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Go Back   SailNet Community > On Board > Gear & Maintenance
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  #21  
Old 01-16-2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SEMIJim View Post
That's true--as far as it goes. There is also GSM-1800, GSM-1900 and PCS, at 1.8GHz, 1.9GHz and 1.9GHz, respectively.

"Can" being the operative word, here. We're talking near-microwave to microwave frequencies. They don't work like "garden variety" RF works. It can happen, but the effect is completely arbitrary, because the behaviour of the "conductors" is completely arbitrary at those frequencies.

Depends. In free space there's the distance squared rule. But we're not in free space, we're in the atmosphere, which is full of water and dust and stuff. Again: We're talking near-microwave and microwave frequencies. The attenuation is much greater than at lower frequencies. And that's just line-of-sight: I.e.: Nothing in the way. At these frequencies, LOS is all you have. Fixed-station microwave communications towers generally aren't placed more than 30 miles apart, and they're dealing with a good deal more power, and significantly better receivers than your average cell-to-handheld link. (Commonly, max. LOS for cellular and PCS is 10 miles, give or take, in open country or across the water.)

That's not quite accurate, either. It's the sensitivity and the signal-to-noise ratio . Which brings us to...

Mostly it's the receivers in the towers. There's no end of things you can do to increase sensitivity, improve S/N and reject interference when you aren't space-constrained .

(Ex-microwave communications systems and SatCom guy, in case you were wondering.)

Jim
Look Jim.. I'm not going to argue with you about correcting my remarks.

You're a sailor, I'm not going to tell you how to set a sail, or when to reef it.

Don't tell me what you think I don't know about radios.

I've stated everything accurately. My background is over 40 years in radio - and NOT Ham radio. Professional, military radio systems. I've designed a lot of antennas. I do know my radio and antenna theory. I've been keeping it simple.

Certainly there are plenty of cell phones and types - but the VAST Majority of them are in the 800-900 Mhz band. Period. The phones that most people buy, and use are.

And it IS the front end, sensitivity that is taken into account, which includes the s/n ratio when you look at it from the end user's perspective. I'm trying specifically to not be too technical in detail because honestly, no one will read it if it is technical. If they have an idea of what to try, they can try it for themselves.

So - "Free space versus Atmosphere"... is utter BS.

It has nothing to do with atmosphere. They talk of "Free Space" as not being around objects with ground reference points and you know that as well as I do.

By the way, I'm not "ex" anything. I am still and always will be a radioman first.

Cellular telephones, regardless of the type are operating in the UHF and higher frequency bands. They are LOS ONLY. Period. If you can't see the bloody tower with a straight-line radio signal you ain't gonna hit it. Period. Reflective signals notwithstanding, you have to have enough signal for the tower to receive it.

YOU and I have no control over those towers or their antennas and normal users don't either. The ONLY thing they can do is get into a good signal. Their radios are much less powerful than the towers and while a phone might show a good receive signal, you might NOT make it to the tower.

So you can see we agree on a couple of things. But, don't make the mistake of going too technical here on radios. Most people, including the OP, don't know enough to make heads or tails of it. He even said "it's Magic" to him.

Keep is simple. You might find yourself in the same predicament when it comes to radio theory if you don't....
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  #22  
Old 01-16-2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by N0NJY View Post
Look Jim.. I'm not going to argue with you about correcting my remarks.

You're a sailor, I'm not going to tell you how to set a sail, or when to reef it.

Don't tell me what you think I don't know about radios.
Y'know, I politely and, I thought, respectfully corrected some of what you mis-stated, and expanded on some other comments, then you have to go and try to start a d**k-waving contest. I had this really awesome (trust me), scathing reply all set, but I really don't feel like playing right now. Suffice it to say you're wrong about the "sailor" part (my CUT should be a Big Clue), which might just give you a hint regarding the accuracy of your other assumption . (Ok, I'm feeling generous, so here's another Free Clue: N0NJY isn't the only person on Sailnet that Knows Something About Radio.)


Quote:
Originally Posted by N0NJY View Post
I've stated everything accurately.
I respectfully disagree.

Quote:
Originally Posted by N0NJY View Post
Certainly there are plenty of cell phones and types - but the VAST Majority of them are in the 800-900 Mhz band. Period. The phones that most people buy, and use are.
Best alert Sprint. (3rd-largest wireless provider in the U.S.) They're under the mistaken impression their phones are operating in the 1.8GHz range. And FCC. It would appear FCC has some odd notions about Spectrum for Advanced Wireless Mobile Services (3G)

Quote:
Originally Posted by N0NJY View Post
So - "Free space versus Atmosphere"... is utter BS.

