Best thought I've got for a DIY solution would be to put the phone at the focus of a reflector dish and point that at the nearest tower. Of course that would require that you know where that tower is, and that you have some sort of mount/tripod to hold the dish pointing in that direction... and depending on how directional the dish is, you might need to also consider elevation.
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The best thing is to fit a bigger antenna somehow.
Note that doing so may violate FCC regulations.
Dude I asked the same question on hackaday.com and got no help either. I know it must be relatively easy to make and buy parts to do but i couldn't be bothered to read up and learn all about electronics and electromagnetic waves. So for now ill get up and stand half out the front door or in the garden untill it gets cold and then ill just ignore people. Let me know if you find an answer. thx I have faith in you and ill be using the force to help u
I don't think it's "relatively easy to make," unfortunately. High-frequency electronics generally isn't.
Sometimes it helps just to get a little higher.
You could do what i did and switch to carrier with better coverage in your area.(resists the urge to rant about AT&T's curious definition of "customer service")
Google "cell phone repeater amplifier". I don't know if you can find any plans to build one with, but they're commercially available for $100-$500. Be careful as some of them only work with certain networks (I hear NexTel is a difficult one to match for some reason) so make sure it fits your needs before purchasing.