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Thread: Cell phone antenna/booster

  1. #1
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    Cell phone antenna/booster

    xpost from redflagdeals, but I'm not getting a lot of hits there, so I figured I post it to a site dedicated to cellphones

    I'm stuck. I've done some research and am looking for a cell phone booster for my cottage. Right now there's 0 coverage for a LONG distance surrounding us (I currently have a Bell SIM). The cottage itself is in this area of Ontario (http://g.co/maps/b7aw9). The nearest cell tower that I could find is 19km away and is a Rogers tower that runs at 850MHz/1900MHz. (area and Rogers tower location)



    The next nearest tower(s) are 40km away down on highway 7 and have the following:
    Bell 850MHz
    Rogers 850 MHz
    Rogers 1900 MHz
    Mike 800 MHz

    I know for a fact my neighbour at the cottage (about 1.5 km away, but not nearer to the tower) gets decent reception, but he's got a Wilson Omnidirectional antenna and an old Blackberry CDMA phone. He can get texts and phone reception and that's about it. The amazing thing is it's a Bell phone and he's hitting a Bell tower almost 40km away. He wasn't sure of the Rogers tower 'nearby' at 20 km, but his phones are all Bell branded so he's not going to try. I may try my friends Rogers 7-11 SIM and see if I can signal w/ his Wilson antenna. That's pretty amazing.

    Next problem, he's also about 100ft. - 200ft further up vertically than I am. I'm hoping to get reception of any kind, but ideally would love to use 3G as well (HSPA is a long-shot with the Wilson antennas at that distance from what I've read). I assume the nearer tower is a better bet for me.

    Would something like a Wilson Yagi antenna work better than a Wilson omnidirectional antenna in my situation?

    Rogers uses 805MHz and 1900 MHz for their towers and I assume these antennas will amplify those frequencies from the descriptions in the page links.

    http://www.wilsonamplifierstore.com/...ilding-antenna


    versus
    http://www.wilsonamplifierstore.com/...t-901117-cable


    I guess I'm not sure if the Yagi is preferable to the omnidirectional if you know roughly where to point the antenna. Also - any guesses how far away you can mount the antenna from the signal booster? We'd be putting it up a tall tree about 60' from the cottage.

    Soooo many questions.....

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    In general a yagi (directional) will give a better boost than omni (all directions)

    Like you said, the trick is to know which way to point it!

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    Keep in mind for a Yagi to work properly you should have line of site to the tower and it must be aimed at the tower exactly . As Yagi antennas only have about 5% room for error . Otherwise you are probably better off with a good omni-directional antenna.
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    As mentioned previously, a yagi directional antenna will work better in situations where you're looking for coverage of one carrier, as it's more focused and has a higher dB gain.

    Do you have an Android based phone? If so, look up OpenSignalMaps in the Google Play store, and it'll show you where the nearest cell towers are in relation to where you're standing. Keep in mind the application is user-driven, so even if doesn't show any towers near you, it could be that someone just hasn't mapped them yet. Alternatively, you can go to OpenSignalMaps.com and search that information if you don't have an Android phone.

    In your situation, you mentioned you get 0 signal where you're at within a long distance. Unfortunately, your best bet is to use a yagi antenna and aim it at the direction of the strongest signal. Even then, I feel it's not guaranteed at all. Sometimes, it's not directly where the cell tower is as the signal could be reflected off of other things such as trees, mountains, etc.

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    Thank you all for your replies. I'm going to pick up a Yagi package to try. Hopefully I can return it if I can't get a signal. Using this website I know where the antenna is closest to my cottage (http://g.co/maps/fv9fp). I can see there are generally no major dips or peaks between my location and the location of the tower (I'm a bit higher than the tower if I've read the topo correctly.

    That said, it's a Rogers 850MHz tower. Am I right in remembering that's 3G and NOT HSPA?

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    Any Protocol can be put on any Frequency . Since Rogers is a GSM carrier . Voice is GSM and Data is HSDPA

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    A quick (maybe) follow-up question. I have a HTC Touch and I tried it on the omni-directional Wilson antenna w/ booster the aforementioned neighbour at the cottage has. He uses it all the time on his older blackberry. He tells me newer phones don't get reception with the booster and he was told only CDMA phones work on his antenna. While I don't know about that - sure enough, his older Bell BB gets 4 bars and calls in/out no problem. My HTC Touch got no signal whatsoever with the 'booster pad end' (if that makes sense) right next to my phone. Bizarrely enough, about 3 minutes after waiting my phone suddenly shot up to 3 black/white bars or reception and held steady. The #bars service indicator didn't go green though which usually means data is missing (I'm running CM7 if that helps). When I turn data off at my providers end (when I go a month w/out data for example) my bars go black/white so I assumed at that point that I was getting a normal voice-only connection and no data. Anyhow, when I tried to call out I got a 'mobile network was unavailable' popup error repeatedly. Though clearly I had Bell shown in my connection list. Any guesses? I think maybe I got a CDMA connection to my phone and not a GSM connection which is why I couldn't use voice and NO data.

