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  1.    #1  
    I live in a major city, about 1 mile from downtown and a block from the interstate, but, for whatever reason, there is a 2 block radius around my house where I get lousy cell-phone reception (hovers around 1-2/5 strength) which makes my cell phone useless at home.

    So, I've been looking into these cell-phone booster antennas ranging from the ones that clip onto your phone, to the ones you stick on your roof. Has anyone used any of these antennas? Any recommendations?

    I'm also intrigued by the fact that these antennas carry the radiation away from your head...can't be a bad thing!

  2. #2  
    I work for a cellular carrier (a numbers guy though, not an engineer) and we highly recommend the magnet-mount car top antennae to customers with digital phones who use them outside the optimal coverage area. Unfortunately I don't know if this would be very helpful insode your house, and would not be very convenient, unless you wear a steel hat to stick it to. I don't know of anyone in the cellular industry who uses the smaller clip-on antennas.

    Sounds like the issue at your place might just be the topography. Believe it or not, foliage (esp. pine trees) can really affect your signal. You should definitely let your carrier know about it, there are things that they might be able to do to help improve the signal in your area. It's odd that, in your location, you'd have a signal issue like that, so my guess is it will only be a temporary situation.
  3.    #3  

    Thanks for the reponse. I don't think it is Topography, as we are fairly high-elevation wise, though we are significanly higher than downtown (maybe TOO high?).

    What get's me is that we are in such a small "hole" of service, only about 2 o4 3 blocks in diameter. Our first carrier, USWest, said it was because the towers in our area were 'overused' and once new antennas were installed, we'd be OK. I've never trusted USWest, I don't think their explanation was legitimate.

    We then tried AT&T and then SPRINT. Sprint's phone support said we should upgrade our phone's software. The engineer said that won't do much and that "we're just in a hole".

    So, that's why I've been looking at antennas.

    I've found a website that carries a lot of different antennas:

    So I'm probably going to try one of those.

    Do you think it could be interference from something? We have an airport about 1.5 miles away (though the signal becomes fine as I drive towards it). Maybe a HAM radio somewhere?

    I was hoping that there was some sort of mini-cell attena for your roof, but I haven't been able to find one. It looks like I'll have to get one of the antennas that connects to the phone via a cable.

    Oh well.
  4. #4  
    Before you spend any money, I'll ask our engineers what they'd advise. As for US West's answer, the "overused" towers are a capacity problem - not enough radios to carry all the conversations, while what you're experiencing now is a coverage problem, not enough towers, or the network is not properly tuned to cover your area.

    What type of phone do you have?

    [Edited by PaulD on 08-29-2000 at 05:42 PM]
  5.    #5  
    Hey Paul, I appreciate the help.

    I'm currently using a Motorola of those small ones. Supposedly, there are different model numbers, but there isn't a number listed anywhere on my phone.

    The fact that three different cell phone services have the same problems in my neighborhood has lead me to believe that maybe it is an interference issue.

  6. #6  
    I'll let you know what our engineering manager says. Do you know if your StarTac is digital or analog? Is it the REALLY little one, the one that's like 1/2 of a regular starTac?

    I did hear about a guy who stuck one of the little mag-mount antennas to the top of his fridge and it helped. If you have any appliances on your front porch it would probably work even better!
  7.    #7  
    It's digital/analog. it's small, but I'm not sure if it is smaller than other Start Tacs. It's maybe an inch thick and 2.5" x 3" tall. When it flips open, it is twice as long.

    One of the antennas I'm looking at is called the Sputnik: (it's halfway down on the page).

    It apparently can be stuck to window, instead of having to be on a metal surface. Yea, I'd still have a cord, but at least I could use the phone!
  8. #8  
    Actually, I have a similar problem, get very weak coverage near my house. I have a lot of trees (I live in Tahoe), and it seems to work fine 4 or 5 streets down (they also have underground power lines there). Does anybody have an idea why this is happening?

    PS--I have a Nokia 5160 Digital/Analog using AT&T Prepaid Wireless. Also, I have a 12 foot CB antenna sticking out of my roof that isn't really used for anything anymore. Could that have something to do with it?
    No handheld computers were harmed in the creation of this message.

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