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Post Info TOPIC: School Me On Internet for Computer and TV


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School Me On Internet for Computer and TV


We have moved back to Oklahoma for a spell, and we are now in an RV park that has its WiFi based off of fiber optic cable.  While looking at something this afternoon, I noticed that the WiFi strength was just under full strength, so we must be a ways from the transmitter of WiFi.  Since I'm not too literate in all of this, I could sure use some tips and advice.

I think I would want some kind of WiFi booster, but uncertain as to what to get that wouldn't break the bank.  So, that's one thing.

Another is that the wife wants to have the WiFi signal come first to a router and then the park only has to deal with one device's MAC address.  So, any ideas on a good router?  We have 2 smart phones, two tablets, and two computers at the moment.

Third, we've been told that going with a "smart" device, we can watch TV off of the WiFi.  I'm not prepared to purchase a smart TV yet, but can't one use a Blue-Ray DVD player as that smart device?  If so, how would something like that be hooked up?

Fourth, with regards to TV is a ROKU or Firestick, or some other device better for getting such channels as FOX News, FOX Business News, Discovery, History Channel and such?

Also, if anyone has even better ideas, please suggest those as well.  I'd hate to buy a bunch of stuff and then not need it all.

Thanks in advance.

Terry



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Hi Terry,

Chris and Cherie are the experts on this, have you checked out their site? I know some of it member only content, but they do have some open content as well.

www.rvmobileinternet.com/

I haven't used WiFi much while on the road as we have different unlimited plans, but WiFi Ranger has been useful in some situations. To be honest, I haven't kept up with the latest WiFi routers as we tend to just use our We Boost and our unlimited plans to meet our data needs.

If you're trying to just stream TV from the WiFi, probably the cheapest way to do this is to stream it from your laptop and either use an HDMI cable to connect the laptop and TV or you can buy a Chromecast device for about $30 that allows you to stream to your TV without having to worry about tripping over a cable.

Can't help you much with the question regarding other channels as we have Dish so I haven't investigated ROKU, we do use Firestick from Amazon quite a bit as there are some Amazon specific shows that we watch.

Good luck!

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There is one thing that confuses me and that is when you say they have Wifi based off of a fiber optic cable. I'm assuming that they have fiber coming into the park and then they have a wifi system connected to that. If that is the case, and it probably is, then as far as you are concerned the fiber optic portion is moot. It could be fiber or it could be copper, but it makes no difference to you as it is on the phone company/cable company side of the wifi. Businesses seem to like to advertise that they have fiber when all you, as the end user, care about is that they have sufficient bandwidth (the size of the pipe if you will) to handle the traffic on it without delays (latency). As for devices I don't know because it's been 15 years since I was in the Internet business and lots and lots of things have changed since then. When I was in the business it was actually fun and mobile was just starting to come into play when I sold out. If you get stuck really bad let me know and I'll get in touch with one of my former partners who I'm sure can help.

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I can let you know what we've done at home and I believe some of it will apply also to internet and tv in your rv. We have cut the cable. It is harder to do than you would think. Verizon was disastrous with their customer care. I called to take the tv portion off of our service and to sign up for an internet and phone option. We now get faster internet and the same phone service for about $100.00/mo or more less than when we had cable on our bill but it was a journey to get there. They messed up the order, they messed up the initial bill, etc. Finally, when Verizon was all settled and I had no cable but great internet and a land line, I was set to attack what I could do regarding tv. We got a great antenna (the kind that attaches to your window from the back of the tv and got 36 stations very clearly over the air. The cost of the antenna was $80.00 and we get all PBS, 4, 5, 7, 9 and a channel with movies and such all the way up to the 36 channels I mentioned. We do have a smart tv but it was one of the first ones out so it was not possible to get the Sling app that I wanted onto my tv without a Roku. Sling was running a special that for $25.00/mo they would send a free Roku Express with the Sling app installed if you signed up for two months on advance. It works beautifully and we have as much, if not more to watch than with our previous cable package. Most important is a strong internet signal which can be a problem at some parks/campgrounds, so I defer to someone else's knowledge on what to do about a hotspot. Hope some or any of this helps.

 

 



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Number 1 is internet access...one thing I learned while FT'ing is to never rely on park wifi. If you really need internet access the best bet is to bring your own. On the chance the park you happen to be at actually has wifi but it's weak then you could look into adding either a booster, or an amplified or directional antenna outside your rig. As for inside the rig, a router with hotspot built-in should allow you to have one connection to the wifi source and then have all your devices connect to your hotspot.