It has nothing to do with atmosphere.
My word: I bet that'll come as a shock to all the microwave communications systems engineers who've been functioning under the delusion that atmospherics do affect microwave propagation. The cellular and PCS engineers and techs, doing all that fine-tuning when a new tower goes up: I bet they'll be pleased to learn that weather doesn't matter--that it's really all just kind of set-and-forget. The researchers that have done all those studies and published all those papers showing that atmospheric conditions do affect LOS microwave propagation might take issue with your assertions, but I'm confident you, having been a radioman for 40 years, will set 'em straight .

Jim
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Old 01-16-2009
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Most newer cell phones have 850/900 MHz because some legacy areas are still using it, but the newer 3G networks require greater bandwidth and higher frequencies to support it.
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Old 01-16-2009
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"Certainly there are plenty of cell phones and types - but the VAST Majority of them are in the 800-900 Mhz band. Period. The phones that most people buy, and use are."

Rick, that's outdated information. Most of the carriers have dual-band systems and for at least the past 5 years (and certainly the past 2 years, since TDMA and CDMA and analog service have been largely shut down in favor of CDMA2000 and GSM) the carriers have been programming their phones to use high band (1800-1900) whenever and wherever possible.

The reason is simple economics, the systems running high band have a larger capacity "per blade" and "per tower" so it costs the carriers less to provide high band service. Similarly, most of the new phones have been dual band, triband, or quad band (AT&T/Cingular pushing their international abilities) for a number of years now.

While the equipment in any locale can and will vary--the buildouts are all moving to high band for the new services, even when that means a loss of performance and service. I've had extensive discussions with my carrier about this in the past, they confirmed that they program everything to use high band until and unless that service fails completely, before the phone is allowed to switch to low band.

Cell phones are, when all is said and done, computers not telephones or radios. And they are computers that have been programmed for one purpose: Sucking the bucks out of your pocket and sticking them in the carriers' pockets, without explaining anything to the rubes. Ergh, customers.

Military radio considerations and priorities are VERY different from the ones the cellcos fly by.
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Old 01-17-2009
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Digital Antenna

works. I bought the smaller one 4 years ago because my boat is in the range they recommend (34'). Had to trade in for the larger amp because the smaller did not work along the coast of ME where signals are intermittant (for my service Cingular/ATT). BUT, installation could cost more than the unit itself because the antenna should go at the top of the mast and be 3' away from VHF (special bracket), etc. etc. So, in the end, I have ~$1200 into this, not the $400 I was thinking. But it does help. Knowing full cost, would I do it again? not sure
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I have an installed amplifier too with remote mounted antenna. It has worked wonderfully but it did take some installation hassles in order to get it working.

As the years go by, I'm also finding that there are fewer places where the installed amp is required. Cellular service along the east coast, in particular, is getting pretty good.

These are both reasons why Cell Ranger is an interesting product. It is completely portable - roll it out when you need it. You don't need any installation. Just put the small antenna 15' away from the plug. It allows you to make use of it when you're getting no signal or you're down to 1-2 bars and would like a little more reliability or faster data connectivity. I also use it in my car and keep it in my briefcase when traveling.
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Old 01-17-2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by N0NJY View Post
YOU and I have no control over those towers or their antennas and normal users don't either. The ONLY thing they can do is get into a good signal. Their radios are much less powerful than the towers and while a phone might show a good receive signal, you might NOT make it to the tower.
That's not entirely accurate. As an individual, no there's not much you can do. However, if everyone complains to their providers it's possible they may put in a tower closer. I've actually seen it happen. We had really bad coverage in our (and surrounding) neighborhood. I was told by a technician to complain to the provider and tell my friends to do the same. Within 6 months there was a new tower close by.

Hope it helps
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Not in Maine

You are not likely to get extra towers along the coast of Maine too easily
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Old 01-18-2009
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Besides a lack of users, there's also fairly high resistance to having ugly towers on their coastline.
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You are not likely to get extra towers along the coast of Maine too easily
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Old 01-18-2009
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You are not likely to get extra towers along the coast of Maine too easily
Well, I've lived on the coast of Maine for the last 16 years and there has been a major improvement over the last 3 in terms of cellular service. This doesn't mean I can use my cell phone in my house - I still can't. But on the water with an amp, I have gotten service everywhere along the Maine coast that I've been (and onward through to Key West except for the Pungo-Alligator Canal).

Here are a couple of interesting sites that show where the towers are in your particular area. I find this data fascinating - you'll be surprised how many towers are in your area.

First, check out:
Cell Phone Towers - Mobiledia

Scroll down and enter a city/state. Choose a larger city near you and then pan the map around to your area. Click on one of the tower markers and you can see who actually owns the tower.

Then check out:
WirelessAdvisor.com ™ - Cellular phones and wireless phone service information. Since 1998.

Enter a zip code and it shows the cellular signal support in your area. It gives frequency information, provider information, and protocols supported. Perhaps that data can be used to settle the "discussions" that were happening earlier in this thread...
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