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Case Study: Chasing The Signal (A Storm Chaser's Search For The Best Signal Booster)

Case Study: Chasing The Signal (A Storm Chaser's Search For The Best Signal Booster)

Posted by Greg Knell on 29th Apr 2021

There are few jobs in this world as fascinating and bizarre as storm chasing. For most of us, pursuing a tornado - even for research or science - is the last thing we would ever consider doing. But for those who call themselves storm chasers, it’s much more than just a thrill. It’s a passion.

Storm Chaser Cell Signal

And guess what most storm chasers use almost every day on the job?

A signal booster.

Maintaining an active cell signal is absolutely imperative for chasers. In the pursuit of a storm, they often find themselves out in the middle of nowhere. In places where mobile reception is very weak. A strong signal is essential, not just for their jobs but for their safety. In some cases, the status of a cellular signal can mean life or death.

And nobody knows this better than Steve Polley, a 43 year-old university professor from east-central Kansas. So how does this man know so much about signal boosters? Because he’s also a seasoned storm chaser. Naturally, we wanted to meet up with Prof. Polley after finding out that the SureCall Fusion2Go Max is his favorite signal booster. We asked him about his experience with signal boosters as a chaser.

Interview With Prof. Steve Polley

SureCall: Take us into your work before you were introduced to boosters.

Steve: Before boosters, I was extremely limited in terms of my communication windows. This meant I had to spend extra time going out of my way to find cell towers. This afforded me less time to do what I love: chasing storms.

(At the time) I was only using the built-in antennas of my phone’s “air cards”. Because of this, I had many dropped data connections while running live streams to the local tv stations. This caused major issues with my streams and also life safety issues as I would lose radar data on storms where I was in close proximity to tornadoes.

SureCall: Was this when you first tried a signal booster?

Steve: Actually, no. From there I discovered you could use an outside antenna with the air cards. This helped a lot. But as I have a live feed to the tv stations, I was still losing my feed occasionally. Then I added a booster, and this worked really well. Soon after that, the changes mandated by the FCC changed everything. For the end-user, it was not a good thing. Between changes in devices and rule changes, we no longer were able to use direct connect boosters.

I struggled to find a good solution for several years.

Until SureCall.

SureCall: Why did you go with SureCall’s boosters over other options?

Steve: They were the first “non-direct” connect booster that really worked well. I had tried others but all they seemed to do was be a great hand warmer but not really improving my signal.

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SureCall: Perhaps you can tell us a bit about how signal boosters have changed the way you work. What is different about the way you work post-booster? What is the impact on your body of work?

Steve: Now that I am running the latest SureCall booster, if I have any signal at all, I am able to get my stream to the station and also able to get radar data which can be mission-critical when working in close proximity to tornadoes.

SureCall: Okay, here are some rapid-fire questions. What are some of the best features of the booster you use, the SureCall Fusion2Go Max? What about this booster surprised you most? How do you compare the performance of the Fusion2Go Max with its higher price point? Are there any features you’d like to see in future models?

Steve: My favorite feature of the Fusion2Go Max is that it’s really a hands-off unit. Boosters from other companies I’d used in the past had to be “babysat” as I either had to reboot it constantly as I moved to an area with very little signal or to a tower that was strong and would cause the booster to go into oscillation. I have used many other different brand boosters, but SureCall boosters are the only ones that I’ve found that actually work and are a “hands-off” unit. While I’m storm chasing, a booster that is in oscillation can be a life safety issue and at the minimum, a complete distraction. This booster handles these issues on its own flawlessly.

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SureCall: What would you say to your storm chaser peers who are reading this piece? Is there a specific subset of your colleagues you would recommend this to, or do you see signal boosters being useful for all storm chasers? How would you sell them on this?

Steve: I would tell them this (the SureCall Fusion2Go Max) is the booster to buy because it’s hands-off once installed and it simply works. I would also tell them that you cannot boost 0 signal. You have to have something to work with for it to work. Some do not understand this. I would recommend this to any chaser as it can become a life safety issue if you are without data for extended periods of time.

End Of Transcript

The SureCall Fusion2Go Max is one of our most popular devices. People with jobs and lifestyles that take them primarily outdoors and into the backcountry rely on an active and clear mobile signal. The Fusion2Go Max uses technology that is ahead of the curve to provide exactly that.

Whether you’re chasing a storm like Prof. Polley, road-tripping in an RV, or simply living in an area with bad reception, let SureCall help you. Browse our selection of unique signal boosters and you’ll never be worried about signal again.