[TowerTalk] Cellphone signal boosters

Kimo Chun kimochun at gmail.com
Wed Jul 26 22:16:05 EDT 2017

A ham friend has a unit from Wilson Electronics (yes, the one that made ham
equipment) that was intended for automobiles. We used it across open ocean
at least 50 miles between Oahu and Molokai when we did a remote NPOTA
activation from Kalawao County. It did help a little. We did enhance the
cell site side antenna performance by using a passive reflector. We also
found a hot spot elsewhere by standing in front of a chain link fence using
it as a passive reflector behind us without use of the repeater.

I installed one from Z-Boost at our contest station to add a couple of bars
and more reliable coverage to the house. The omnidirectional gain antenna
is about 2-1/2 stories up on the edge of the house roof. The inside antenna
is rubber-duck looking antenna (like on wireless routers) on the back of
the unit. It helped increase coverage in most of the house. They rate them
by square foot coverage. If you want good, walk around coverage and you
don't have metal studs in your walls (just a guess) get one rated for an
area larger than your intended coverage. No, M/M contest station operation
does not affect the unit's operation as far as I can tell. We are, after
all, quite a bit removed in frequency.

Obviously, placement of antennas is critical. There is usually a fixed
length coax provided to the high antenna as they are likely regulated on
the amount of signal they can radiate. Some may offer different antenna
styles for the main reception antenna (directional versus omni). Though,
this seems counter to the concept of regulated signal output. I don't know
the specific rules that apply. I am assuming it may mirror WLAN limits.

I accidentally broke the first unit (rated higher coverage) while testing.
The unit is so light (plastic case) I pulled it off the high shelf it sat
on by pulling on the coax. It fell 6 ft to a carpeted floor and stopped
working. It is likely a micro crack on some component or connection. It was
not worth trying to fix it.The replacement unit (one model down) did have a
lesser coverage area. Secure it so you don't make my mistake even while

Unless you only need coverage to a room, for example, you may need to get
one in the several hundred (U.S.) dollar range at a minimum. They even make
much larger (coverage) units for commercial space coverage that cost
many thousands of dollars.

73, Kimo  KH7U

Date: Wed, 26 Jul 2017 09:34:18 -0500
From: "ve4xt at mymts.net" <ve4xt at mymts.net>
To: towertalk at contesting.com
Subject: [TowerTalk] Cellphone signal boosters
Message-ID: <AEC373FC-4117-46BE-AF3E-EC059ED2E337 at mymts.net>
Content-Type: text/plain;       charset=us-ascii

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?

73, kelly, ve4xt

Sent from my iPad

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