Instructables

Anyone know how to build a Cell Phone Repeater or Booster for a tower?

I'd like an economical way (if that's possible) to build a cell phone repeater or booster that can work for multiple cell phones, and be mounted on top of a tree or some other tower or pole. (Boosting signals here is legal). The reason I'd like to do this is because we use a cabin that's located deep in the forest and currently cell phone signals are spotty. (Move down the road 100 feet or stand on a stump and it works, but not where you really need it to). My concern is for safety as many of my family members use this area, and if there were ever a problem, I'd like to know that we could get a call out for help.

I've done quite a bit of searching on this already, and have found several methods to improve the cell phone antenna, or the coffee can method, but what I'd really like is something that can work for ALL of our cell phones (that are with different cell carriers), and therefore (as I understand it), can be on different frequencies. The only thing I could find were devices that were out of the box ready and at a hefty price.

Does anyone have any advice? or can point me in the right direction in order to build something like this that will work?

Thanks, canucksgirl

Edit: Let me clarify that the intended purpose isn't to be able to contact 'emergency services' from camp. We're a few hours from the nearest town and it isn't conducive to 'sit and wait' for help to arrive. Our group has been extremely safe, competent and self sufficient in that area for more than 30 years. Without getting too personal, we have an "in town" family member with a serious illness. If there were ever a reason, we'd like to be able to reach family at the camp to let them know that they needed to return home.

clff35 months ago

Hi, I have in the the last month been studying, (and trying to learn something about antenna design). I was pretty much in the same position you were when you started, I didnt even know the questions to ask and didnt understand the answers I got. Fortunately the frequency i was trying to capture was 859.1, so I basically just copied your specs. I had no luck using 30' of 75 ohm RG-59 using a omni directional antennta. I got some 300 ohm flat ribbon cable and was thinking of using a a 3 element yagi as the transmitting antenna. I am only trying to bring a signal into a 1200 sf room thats in a metal building.. Anyway, I was just wondering what your experience had been and hoping to gain from from your practical experience. Thanks

cliff3

canucksgirl (author)  clff33 months ago

Hi cliff3, sorry for the late reply. In regards to the repeater, I didn't get very far along with the project because my brother decided to buy a Spot (http://www.findmespot.ca/en/) and it solved our problems. It was cheaper than a Satellite phone and even though we can't make cell calls; with the press of a button, we can post that "everything is okay", or choose from other options like "we need you here asap", or call for emergency services. Its also portable, so it works no matter where we are and has pin-point satellite accuracy. I still plan to get the repeater done and test it, so as soon as I have a working version I will post here and/or create a step-by-step Instructable.

cbusse10 months ago
Hello, interesting thread you have here. I am see there is a "handy" solution for you. My question is, does it work with European networks? I moved to a mountain village where the cell phone signals are terrible. Not only that, but my Internet for my home is through a 3G signal. :-( I am typing this from the spot that is currently getting service. But that changes ever few hours. It's makinge nuts as I am trying to do business online. I can't even surf the net properly to find the solution to this. I really hope your antenna is my answer. I'll gety neighbors kid to help and we'll call it a science project.
cbailey291 year ago
Have you thought about setting up a high-powered CB base unit? —They are fairly inexpensive and require no Internet, phone service, etc. Also, there are emergency and service channels that can be used.  I suppose that if all else fails, you could set up a telegraph station in your cabin, or invest in a blanket and learn smoke signaling.
What I have seen in many mountain area towns is that they have a reflector antenna array on top of the mountain. 1 antenna faces toward the source while a 2nd antenna points down into the valley where the town is situated. If you have these set as passive units, they will be 2-way antennae, ie, RX and TX (receive and transmit). Here is a thread about a similar situation and some of the suggestions (including mine - CeaSaR) that were given. There are even links to antennae calculators there. If you can get up into a tree and mount them in such a way that one is pointed toward the closest cell tower and the other is pointed at a slant toward your "camp", it should increase the perceived signal. What can it cost but a few dollars and about a days worth of time.