The TV question...if you're talking about a smart-tv as in apps, if you have internet think of the apps on the tv as just another device going thru your router. But if you want to watch live tv it's a different problem. I've never had any luck finding live tv on the internet so I will have to defer this question. I know there are a lot of shows that are available on the internet but usually they are 24 hours delayed. So for example, you could watch tonights World News tomorrow night. Might be easier to just put up the bat wing and see what you can grab over-the-air for free.

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We have apps on our FireTVstick for live progrmming from ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox, and a number of other channels.

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Dutch wrote:

We have apps on our FireTVstick for live progrmming from ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox, and a number of other channels.


 Good to know.  Are these channels free or are there subscription charges?



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Dutch wrote:

We have apps on our FireTVstick for live progrmming from ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox, and a number of other channels.


 Is that FOX entertainment or the FOX News Channel?  FOX News Channel is what I am interested in (see fourth point in my original post.)

Thanks.

Terry



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There's a "Fox News" app, and a "Fox NOW" app. The "Fox News" app is live programming, and the "NOW" app carries the Fox owned entertainment channels like FX, FXX, Nat Geo, sports, etc., as well as the local Fox outlets in 17 markets, most channels in both live and on-demand formats. Your Internet connection must be in an available market to get the locals though. With cell data service, that can be a little strange sometimes. We just left a NY state park on the Canadian border for instance, and the streaming Big 4 network locals using our AT&T hotspot were from NY City, and the Verizon hotspot gave us Wichita, KS locals. 



-- Edited by Dutch on Saturday 8th of September 2018 06:59:46 AM

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I know a lot of people think they’re too expensive...but a WiFi Ranger 2 unit combination for about $500 is an excellent choice. We have one along with a Verizon MiFi with a 30 gb/mo plan. We probably use the Park WiFi 75% of the time...with the WFR to boost the signal it’s good enough for everything but streaming video. We don’t do much of that by choice with the DirectTV dish. 



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Terry:

There is no easy answer to your questions - easy as in "inexpensive."

First, I agree with Neil.  I built a WiFi Ranger like system for about $100.  But as Linda says, "you have to know too much" to make that work, and she knows IT BTW.  So the WiFi Ranger is the best overall system for putting CG WiFi on your internal in RV network.  One device, one log in, and then all your computers / phones work via the WFRanger "radio" which is outside of the RV on the roof.  Works - but expensive - relatively.  Most things that work are.

As to "streaming TV."  It all depends on the bandwidth provided by the CG regardless of the quality of the WFRanger or other such device.  IMO, don't depend on CG WiFi it for "TV."

Even it there is enough bandwidth provided by the CG one must still subscribe to a streaming service.  Fox News, History, et. el. don't come for free.  One service is "Direct TV Go."  It's a less expensive streaming service.  Because of the quality of CG WiFi I can't recommend it or any streaming service.  May work great.  Might not.  It all depends on the CG.  If one has plenty of reliable bandwidth then that's another story.  That's why we use DirecTV satellite and you are more than aware of all that and the costs from years as a member of this forum.

Yes, you can use a Blu-ray player as a streaming device if it has streaming apps.  We have one, don't use it.  Just came with the Blu-ray player.  But that, again, is totally dependent on bandwidth of CG and one must still subscribe to a streaming service as mentioned above.

IMO, the best "fix" for your requested needs are DirecTV satellite and a WFRanger as Neil suggested.  They work.  Other solutions might work. But once installed these work and one doesn't have to "fiddle" with things every day.

Final comment, using Verizon or AT&T, etc. for streaming is simply not affordable.  Those "unlimited plans"  will throttle down the speed once you reach certain levels of data.  Streaming takes a large amount of data.  So, IMO, that's just not a option.

All FWIW based on a lot of years doing this, like Neil, all over the US and Canada as you know.  What we have works, its just not inexpensive but is reliable.  

Bill



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Since Comcast is raising there fee's again, I am looking to cut cable in the house and go strictly with streaming movies AND live TV. Put my Verizon Jetpack on the unlimited plan. Whatever solution I come up with, it has to be viable for both at-home and in-the-rv scenarios. Looks like Hulu has live TV at $40/mo. and appears to be the better option. Directv Now is about the same cost, but from I read it's only for the 1st 12 months and doubles for the next 12 months...and it has a 2 year obligation. Anyways, the Hulu option and Verizon combined will cost me $100/mo. and my cable bill runs $150/mo. so will save me $600/yr.

The unknown is will the Jetpack MiFi provide sufficient bandwidth...



