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  1.    #1  
    i have a cabin on a lake in a remote area and i have a hard time getting a usable signal.a few months back i purchased an external antenna that connects on the back of my treo.i purchased it from wilson electronics.this seemed to have solved my problems.when hooked to this external antenna i could increase the coverage bars and make calls just fine.last week when using my treo/antenna setup i noticed that i had no service showing on the phone and no bars on the treo.since that time my reception is horrible.i now drop calls all the time in places that had perfect coverage before.i show at least 2 less bars than anyone else when i put my treo side by side with theirs.i complained to vzw and they gave me a new one that works great,my reception strength is back to what it was.my question is...did i fry something inside the treo antenna by using this external antenna? is it safe to use it again with this new treo? anyone have experience with these? they also sell a more expensive model that you mount on your house and it increase your signal strength but doesnt actually connect to your phone...any one ever use that type of setup? i need a way to boost my signal because it is very week at my cabin....thoughts?
  2. #2  
    I had the same problem at home. I ended up buying a Digital Antenna Powermax DA4000SBR. It is a wireless system with an outside antenna to pick up the tower and an internal antenna to transmit to your phone. I mounted it as instructed: external antenna on the roof, at least 40' of separation between the outdoor and indoor antennas. My outside signal was at or above -95db, which is a weak signal. The manufacturers say you need to have better than a -95db outside for the antenna to work reliably at all, or you need to purchase a directional (yagi) antenna. My homeowners' association would never allow that, but at your cabin you may be able to do whatever you want.

    What I found was that, at first, I could sit next to the indoor antenna and get a pretty good signal- even enough for broadband television on my Sprint 700P. The stronger the outdoor signal is, the better will be your indoor reception and range from the internal antenna. I also increased the signal on other phones I tried- Verizon and T-Mobile. However, over time, it got to the point that. not only did the antenna fail to improve my signal, it actually impeded it. I sent the antenna back in for diagnostics, but Digital Antenna tested it and said there was nothing wrong with it.

    My recommendations: I you want to go through the expense and hastle, you can try the DA4000SBR, or something like it from another manufacturer. If your signal is particularly weak, e.g.,<-94db (a really good signal is about -70db), you may benefit from using a yagi antenna and pointing it toward the nearest tower, or toward some structure that reflects the signal. This minimum signal will probably translate to about a 2-bar signal on your phone's signal strength indicator. Generally, a amplifier which uses an outside antenna, but wired directly into your phone on the inside, will provide a better signal. Check competitive prices online for the amplifier and the antenna- they vary considerably. I would also make sure I could return them if they don't work- you will be sinking several hundred dollars into this setup.

    I don't know why the amplifier stopped working. Perhaps Sprint did something to block the signal; use of a signal booster can arguably block access by others (this is debatable). However, I know if you are willing to invest enough money to do the job, you can probably succeed. Many cellular stores have to use amplifiers and external antennas in order to get a signal into their store. They, however, are willing to spend more money than you probably are.

    One final suggestion: you may contact your carrier and tell them you want to update your PRL (preferred roaming list) software. This is done wirelessly. I did this and improved my reception through roaming so much that I no longer need the external antenna. There is only one decent carrier in my immediate area- Nextel of all things, but since I have Sprint I can use the Nextel and still get internet access, email service, and broadband services (sometimes even Mobi TV). Hope all this helps. It is a long answer to a problem with no simple solution.
    Last edited by b.ionian; 11/30/2006 at 10:39 PM.

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