To pick a frequency to design for, take a poll of the phones there and see where they transmit. If they are close enough, use the mean/average. If they are spread out to far, you may need to build more than 1 antenna size for the group. Another thing to think about is if the signals are differently polarized. Some may be vertical and the others may be horizontal. If that is the case, you'll need another antenna set that follows the polarization.

All I can say is that may be your least expensive proposition. It should work, but it may not be enough. Only a competent engineer that has done a thorough assement of the site and it's requirements can truely say what would be the best course of action.

Maybe you guys should set up a shortwave / ham shack. They can reach a heck of a lot farther than cell phones, and there are protocols for emergency phone connections. Just a thought.

Qa
canucksgirl (author)  Quercus austrina2 years ago
Thank you very much! I think you're the closest to appreciating the situation that I am dealing with. I took a quick look at the link you provided, and will read it more in depth momentarily, but it sounds promising when the OP states, "We can make calls if we're in a certain area, but then only when standing on one leg with one's fingers crossed." That statement made me laugh, because it illustrates our area quite well. 

From what you described for 'many mountain area towns' is precisely the configuration of the 2 towers located at a neighboring town about 30 kilometers (or 18 miles) directly North of our camp. There is also another tower about 45 kilometers (or 27 miles) to the South-East, and based on our South-East mountain location, I assume we're accessing that tower versus the ones to the North. 

I've already determined that all our carriers have access to the North and South-East towers, which use the frequency band GSM 850 (824.2 - 849.0 Uplink | 869.2 - 894.0 Downlink). I know that we need our antenna length calculated to work that band (so I will definitely check out the link you gave for the calculator). 

I'm not entirely understanding the concept of the different polarities (and more so how that factors in), so if you could point me to some literature, I would appreciate it. (The first 2 articles I read left me more confused then informed).

I also appreciate the suggestion for the shortwave, but it isn't right for our situation. If I need to contact my family who is at the camp, while I'm at home, there is about a 600 kilometer (or say, 360 mile) distance between us.

Thanks again for your help. ;)
Glad to assist.

Looking back at that thread, it seems that the calculator I pointed to, N3DNO's 3 element yagi calculator, is inaccessible. Going back through the same site, I found W4HN's antenna calculator, which has 3 of the most common types: Dipole, Yagi, and vertical. The one you should be most interested in is the Yagi. The simplest way to explain one is this:

There are a minimum of 3 elements: Director, Driven, and Reflector.The Director is just that, an element that is in front and helps direct the radio wave to the driven element. It is shorter than the driven element. The Driven element is actually 2 elements placed so that they look like 1 single element. It is the 2 close ends of these driven elements that you actually attach the feed wires. The Driven element is between the Director and the Reflector. The Reflector is behind the driven element and is longer than the combined length of the driven elements and the gap between them. It's job is to "reflect" some of the radio waves that go past the driven elements.

The frequency you are trying to optimize for sets the size and spacing of all elements.If you avg. the upload, you get 836.6, download, you get 881.6, and the avg. of both is 859.1. The driven element sizes will be, in ascending order, 3-13/16", 3-5/16", and 3-1/4". As the frequency goes up, the wavelength is shorter, so the elements are shorter. I'd try for the 3-5/16" driven elements (don't forget you need 2) to start. Use the calculator link above to get the rest of the measurements. Make 2 antennae exactly the same and connect them together with some cable. Check out SkyScan to see how to put it all together, substituting your dimensions. Now pick a tree or other tall object that has a good view of the tower you want to point toward. Mount 1 antenna there and mount the 2nd one pointing toward a spot where you want to be to use your phone. Totally passive, and since the yagi has at least 3dB gain, it should help get your signal out there. These should be able to be built  and installed in a day for dirt cheap.