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A followup on this topic that may benefit others...

Some background info first...we purchased a new rig and took it out for a shake-down. I found out the TV's in the rig are not "smart" TV's, meaning they do not support apps. Since I already had Netflix and Amazon Video on my iPhone6S, and because I already had an unlimited plan on my phone, I decided to purchase a cable that would allow me to output HDMI from my phone to the TV and watch anything displayed on the phone on my TV screen.

Sounds like a great plan right? Initial testing of the cable showed it does work and I can view my iPhone screen on the TV. However, further testing showed a flaw in the setup and I am not sure who is to blame...I discovered that not all video is available for sharing with the TV. Netflix, Amazon, Hulu, Vudu, when I start a movie on the iphone the video is not shown on the TV and ceases to show on the iPhone screen. Like I say, I don't know who to point the finger at, Apple, Netflix or other provider, but I tried all possible configurations and was not able to make it work.

Now some stuff did work, but the one's I needed to work for me were a failure.

Not all is lost...the phone and my Jetpack both have unlimited data...and the BluRay player in the rig does have apps...so my solution is to share the internet from one of my devices with the BluRay player and connect to the desired provider so I can watch them on the TV. I wasn't able to test my setup as the main TV turned out to have a bad HDMI input port so I am waiting for a replacement but I am confident this setup will work. The only question left is will I be able to view live TV using the app on the BluRay player to stream Hulu. Will test that on the next trip.

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In https://www.rvmobileinternet.com/guides/tv-movie-entertainment-on-the-road/ they have this to say about hardwired HDMI with iOS:

"Keep in mind that Apple iOS enables this function by default, but app developers can choose to block it. Some streaming apps have specifically blocked output via the adapter, or sometimes app updates break the feature."



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Thanks Bill, lots of good information in that article and explains the reason behind the problems I was having with my setup. Last night I figured out why I wasn't able to view live TV at home, so I am that much closer to cutting the cable dependency. The down side is both of my unlimited internet devices are battery powered, not a huge problem, but I saw a couple work-arounds in the article that I will be exploring for a fix.

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Dan, have you considered a hotspot device? They don't have the limitations on the apps that you discovered on your phone. Depending on which version of which cell carrier and plan you have, you can connect one for as little as 20 a month once you obtain the device. An up to date hotspot is usually around 200. Right now there is a pretty good Verizon pre-paid plan available for 65 a month after auto pay. It is real unlimited hotspot data with some speed management on busy towers. As good as it gets right now for new plans. Good luck.
Jerry

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Thanks Jerry...yes I have 2 unlimited plans right now, I use Visible on my iPhone and I have a Verizon Jetpack with the new unlimited plan. I am confident that I can use 1 of them in the rig for my BluRay player that has the apps built-in. The only tricky part is getting live TV via Hulu. Not a show stopper but I would like to have it available on the road since I am paying extra for it.

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Subscribe to Netflix. You won't regret it.

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bluesurfer84 wrote:

Subscribe to Netflix. You won't regret it.


 I was actually thinking about the same thing. But must have his own reliable internet access. 



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I'm new to FT rving as of the first of the year and I am looking for a device to improve the campground WiFi signal reception and stare it between my DW's tabet and my PC.

Has anyone used the Alpha WiFi Camp Pro 2 or something like it?

www.amazon.com/Alfa-range-repeater-Tube-AOA-2409-TF-Ant/dp/B07C8915BV/ref=sr_1_4

I like the idea that it is omni directional so I don't have to get on the roof and point it at the CG WiFi antenna every time I move. I also like the price. I don't see any disadvantage over the $400 Halo Long Range Marine & RV Wi-Fi Extender System. www.amazon.com/dp/B01HYLC6EA/ref=sspa_dk_detail_2

I think it's just what I'm looking for, if it works. BTW I am using a small plug-in WiFi receiver now to send this, plugged into a 6 ft HDMI cable and velcroed to the wall of my MH by the ceiling Sometimes I stick it in the window for better reception depending on where I'm at.

 

BTW, I can't get even youtube videos to stream over the CG WiFi, let alone Netflix, which I had for years but cancelled when I went FT and didn't have access to a streaming source anymore and can't afford paying extra for it right now till I see how my finances shake out now that I'm retiring.

Chip



-- Edited by Sushidog on Wednesday 23rd of January 2019 09:09:45 AM

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A lot of folks seem to use Weboost, which used to be Wilson Electronics. Wilson is a big name in the cell phone arena and I believe also makes directional antennas. Their web site is www.weboost.com Happy shopping. I also believe that Howard, our gracious host has a web page about his set up.



