When I bought my land near Penamocor I checked that I had a decent 4G internet connection, and it was fine, at least my UK mobile data worked fine, my Portuguese Internet box had a weak signal but it just about worked.
Still, I figured if one network got a decent signal, I could jiggle about service providers as necessary in the future.
During my first three weeks I had NO PROBLEM with my mobile internet connection - I was relying on a 20 GB allowance I got with my UK provider so didn't try video, and without that 20 GB gets me through two - three weeks on Net use if I'm careful (with downloads and back ups for example), even Discord worked fine!
With that much allowance anywhere on the land, combined with an unlimited Portuguese connection I could manage my Net allowances easily - for $8 EU (UK) and $30 EU (Portugal unlimited data) a month, not a bad price either!
Then my UK connection just went dead in April
I have no idea whether it was due to Brexit (delayed reaction) or because I'd been abroad for over 6 months by this point, but for starters my UK provider cut my monthly roaming allowance (and presumably everyone else's) from 20 GB a month to 12 GB a month, and secondly, and more drastically, it just stopped being able to get a signal on my land at all, nowhere, it just stopped working.
So I bought a NOS subscription
My Portugal internet box is a tiny thing, and I theorised that maybe it was not picking up a signal because it was 'piggybacking' on Portuguese providers' networks so I thought getting an actual Portuguese subscription was sensible - NOS also has a bigger dongle box thing so I thought that might help.
So I paid for a month subscription to test it - 30 EU no lock in, it didn't work on my land either.
Oddly enough the NOS box gave me a worse connection elsewhere than the Portugal internet box, even when the later was telling me it was utilising the NOS network, so I'm not sure what's going on there - less busy maybe?
So I bought a Signal Booster and a Yagi Antena
This was neither cheap, nor fun, nor effective.
The whole set up was quite a faff for a start - I needed to lug my leisure battery and inverter (it was only a test, I could have set up something more permanent had this worked) up to the top corner of my land where the signal was strongest, attached the antena to a tree, which also required a ladder (eventually I hit on the strategy of strapping it to a 25 ft length of Eucalyptus which allowed me to lift it up from the ground) and then connecting all the bits together.
And the wires according to the instructions had to be kink free.
Anyway, long story short it did this really annoying thing - it wouldn't work at all with my NOS box, but it did work with my Portugal Internet Box, for about 3 minutes then it went dead.
Second time I tried it did the same with my NOS box - worked for a few minutes, then dead.
I've since theorised that the antena must have been picking up a signal from Spain and it took my providers a few minutes to figure this out and cut me off.
Maybe? Nothing else makes sense.
The signal booster set up, back in its box!
Abandoning the land
All of these various experiments took me a few weeks to sort out and during that time I'd abandoned sleeping on the land, heading back to my cabin a 40 minute drive away in Alpedrinha every night, I can't live without a net connection.
Finally a solution - ANOTHER provider
After all this I tried another provider - MEO - I'd avoided them initially as their website didn't have payment plans, instead it told me go into a shop - I hate that - so they can try and sell you more shit - but, desperate measures, and it turns out they've got a 30 GB data deal for 20 EU a month, which isn't great, but hey.
Anyway, much to my surprise, this connection seems to work FINE on my land. This could be due to the fact that this allows for an EU wide data connection and I might well be connecting to Spain (in which case the limit goes down to 22 GB, arbitrary amount I know, but there you go).
Drowning in Sims and a wasted antena
So now I've got a signal booster and antena just kicking around doing nothing, although maybe they'll come in handy - I'm sure they'd improve my existing connection.
More annoyingly I've now got Four providers and THREE SIMS on the go and only two slots to put them in:
- Portugal Internent, for unlimited data - 30 EU a month
- Smarty, my UK provider, I need an English number - 8 EU a month
- NOS - for my phone number in Portugal - 12 EU a month
- MEO - 30 GB data which works on my land, 20 EU a month
There has to be a simpler way!
AND OF COURSE... the MEO card doesn't work in the NOS box, nothing works in my old phone because it's locked given that I got it years ago on a contract.
There has to be a simpler way than spending my time jiggling SIMS between devices!