• Michelin Advantage
  • FMCA RV Insurance
  • Roadside Assistance
  • Join FMCA

    No matter what type of motorhome you own or how you use it, FMCA helps you enjoy every mile.

  • DakotaPost Mail Forwarding
  • FMCAssist
  • FMCA Continental Tire Program
  • Guardian
  • FMCA Road Atlas & Travel Guide, 9th Edition
  • Indianapolis RV Basics
  • FMCA's 96th International Convention
  • FMCA Plans A Return Visit To Georgia

 

Big news! It's time to take a step in the right direction, CLICK HERE to learn more about FMCA's plans to remodel.

Hello Members!

From the feedback we have received so far it looks like the FMCA Forums rebuild has been a success.

Because of the inconvenience we would like to take this chance to explain why things took so long. Around last Sunday we started to notice issues with the web server that hosted the forums and how it was randomly just going offline.

Usually with computers when this kind of thing starts to happen it means that a piece of hardware is going bad.

As we were diagnosing issue the web server just died.

We had backups of the forums and the database so we were confident that we could get a new server setup within a day or two at most and get the forums back online, but we ran into a major snag after loading everything up on to the new server. The forum software that we run that was previously purchased from invisionpower.com would not come online.

After much research of the vague error code we were receiving we found out that the software had shut itself down because it recognized it was on a different web server than the one it previously existed on and it deactivated itself.

The only thing we could do at this point (which was on Tuesday evening) was to reach out to the software manufacturer and ask why they had deactivated our license.

So we looked up their website and there was no phone number listed to call them only a ticketing system for us to email them if there was an issue. We put in a request for someone to contact us immediately about why the our forums deactivated itself.

The next day a developer for the company responded to us and told us that the forum software had shut itself down because it thought we were trying to run it on two servers and that we had only purchased a single license and that out software key was made invalid, and that we would have to be contacted by someone in their accounts department so they could issue us a new software license to reactivate the software.

Over the next two days we heard nothing from the accounts department at invisionpower.com, we sent many emails to them and posted many tickets begging them for resolution.

Finally on Friday after 4pm EST we got a message from the supposed CEO of the company that said that they were going to reissue the license.

After they did we installed the new license and the software reactivated itself and we were able to bring the forums back online.

No one in our current IT Department was working for the company when FMCA started using the invisionpower.com forums so we did not know how troublesome dealing with them actually was.

Sometimes when using third-party software you find yourself in a position where your hands are tied and you have to work on the time table of the company that you purchased the software from. And that is what happened to us here, believe me if there was any way that we could have got things up and running faster we would have, we love our jobs and hate to disappoint anyone.

So in closing we want to apologize to everyone, and promise you that we have added failsafe’s to our forum environment so we never have to deal with invisionpower.com for customer service again.

Thanks,
Your Web Team

When we love our environment we work to preserve it, and the best way to fall in love with the outdoors is to explore it! Check out our article in the MediaplanetUSA AmericanAdventure campaign on why everyone should take the time to explore the great outdoors! http://www.modernwellnessguide.com/lifestyle/top-5-reasons-to-buy-an-rv

Hello Members!

As we continue to make enhancements to the site we will post updates about the changes here.

Lately we have added:

  • New Rally Calendar (04/04/2017)
    The rally calendar has been updated to be more like a real calendar, you still have the option to view the listing the old way if you would like to though.
    Click here to try the new rally calendar!
     
  • New Sidebar Search (03/26/2017)
    If you are on desktop/tablet you will notice there is now a search box at the top of the right menu.
     
  • Updated Campground/Repair Search (03/15/2017)
    To help you to find repairs we have added this ability to the campground search.
    Click here to try the new search!
     

Thanks,
Your Web Team


Sprint Mobile Broadband Express CardBy Chris and Jim Guld
www.GeeksonTour.com

Options for connecting to the Internet have changed a lot in the six years we’ve been motorhoming. In 2004 we had to convince people that high-speed was better than dialup. The main high-speed option was Wi-Fi. Cellular data cards didn’t exist, and satellite was pretty new.

Now, dialup is unheard of, Wi-Fi is taken for granted, cellular data cards are mainstream, and satellite is old hat.

What is a data card?

You get it from a cellular provider, and it "connects" to a nearby cell tower. It receives and transmits data. Think of it as a cell phone for your computer.

Some data cards fit into the Express Card slot in your laptop computer. Be sure your laptop has an express card slot before purchasing the card! 
 
