Home Cellular Site
By stern on Feb 12, 2006
I've previously appealed to Verizon Wireless to improve coverage in my immediate neighborhood, using evidence of dropped calls or "No Service" icons as supporting data. Verizon Wireless customer service claims that if you have fewer than 10% of your calls dropped, you don't have a problem. We'll leave the discussion of how "Can you hear me now?" equates to exactly one nine of service to another day.
Since the phone company wasn't going to help me with the soft cell, it was time for the hard cell. In my house. I bought a home cellular repeater, including a YAGI antenna, a nicely shielded cable and a small AC-powered transmitter from CellAntenna.com.
The YAGI antenna is supposed to go outside, aimed for maximum reception, but I'm pretty limited in surface area that has good signal and is less than 50 feet from a potential transmitter mounting point. So I screwed an old piece of painted tubing to the ceiling in the basement, fed the cable through it and mounted the YAGI antenna so it points out the window. The transmitter is hanging in my office supplies closet, far enough away from the antenna so as to prevent feedback. The entire installation took me about an hour.
Our little Faraday cage on the hill now has five bars of cell service. No more dropped calls, no more phantom ring-once-then-die annoyances, no more racing to stand near the window when I see a Menlo Park trunk number pop up on the Caller ID. But now that I'm easier to reach, I'm busier than ever, and I'm harder to reach. A problem for repeaters of another kind.