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  1.    #1  
    I bought an external antenna and a booster kit for my Sprint T650 for in the car. It uses a glass mounted antenna. I think the booster is a two watt booster. Got it from wpsantenna.com. It consists of a window mount external antenna, a booster module that plugs into 12vdc and an cord that plugs into the external antenna jack of my phone.

    When I first mounted it, I tried to be cool and have the mast swept back kinda like you see on VW cars. I was out in a rural area where I normally have signal trouble and it didn't seem to make any performance difference.

    I called wpsantenna back. They suggested that I move the antenna to a vertical position since most cell towers are vertically polarized. He also stated that I wouldn't neccesarily see any extra bars on my antenna icon on the Treo since CDMA signal performance isn't always indicative of the bars on the phone.

    I moved it. No perceivable change.

    Have I been had or is there some empirical way I can tell that this thing is actually doing anything? I bought it because there a few dead spots on the interstate near here. The dead spot only lasts for about 3 minutes at 70mph. Its not like its a huge gap in coverage.

    I'd expect this thing to suck that gap up . I'd just like some definitive way to tell that this thing makes a difference. I know there are various tools for measuring signal and stuff but have no clue what to use or how they work.
  2. #2  
    If this is an unpowered booster, you've been had. I'm guessing that this is something you just stick onto the window?
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    If at first you don't succeed...skydiving is not for you.
  3. #3  
    Quote Originally Posted by jasondeno
    He also stated that I wouldn't neccesarily see any extra bars on my antenna icon on the Treo since CDMA signal performance isn't always indicative of the bars on the phone.

    While possibly true, this is a good way to dodge the fact that they sold you a complete piece of crap. Which one did you get?
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    If at first you don't succeed...skydiving is not for you.
  4.    #4  
    Here's the amp: http://www.wpsantennas.com/index.asp...WPROD&ProdID=2

    and here's the antenna:
    http://www.wpsantennas.com/index.asp...PROD&ProdID=35

    of course, an adapter cable too:
    http://www.wpsantennas.com/index.asp...ROD&ProdID=284

    I verified all mounting directions, connections and power.
  5.    #5  
    BTW, is there a known non-crap one of these? I only bought this after reading reviews from others on this site. I'm hoping its either a defective device or will manifest its true abilities in a measurable way other than the signal icon on the phone.
  6. #6  
    I'm by now means an expert on boosters and couldn't begin to tell you what to look for. Seeing as how this is appears to be an "active" system, I would expect something from it, but without knowing the frequency bands that Sprint uses off the top of my head, I don't know. I figured you had gotten a passive system, so I'm not really sure. I'm always sceptical of cell boosters though.
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    If at first you don't succeed...skydiving is not for you.
  7. #7  
    Smells funky to me, but it definitely looks legit.

    The vertical mount excuse is BS (IMO) - otherwise your phone would never work while holding it at an angle against your head. Mobile antenna transceivers use Fourier functions that enable it to grab signal while moving, rotating, spinning, etc.

    For the price you coulda tried some cheaper means I think.

    I'd like to read the other threads on this forum where people state they are getting improved reception.

    Find someone that knows how to use a voltage-meter and see if the power amp really amplifies. A good RF engineer could check the frequency response changes in the antenna and verify if there is any boost.

    Greg
  8. #8  
    No matter what "functions" something does, the vertical vs horizontal statement is true to an extent, but it's not a major issue. I suspect that the signals might not be purely one way or the other, but rather spun, like FM antennas. They're called "eggbeaters" because of their spiral shape which puts off a signal which has no real orientation (or circular polarization), thus preventing the 20dB of potential loss on a linear vertical vs linear horizontal antenna match.

    Anywho.... Unless the receive and transmitter are amplified, it's unlikely you'd see any extra 'bars' except for the antenna gain, which is likely lost in the cabling since the loss at these frequencies around 1dB to 2dB a foot. So likely what this thing is doing is boosting your output signal, which one would presume is the side that needs it more considering the cell towers put out 25W or so while your mobile puts out perhaps 300mW.

    If you can't tell any difference in the real usage of the phone, I'd return it..
  9. jgilfor's Avatar
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    #9  
    In my "former life" I was an electrical engineer (worked for the nuclear industry), so I do have some scientific background with which to work. That said, I agree in part with the previous posters.

    Non-amplified "booster" antennas can actually increase the transmit and receive efficiency of your phone. They work by more cleanly converting the electromagnetic waves floating around us into current pulses that are interpreted by your phone as conversation. They work because your car effectively shields outside transmissions, except through the windows. Your car is a large "Faraday cage." The overall gain will be small but appreciable, especially in fringe reception areas.

