The Unite Explore has two TS-9 female jacks, so any antenna solution needs to end with a TS-9 male plug. Here are a couple of options we suggest to our members. Note all the descriptions have a link to the actual item - you can click on it and it'll take you to the actual product.
The first is an inside antenna you can mount on the wall. It may be enough for your area and may be worth trying if you don't want to invest in the outdoor antenna. Amazon usually has a good return policy and you can return it if it doesn't work out.
WeBoost Outside Antenna
The following is an external antenna configuration we recommend for members who need to boost a weak signal. It has the following components:
- A Yagi antenna. It provides the strongest signal for an antenna of its size.
- A high-quality main cable. This connects the antenna to the lightning arrestor. Get an LMR400 cable so you don't lose any signal strength from the antenna.
- A good lightning arrestor. This isn't required, but I recommend because it will help protect the hotspot and your home in case of a lightning strike.
- A high-quality pigtail cable. This connects the lightning arrestor to the Unite Explore. Again, get an LMR400 cable so you don't lose any signal strength.
- An SMA to TS9 adapter. This adapts the pigtail cable to the Unite Explore's antenna port.
In general, you want to keep the total cable run from the antenna to the Unite Explore as short and direct as possible because the longer the cabling is, the more cable loss you have to your antenna's signal.
Below are links and more information about each component:
This is a Yagi antenna, which means it is very directional. So when you go to mount it, you'll need to spend some time:
a. check the signal strength and download speed,
b. turning it a little, checking the signal strength and download speed
c. repeat steps a & b until you find the strongest signal location
You can mount the antenna on any 1.5" - 2" diameter pole. Wilson Electronics sells a nice mounting kit if you only need a short pole.
2. LMR400 main cable
You should measure from where the antenna will be to where the lightning arrestor is mounted and buy a pre-made cable of that length. We recommend MPD Digital cables because they are of known high-quality and made in the USA. Here's a link to a 20' cable, but you can get them in any length. The connectors should be N-male to N-male.
3. Lightning arrestor
We recommend the Terrawave model because of its 90V clamping voltage. This should be mounted where the cable goes into the home and grounded to a solid earth ground. Check both NewEgg and Amazon, they go back and forth on which is carrying it.
4. LMR400 pigtail cable
Measure from where the lightning arrestor is mounted to where the Unite Explore is mounted and buy a pre-made cable of that length. Again, we recommend MPD Digital cables for this. Here is a link to a 7' cable, but you can get them in different lengths. The connectors should be N-male to SMA-male.
This adapts the SMA connector on the pigtail to the TS9 port on the Unite Explore. Two reasons we recommend using this instead of a pigtail cable that ends in a TS9 jack:
1) if you decide to switch to the MOFI router, you can just remove this adapter and the pigtail cable above will connect directly to the MOFI, and
2) the pigtail cables that end in TS9 connectors are of questionable quality.
- You'll want to get no more cable length than necessary. Above is the link to the 20' cable, but if you only need 10' or 15', MPD Digital has those as well.
- Note: make sure you are getting MPD Digital cable and not a fake import manufacturer's version. The MPD Digital cable is labeled by both connectors and is made in the US. Many imports manufacturers use inferior coax cable which is NOT LMR400. Double check who the seller is when buying on Amazon. The cable is really important in an antenna setup because any gain the antenna provides can be lost in the signal loss of the cable. The LMR400 has a very low signal loss, so it is worth the money to keep that antenna gain!
- If you mount the Yagi in a protected place (e.g. an attic) you don't need the lightning arrestor. In that case, skip items 2 & 3 from the above list and get a long enough pigtail cable (item 4) to go from the antenna to the Unite Explore. The specified cable ends (N-male to SMA-male) are still correct (with the addition of the SMA to TS-9 adapter, still)..
Total Standard Setup = $100 - $170 approximately, depending on the cable run length.
Let me know if you have any questions on anything here and I can provide further help.