Emergency Signal-Boosting Cellphone Antenna

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About: USAF - Spec. Communications, Telemetry & Data Networking, Microwave Networks, Aeronautics Interests: Metal working, Electronics and Botany (especially wild edible plants, "Feed the world with weeds")

This simple, cheap and easy to make antenna can boost your cellular phone's signal enough that you stand a better chance of getting help in a bad signal area. All you need to make it is:

Some thin, solid-core copper wire (easily found inside phone wire)
Wire cutters
Tape measure or ruler
Drywall screw
Solder and soldering iron

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    50 Discussions

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    Takelababy

    5 years ago on Introduction

    I just tried this with a 4 year old clam phone by joining 3 twist tie wires together and duct taping it to the upper half of the back of my phone. Went from no bars to one bar. The better indicator went from two bars to three. Reception in my yard is spotty and I'd wondered if this would work in an emergency. Will this screw up the phone?

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    Guy61

    8 years ago on Introduction

    Hi I joined up to share some insite about ant.s as a ham radio operator it's manditory to learn about the way ant.s can harm your equipment the mesurment is the SWR signal "all antennas must be matched to the frequncy they transmit on" !!! It will also inprove reception so you cut the antenna useing a formula for the perfict SWR ratio if you don't the power radiation comes back down the wire and frys your front end. Most ham operators learn how to trim there antennas for this problem as it's very costly not to. As it's a simuar tech these rules must apply in this case. Also you must take resistance into the factor as even a T.V. Only works with a matching resistance. Hope this helps some of you.

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    luvit

    8 years ago on Introduction

     it was like having a 7 foot antenna connected to my phone.

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    fourxguy

    11 years ago on Introduction

    Hey Hoopajoo thanks for the tip... went from 1 bar to three bars and can now make calls from my downstairs bathroom. Could not do that before making this antenna. Only have one problem... when I take out the antenna I can't get any bars and my phone says " Searching for Service". Even in an area where I used to get three bars it still says " Searching for Service". It seems that the phone is dependent on that cool little antenna now. With out the antenna my phone is just about useless? Any ideas how I can get it back to my original state before using the antenna mod? I am using a LGVX8600 on Verizons network in So Calif.

    5 replies
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    sevententhsfourxguy

    Reply 11 years ago on Introduction

    I tried this project last night... After a quick stop into the local verizon shop, I wanted to jump online and post a warning. Well, Fourxguy beat me to it with the exact same problem except my phone is an LGVX8100. With two months to go before my "free" upgrade, I'm now sitting down to try and wind the wire antenna inside the battery compartment as a temporary affair. JF

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    Hoopajoofourxguy

    Reply 11 years ago on Introduction

    According to my neighbor who is a tech for Alltel (named Chad, NO CRAP), the cmos for many LG phones has this buggy 'feature' that remembers the use of an external antenna and will default to it until the cmaos is reset. This is done py powering off the phone, removing the battery, holding the power button for 10 seconds with the battery out, replacing the battery and then powering on. He said that this should fix it. Sorry for any trouble. I tested this on my wife's LG and nothing happened, but hers is a LG Wave.

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    konablue

    10 years ago on Introduction

    WARNING: Do not try this with ANY Treo smartphone unless you want to screw it up. There have been two identical instances already. As a precaution I would not try this with any phone unless you have found an example where someone else has already done it.

    9 replies
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    You can try at your own risk. Maybe if you use smaller gauge wire it'll work better. I won't be trying it ever again unless it's an old phone. But people have apparently done it easily sooo.... your call!!! Good luck

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    obamafankonablue

    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    I have a Treo 700 that I have used this on. It worked well and didn't even mess up my phone. I was stuck on the side of the road when my Nissan broke down and when I went to call for help, I had no bars at all. I had made this antenna in advance and kept it in my toolbox for just such an emergency. With it I went from zero bars to 3 bars and was able to get a tow. I followed the instructions to the letter and found the telephone wire to fit perfectly without the solder. What gauge wire did you use? Also, how deep did you stick the wire in? Common sense says not to shove it in hard and deep. Besides, the title says EMERGENCY signal boosting cellphone antenna. What was your emergency?

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    konablueobamafan

    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    14 gauge copper. I am getting one bar now so my phone isn't completely useless. I get no bars inside and one or two outside. I was testing it so I'd know if it would work in an emergency. I did not shove it in very far. Glad to hear it worked for you. All I know is that my phone doesn't get the reception it used to and neither does the guy's in the other post. Hopefully it will come back somehow.

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    obamafankonablue

    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    14 GAUGE!!! That's WAAAAAAAYYYYY too big! No wonder you screwed up your phone. Phone wire is about 24 gauge and solid copper. What you did is like using automotive jumper cables to connect a watch battery to a circuit board. Yikes!

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    obamafankonablue

    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    Probably only has a partial connection on the board. The antenna on most models run through the external plug, so you probably partially damaged the external plug and the internal antenna doesn't have a good, solid circuit. If you are good at micro-solder, you could probably bypass the plug and fix it that way.

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    Exitao

    10 years ago on Introduction

    I believe it's actually a switch inside the antenna socket that disables the internal antenna. Problem is, the wire didn't have the right shape and the switch didn't reset. Same thing can happen if you use the wrong GPS antenna.