Polarization means that the radio wave travels in either a horizontal way, like a wave on top of a pond, or veritcally, as if that same wave was turned on it's side. If you don't get good results with the antennae in a horizontal/flat position, spin them 90 degrees on their axis and see if that helps.

Now, on the 2nd page of the link in my original post above, isa link to another reflector type of antenna. It may be worth looking into. As for other good info, the ARRL is one of the best. See what you can find there.

Hope this helps.

Qa
I forgot to add, If the cell phone has a provision for an external antenna, the cable from the "tree" antenna can be run down and terminated in the appropriate connector, thus making a much more efficient coupling and use of the phone's own power. If possible, that would be the best way to go.

Qa
canucksgirl (author)  Quercus austrina2 years ago
Unfortunately, my cellphone does not have an external antenna. However, I was wondering if there was any benefit to locating it, and attaching a wire out that could then be used with a dipole antenna? or linked with the cable from the yagi? (I'm still learning here, so don't laugh hysterically if I'm completely off base). ;)
To your reply, 2 posts back, you are quite welcome and I will answer whatever questions I can. I will also research those I do not know well enough or at all.

As to your cell phone not having an external antenna... it is possible to find the internal antenna on a cell phone's PCB, but you may not be able to get a good connection to it. "It all depends" is all I can say about that. IF you can get a physical connection, that is the best way to go as there is very little loss. Almost all of the signal goes to and from the external antenna. All other ways have greater losses. Some, like the commercial "boosters" try to make up for that with bi-directional amplifiers. If you cannot get a direct connection, the redirection and focusing of the cell phone's signal would be the next step (as above). If that doesn't work (well enough), then a commercial solution might be necessary. Like I stated above, it should only cost a few dollars to build a pair of antennae and maybe $20 more to get the correct connectors and cabling.

I like the idea of having  something that is self-contained, passive, and useable to more than 1 phone at a time. That is my line of thinking. Maybe a search of your phone model and external antenna together can unearth someone's success, or failure, at that modification.

Keep the dialog going...
Qa
canucksgirl (author)  Quercus austrina2 years ago
I agree with you... Having a solution that can work for all of our phones (instead of just connecting to my specific model) would be better for our whole group. So perhaps I was just "thinking out loud".

I took a look at the SkyScan link you gave and they mention a "ladder line", (but the link doesn't go to the specific product). They say its suppose to be available at ham radio shops... Do you happen to know what ladder line is? I'm not sure where the heck we might have a "ham radio shop" around here (in the Vancouver, B.C. area).

From what I've looked at so far, I'm going to have to sketch out the plans and make the actual construction at my parents house. We're planning a trip there in the next week or so, which is a good thing as my dad has all the necessary tools and room to work in. I'll just have to get the cable and other material (minus the lumber) here.

I'll let you know as soon as I've made some progress. ;)
Don't worry about following Skyscan's directions to the T. I just gave it as a reference of how to put it together. (Cue the MSPaint moment) Okay, here's a quick sketch.

Build info:
Get several feet of 12 Ga house wire - the solid copper stuff. Strip the outer cover off and separate the wires, leaving their insulation on. Use one color for the Director and the Reflector. Use the second color (if there are only 2 wires inside) for the Driven element. Make that wire 2 times the total length plus a couple extra inches. Mark the center of that wire and then measure out the 3-5/16" on each side and bend the wire back on itself. Where the ends overlap each other, bend them out at 90 degrees, strip off some insulation and form some loops on the end to allow a nut and bolt to attach to the Balun leads.

How you attach the elements to the main boom is up to you, but since they are so small, they would be quite stiff all by themselves. You may only need a 1" square piece of wood about 8" long. A couple of staple "nails" could hold each element on the boom. The mount is your design to suit your particular situation.

