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Old 09-07-2009, 05:15 AM   #1
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Cell Phone Use In An Airstream: Does Anyone Ever Have Trouble Getting a Signal?

i was on the phone with a very helpful service rep from at&t a couple days ago. i told him i was thinking of buying a mobile home in a rural area and he informed me that the nearest cell tower to that zip code was 3 miles away, and that i should get 'good', if not excellent, reception. however, he did advise me that it could be possible, due to the fact mobiles have metallic structures, that i may not be able to get a signal indoors. i live in new england and wouldn't enjoy a frigid chat outdoors on a frosty winter day!!!

well, i wondered if anyone here could give me any info, seeing as AS's are, well, metallic.

any info would be appreciated. [of course, when looking at the mobiles, i will bring my cellphone and see if any bars appear on the phone.]
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Old 09-07-2009, 05:33 AM   #2
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Mine works fine inside the AS. Topography is probably more important. If you are in the shadow of a mountain you may not get reception from a tower 3 miles away that's on the other side of that mountain.
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Old 09-07-2009, 06:13 AM   #3
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Mobile service in our AS is usually very good, but the signal quality is a funtion of signal distance and line of sight to the tower. I don't know that the aluminum skin would be any worse than the sheetrock and brick walls of our home. I would think that your poximity to a window would negate the influence of the skin.

Just my thoughts, as I'm no mobile phone guru.

Regards,

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Old 09-07-2009, 06:21 AM   #4
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In marginal cell phone service area, sometimes we have to step outside of the Airstream to maintain a cell phone conversation.

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Old 09-07-2009, 06:34 AM   #5
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http://www.airforums.com/forums/f452...ion-34617.html

that might be worth reading. there are other posts too.
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Old 09-07-2009, 07:27 AM   #6
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You can get a cell phone antenna and coax cable which you can mount on a pole outside your trailer. I had one when I first moved to rural CO before Verizon put up stronger cell towers. Used to have to climb up on the roof to get a signal!
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Old 09-07-2009, 07:30 AM   #7
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I've occasionally had trouble with cell reception inside our Airstream. We've had trouble with WiFi reception as well, because the trailer is a Faraday Cage.
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Old 09-07-2009, 08:15 AM   #8
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"Faraday cage" means the volume is surrounded by a conductive material (aluminum) and has a better shielding effect than drywall and wood which are non- conductive. Stay close to a window (without metal screens) and you should do allright.
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Old 09-07-2009, 08:40 AM   #9
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Check your cell phone to see if it has an external antenna connection. If it does, this works for me:

Cell Phone Antennas and Cell Phone Boosters at Wilson Electronics

If you need help determining if it's possible to connect an antenna to your cell phone, just let me know. There is an alternative for phones without an external connection. I'd be glad to show you how my set up works. I also use the same external antenna for my Verizon air card.

""Faraday cage" means the volume is surrounded by a conductive material (aluminum) and has a better shielding effect than drywall and wood which are non- conductive."

Exactly. That's why aluminum foil and braid is used as a shield in some coaxial cable. Most of the time, all I have to do is step outside the AS to improve the cell signal.
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Old 09-07-2009, 09:14 AM   #10
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I have only had issues when the signal is very weak and marginal. Then standing by a window or stepping outside will make a noticeable difference.
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Old 09-07-2009, 11:16 AM   #11
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I live in Tenn and I am surrounded by mountains, I have had AT&T, Cingular, Celluar One, AllTel, and have had problems with getting service when not close to a major city. Then I got my service through Verizon and have not had a problem since. I now have both my cell & internet though Verizon and always have a connection even when others don't.
I have freinds who are on with AllTel and since they got bought by Verizon they too have noticed that they always get service.
The Wilson cell booster also works well, I know people that have it and even on the other services they report that it does help with connection.

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Old 09-07-2009, 11:34 AM   #12
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Terry's comment about the Faraday cage is right on point.

When I had Sprint, I could only get a signal by placing the phone in the front window (facing the nearest tower) in the charging cradle and using an earphone. My next Sprint phone was smaller (hence smaller antenna) and only worked marginally outside and not at all inside.

After switching to an iPhone on AT&T, the signal inside is excellent. Most of it depends on the providers service area and your proximity to the cell towers. The least signal I get now is 2 of 5 bars. Usually higher with very few drops to 2 when inside.

The best thing, if possible, would be to check the signal where you plan to park. Find someone who lives in the area and ask them which carrier they have and what kind of signal they get.
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Old 09-08-2009, 12:08 PM   #13
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wow! thankyou, everyone, for your input. it's greatly appreciated.
the mobile home park is located on a parcel of land which seems a bit elevated. it is maybe under 3 miles from a small city. the land seems well wooded.
seems that dispite the AS's metal skin, many folks are able to get reception. a mobile home would have less metal.
my cellphone is a LG VU. it has a tv attenna. i won't be subscribing to the TV plan, but i DO wonder if the attenna may help with reception.
alas, i don't know anyone in the park, outside of a friend, who has since moved. she had only a landline phone.
however, as stated in my OP, i will bring my cell with me.
thankyou, also, for the advice on using the phone near a window. that shouldn't be a problem, as most mobiles have ample windows. if there are metal screens, i'll just raise the screen to the up position while i'm on the phone.
Silver Ranger- thankyou for offering to help me figure out if the cell has an attenna port. i will get back to you on that if i need help in this area.
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Old 09-08-2009, 03:24 PM   #14
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You're quite welcome, snog. Best of luck in your search. That's a good idea to take the phone to the site. Apparently, the LG Vu has an external port. Just in case you decide to go with an external antenna:

Super-High Gain, Wilson Dual-Band Antenna for the LG Vu

I'm sure that's not the only source out there. It's the first thing that popped up on Google.
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