Home Cellular Site

Each week I discover something new about living in a flat-roofed, stucco house with an office in the basement. Stucco houses have wire mesh supporting the outer skin of the house, creating a reasonably effective Faraday cage and wreaking havoc on cell phone reception in the house. The problem is compounded in the office, where I have a tile floor and the backyard further reducing my reception.

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.

Comments:

Wow, cool. Know what that is like. Live in a house with plaster walls and Aluminum siding. Its amazing I get reception at all. Nice article.

Posted by Kevin on February 17, 2006 at 06:32 AM EST #

Post a Comment:
Comments are closed for this entry.
About

Hal Stern's thoughts on software, services, cloud computing, security, privacy, and data management

Search

Archives
« April 2014
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
  
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
19
20
21
22
23
24
25
26
27
28
29
30
   
       
Today