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Thread: Cell signal booster

  1. #1
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    Cell signal booster

    I thought I would make a quick post about cell signal boosters and my experience. I've seen this question pop-up many times before, but not a lot of information relating to anything beyond the Cell-Fi. Though the cell-fi looks slick and seems to have positive reviews, I could never justify the high price tag. After some research I found some alternatives that looked promising and decided to pull the trigger.

    I found a good deal on an amp, specifically the Wilson 802365 AWS 70 which is a 70dB amplifier for the AWS 1700/2100MHz band used by Wind/Mobilicty. There were a few on e-bay for $183 shipped, so seemed like a good deal. The best I can find currently are closer to the $220 mark, but I'm sure more deals will pop up on them. In addition to the amp I just purchased some cheap antennas on ebay from repeaterbay, a 10dB panel antenna for inside (3m cable included) and a AWS Yagi antenna for the exterior (8m cable included). The antennas came from Singapore and were here in 2 weeks from ordering. For both the antennas shipped it was about $50. So the final price tag for everything was just shy of $235, which seemed reasonable to me.

    Setup truly was a breeze. I looked at a map of where the closest cell tower was and simply positioned the external pointing towards it. Note I have not mounted the antennas in their final spot yet, I simply placed it near a window. Likely I will mount it in the attic with my OTA antenna. Once the antenna is placed simply run the cable to the AMP and connect to the external antenna port. Then I plugged in the internal antenna making sure it's not pointing towards the external antenna to avoid interference, and powered the amp. If all is well when you power the amp up, the light will go green and you are all done! If it goes red, it means your antennas are interfering with each other and you likely need to move them.

    As for performance this seems to work great. I live in a 2 story town house with basement, my top level usually was around 2-3 bars, main level 0-2 depending on location and basement no signal to 0 bars. With the antenna on my main level, now is full 4 bar, basement 3-4 bars and top level 3-4 bars. It's nice being able to text/make calls in the basement now which was very unreliable before. I would also occasionally drop calls in certain areas of my main level which seem fine too. For those interested in specifics, my phone is sitting beside me right now with a signal strength of -69dB and when I unplug the amp leaving the phone in the same position the signal strength drops to -105db - obviously a huge improvement!

    I also took the booster to a friends house in a different area with worse coverage. Generally inside he has no coverage unless the phone is sitting in specific locations near windows where he gets 0-1 bars. Usually when I'm there I end up on Wind Away, so the coverage is poor and this would be a great test. We set the antenna up on the top floor, again inside near a window and the internal antenna on the main level. Once plugged in we were seeing a solid 3 bars on the main level (would fluctuate to 2-4 occasionally), top level was 2 bars and basement was 2 bars. We probably could have got better reception mounting the antenna outside but we were satisfied with the results since we were able to get decent reception throughout instead of next to nothing.

    The other nice part about these amplified systems is their ability to add additional internal antennas with a splitter. That means you could add an antenna to each level to ensure maximum bars everywhere if you really wanted. The Wilson amp also has many nice features that some of the cheaper ones don't like adjustable gain, diagnostic lights and from what I understand good support from Wilson. The seller (repeaterbay) I bought the antennas from also had a system for sale for around $180 which include the two antennas I bought and a cheaper less known Chinese amp. I couldn't find any reviews on this, so opted to buy just the antennas and the Wilson amp which had good reviews. If anyone decides to try the phonetone/dr. tech amps I would be interested to hear about their experience.

    Overall I'm extremely satisfied with this solution for the price so wanted to share the positive experience. Let me know if you guys have any questions about the equipment, setup or performance.

  2. #2
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    Wilson Electronics is well established, their products top quaility. You did well on the price, the AWS 70 802365 lists elsewhere for $349-399. The adjustable gain for both uplink and downlink is a very nice feature.

    Over 24 months your total cost of $235 works out to 10 bucks a month. How much more would a person have to pay RBT for what our AWS plans offer? Heck of a deal. Thanks for your report, the detail is helpful. Consider posting a review on Wilson's product page, this amp is 'new' without feedback yet from users.

    http://www.wilsonelectronics.com/sto...y/181/0/aws-70
    "Delivering gain up to 70 dB, the ‘AWS 70’ is the most powerful consumer AWS booster available, with an indoor coverage area more than double the size of that of any competing booster."

