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Basics of Cellular Reception

Basics of cellular, Verizon, Cingular, Sprint and Nextel signal reception

Key (fig 1):

A = Carrier Cell Site

B = Portable phone within view of Cell Site  (good reception)

C = Car Phone or Portable with an external antenna on vehicle within view of Cell Site (good reception)

D = Portable phone inside a vehicle with signal obstructed by roof of vehicle (poor reception)

E = Portable or Car Phone with signal obstructed by building (poor reception)

F = Represents a building, mountain, overpass or structure blocking reception.

G = Parking Garage below ground encased in steel and concrete (No Reception)

I can't see YOU!

Cellular signals are "line of sight". In other words, if the Cell Site (A) can see your phone (B)(C) then you should get good reception.

Cellular signals can be blocked or decreased by certain obstructions -- Metal, concrete, Brick, lead and masses of earth (such as a hill or mountain) are a few. The metal body of a car (D) and the concrete and steel of a building (F) are examples of this signal blocking. Did you ever notice that you get no reception when you park in underground parking?

Notice how the vehicle (D) is in plain sight of the Cell Site (A) and yet reception is decreased. The metal body of the vehicle is blocking the signal.

Today's Phones - Better?

To add to the problem, most Handheld/Portable phones have a maximum output power of 0.6 watts and some only 0.2 watts. The Car Phones of old had 3.0 watts of power. This explains why cellular users noticed a difference in reception converting from a car phone to a portable phone. Not only did they decrease the power of their phone but they lost their external antenna with the portable.

Special Note: The 3 Watt car phone has just been re-born! Now you can turn almost any portable phone into a full 3-Watt phone. See our new amplifier here.

 

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