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Bewildered

Mobile phone signal booster

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I did try to use the search feature to find this topic but gave up as it seems to have been updated into a useless pile of crap. If I wanted to do a goggle search I would have used google.

My phone is on EE my partners phone is on Vodaphone and while cruising we have usually had coverage on one or both phones, we have now taken a mooring in a weak signal area. Hanging the phones in a plastic bag by a window seems to be the only way to get a signal and a pretty poor signal at that.

I tried downloading an app to find the best signal,  thinking it would scan all service providers and I could then switch to the best one. But it only pointed me towards the nearest EE tower. So that was a waste of time.

So does anyone have experience of phone signal boosters? Are they any good? Will they boost signals for more than one network at a time or do we need to both be on the same network? ( can we both use the one unit for Vodaphone and EE?) I suspect that during the set up they get locked to one service provider but I hope to be pleasantly surprised.

i've seen some online that look like they run on 12v from a mains transformer as they sell a car kit that just has a cigarette socket adapter and mag mount antenna. What would be the power consumption for a unit like this that would be switched on 24/7?

And finally, any recommendations of units that are proven to work well? Links would be appreciated.

Edited by Bewildered

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6 hours ago, Bewildered said:

If I wanted to do a goggle search I would have used google.

Google goggles? I'd quite forgotten about that!

If it helps:

Google Goggles is an image recognition mobile app developed by Google. It is used for searches based on pictures taken by handheld devices. For example ...

:giggles:

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You need some sort of external antenna. Either in a window, or preferably outside and as high up as possible. These days I moor somewhere within a couple of hundred yards from two phone masts, so the signal is very good even inside this metal box. I used to moor in a very poor spot for phone reception and used an external magnetic mount antenna on the roof of the boat, going down to a wrap round velcro fitting that coupled the signal in to the phone antenna. This worked ok, but to make calls sometimes still required sitting on the roof, so not so fun in the rain.  This was on an ancient 2G Nokia, made from flint and reindeer sinew, so I've no idea what is available for more modern smart phones. Boatersphone.co.uk seem to have a placeholder web site at the moment, which is where I got mine.

Jen

Edited by Jen-in-Wellies

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https://m.ebay.co.uk/sch/i.html?_from=R40&_trksid=p2334524.m570.l1313.TR1.TRC0.A0.H0.XMobile+phone+repeater.TRS0&_nkw=Mobile+phone+signal+repeater

Only network providers are allowed to transmit on the mobile network so using a repeater is illegal but I doubt if the authorities would be bothered by a small low powered one unless it was interfering with local reception. 

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I hope the "Maximum Power: 50W" stated in a typo. 50mW would be more appropriate.

Also, it doesn't say how the repeater is powered, so presumably it's internal batteries?

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7 minutes ago, Aguila said:

I hope the "Maximum Power: 50W" stated in a typo. 50mW would be more appropriate.

Also, it doesn't say how the repeater is powered, so presumably it's internal batteries?

Is that first one actually a repeater, looks more like an aerial to me. 

Personally I don't like the idea of the repeaters they are illegal and who knows what interference these cheap far eastern things produce.  I do think OFCOM would be interested in their use, but your chance of getting caught in a boat in the middle of nowhere is perhaps quite low.  The right way to solve the reception issue is what most people do and get the device or an aerial connected to the device outside the steel boat.

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I'm on Vodafone and until recently often had to sit in the cratch or on the roof to get a 3G signal, let alone a 4G.

I now normally just hang the phone (Samsung A5) in the window with a 2m extension power USB.  In the last year, even the last six months, the Vodafone 4G has improved enormously in rural areas.  I can often get a 10Mb/s connection with the phone just sitting on the table. It is normally used as a hotspot to link to a laptop.

Interestingly, I can be receiving a strong 4G signal on data, but struggle to get a normal phone signal.    Was there something about service providers sharing masts for 4G data only?  I think it is going to be a requirement on the next (5G?) generation.

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We usually have a rubbish signal. In the good ole dumb phone days,we used a THB car phone cradle, connected to an external aerial (still fitted).

These days we use an Anker bluetooth speaker, and the phone sits in the window.

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I use a MIFI with external aerial for WiFi this works well, if only phone makers installed a connection for an external aerial life would be easier and the phone build cost would be about 10p higher, oh but this would spoil the ultra thin sleek look.

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17 minutes ago, Detling said:

I use a MIFI with external aerial for WiFi this works well, if only phone makers installed a connection for an external aerial life would be easier and the phone build cost would be about 10p higher, oh but this would spoil the ultra thin sleek look.

Yes, this is the problem. On the boat I am using a router and an external antenna for data coms and it works fantastically in a very poor reception area. However when using the phone to talk to people I have to stand in the cratch or on the roof. Why oh why dont manufactures allow you to plug in an external antenna? Actually now, I tell them to phone me on Whatsapp and use the data connection.

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21 minutes ago, Dr Bob said:

Yes, this is the problem. On the boat I am using a router and an external antenna for data coms and it works fantastically in a very poor reception area. However when using the phone to talk to people I have to stand in the cratch or on the roof. Why oh why dont manufactures allow you to plug in an external antenna? Actually now, I tell them to phone me on Whatsapp and use the data connection.

I don’t know the full details but on 3 you can use wi fi (if you have it of course) to make voice calls where the phone signal is weak.

Also on the rear of the 3 Home fi there is a socket into which you can plug a landline handset.

As we are hoping to move onto our boat in the near future I will be investigating  the above two methods as the phone signal inside the boat is very poor.

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9 hours ago, john6767 said:

Is that first one actually a repeater, looks more like an aerial to me. 

Personally I don't like the idea of the repeaters they are illegal and who knows what interference these cheap far eastern things produce.  I do think OFCOM would be interested in their use, but your chance of getting caught in a boat in the middle of nowhere is perhaps quite low.  The right way to solve the reception issue is what most people do and get the device or an aerial connected to the device outside the steel boat.

Small ones cover a small area so shouldn't cause probs I would think. 

Prob with an external aerial is the lack of a socket on modern phones. 

ETA: Ignore last paragraph as I've just read the whole of the thread! 

Edited by nb Innisfree

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4 minutes ago, nb Innisfree said:

Small ones cover a small area so shouldn't cause probs I would think. 

Prob with an external aerial is the lack of a socket on modern phones. 

Yep, phones don’t have sockets any more there is just not the space, look at the fuss with Apple removing the headphone socked to save space.  So really you need to use a dongle or MiFi to get it out of the boat if you are serious.  Usually I put my phone in the crotch if the signal is weak, and to be honest it is a long time since I used a dongle and router, and have managed to use my phone as a router.

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11 hours ago, dor said:

 

Interestingly, I can be receiving a strong 4G signal on data, but struggle to get a normal phone signal.    Was there something about service providers sharing masts for 4G data only?  I think it is going to be a requirement on the next (5G?) generation.

Yes Vodafone share masts with O2 for 4G with Vodafone providing the masts on the west side of the country and O2 on the east.

Vodafone have more of the lower frequency bands which are supposed to be better in rural areas. 

I think simple economics will force the mobile  operators to share masts for 5G as it did for 4G

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I didn't realise that phone signal boosters were illegal as they seem to be available for sale in the uk

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5 hours ago, john6767 said:

Yep, phones don’t have sockets any more there is just not the space, look at the fuss with Apple removing the headphone socked to save space.  So really you need to use a dongle or MiFi to get it out of the boat if you are serious.  Usually I put my phone in the crotch if the signal is weak, and to be honest it is a long time since I used a dongle and router, and have managed to use my phone as a router.

So what exactly are you using for an aerial?

  • Haha 1

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