*Extending Cell Service*
"Cell Service in the Sticks"
By: Shogun
23 December 2007

Letís clarify right off, Iím no electronics guru. The information available to the average person concerning cell service and mobile internet service is confusing at best and if your home falls outside or just in the boundaries of excepted civilization then it just gets all the more confusing.

I live in the Appalachian mountain range in eastern Tennessee. Iíve had a cell phone for many years but not at my home due to poor or no cell coverage in my area. Of course I could have erected a cell tower and been good to go, but Iíve yet to win the lottery.

Iíve had all cell provider phones at my home over the course of a year, Verizon, ATT, Cingular, Nextel, at some point all of them. No one had service at my home. 1 To 6 mile minimum before service was available. Until this month when a friend arrives with an Alltel service. Service was had all the way to the bottom of my driveway road.

So a plan of action started forming.

First off research, relocate cell towers in my area again. This was accomplished with a little Googling and a few phone calls to various cell services. They are very protective of their information but this can be overcome with heartfelt kissing up as necessary. So now I have the cell tower locations, and who owns them. Next off to Alltel and with my list of questions. Do you lease cell time from X, Y, Z. what phone has the best external antenna connection and what would I need to have to increase reception.

Note: This may, as in my case require a call to the phone manufacturer as most sales agents are not that smart about the equipment they sell.

At this point it is also most important to note that some of the information was found by talking to other Rubies that had already gone where no man had gone before and this saved me much time and money. So I selected a plan that gave me an Internet connection via my cell phone and /or laptop for those on the road excursions (ICís, Campouts and FTFís) when no Wi-Fi was available from another source. A couple new phones, patch cord, mobile chargers, software and a 15-day return guarantee in hand I head home. Service was available all the way to the bottom of the drive pull into the yard and Bingo-- No service--. I walk around the yard, nodda, zip, Up the hill behind the house 75í An low and behold 1 bar. Time to research amplifiers for cell phones. Again a Rubie gives me a referral to a reputable company that they have used, call, talk, order, receive, and install.

I selected a Wilson 12v Universal mobile amplifier and antenna to see if it really made a difference. Cell phone showed 0 bars and no service without the amplifier attached and 2/3 bars attached.

Note that the connection on the cell phone only needs a piece of velcro and can be used on most any phone so sharing the connection for others requires only another piece of velcro and not a specialized patch cord.

Since I saw that cell service was possible. Cordless cell phone coverage in the house, required a dual band repeater and antenna and booster. I choose a wireless Extender from WI-EX with an upgraded antenna.

Again the fnv from another Rubie helped here. We now have a constant 3 bars in the house wirelessly.

There were many advantages to doing this. Comms were improved by 100%. Internet connection was doubled due to the cell service connection ability via laptop and the wilson booster unit will now be used as a portable unit as needed and can be shared on the road or camping.

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