    As for the amplifier. There are two concerns. One is the frequency ranges. It hasa stated operation in the two most common bands for US cellular transmissions (800 and 1900 MHz). That "should" be okay. Second, and probably more important, is the amplifiers ability to quickly shift frequencies while amplifying. Please undersatnd that digital cellular phones (TDMA, CDMA, and GSM) use rapid frequency hopping technology (originally developed by actress Hedy Lamar for use in coded transmissions during WWII... really, no kidding). In order for the amplifier to amplify your cell phone signals, it must have internal circuitry that will match the rapidity of frequency hopping used by your ceelular carrier. It is possible, but unlikely.

    Your best bets for increasing cellular efficiency are, get a better phone or a better carrier for your geographical location. Not all phones or carriers are created equally, and what may work better for someone in another area, may not work welll in yours.

    Hope this helps.
  10.    #10  
    All good to know. I'll give it a shot for a while and see how it goes. It doesn't sound like there's a definitive answer either way.

    Thanks all!
  11. #11  
    There is a free app called SignalMeter which may help you. I have used it to see the relative signal strength.
  12. #12  
    You should definitely see more signal bars in an amplified ext antenna. from the phone screen, dial ##33284# and note the rssi #. It should e lower numerically with the amp. i.e. 92 is a stronger signal than 100. I use a non amplified Wilson trucker antenna in the car and I see a 8 dbi rssi difference (about 1 bar). Maybe you have a defective unit. The through the glass antenna is not the best way to pass the signal and is an area where there will be signal loss.
  13. ostinato's Avatar
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    #13  
    Is there an equivalent ##33284# for GSM phones? I have only been able to use that code with a Sprint phone.
  14.    #14  
    UPDATE

    WPSantenna read my thread about my plight. It turns out that the window mounted antenna only boosts signal by about 3db measured at the antenna even with the signal booster engadged. In my practical experience I would best describe this as maybe 1/2 of a bar on my signal meter.

    Seeing my problem, WPS sent me a magnetic mount antenna. It arrived today. I mounted it and tried it out in my garage. My signal meter instantly went from 1-2 bars to a solid 4 bars! A buddy and I were going for a trip up north and would be covering my dead spot on the interstate. I called his cell phone before the dead spot and was able to hold the call well after the dead spot. Awesome!

    When I originally posted this thread it was with the intention of doing some of my own empirical research to determine where the problem was before following up with WPS. I know how hard it can be to troubleshoot a system comprised of multiple elements in the hands of the end-user. Getting a clear daignosis can be a chore.

    I just went out to the garage again. RSSI without the system was -101. With the system was -92. Not too shabby. When the car is outdoors it really seems to hold the bars well.

    Thanks to the guys at WPS for standing behind their system. I wasn't expecting this and am very impressed with their customer service. Well done guys and thanks for the followup!
  15. #15  
    I have worked with the guys at wpsantennas on a few projects. They are great folks.
    Pilot 5K->Palm IIIc->Tungsten T/T2->Treo 650/680 -> Pre+ (1.4.5 & Uberkernel)
  16. #16  
    Quote Originally Posted by jasondeno View Post
    Seeing my problem, WPS sent me a magnetic mount antenna.
    Any link to that antenna? :-)
    PalmIII -> PalmV -> Sprint Treo650 -> Treo755P -> Pre

    "Never underestimate the bandwidth of a station wagon full of tapes hurtling down the highway."

    --Andrew Tanenbaum
  17. #18  
    Since this thread is alive again, I will post that I bought this on eBay last week.

    http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll...m=200041084745

    I see zero difference in my bars, but I took it to work today, which is one giant fringe area where I frequently get static and dropped calls. Used the phone for most of the day with zero problems while connected to the antenna.
    Treo 300 (x2), 600 (x3), 650 (x6), 700p (ROM'd to 755p)
    My Custom Black-Tie 700p
    Sprint, 750 AT, Unl N/W @ 7pm, Unl Roaming/Power Vision/Pix/Txt/M2M, $46/mo.
    Lost Your Treo 300/600/650/680/700/750 CD? Download them here.
  18. #19  
    Quote Originally Posted by theleetbeagle View Post
    Since this thread is alive again, I will post that I bought this on eBay last week.

    http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll...m=200041084745

    I see zero difference in my bars, but I took it to work today, which is one giant fringe area where I frequently get static and dropped calls. Used the phone for most of the day with zero problems while connected to the antenna.
    Make sure you place this on a large ground plane.. Sitting it on a desk or something isn't going to work, in fact it'd probably need over 6 feet diameter of ground plane under it, otherwise the impedance won't be right and it won't perform properly.
  19. #20  
    Sorry, forgot to add that I drive through this fringe area all day. It's been on the top of a Ranger and a Crown Victoria. Still no bars difference, but like I said, in a 25 sq mile area, no dropped calls.
    Treo 300 (x2), 600 (x3), 650 (x6), 700p (ROM'd to 755p)
    My Custom Black-Tie 700p
    Sprint, 750 AT, Unl N/W @ 7pm, Unl Roaming/Power Vision/Pix/Txt/M2M, $46/mo.
    Lost Your Treo 300/600/650/680/700/750 CD? Download them here.
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