Curing the Cell Phone Blues

Jack Yates 

If you don't have a cell phone you probably have heard these problems from others and if you own one you certainly have experienced most of them. Let me tell you of my experiences and how I cured the cell phone blues.

Several years ago before digital phones and special plans were popular we headed west with our new analog bag phone. We were heading west from Maryland and heard that a bag phone had a stronger signal and a larger battery. We were happy because now we could keep in touch with family and friends. It wasn't long before we realized that it was very expensive to make and receive calls and because of where we traveled we were out of range of the towers 80% of the time. We cancelled the service after the first year very disappointed.

Having sold our house in 2000 and because the one rate plans with digital phones were looking so good, we decided to try again. We signed with AT&T and bought a Nokia dual mode (Analog and digital) phone with a rebate that paid for the phone. Heading West again we were thrilled with the performance of the phone. Now don't get me wrong there were places where there was little or no signal but not to worry, voice mail was taking messages. (voice mail, text messaging, caller ID, call waiting, e-mail, digital photos are some of the nice features you can get on these new phones. (Some features only work in digital areas.)

Our first problem came when we pulled into the Escapees campground in Yuma, Arizona. All we could get was a busy signal. Even when we dialed 611 to get in touch with AT&T there was a busy signal. After contacting AT&T using a payphone they needed to load our phone number prefix so the local wireless company knew we were here. To make a long story short, someone had turned on the right switch, the prefix was loaded but screwed up when putting in the sequence numbers. Each time I called someone checked that the switch was on and pointing in the right direction and saw that the prefix was loaded but did not check to see if the sequence numbers were correct. That problem was solved finally.

The next problem was a weak signal. Sometimes it was OK and sometimes there was static or we got cut off. A friend told me about a special antenna he bought for his cell phone that gave him full signal strength where ever he traveled. Well, after listening to a cell phone sales person you learn not to believe everything you hear. After my friend showed me the difference by plugging and unplugging his antenna I was convinced.  We had to have one.

The style we ordered  had a magnetic base and we just stand it up behind the couch in front of the window.  When we go for a drive the magnetic base holds it on the truck roof with the wire coming in the door.  Does it work in those low signal areas? Like a dream come true. 

Note: The above was written several years ago. Today my Antenna is still working.  In areas where there is a weak signal, when using the antenna, I mount it on top of my TV antenna and run the wire through the window. Now It works no matter where we park.

Try this tip; If you get a busy signal or are unable to make a call, shut off your phone and turn it back on. The phone will search for the strongest signal and you may be able to make that call. This happens sometimes; you have been on the move and are still linked to the last tower you went past. There is a tower that is closer and has a stronger signal and your phone will find it.  Try it!  Also if you hold the phone so it is perpendicular to the ground instead of aimed for your mouth your signal will be stronger. Antennas must be straight up and down to work efficiently.

I am now ready to buy one of the super antennas that are 6 times more efficient than the one I am using. We will mount it permanently on the roof so it doesn't have to be taken down each time we move. These new antennas are not only efficient for making voice calls but they work on both Analog and Digital which means a strong signal for e-mail and internet also, Want up-to-date information on Cell Phones, Batteries, parts, Antennas, accessories? Go to this web page.

RV Clubhouse | Cell Phone Blues



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This page was last updated on April 18, 2005