is a break in, it can also help police catch the bad guys.
But I have a another reason: To document our travels. To capture video of our drives. To show you what we are seeing and experience.
I’ve had several different dashcam systems over the years but with the new RV I wanted a top of the line system and so I chose the BlackVue DR900S 2 Channel 4K Dashcam. It consists of two cameras. The main one mounts on the windshield, just under the mirror. It has a very wide 162 degree field of view and delivers 4K Ultra High Definition resolution. It records to an internal memory card but also can back up to the cloud and be accessed via WiFi and an app to your tablet or smartphone, where videos can be saved or exported.
The second camera I use for another view I mounted mine about ten feet back. Some people like to aim it out the rear window though in a van that is nearly 25 feet long, there was not enough cable for me to do that.
At about $500, this BlackVue system is no cheapie dashcam and it is probably overkill for most Rvers. But for our new Roadtrek, I wanted the best and that is why I chose this system.
Now, that takes me to the second gadget I wouldn’t travel without: A cell phone booster. Not long ago, I did a video showing the several different systems I was evaluating and I promised to do another video showing you my choice. So here’s what I chose: The SolidRF MobileForce 4G. At just under $300 it works with all major US and Canadian carriers. Why did I choose it over a Weboost or other booster? Truth told, its because the company was willing to really work with me in choosing the best place to mont this – the antenna.
That is the biggest challenge in installing a robust cell booster in a Class B campervan like we have. SoldRF looked carefully at the roof of our van and fabricated a mount just for us that could attach to one of the solar panel’s frame without having to drill a hole through the roof of the RV. I ran the antenna cable back across the rood and in through the back doors. The amplifier mounts on the back of our headboard and I ran the inside antenna up and into my entertainment cupboard. I placed our Jetpack data card in the same cabinet where it picks up the boosted signal and then creates its own WiFi hotspot for us inside the RV.
As you can see in the video above, I ran a Speedtest in an area with a poor cell signal. Download speed was a miserable 1.24 MBPS. Upload speed – which I depend on to send photos, video and audio files… barely moved at.09
But when I plugged in the booster, here are the results. Download speed jumped to 10.4. Upload speed to a very robust 6.83 MBPS. I couldn’t be more pleased.