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  1.    #1  
    ******edit - the title should've been "permanently attached external antenna", not adapter, my bad*******

    Okay, I use my treo650 (on sprint) for my business line, but the new place that I am living in has horrible reception. I figured it'd be very easy to just go online and find a larger, stronger antenna to swap into the antenna spot (just like there's this whole short antenna movement for aesthetics, I figured there's gotta be a comparable movement that's all about function at the expense of form... but there wasn't).

    So, my options are
    - an extremely expensive, permanent cellular repeater that stays at home (which is useless because I need a constant boost in signal)
    - an amplifier that connects to my treo's external antenna port, has a lot of cable, and a separate antenna.
    - a horrible, home-made, DIY external custom antenna, like shadowmite's (if anyone's familiar with that, basically just making a new antenna and ghetto-mounting it to your phone, plugged through the external plug).

    The only option I'd even be able to entertain of those is the 3rd, as I need it on the phone 24/7. The only problem is I reallllllly don't want to have to spend a week customizing and refining a homemade external antenna, especially when it may not even work.

    So, does anyone actually make an antenna with better reception that would become part of the treo? It doesn't matter if it would replace the treo's internal antenna nub and just be larger there, or if it connected to the male external antenna connector, but somehow attached to the phone so I coudl carry it w/o worrying I'd break it any time it was in my pocket.

    I've googled, searched forums, searched ebay, etc. I have found all kinds of short antennas, no external antennas, and find it weird, to say the least, that nobody seems to offer a functional, fixed antenna that would offer an improvement in quality.
    Last edited by jdeity; 02/25/2007 at 06:17 PM.
  2. #2  
    I have an external antenna mounted to the back of my house and wired to my desk where it plugs into the back of the Treo. My set up cost me about $60.

    If I had the funds I would be a repeater in my home. I thought the cost was about $400 for that option.

    Check out the side I have had very good service from these guys in the past.
    Pilot 5K->Palm IIIc->Tungsten T/T2->Treo 650/680 -> Pre+ (1.4.5 & Uberkernel)
  3. #3  
    What about another carrier? Maybe someone else has good coverage at your house. The ETF would be the cheapest alternative.
  4.    #4  
    The problem is that although coverage is great in most of my area, there are some bad spots where I sometimes will miss a call.

    I can't swap carriers because I'll end up in teh same situation, as nobody is gonna have 100% signal everywhere in my area. I believe my carrier is pretty solid, definitely doesn't leave much to be desired (for most of its users anyways, clearly not me lol).

    This is a business line, so missing calls is a major concern to me. Also, my treo is all modded out the way I have had it forever, and I wouldn't be able to keep it if switching to gsm (and nevermind that i'd probably be right back here tryign to figure out how to mod my gsm treo in a few weeks..).

    I have seen those external ones that plug in, but I have my phone on my person 24/7, so that means I'd be carryign a wire and the extra antenna. This bothers me, because I know that the thing could just be re-built to actually become a piece of my phone, through creative building/casing (and the phone woudl be way thicker, but size / look of my treo is irrelevant, i'm concerned solely with boosting its signal, and doing so in a relatively rugged way, ie, not having an exposed male female plug entering the back of my phone, with wiring exposed, etc.)

    A repeater would be great for home, absolutely, but I wouldn't go that route because this problem isn't just an at home problem.

    I'm really surprised that, with everything that's available, that I cannot find one aftermarket antenna product that woudl be a fixed piece of my phone. Like somethign that I could just remove the antenna snub, and replace it with a larger one. Or somethign that plugs into the external male connector, but clips around the OEM antenna nub. I'm upset because it really seems (unless someone drops in some link or something with what i'm describing) that I'm gonna have to deal with substandard service at times, or have to fabricate the damn thing myself. (oh, btw, if anyone here reading this has the technical abilities to fabricate a decent setup, feel free to pm me, because I'd be interested. just post in this thread that you pm'd me).
    (also, if anyone has resources on building a custom, fixed external antenna for the treo, that is different than shadowmite's custom one, links would be greatly appreciated!)
  5.    #5  
    ******edit - the title should've been "permanently attached external antenna", not adapter, my bad*******
  6. #6  
    I would check and see if your carrier has another phone that has better reception. Use that for calls and carry your Treo for everything else. The phone is by FAR the weakest part of the Treo 650.
  7.    #7  
    When you say that it's the weakest part, do you mean the app itself, or that the whole phone part of the treo (including the antenna) leaves something to be desired? If beefing up the antenna is going to make a difference, I'm likely going to try that before anything else (on that note, has anyone heard that you can ruin a treo by repeatedly plugging in external antennas? I've seen people saying they do it all the time, but found someone saying that ruins phones)
  8. #9  
    Last edited by Musicman247; 02/26/2007 at 12:57 PM. Reason: double post
  9. #10  
    I plug/unplug an external antenna into my Treo all the time. There is no wear and tear that I have noticed, unlike the audio jack which is known to fail in many cases after repeated use.
    Pilot 5K->Palm IIIc->Tungsten T/T2->Treo 650/680 -> Pre+ (1.4.5 & Uberkernel)
  10.    #11  
    lol yeah the audio jack is a total POS. If i were still in a position to be using multimedia features regularly, i'd totally have done the 3.5mm mod by now. I don't even know why I have a full 2gb SD in there anymore, can't even remember what's on it (thoguh I'm sure it's perfectly sized episodes of cartoons or something...)