    I rebooted the phone and tried to replicate getting the reception bars, but couldn't seem to get any service again after waiting nearly 5 minutes.

    I think I must have hit a Bell tower that's about 40 km away after looking at coverage maps. It shoots 850MHz only. Any guesses as to what happened that I saw bars and had no ability to use the network? Is it possible that that particular tower only uses CDMA and I made a connection but since my Touch is GSM it could use the network?

    Thanks in advance.

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    Don't know the specifics of your GSM carrier's signal, but knowing some of the Wilson products, I do know that most of the available models work on only 850 & 1900 Mhz, which leaves out the AWS band of 1700/2100, which may be part of the problem with what you're seeing. They do have models that cover other bands, but those might be considered a bit obscure.

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    What model Wilson Booster is it ? They used to make CDMA or GSM specific amplifiers . Any new quality amplifier that covers the frequencies you are using will work no matter what the protocol . If you were using an induction adapter , it is key you know the placement of the interior antenna on your phone . It varies with every phone . If the induction adapter was not placed correctly , that could be the reason you got no amplification on your device.

    protocol
    Quote Originally Posted by whacker View Post
    Don't know the specifics of your GSM carrier's signal, but knowing some of the Wilson products, I do know that most of the available models work on only 850 & 1900 Mhz, which leaves out the AWS band of 1700/2100, which may be part of the problem with what you're seeing. They do have models that cover other bands, but those might be considered a bit obscure.

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    Thanks guys.

    What model Wilson Booster is it ? They used to make CDMA or GSM specific amplifiers . Any new quality amplifier that covers the frequencies you are using will work no matter what the protocol
    He's had it for a few years now (I'll look at his Wilson model # the next time I'm at the cottage), I wouldn't be shocked if it was a CDMA only amplifier. He mentioned quite a few times to me that I needed an old CDMA phone in order to get reception up there and that only the CDMA phones worked on the system. Being a bit older and not very tech literate I assumed he was maybe incorrect about the technology and so didn't press the point....so it would appear he's right then.

    it is key you know the placement of the interior antenna on your phone
    I read on the XDA developers site just now that the antenna for the HTC Desire is found down by the trackpad. Drag......I'd been holding the induction pad on the back of the thing up at the top where I thought I remembered the GSM antenna being the last time I read up on it (as it turns out that's where the wifi antenna is from what people in that post said). I'll try the neighbours induction pad again the next time I'm up at the cottage and place the pad in the right spot - and I'll grab the model info in case it is only a CDMA-only system.

    Do you think buying a Yagi/amp/induction-pad combo at a store then returning it if I can't get reception is an option or would most stores tell me to shove-it?

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    Look at the link at the bottom of my signature . We have a Canadian dealer in Toronto . Howard has our equipment installed in his house and has reviewed it on this site . Like I said quality equipment from any dealer will do the job for you . I will put our equipment against any out there in head to head test. Whatever you buy , a good quality dealer will back his equipment and help you get the installation working best for you in your application.

    Quote Originally Posted by jawso View Post
    Thanks guys.



    He's had it for a few years now (I'll look at his Wilson model # the next time I'm at the cottage), I wouldn't be shocked if it was a CDMA only amplifier. He mentioned quite a few times to me that I needed an old CDMA phone in order to get reception up there and that only the CDMA phones worked on the system. Being a bit older and not very tech literate I assumed he was maybe incorrect about the technology and so didn't press the point....so it would appear he's right then.



    I read on the XDA developers site just now that the antenna for the HTC Desire is found down by the trackpad. Drag......I'd been holding the induction pad on the back of the thing up at the top where I thought I remembered the GSM antenna being the last time I read up on it (as it turns out that's where the wifi antenna is from what people in that post said). I'll try the neighbours induction pad again the next time I'm up at the cottage and place the pad in the right spot - and I'll grab the model info in case it is only a CDMA-only system.

    Do you think buying a Yagi/amp/induction-pad combo at a store then returning it if I can't get reception is an option or would most stores tell me to shove-it?

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    I don't suppose you have a dealer in Ottawa? *fingerscrossed*

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    Sorry - just one Canadian dealer

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    The current Wilson amplifier does indeed support CDMA, GSM 2G and HSPA 3G (on 850 and 1900, depending on model). I used the Wilson 841262 kit for all three types last year.

    Rogers supports voice and data traffic on both 2G and 3G, so a 3G handset will be able to take advantage of whichever is better in local conditions.

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    Just want to give a thumbs up to Maximum Signal. The guy knows his stuff and sells quality equipment.

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