[TowerTalk] Cellphone signal boosters

Steve Maki lists at oakcom.org
Wed Jul 26 13:43:26 EDT 2017

On 7/26/2017 10:34 AM, ve4xt at mymts.net wrote:

> Hi TTers,
> Does anyone have experience with systems purporting to boost access to weak cell towers?
> Where our cottage is located, our cell coverage often arrives from the other side of Lake Winnipeg, about 25 miles away. In summer, one bar on the phone's "s-meter" is the most we can hope for. Data moves at a glacial pace.
> I've found online systems comprising an outdoor yagi, an amplifier and an indoor panel antenna said to serve as a sort-of repeater to offer stronger reception and improved data rates.
> Do these work?

They can work pretty well with one main caveat.

There must be good signal isolation between the rooftop yagi and the 
indoor repeater antenna.

The worst scenario is when the distant cell site signal is weak and the 
isolation between antennas is poor. There is AGC in the bidirectional 
amplifier that will crank up the gain to near max, and pick up the 
repeated signal from the indoor antenna, creating a type of feedback loop.

Metal buildings are good candidates for these systems. Small cottages 
not so much unless the yagi can be mounted far away up on a hill or 
something, and low loss cable run down the hill.

-Steve K8LX

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