Other data "cards" connect to your computer’s USB port. Every laptop has a USB port.

Cellular data cards are also referred as Mobile Broadband Modems. A modem is a device that connects your computer to a communications network. In this case, the communications network is one of the cellular carriers such as Verizon, Sprint, AT&T or TMobile.

Why are data cards so popular?

In the short time they have been available, cellular data cards have become a primary way for travelers to connect to the Internet. They are SO easy. The first time you use it you will need to install some simple drivers from the disk provided. From then on, getting online can be as simple as plugging in the device and booting up your computer. If there is a cell tower within range, you’re online. You may have to click on a button to “connect,” but even that can be set up automatically.

Coverage has improved dramatically. The cellular providers have been busy adding towers all over the country. If you tried this method in 2006 or 2007 and didn’t like it, you should try again. We talk to RVers all the time who say they’ve traveled the entire country and almost always are able to get online with their cellular data cards. They love their data cards.

How fast are they?

The speed of your Internet connection will depend on the cell tower that you’re connecting to. If you’re close to a fast tower, you’ll be thrilled with the speed you get -- it’s as good as the DSL you’re used to at home. If you’re not in a digital coverage area, you’ll be lucky to get dialup speed.

How do you know you’re in a high-speed area? We use Verizon, and when we see a Verizon Wireless, 1X-EVDO indicator on our phone with more than two bars, we know we’re in a high-speed area. If we’re on “Extended Network” or see 1X without the EVDO indicator, we can connect but it will be slow.

My litmus test is to watch a video. I am currently connected with Verizon (tethered cell phone) and I just watched a five-minute video on Youtube.com without a hiccup. That’s a good connection. For those of you who like numbers, here is a speed test (right) I just performed at TestMy.net.
 
You’ll have to learn what the indicators are for your provider and equipment. Other terms that indicate high-speed include HSPA (AT&T’s network) and 3G. Actually, 3G is used to describe high-speed mobile Internet in general. It means 3d Generation. You may already be hearing rumors about 4G!

Why would you use anything else?

Price is the first limiting factor. Mobile Broadband services usually cost $60/month and require you to commit to a two-year contract. Wi-Fi is $1 to $5 per day with no commitment required, and in many places it’s even free.

Usage limits is the other specific factor. Most plans limit you to 5 gigabytes per month. This has nothing to do with minutes but everything to do with what you’re doing on the Internet. If you read e-mail, browse Web sites, upload and download pictures, 5 gigabytes is more than enough for a month. If you share your connection with one or more other people, and any of you watch videos online, you could exceed your limit. A full-length movie is often 2 gigabytes.

There is a charge per megabyte of overage. We know people who have been billed $1,000 and more in a month when they were over and didn’t realize it.

On the other hand, rarely does a Wi-Fi hotspot have any bandwidth limits. When you’re at a good Wi-Fi hotspot, that’s when you can get those big downloads like Windows service packs and full-length movies.

Coverage is still limited. If you want to boondock in the middle of a national forest in Wyoming, odds are you will not be within range of a cellular tower. Satellite is still the only way to ensure that you have an Internet connection just about anywhere.

Do The Geeks use a data card?

This data card connects to your computer's USB port.Yes, and no. We have a Datastorm Internet satellite dish, and we love our satellite dish. Last fall, our 5-year old system needed some new parts. We planned to spend the winter in a park with good Wi-Fi, so we opted to turn off the satellite service.

Since we got back on the road this spring, we have been able to make do with a combination of Wi-Fi and our Verizon phone "tethered." So, we are using Verizon for an Internet connection, but we don’t have a data card. The cell phone cannot connect at the highest EVDO speed -- Rev A -- but we do get Rev 0.

We’re getting by with the combination of Wi-Fi and tethered cell phone, but we do miss our satellite Internet. We find that some of our itinerary is based on knowing where there is good Wi-Fi, or a good Verizon signal. When our dish was active we could go wherever we wanted.

What’s New?

This technology is a fast-moving field. There is plenty of recent news:

1. Verizon’s price for overages has been lowered from 25 cents/Mg to 5 cents/Mg.
2. Verizon’s price for tethered cell phone Internet access has lowered from $59/month to $49/month.
3. Verizon has introduced a data card/router combination device called the Mi-Fi.
4. Walkinghotspot.com is a software solution that turns your SmartPhone into a Wi-Fi hotspot with unlimited broadband access. It’s not available for Verizon phones. Pretty magicial stuff.

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