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    The price I got it for I think was a great which is why I opted for this over the cheaper versions. There are some others still as I mentioned selling around the $220 mark (before shipping), but I'm sure more deals for these will pop up if you are patient. Here are a couple places that ship to Canada should be able to get it shipped for under 250:

    http://cellphonesignalbooster.us/wilson-802365-aws-70/
    http://www.solidsignal.com/pview.asp?p=802365

    TelecomZombie - be careful to look at the specs of the amplifiers. That Wilson Amplifiers site that lets you pick your carrier is building solutions for Wind/Mobilicty with amplifiers that don't even support AWS, so make sure you read the specs carefully. If you are looking for Wilson products I would probably stick to the official http://www.wilsonelectronics.com/ site.

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    The seller has a AWS booster listed "phonetone" brand, you think that would work?

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    I found this helpful as I know a few family members with WIND somewhat lacking in coverage. Thank you! +1

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    Quote Originally Posted by bprintz View Post

    TelecomZombie - be careful to look at the specs of the amplifiers. That Wilson Amplifiers site that lets you pick your carrier is building solutions for Wind/Mobilicty with amplifiers that don't even support AWS, so make sure you read the specs carefully. If you are looking for Wilson products I would probably stick to the official http://www.wilsonelectronics.com/ site.
    bprintz

    Thanks for the Tip to everyone!

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    Quote Originally Posted by dc2000 View Post
    I found this helpful as I know a few family members with WIND ........
    Thanks for sharing that with us also.
    I know how you feel
    jk

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    Quote Originally Posted by TelecomZombie View Post
    Thanks for sharing that with us also.
    I know how you feel
    jk
    lol, it's unfortunate WINDs reception in some areas - for lack of better words - suck. $250 and you get a signal boost, cheap considering other products that sell for 5-10 times that amount (Cell-Fi?)..

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    Quote Originally Posted by dc2000 View Post
    $250, cheap considering other products that sell for 5-10 times that amount (Cell-Fi?)..
    Well, my Cel-Fi costs less than twice that amount, and -depending on one's circumstances and needs- well worth it.
    In my case, it certainly was . . .

    But: It is good that there are alternative choices for those who can use them with success.

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    Quote Originally Posted by pitabread View Post
    The seller has a AWS booster listed "phonetone" brand, you think that would work?
    I do think this will work, but couldn't find any reviews on this product. I was debating buying this, but since I found a low price on the Wilson amplifier at the time I opted for that. If you do decide to get the phonetone I would be very interested in hearing how it works. It's a cheaper solution at $180, so would be good to know if it works well.

    As others mentioned it does suck that inside coverage for Wind in many areas is insufficient. As for the Cel-Fi I think it is a more elegant solution since it's wireless, looks nicer and comes in one easy package. I could just never justify paying around $500 for this, though I'm sure many can. I thought it might be interesting to start seeing what alternatives were available and how they performed - so if anyone has tried anything else it would be interesting to hear too.

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    Quote Originally Posted by bprintz View Post
    I do think this will work, but couldn't find any reviews on this product. I was debating buying this, but since I found a low price on the Wilson amplifier at the time I opted for that. If you do decide to get the phonetone I would be very interested in hearing how it works. It's a cheaper solution at $180, so would be good to know if it works well.

    As others mentioned it does suck that inside coverage for Wind in many areas is insufficient. As for the Cel-Fi I think it is a more elegant solution since it's wireless, looks nicer and comes in one easy package. I could just never justify paying around $500 for this, though I'm sure many can. I thought it might be interesting to start seeing what alternatives were available and how they performed - so if anyone has tried anything else it would be interesting to hear too.
    Thanks for the write up, I was considering alternatives to Cel-Fi for awhile, but wasn't too sure where to look.
    The Wilson product may be better because of the ability to adjust the internal gain to reduce any feedback between the external and internal antennas.

    Did you by any chance have to extend the cables and did you use RG8 or RG6 cable?

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    It's true the Wilson has some additional features for adjusting gain, I actually didn't adjust either of these though.

    I didn't extend the cables, I think you can order extra length through ebay if you like. I took a look at the cable on the antenna and it's labelled SYV-50-3 50 ohm COAXIAL CABLE, looking at the specs it looks similar to rg58... so I'm sure if you wanted to do RG6 it would more then suffice.

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    Wilson Universal Cell Phone Booster
    Product #35-4513-4
    Sale $97.99

    Reg. $139.99 Save 30%

    Confirm return policy B4 purchase.

    http://www.canadiantire.ca/AST/brows....jsp?locale=en

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    I'm considering getting one of these for my house, either Wilson or Dr tech one off amazon. Looks like the antennas are often sold separately. I'm wondering if it is possible to use an old TV antenna that is at the top of a mast on our property? Obviously it wasn't designed for transmitting like this, but would this be possible at all? Cable length is probably 100 feet or so.

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