If you want to use RG59 cable or similar, you can try to find a couple of those old cable tv adapters (300 ohm to 75 ohm) that they used in the old days to hook up the boxes to the antenna input. The upper channels were in the specified range. Or, if the run is really short, a couple of feet or 10 ;) , you can hook the antennae together with twisted pair. At least 18 Ga should do. If you can't find twisted pair, you can make your own. Just get solid core wire, pair it up and secure 1 end in a vise. Put the other end in a drill and start twisting. Twist it tight, but not so tight you cannot bend it. Take out of their respective holds and make loops on the ends like the ones on the driven element. Bolt together and seal up the ends. Good as gold.

Any more questions, just ask.

Qa
canucksgirl (author)  Quercus austrina2 years ago
That's fabulous! I'm a very "visual" person, so illustrations and such are a great deal of help. Plus, I really do appreciate the effort you're putting into this.

I intend to sit down and work on this over the weekend when I can really spend the time to get my head around this project, and to understand the parts I'm still trying to learn.

In the mean time, I was given this link, and I thought I'd share it with you. Perhaps you can tell me whether or not I should bother using the site as a source of info. (When you're learning, it's hard to tell if a website is giving you good information or not).

http://www.k7mem.150m.com/Electronic_Notebook/antennas/yagi_vhf_quick.html
Yeah, this is a good site to work with. I would go to the Quick design page and plug in 859.1 for the frequency (MHz), Leave the gain at 12, change the spacings to ARRL, Boom to non-metallic, whatever width wood you want to use, and change the elements to somewhere around 1/8" (0.125"). Below all that will be the drawing and dimensions. Yeah, the elements are all real close in length, but you can do it ;). Once that is done, go to the "Feed" link on the side menu to see how to make the driven element and feed line. I think if you can get some 300 ohm antenna feed line (yard sale for an old tv antenna), you can skip all the Balun stuff. A quick note: this design, with all the extra directors, will far outperform the one that I linked you to. This one is >+12 dBd, while the 3 element design is only ~4 dBd.

If this actually works out for you, maybe your group can make more and "blanket" the camp. Or, you can do as the Amish do, keep the phone "out in the shed" (use one narrow spot for all calls - a communal thing).

Here's to the challenge!

Qa
canucksgirl (author)  Quercus austrina2 years ago
Now I just have to learn what all these settings mean and how they work in the design. I'm the type that has to know... I can't just plug in data and start building without fully understanding the elements.

Clearly there is much to learn...
The settings can be explained fairly easily. For clarity's sake, I'll go through them all, even though I know you know some of them.
Design Frequency - the radio wavelength you are designing for expressed in the number of cycles per second (Hz = Hertz) - MHz = Mega Hertz = Million Hertz.
Forward Gain - The amount of gain, or perceived amplification (in this case due to the focusing of the passing radio waves) shown at the active or driven element as compared to a standard Dipole antenna, expressed in dBd, deciBel dipole. Wikipedia, second listing under Antenna Measurements. More is better - to a point. 12 dBd is a pretty good antenna gain to start with.
Reflector Spacing - You can chose from DL6WU or ARRL. The first one is named after the call sign of a German radio operator, Gunther Hoch, who did extensive testing to come up with  universal antenna design parameters to match to a 50 ohm cable "without the need for adjustment" (see link above). The second is the American Radio Relay League's design criteria for antennas. The ARRL is the premier radio information source and licensing body in the northwest hemisphere with approximately 100 years of service/experience. If ever in doubt about something radio related, check here.
Director Element Spacing - See Reflector Spacing.
Boom Type (mounting) - You will most likely be using either PVC pipe or some sort of wood, so use non-metallic. If you want to get into metal booms like the big manufacturers use, look up the difference. I won't get into that.
Boom Diameter - You will see some text below this that tells you what the maximum diameter "could be", but if you use rectangular x-section wood, try to make the skinny mounting side (where the elements sit) this width.
Boom Correction - This changes with the boom type. Just accept what comes up.
Driven Element and Parasitic Element diameters - The short paragraph to the right gives you the minimum and maximum suggested sizes for these elements. Measure the diameter of the material you have and enter it in the boxes.