-- Edited by arcaguy on Wednesday 23rd of January 2019 09:20:42 AM

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Sushidog wrote:

BTW, I can't get even youtube videos to stream over the CG WiFi, let alone Netflix, which I had for years but cancelled when I went FT and didn't have access to a streaming source anymore and can't afford paying extra for it right now till I see how my finances shake out now that I'm retiring.


Chip
-- Edited by Sushidog on Wednesday 23rd of January 2019 09:09:45 AM


In the FWIW information department - One can have the finest reception equipment at the rig, excellent signal strength and a wide bandwidth to and from the CG's WiFi access point and still have zero luck streaming.  Most of the time CG's simply don't have enough - don't purchase - or are not able to purchase enough - bandwidth from the CG "to" and "from" the internet.  While if two or three are using the CG internet connection it can be OK for streaming, when many, such as in the evening are using it, "forget-about-it."  This is really no different then cable internet speed issues in a home only much worse.

I just say this to advise not to count on CG WiFi internet for much more then email and light internet browsing.  While we have been able to stream in some locations they have been few and very far between.  So best to have other arrangements in place if this is important to you.

BTW, also FWIW, the Netflix app is probably the best I've seen for making streaming work in difficult bandwidth speed environments. It will ramp up and down the quality of the picture based on what's available bandwidth wise to the server.  From sort of HD 1080 down to 240 line not so good.  It does this extremely well.  Wish Amazon's app was as good.  Make sure the streaming app on your TV or computer is up to date.

Bill



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arcaguy wrote:

A lot of folks seem to use Weboost, which used to be Wilson Electronics. Wilson is a big name in the cell phone arena and I believe also makes directional antennas. Their web site is www.weboost.com Happy shopping. I also believe that Howard, our gracious host has a web page about his set up.



-- Edited by arcaguy on Wednesday 23rd of January 2019 09:20:42 AM


 

I went to the weboost site and it looks like the devices they offer only boost cell signals from a cell phone tower. Our cell phone reception is fine. We need a stronger WiFi signal from most campgrounds that offer internet access via WiFi. Or am I not understanding something? It's all greek to me and very confusing.

Chip



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Bill and Linda wrote:
Sushidog wrote:

BTW, I can't get even youtube videos to stream over the CG WiFi, let alone Netflix, which I had for years but cancelled when I went FT and didn't have access to a streaming source anymore and can't afford paying extra for it right now till I see how my finances shake out now that I'm retiring.


Chip
-- Edited by Sushidog on Wednesday 23rd of January 2019 09:09:45 AM


In the FWIW information department - One can have the finest reception equipment at the rig, excellent signal strength and a wide bandwidth to and from the CG's WiFi access point and still have zero luck streaming.  Most of the time CG's simply don't have enough - don't purchase - or are not able to purchase enough - bandwidth from the CG "to" and "from" the internet.  While if two or three are using the CG internet connection it can be OK for streaming, when many, such as in the evening are using it, "forget-about-it."  This is really no different then cable internet speed issues in a home only much worse.

I just say this to advise not to count on CG WiFi internet for much more then email and light internet browsing.  While we have been able to stream in some locations they have been few and very far between.  So best to have other arrangements in place if this is important to you.

BTW, also FWIW, the Netflix app is probably the best I've seen for making streaming work in difficult bandwidth speed environments. It will ramp up and down the quality of the picture based on what's available bandwidth wise to the server.  From sort of HD 1080 down to 240 line not so good.  It does this extremely well.  Wish Amazon's app was as good.  Make sure the streaming app on your TV or computer is up to date.

Bill


 Thanks, I get that regardless what kind of antenna I purchase the campground WiFi will probably be inadequate to stream video. That sort of sucks as I would like to see a how-to youtube video now and then. As far as TV, I just purchased and installed an King TV over the air antenna to replace my old batwing that wouldn't go up. I now get good reception to over 40 over the air channels where I'm at now, I realize this will change based upon where we are located, possibly failing to get even one channel occasionally. Right now I can't afford another $50-$100 a month charge till I get a credit card paid off. Then I was thinking about joining FCMA to get their excellent and cheap roadside assistance service and I heard they also offer an excellent, inexpensive 25 gb Verizon mobile hotspot plan with free equipment to boot for only $50/mo. When I can afford it I plan on joining FMCA and signing up for both.  

