PCS Repeaters

Has anyone looked into installing a cellular repeater before?  Either in your house or building?  I'm interested in what the experience was like and if there are amplifiers I should stay away from as there seems to be a huge void between the low end units (around $500 with the antenna, cable, etc) and higher end units ($2k+ for the amp alone).

The coverage in my new house is universally crappy and I think it is due to local topology.  On the drive home today I watched my signal drop after I crested the last hill before turning into my subdivision.  I suppose before I place any orders I need to climb onto my roof and see what sort of signal is up there.  I suppose if it's bad there I could go the tower route, but I don't want to look like a Ham radio geek, since I'm not.  I just want to be able to work from home and that means having my mobile phone work.

Comments (6)
  1. FL says:

    Shouldn’t the phone company pay you for putting in a repeater?

  2. Jeff Moore says:

    It may be cheaper just to buy a phone with better reception capability. There are many reviews on the .Net that mention relative reception capabilities of individual phone models. I moved into a rural area on the edge of cell phone coverage and bought my phone primarily based on reception reviews. My phone works well at my house (and other places) where no-one else’s works at all. YMMV.

  3. Vatsan says:

    Phone companies wouldn’t want to pay for it. Their contract says so specifically. It is also unlikely that a different phone model would help much.

    The only good solution, IMO, is to switch providers and go with someone with a better reception in your area.

  4. Don Newman says:

    Why not put in a second land line and when you are at home have your cell phone forwarded to that one?

  5. DDysart says:

    Repeaters generally relay and boost signals for all bands. Here in the us, a 800MHz repeater will repeat both bands A & B. 1900 Mhz units will boost A,B,C,D,E, & F bands.

    There is a couple fold problem with switching phones and/or carriers. Namely after using the Samsung smart phone for three weeks, my hands will be cold and dead when you pry it from them. Additionally, having moved into the new place several people including friends, family and service techs have all gotten really bad service.

    Carriers tested thus far include Verizon, Sprint PCS, US Cellular, T-Mobile, and ATTWS. Additionally, when the phone eventually kick over to analog roam, the signal is still bad, which leave me to believe Cingular isn’t going to be much better (since they along with US Cellular are the 800MHz A & B license holders here).

    It is not that I don’t get any signal, just a very spotty one.

    One other option is to spring for a minimal Vonage account and forward calls to it when at home, but I’m still paying air time.

  6. DDysart says:

    Oh yeah, and the second phone line option (Vonage or otherwise) just isn’t as cool as installing radio equipment 🙂

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