If you enter a numeric designator in certain boxes that are outside the recommended design parameters, it will let you know.

You could spend a lot of time reading up / studying about the design of specific antennae, but you really don't have to do all that. These "hams", as they are called, have taken the time to do just that and they take pride in their ability to do such design work.

Qa

BTW, just wanted to point out that the driven element in a YAGI is actually a DiPole antenna. What makes the YAGI work so much better is all the extra elements that channel the RF (radio frequency / radio wave) energy to that DiPole. Thus, the YAGI is a directional antenna that works best when pointed directly at the chosen transmission tower / radio "station". In this case, it is the cell tower you want to pick up.

Oh, and previously when I said yard sale search for a TV antenna, I meant a set-top antenna "bunny ears" type. The kind that has the flat cable with the open spade lugs on the ends. That is the 300 ohm type. If you aren't sure about that, ask your father. He'll be able to tell you about it.
canucksgirl (author)  Quercus austrina2 years ago
Thank you so much! That helps a lot.

I'll be in touch, as soon as I figure out what materials I can get.

(oh btw, if there was any doubt, you'll be getting the best answer. I didn't want to mark it yet, because we lose the "reply" button).
Not worried about "BA", just want to help avert  what could be a serious problem. Being there for a family member is high on my priority list, especially where illness is concerned.

Anyway, here's a rough concept of what I see as a possible build with mounting to a tree. Note that this is only for 1 of the 2 needed antennae, no need to be redundant. Feel free to use as much or as little as you want.

The boom can be either wood (something that can stand the weather and not warp) or some sort of PVC pipe or even fiberglass rod / rectangular stock. Whatever you can get. I still think that 12 Ga solid copper wire is a good element material, but that is just me. Cheap too, if you get a small roll of 2 or 3 conductor Romex at the big box home store.

Here's to a fruitful build.

Qa
canucksgirl (author)  Quercus austrina2 years ago
Hey! Sorry I haven't replied in a while... I was in the middle of working out all the plans and the power went out. I was fuming mad! The whole neighborhood was out for several hours, and so I lost everything I was working on. :-(

Anyways, I got to it again, and drew out the plans (1:4 scale) to get a sense of how this will work, and expectedly, I have some questions.

Here's a link to view the plans I drew out, including all the specs.

I had some confusion when measuring the cumulative spacing. You'd think it would be straight forward, but I couldn't find the answers I needed.

1. Most Yagi Antennas show the Reflector a few inches off the end of the boom, but the plans that I got (from the website link I posted), indicates the reflector is at 0. So do I conclude that the reflector sits directly on the end of the boom? (One site I visited, the guy said to measure 10 inches from the end of his 6 element Yagi to position the reflector, but I couldn't get any reference to how this measurement is generated, and how that effects Yagi's with a different number of elements).

2. The driven element and the directors: Are they also measured directly off the end of the boom (from the back where the reflector is)? And if so, should the elements be placed "on center" to that measurement, OR, should the element be placed off this measurement?

I hope that my questions don't sound incredibly uneducated, but I spent quite a bit of time trying to find the answers, but couldn't find anything helpful. So, you'll have to excuse me if I seem like a student asking the teacher to checkover my homework. ;-)
Sorry, I have had a very busy couple of weeks - not much time to post.

I tried to get back to that site you used, but it seems to have disappeared. From what I remember, everything should be just about right. The only thing I would have any reservation about is the choice of diameter for the boom. 1/2" might be a bit small and deflect too much. Maybe something a bit larger for more rigidity.

Your points:

1.) Since you are using a non-conductive boom, it really doesn't matter about the "overhang". You probably should have a little bit of extra boom on each end just for ease of element mounting. The dimension of "0" for the reflector means that all other elements are in relation to "it". So, since measurements are usually center to center, take all subsequent cumulative measurements from the centerline of the reflector rod to the center of the respective element. For total boom length, use the longest cumulative dimension, 36-7/8", add a couple extra inches/cm and split the difference for each end.

