Repeater update

Oh yeah, I’m taking the plunge on a repeater.  I ordered a Digital Antenna DA4000SBR dual-band repeater from Concord Marine Electronics.  Turns out these things are popular on yachts (get a directional antenna and point it at shore and extend coverage quite a ways out onto the water).  A co-worker pointed me to Concord as they had the best price when he was looking for one.  They don’t seem to do e-commerce right now, but ordering over the phone was easy enough.  I’m hoping to have it by the weekend.  The story from the coworker:

“I installed the PowerMax Wireless Cellular Amplifier/Repeater by Digital Antenna and it works great for not only my Verizon Wireless cell phone but it also works for my 1xRTT Verizon Wireless PC card.  Even standing on the roof of my house with my laptop in hand I was not previously able to get any useable signal with the PC card and now I can consistently get 3 out of 4 bars.  I can get 4 bars on my cell phone where I could only previously get an occasional two only after walking down my driveway.”

Comments (6)
  1. VaV says:

    So how did the repeater go? Did it work as promised? How much did you pay?

  2. DDysart says:

    The short answer is – I don’t know. Initial tests look good as long as I’m close to the internal antenna. Voice calls sound good, but quickly fade if I get more than 6ft away. This is with my jury-rigging the outside antenna. Due to the geometry of my roof, I haven’t found a good mouting point yet.

    I promise an update soon…

  3. VaV says:

    Thanks! Could it be that the distance between your antennas is less than 20ft, and the ACG of transmitter is limiting the output?

  4. DDysart says:

    I don’t think so, but might be an idea. Putting the phone into debug mode, with the amp turned off, my signal (when present) hovers at what I’m interpreting as -100db. With the amp on (and the phone next to the internal antenna), the signal slowly climbs to about -70 to -60db (again, if I’m reading the readout right).

    My dilemna now is that I think the 30ft included cable is going to be too short. There are all kinds of warnings that you should only use cable from Digital Antenna, but the cable really looks and feels like RG-8 anntenna cable, availalbe at the local Radio Shack for a few cents a foot. The warning come across as "we want you to only use our super expensive cable – don’t dare trying to save money or we’ll void the warrantee"

  5. VaV says:

    pretty unusual for a manufacturer to impose such restrictions… Maybe there’s more to that cable than meets the eye? maybe it’s also supposed to carry dc current to an external antenna? Did you call DA tech support?

    Btw, if you take your phone out, to where the external antenna is, what’s the signal level there? -??db

  6. Gary says:

    I just bought the repeater from the same place you did and installed it. I have the two antennas about 21 feet apart and I seem to see the same results you do. I had to install the external antenna in my attic due to HOA restrictions. I have about -85dB at the external antenna and -55dB at the internal one, which fall off very quickly. I have also found however, that I have service in parts of my house that I never did before. The phone sits right at -105dB, but doesn’t lose service unless it is obstructed by something. I can make calls from my basement now. In standby, the phone will also occasionally lose service in the far corners of the basement. but so far (with limited testing) once the phone is in talk mode, I get pretty reasonable voice quality thoughout a 3 level townhouse and have yet to drop a call. BTW, I use Verizion. I had a friend come over that has Sprint, she still doesn’t have service anywhere in the house.

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