 

Chip



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Woops my bad, you're right it is all for cell phones from what I could determine too. Here's a few links I found:

www.jackdanmayer.com/communication.htm

rv-dreams.activeboard.com/t56667939/wifi-booster/

rv-dreams.activeboard.com/t41229877/wifi/

Two of these are on RV-Dreams and there other one is a link on here. If you go to the search function and put in wifi you get 9 responses, at least I did, it should help point you in the right direction. Happy reading. I'm still looking for Howard's post from a few weeks or a couple of months ago. I'll eventually find it a post it here because I need the information too as it looks like my plans have been moved up.

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Note that the $20/month (plus taxes) unlimited AT&T Mobley deal is back - https://www.rvmobileinternet.com/att-20-month-unlimited-mobley-plan-back-for-a-limited-time-via-uconnect-chrysler-mopar-email-campaign/ .  Hurry if you want it.  We love ours.



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Absolutely, positively unlimited high speed Internet. Works for me all across the US. Bandwidth from 3-17Mbps.



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bjoyce wrote:

Note that the $20/month (plus taxes) unlimited AT&T Mobley deal is back - https://www.rvmobileinternet.com/att-20-month-unlimited-mobley-plan-back-for-a-limited-time-via-uconnect-chrysler-mopar-email-campaign/ .  Hurry if you want it.  We love ours.


 Sweet deal, but it looks like the new resurrected plan is now only available for Dodge, Chrysler and Jeep owners.

Chip

 



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Acheron2010 wrote:

Absolutely, positively unlimited high speed Internet. Works for me all across the US. Bandwidth from 3-17Mbps.


 No doubt that's the best available, but from $150-$250/mo (plus start up equipment purchase and i'm sure plus taxes, fees, etc.) it's completely out of my price range. Thanks for the link though as it may serve the needs of others who use the internet for income producing purposes, which could easily justify such a business expense.

Chip

 



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Sushidog wrote:
bjoyce wrote:

Note that the $20/month (plus taxes) unlimited AT&T Mobley deal is back - https://www.rvmobileinternet.com/att-20-month-unlimited-mobley-plan-back-for-a-limited-time-via-uconnect-chrysler-mopar-email-campaign/ .  Hurry if you want it.  We love ours.


 Sweet deal, but it looks like the new resurrected plan is now only available for Dodge, Chrysler and Jeep owners.

Chip

 


 AT&T is not verifying you have the vehicle.  



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arcaguy wrote:

Woops my bad, you're right it is all for cell phones from what I could determine too. Here's a few links I found:

www.jackdanmayer.com/communication.htm

rv-dreams.activeboard.com/t56667939/wifi-booster/

rv-dreams.activeboard.com/t41229877/wifi/

Two of these are on RV-Dreams and there other one is a link on here. If you go to the search function and put in wifi you get 9 responses, at least I did, it should help point you in the right direction. Happy reading. I'm still looking for Howard's post from a few weeks or a couple of months ago. I'll eventually find it a post it here because I need the information too as it looks like my plans have been moved up.


 

Thanks for the links Arcaguy! You da man! biggrin

Chip



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Just got back from a trip to Cali and gave my TV equipment a complete checkout. Hulu worked great with my Jetpack. But I discovered the BluRay player I was going to use for smart apps is not a solution for Hulu liveTV. After talking to Hulu about why I was not able to get live TV, they told me my BluRay player has an old version of the Hulu app and can't be updated. But all is not lost, after 2 months of service with Hulu they sent me a free Roku Premiere that I now plan to use in the rig for live TV. The Roku is fully compatible and is on the list of Hulu supported devices, all good news. I also discovered you can pause Hulu service so you don't have to pay for it when not using it for up to 12 weeks. Good news for people who don't FT or need it all the time.

I should mention that all the places we parked while on our trip I was able to pick up all the major network stations OTA on our antenna. I am very impressed with the antenna on our rig compared to the crank up Winegard w/wingman we had on our Monaco. It does not crank up, but it can be pointed in any direction which helps dial in weak signals. I don't think I ever got less than 35 channels, but some were dupes, like HD and SD of the same station.

It's been a few years since we FT'd so I just wanted to mention that as we get back to traveling in an RV that I didn't notice any changes in RV parks and WiFi and TV services, it's still hit-n-miss for decent service. I am glad we have our own internet now so we don't have to rely on RV parks. And the Roku provides us with live TV and movies via the apps. We still have Amazon Prime video and Netflix for watching/renting movies so we should have all the bases covered.


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2018 Thor Windsport 35M -- 2018 Camry Toad

-- USAF Retired -- Full-timing since December 2007 - Part-Timing since July 2011
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