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Old 07-27-2007, 06:55 AM   #1
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Digital Cell Phone Repeater

I'm planning to purchase a digital cell repeater. One of the dealer websites states that the wireless models are good for urban areas, while the hard wired variety are better in the rural long distance from a tower setting.
Do these devices really work?

Tom
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Old 07-27-2007, 08:35 AM   #2
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We use one at work to get a signal inside of a metal building. We did have to run an antenna to the exterior.
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Old 07-27-2007, 11:08 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by henw
I'm planning to purchase a digital cell repeater. One of the dealer websites states that the wireless models are good for urban areas, while the hard wired variety are better in the rural long distance from a tower setting.
Do these devices really work?

Tom
Tom,

I installed a repeater system in my Sprinter van efore I left FL on my trip west. It was from Digital Antenna - Marine & Land Antennas, Cell Boosters Cellular Amplifiers Wireless Repeaters Increase Cell Phone Signal Strength and I noticed a marked improvement in both voice quality and signal strength.

You have to be careful when getting a repeater system, as one that it too powerful for your use and internal volume of the vehicle wil result in signal feedback. The web site spells it out very clearly.

A hard-wired amplifier system is a little better as there is no signal loss between the amp/antenna combo and the sending device like a cell phone, but you have to deal with a wire coming from the phone all the time.

I chose the repeater system as there are no connections between the phone and the amplifier since the signal is picked up by an internal antenna which is wired to the amplifier, which is wired to the external antenna.

Let me know if you have any other questions.
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Old 07-27-2007, 12:49 PM   #4
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Cost?
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Old 07-27-2007, 03:11 PM   #5
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Cost?
I dunno, I work for the gov'mnt
Probably about the same as a hammer
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Old 07-27-2007, 03:17 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by henw
I'm planning to purchase a digital cell repeater. One of the dealer websites states that the wireless models are good for urban areas, while the hard wired variety are better in the rural long distance from a tower setting.
Do these devices really work?

Tom
Because of the mass of the convention center here is St. Louis, some cell service has a tough time penetrating our structure. Sprint/Nextel has installed repeaters in those areas around the building that used to be dead zones for their service.

The key to remember is there are two antennas you need to deal with. First an exterior antenna to pick up the signal, then a second interior antenna to retransmit the service. So there is still an issue here with needing to drill and cable the repeater service, even if you don't have to hook anything directly up to your cell phone. I think one of these solutions that are linked notes that there is a minimum seperation distance necessary from the outside to the inside antenna.

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Old 07-27-2007, 03:52 PM   #7
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Here is the direct connect system I use, along with the cost. I have evaluated both wired and wireless and, as Lewster said, the wired is better than the wireless, but only slightly. I am very impressed with both. With the wireless, you have the advantage of not having to deal with the cable and adapter, and it will also boost any cellular device in your vehicle or camper. The dual band models will boost both cell phones and broadband aircards. I'm using mine now while sitting in a traffic jam.

If you need any more information, don't hesitate to ask.


Signal Booster - Dual Band Signal Booster - Best Cellular Reception - Cellular Solutions
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Old 07-27-2007, 03:54 PM   #8
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We have used and been very satisfied with an external (on the outside of the trailer) cell-phone antenna for a couple of years. It is "passive" and plugs, via a cable to the inside of the trailer, into the cell phone. We bought it from Larsen. By "passive" I mean that there is no amplification of any kind. In areas of weak signal, it makes a great difference.

I mention this solution because it is much less expensive than the repeater. It does have the disadvantage that it requires a cell phone which will accept an external antenna connection and you cannot move around freely in the trailer while phoning.
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Old 07-27-2007, 06:21 PM   #9
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Active ones: yes. Passive, unsat.
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Old 07-27-2007, 06:41 PM   #10
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Active ones: yes. Passive, unsat.
Well, ours is passive (no amplification) and has worked very well for a couple of years. So, we find it very satisfactory. Perhaps that has been aided by mounting on the roof away from other stuff and making very sure that we use the metal roof of the trailer as the ground plane.
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Old 07-28-2007, 12:38 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Minnie's Mate
Cost?
IIRC, mine was about $285. Google Digial Antenna and you'll find a bunch of on-line vendors. I'll look for my receipt, but I have a feeling that it is in my office in FL.
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Old 07-29-2007, 07:03 AM   #12
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I do have a question. If I plan to use a wired booster, how long can the wire from the cell antenna to the booster can be? I would think I could go further than wireless.
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Old 07-29-2007, 07:56 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FrenchBern
I do have a question. If I plan to use a wired booster, how long can the wire from the cell antenna to the booster can be? I would think I could go further than wireless.
The recommendation from the people from whom I get my equipment is as follows:

RG-58 Cable: For lengths under 20 ft./ 12 dB of signal loss per 100 ft.
RG-8 Cable: For lengths greater than 20 ft./ 4 dB of signal loss per 100 ft.

"In order to minimize the signal loss, choose the shortest cable that will satisfy the requirement."


Most of the antennas come with a 10 ft. length of cable, and the adapter and cable that connects to the booster is typically between 7-8 ft., so that already gives you approx. 18 ft. from the cellular phone to the antenna. I believe you can also get 6-10 ft. extensions from the cell phone to the booster. I haven't tried either because, for my applications so far, there's been plenty of cable. Here's a link to their extension cable page.

Coaxial Cable for use with repeater systems or antennas - Cellular Solutions

Hope this helps.
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Old 07-30-2007, 12:17 PM   #14
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I dunno, I work for the gov'mnt
Probably about the same as a hammer
Ouch!!!
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