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Old 01-28-2008, 11:05 PM   #1
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Cell Phone Signal Boosters & WWAN

Hi All

Has anyone used the Wilson Electronics amplifier and antenna kits to extend the useful range of cell service for either voice and data? They make amplifier systems for several uses including mobile and small office/home office applications.

I would appreciate hearing about your experience and the type of system you used.

/~fred
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Old 01-29-2008, 12:16 AM   #2
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Hi Fred,
Welcome to the forum. I bought the Wilson system specifically for my two month trip last summer. Overall I think it works real well. I have a Verizon Palm Treo which doesn't seem to have the best reception by itself. While on the road in 10 western states and in British Columbia Canada the Wilson system did seem to really boost weak signals. I bought the hard wired system becuase from my research it seemed to work better than the wireless system. Often I would have a weak signal fading in and out on the phone by itself. When I plugged in the amplifier it would boost it up to several bars. It will not work however when there is absolutely no signal.

I was able to get a signal from Victoria Canada which I assume was from a US tower in Port Angeles WA, but it could have been a tower in Canada-not really sure but the phone did work.

Also I bought the connector for my Verizon wireless internet card. You need to make sure your PCMCIA card has the jack for an external connector. My newer card that Verizon gave me did not have the jack so luckily I found an older Kyocera 650 which has the jack. I think it is actually a slower card but it works with the Wilson connector and it seems to be fast enough for me.

I bougt Model#811201 and the small magnetic antenna. I put the antenna wire under the door moulding and half way through my trip, the opening and closing of the door cut the wire. I was able to tape it back together but it came apart. just recently I will likely buy a new antenna and then drill a hole in the roof, maybe getting one of their larger trucker size antennas.

Hope this helps.

steve
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Old 01-29-2008, 08:54 AM   #3
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Fred -

Trying to deal with pictures is a pain on this forum. They are always too large and I need to resize them. Anyhow, here's a link to my Wilson external install: http://autos.ph.groups.yahoo.com/group/ ... =4&m=f&o=0.

It was a lot of work fishing the cable through from the outside, but it was worth the effort. Inside I use the Wilson dual-band booster, which is connected to my Verizon wireless card. I've posted a link to a site Geoff posted in the Yahoo group plotting cellular towers on Google Earth. I use this all the time. I have worked for weeks out of my van without one dropped signal. Most times I will turn my laptop on and I'll have 1 or 2 bars (sometimes NO SIGNAL), then hit the booster on switch and it begs out full strength. I have never tried it with my cell phone, but it is perfect for internet.

http://boojum.dreamhosters.com/misc/Cel ... -Earth.zip

Not sure where you are shopping around, but these folks are very helpful.

http://www.alternativewireless.com/
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Old 01-30-2008, 09:45 AM   #4
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Hi Steve & Don,

Thanks for taking time to post your replies. You gave me the encouragement I needed to pursue this option. I am using Verizon now for work with a Sierra Air card. I got the magnetic antenna you mentioned and it made a big difference around town without needing the amplifier.

There are several options to consider. The minimum power consumption configuration would be to use a Direct Connect amplifier and use it on one device at at time. This would consume between 6 and 18 watts on 12 VDC. Using a Signal Boost or SOHO amplifier with a dome or universal antenna to couple to the devices would be more convenient. This could consume up to 300 watts on 120 VAC. Adding a router would add more flexibility and consume more power. That wouldn't be a big deal when on shore power, but not a good choice for battery operation.

Thanks again for sharing your experience.

/~fred
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