2.) See #1.
 
No need to feel that way. I always remember what one of my teachers said (oh so long ago): "The only stupid question is the one not asked."

Qa
canucksgirl (author)  Quercus austrina2 years ago
No need to apologize. (I just wanted to make sure you got my comment, there was recently problems on the site with email alerts, etc).

So, I just checked the link, and you're correct, the site's gone! I'm so glad that I did all the calculations and (even took screenshots), so I should be okay, as long as I stick to the same formula.

Thanks for the clarification. I assumed the measurements should be on center, but I couldn't find anything that said either way. Since I'm using a non-metallic boom, and can add some length to either end and mark the element spacing off the reflector, does that also mean that changing the diameter to something larger than 1/2" conduit be okay? I didn't try the calculator with anything other than a non-metallic 1/2" boom, so I don't know if the measurements would change; do you know if they would?

The only last part that I'm unsure of is the positioning of the dual yagi's. If one is pointed toward the tower and another on a slant toward the camp, is that all I would need to do?

No rush on getting back to me. I do want to do this soon, but I don't want you to go out of your way when you may have other things to do. - You've been a fantastic help! ;-)
http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:pqar-N91t-QJ:www.k7mem.com/Electronic_Notebook/antennas/yagi_vhf_quick.html+&cd=1&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=us
matits,

Thank you for finding that page again. It is a great one for those in need of a good DIY antenna.

I am not sure if this happened to anyone else, but when I viewed your post, the end of the link was cut off. Thank goodness for email alerts, as that contained the whole web addy. For those still interested, you can see matits link here. This link is the direct route to the current page. It is written by K7MEM (his call letters) and it is: Javascript Electronic Notebook, VHF/UHF Yagi Antenna Quick Designer, by Martin E. Meserve. Martin deserves kudos for his efforts and web/java programming.

Again, thank you matits for re-discovering this resource.

Canucksgirl, how is everything going? Is this still a project or a "back burner" type of thing? Hope all is well.

Qa
AFAIK, the non-metallic boom has no real effect on the spacing. I did several different scenarios on that site and the spacings were the same (IIRC). And yes, one toward the tower with the other toward the general area you want to be able to call from. If this works out well enough, more can be made and the encampment could be blanketed. Hopefully, that will be the case, and I hope you won't have to sink a small fortune into it. I envision a relatively low cost  (~$50 or less) for what you are doing.

Hope it all goes well,

Qa
canucksgirl (author)  Quercus austrina2 years ago
Thanks for the speedy reply. When I go up to my parents (hopefully soon), I will do the build and get it installed up there and see what happens. I'll let you know how it goes, and if I remember, I'll take some photos.

Thanks again, for all your help!
canucksgirl (author)  Quercus austrina2 years ago
Did you happen to see my drawing and specs? Just curious if you knew the answers to the problems I was having... I've been looking online, but no one seems to have the answers. ;-(
canucksgirl (author)  Quercus austrina2 years ago
Thank you! That most definitely helps. ;)

I'm going to go through all the links and start making some notes and plans. I hope you don't mind some follow up questions (if I run into trouble). ;)
Cell repeaters are very sophisticated pieces of kit, and not amenable to DIY unfortunately. I know that some companies are thinking of offering "nano-cells" which are a kind of tiny base station, but I don't know if they are available yet.
canucksgirl (author)  steveastrouk2 years ago
Perhaps "boosting" the signal is something more doable? I had looked at the repurposed dish antenna for WiFi signals, but darn it if I don't have a spare Dish hanging around...
AFAIR "the signal" is a complicated multi-frequency two-way thing, and not amenable to being picked up and copied easily.

