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Ask Dave: How do I install a Wi-Fi antenna on my RV’s roof?

Dear Dave,
I would like to install a King Falcon Wi-Fi antenna on the roof of my rig. Do I cut the rubber roof prior to attaching the antenna or attach it directly to the roof? —Andrew, 2021 Forest River VIBE 28RL

Dear Andrew,
Your 2021 FR Vibe has a rubber membrane exterior material, which is most likely Alpha Systems. The construction of the roof is rubber membrane, 1/8” luan plywood, block foam insulation with aluminum framework surrounding and, in critical areas, another layer of 1/8” luan plywood, and then interior material such as haircell fabric, padded vinyl, or wallpaper.

Installing the Wi-Fi antenna

We have installed similar products to a variety of roof materials and there are two points that you will need to penetrate in the roof and rubber material. One is the point where the coax will go into the unit, and the other is the base of the antenna which, in this case, actually has three spots for two screws each.

At the point where the coax needs to go in, you will want to drill at least a 5/16” hole to get the “F” connector at the end of the cable through the hole. I would not “cut” the rubber material, rather start a smaller hole with a very sharp drill bit to “puncture” the rubber and make it less likely for the larger bit to grab the rubber material and pull it away from the lauan backing.

At the second point, the feet of the antenna, again I would not cut any of the rubber material, but rather apply a sealant such as Dicor or 311 that is made for the rubber around the base. Then place the unit where it will have the best line of sight as directed by King and screw it into the lauan. Your roof should be at least three inches thick. So use the appropriate length of screw to go into the roof about 1” and not far enough to go through! Then, put sealant over the screw heads and coax entry. You can determine how thick your roof actually is by removing a ceiling vent shroud.

Dave Solberg is a leading expert in the RV industry and author of the “RV Handbook” as well as the Managing Editor of the RV Repair Club.

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Bob S
11 days ago

Alternative Solution: If you’re familiar with setting up your own WiFi Router, you might be interested in this solution. It can be found on youtube, search the “David Bott” channel for “Selecting The Right Access Point”. He explains how to setup a commercial Ubiquity WiFi Access point inside or outside your RV for under $100. I mounted mine on an unused manual satellite antenna mast after removing the dish. It’s the most powerful WiFi allowed by the FCC and it works great!

T Edwards
11 days ago

Our 5 th wheel has EPDM over 1/8″ luan over a wood truss support every 2 feet. Shouldn’t two screws be secured to a wood frame support? Or will the Dicor “glue” the base down to the thin luan and prevent it from being ripped off when travelling down the highway at 70 mph?

Terry
11 days ago

The only reason to install a Wifi antenna is to try and get a free internet signal that someone else had paid for. Which is usually so poor it is only good to maybe read a email. I have found a free lunch is not all ways that good you get what the person who paid for it wants to serve, maybe cheese and crackers. If want to get good internet you need to buy your own. Remember wifi is just like a water hose, in only carries what some one puts in it. The very best water hose will not help the smell and taste of swamp water. The best Wifi antenna out there will not let you stream a movie on poor slow internet which is what is what you usually get with free Wifi.

Russ
11 days ago
Reply to  Terry

Love this comment! It was informative and colorful