cell phone boosters

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neldalex

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Feb 22, 2006
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We will be in western WYoming for the summer and are wondering if anyone has experience with any of the cell phone boosters to broaden cell phone use area.
Do they work? Are they worth the price? How about satellite phones?
 

Ned

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The best device for extending cell phone range is an external antenna, but not all phones accept them.  Satellite phones work anywhere you can see the sky but the cost is prohibitive, on the order of $3/minute.
 

Gary RV_Wizard

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There are two types of cell amplifiers: one connects to the phone's antenna jack via a cable and the other is a repeater that re-broadcasts to the phone so that its own antenna can pick up the signal.  Both types use an external antenna on the amplifier to improve signal reception.  Neither type can help much if there simply is no signal in your area, e.g. you are behind a mountain or 75 miles from the nearest cell tower.

The type that connects to the phone via cable generally gets good reviews from users but you must have a phone that has an antenna jack.  Many do not, but most Motorolas and many LG phones do have the jack.

The repeater type sounds like  a great solution but in practice the range of the repeated signal is quite short. I've seen reports of a range of 6 feet or less, essentially the distance needed for inside a passenger car.  There are a couple different power grades available - larger ones intended for buildings and smaller ones intended for cars. There is also a requirement to have substantial separation between the amplifiers external antenna and the "inside" antenna which re-broacasts to the phone. If they are too close together they will interfere with each other.

Before jumping into an expensive amplifier, try just an external antenna with your phone (if it has a jack). A good external omnidirectional antenna will usually add at least one bar on your signal strength indicator. A directional antenna (Yagi type) can add several bars under the right conditions.
 

Ned

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There is one other type of "booster" that is still sometimes seen.  It's a piece of foil that is stuck to the phone, usually under the battery, and is completely useless.  Don't waste your money on those.
 

Jeff

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We have a Wilson booster (connects to phone with cable adapter) that works wonders. When we are down to one bar and dropping calls this brings our phones up to full stgrength and great reception.

As Gary mentioned there is a wireless model I was interested in but it is not as effective at increasing range.
 

neldalex

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Feb 22, 2006
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Thank you all for answering. We did do some rsearch about the cost per minute for using satellite phones.The cost is approx $1 per minute, but also $59.00 per month for service. Don't know what to do. Cell amplifier is a little over half the cost--- maybe that's the best way to go.

We'll let you know
 

Ron

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neldalex said:
We will be in western WYoming for the summer and are wondering if anyone has experience with any of the cell phone boosters to broaden cell phone use area.
Do they work? Are they worth the price? How about satellite phones?

Where in western Wyoming you going to be?
 

JGarrick

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Joined
Feb 15, 2006
Posts
90
Check the coverage map for your carrier before buying anything. I have T-Mobile and there are large areas of the west where there's no coverage unless you're on an interstate highway. I looked at the coverage maps at T-Mobile, Verizon, and Cingular, and they all seem to have enormous coverage gaps in the west. I didn't have a cell phone the last time I was on the Colorado plateau, but my experience while traveling in general is that coverage is usually good along interstates and in or near decent sized towns. In remote areas it's spotty, and in the mountains it's bad on a good day.

Also, as noted by others, no booster of any kind is going to help if you're on the other side of a mountain from the nearest cell tower.
 

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