Steve
canucksgirl (author)  steveastrouk2 years ago
Darn... :-(
Install the Yagi Antenna and run the cable into your camp. Plug the cable into a cellphone signal booster such as this one: (you might have to alter the wire connectors or make an adapter for power?)

http://cell-phone-booster-review.toptenreviews.com/wilson-electronics-mobilepro-review.html

This one has the adapter for USB, AC or lighter adapter:

http://www.futureshop.ca/en-CA/product/wilson-wilson-cellphone-signal-booster-wi801242-wi801242/10122403.aspx?path=33a0b79ddf9fb53a8a5e3666b9a8a38fen02&SearchPageIndex=1

You might not get fantasic range but as long as your phone is close to the base (might have to leave the phone near the signal booster and use speaker phone)
This might be of interest

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Femtocell
canucksgirl (author)  steveastrouk2 years ago
I think the Femtocell is geared more toward the rural customer that can get cable or internet access. We have this cabin deep in the Canadian backwoods, and although we can get cell signals, they are obstructed by mountains and enormous trees, so it's sporadic as far as where it works.

Recently there was a prize offered in the Instructables Extreme Challenge, called "Spot Connect". Unfortunately, I didn't come up with a winning extreme project, but I had my eye on that prize specifically for the reason I'm asking about.
Any updates or completion of this project? I am going thru a similar process to get cell service in the Colorado mountains.
Vyger2 years ago
I thought I remembered this question from a while ago.

I just ran across something that might be of interest to you. It does require an internet connection to work but if you don't already have that you could get a satellite connection like "Wild Blue".

No It is not voice over IP, its something different that the cell phone company is using to relay cell signals and rebroadcast them at a local point using the interent as the transmission medium. I didn't know anything like this was even out there.

It's on sale too, I get their sale e mail notices and saw it for that reason.
Vyger Vyger2 years ago
I did a Google search and apparently this works pretty good. And the Geeks price is pretty good too considering that its usually $250 new.

Here is a comment I copied from Amazon, they also sell them.


Verizon Network extender-Awesome July 8, 2011
By Wen2buy
I live in a "blackout" are were there is no cell phone service. (Let me repeat that..No cell service at all)
I purchased the Verizon Samsung Network Extender for my house and my Mom's apartment building. We get full bars within a two house radius. Never drops a call, works with our texting too. It's as if we were standing next to a cell phone tower. You can set priority callers so the tower can be shared with the neighbors (if you wish)but your phone will override everyone else. It states that it can only do 3 calls at once, but we have never had any issues with this. If you live in an area with weak or no service this is for you. I have had my extender for 2 years now and still love it! We have had a few purchased through the town now and everyone loves them. Works great for repair men and emergency people too... I can't say enough about this product. Verizon sells it for $249 but it is much cheaper on Amazon..Oh most important part...you never have to pay another thing for it. No monthly fees, just the original charge for the equipment thats it (plus you must have internet service, This works so well because it is hooked up to your internet. So internet is an actual cost, but nothing to run the extender). Great present that keeps giving too. Got one for my Brother, so now everytime they use the phone they think of how cool I am!
canucksgirl (author)  Vyger2 years ago
I appreciate the suggestion. I've found similar units (and your right the price is good), but the range isn't strong enough. 5000 square feet is nice for around your home. In our case the closest internet connection that we could tap into is at my brothers house, and that's 30 kilometers away from our camp (as the crow flies). I really like that this unit can be set up to specified cell numbers (to avoid others from using it), but we'd need more range. If you see anything else, please let me know. I don't plan on closing this question until I have something that works.
Re-design2 years ago
Google "Cell booster" and start looking in the results. There are lots of reasonable boosters already on the market. ATT has a version that may be exactly what you're looking for.

If it's for the health and safety of my family I would not depend on a DIY solution for this problem.  I'll change my own brake pads but would not design my own braking system.
canucksgirl (author)  Re-design2 years ago
Thanks, but I've already looked down that avenue... Most of them are geared towards use in rural areas and for improving signals within buildings. I've yet to find anything reasonable that would work in the area I described.