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Not Reinventing the Wheel (At Least This Week)
by Mark Sedenquist

Despite the almost daily roll-out of new wireless products and information, I was reminded again of the continuing gap between what one can purchase at the corner telecommunications store and what seems to be “available” somewhere else. When Megan and I started this odyssey in March 1994, we installed a dual-load, 5dB cellular antenna on the roof of the Phoenix One. Over the course of some 120k miles on the road, that 26” mast has impacted hundreds of trees, low bridges and other assorted obstacles. Despite the abuse, it has performed flawlessly and enabled us to log on from some very remote locations. It came as a surprise to notice one day last week that somehow the mast had broken in two during a uneventful drive in civilized Los Angeles.

The bigger surprise occurred when I attempted to purchase a replacement antenna. It seems hard to believe that as a result of five years of technological advances that so little awareness has seemed to develop in the retail sector about antennas. One local technician who is quite knowledgeable about GSM digital equipment and related service was nearly astounded to see this relatively simple device. In your own wireless research, have you found a source for such an antenna? I look forward to hearing from you this week.

Mark Sedenquist
Pasadena, California
March 1, 1999