    (oh whoever posted that antenna sticker, by all accounts, they aren't worth the time to stick onto yoru phone)
  11.    #12

    This is the basic project I'd be doing. My 1 major hesitation here is that the antenna is custom designed (ie poles are cut to a certain length) for the 1900MHz frequency band. Doesn't Sprint use 1900MHz and 800MHz? confused...
  12. gottago's Avatar
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    Sprint's network is only 1900. That said, they do have roaming agreements that give them access to the 850 (or is it 800?) spectrum.
  13.    #14  
    Awesome! Yeah I'm going to build (or attempt lol) my antenna based on the 1900MHz, since I seldom go into roaming. I see my phone get RSSI levels as low as 63 when I'm on the road, but it's usually in the 90's when I'm at home, so hopefully this will do the trick. I'll definitely post pictures during/after this project, unfortunately it'll be days before I can start since nobody local carries the plug for the treo's external adapter that I need to use as my starting point, so it'll need ebaying..
  14. #15  
    Not the phone application, that is pretty sweet....but the phone radio itself....reception, transmission, how others hear you,.....the Treo 650's phone is WEAK. We all live with it because the trade-off in functionality is worth it, but if you have as weak a signal as you say AND it is a business critical link, then I would go with getting a different phone that has better reception and just use your Treo as a PDA. If you get a phone with IR (like most Nokias) you can use it as your network connection for the Treo too. I would use my old Nokia with my Garmin iQue 3600 to connect for email or web access in that fashion.
  15.    #16  
    launching a new phone / service plan is likely more costly / time consuming than just modifying the antenna tho. That is, unless I fail and it doesn't come out right... I'll keep you guys posted (with pics), I'm gonna try to hunt down the antenna adapter for the 650 today, if I find one I can drive to I'll be starting tonight or tomorrow, but likely tonight. Otherwise, I'll be starting sometime next week when one off of ebay shows up.

    Any tips about this build would be greatly appreciated. Right now hte basic approach is:
    1) connect female FME coaxial adapter to treo's external plug.
    2) cut the coax cable, and use the internal wire, adn the copper mesh (rolled to a wire) to connect to each lead.
    3) likely will use a choc block to feed each of hte wires into, and out the other end will be two antennas forming a straight line (180 degrees perfectly).
    4) leads will be 1.74'', or 1/4 wavelength of 1900MHz
    5) this antenna will be tested for boosts in RSSI levels, adn if good, i'll continue
    6) you know those aluminum shells that you can put a treo in? The kind that the front is on a hinge? Well, just the back piece of one of those fits the treo nicely (that's what I always keep on mine), but I'll be using an extra back piece from one of those shells to 'piggyback' my current shell, encasing the antenna between the two for protection. I'm unsure whether this will be done ghetto (ie tape lol), or nice (epoxy, welded, etc), but somthing that doesn't look too bad. Prolly remove the (no longer active) OEM antenna after all is done and fill that hole in. The phone will be *maybe* 1/2'' thicker, but won't have the stock antenna, so it'll be shorter. This has potential to be really cool or really funny.... hoping for the former!
  16.    #17  
    well, called everyone in the area, no plugs for the treo. I contacted wilson antennas, found their two locations in my vicinity, neither had it. So, had to ebay it from NY to FL, with luck it'll be here by sat, otherwise early next week. I should have some rough pics up within a day or two of when I get the antenna
  17. #18  
    I'm new to the Treo, just got mine today, but I'm an old hand at radio. I have a number of external antennas from my venerable old Startac that are not going to be trashed, and as a Motorola engineer said to me "Well, you know, sometimes size does count".
    A dipole antenna is a nice idea but physically clumsy for this application. Plus, any part of an antenna that is under your hand is not going to work well.
    The old Ericsson phones used to use a rubber covered antenna, like a stick of chewing gum, that extended above the phone and since it was rubber, it just flexed instead of breaking.
    What I plan to do is to get a right angle FME to coax adapter, a pigtail with about 12-18" of cable connected to the FME fitting at a right angle. THen I'll convert most of that to an end-fed dipole (sometimes called a "Bazooka" dipole) and run that right up the antenna stub so it sticks up above my hand.

    What's an end-fed dipole. If you look up bazooka dipole you'll get conflicting results. A real end-fed dipole is made by stripping back the coaxial shield and leaving the center conductor intact. Let's say the magic length for you is 1.47" for dipole legs. OK, you remove just the plastic jacket from 1.5" of the coax, and tease the metal braiding back down over the outside of the able, so that 1.5" of the center conductor (still insulated!) sticks up, and 1.5" of braid is now running back in the other direction over the coax.
    Voila, you've got a dipole antenna and your feed line is coming OUT THE END instead of through the middle. You'll want to fiddle a bit with lengths to make them exactly right. And, you can use metal tubing or braid on the outside instead of teasing the braid back over the jacket. You can also use a bit of metal tubing instead of the center conductor.
    You get better bandwidth from the antenna if the center conductor that's sticking out is replaced by something slightly thicker, i.e. thin copper tubing or heavy gauge wire , but then you've got to connect it up and that's more stuff to go wrong.
    When you are done, you want the feed line to extend STRAIGHT OUT from the end and not turn at any angle for a small distance. I haven't tested it on these frequencies yet, but I'd guess 1/2" to 1" is plenty.
    So, you'll have a total of about 4" of antenna that plugs into the FME fitting and then needs to be shrink-wrapped or covered in silicon seal, etc. and then tied off to the stub, so you end up with a 3" tall rubber antenna sticking up from the phone.

    I don' tknow how the internal antenna compares to a 1/2 wave dipole but can't imagine it is anywhere near as good, expect 1-2 bars more signal this way.
  18.    #19  
    hellosailor, please check your pm's!
  19.    #20  
    Wow! thanks so much for such an indepth response! Looks like instead of a chubby, shorter treo, I'll be having a slimmer treo with a walkie-talkie-sized antenna on it! Awesome info, thanks a million
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