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Tech: free wireless antennas?

GUEST,leeneia 16 Nov 10 - 06:55 PM
katlaughing 16 Nov 10 - 07:20 PM
Joe Offer 16 Nov 10 - 07:53 PM
GUEST,leeneia 16 Nov 10 - 10:32 PM
GUEST,leeneia 16 Nov 10 - 10:34 PM
GUEST,.gargoyle 16 Nov 10 - 10:57 PM
katlaughing 16 Nov 10 - 11:01 PM
Joe Offer 16 Nov 10 - 11:29 PM
GUEST,leeneia 17 Nov 10 - 09:39 AM
Amos 17 Nov 10 - 10:24 AM
GUEST,leeneia 17 Nov 10 - 12:20 PM
Simon G 17 Nov 10 - 01:43 PM
GUEST,leeneia 17 Nov 10 - 02:17 PM
Richard Bridge 17 Nov 10 - 06:03 PM
GUEST,leeneia 17 Nov 10 - 10:12 PM
The Fooles Troupe 17 Nov 10 - 10:24 PM
Richard Bridge 18 Nov 10 - 03:08 AM
Richard Bridge 18 Nov 10 - 03:12 AM
Richard Bridge 18 Nov 10 - 03:14 AM
Richard Bridge 18 Nov 10 - 03:35 AM
The Fooles Troupe 18 Nov 10 - 04:35 AM
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Subject: Tech: free wireless antennas?
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 16 Nov 10 - 06:55 PM

I'm looking for expert advice on the making and use of low-cost wireless antennas. My sister in Wisconsin has a cheap cell phone and a wireless computer, and her service seems very patchy.

I think it might help if she made an antenna and it worked. Here's a site that promises an antenna made from aluminum foil. Do you think there's anything to this idea?

http://freeantennas.com/projects/template2/index.html

By the way, I don't own anything wireless and know nothing about wirelessness. But if she and I could craft something that actually worked, it would really boost her spirits.


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Subject: RE: Tech: free wireless antennas?
From: katlaughing
Date: 16 Nov 10 - 07:20 PM

leeneia, my Rog, who is a broadcast engineer, says the wireless computer and the cellphone are two unrelated things, so one antenna would not help with both.

He asks how far she wants to go using the antenna, for either of them. He might be able to suggest more with further info. Apparently you can buy outside antennas but should only need one if you want to be able to use your wireless computer on the "back forty acres" kind of thing. We just have the small one which is on our internet cable box and could connect through that down the street at our daughter's house.

As for the cell phone, it should get coverage wherever the service provider has in that area. There can be areas, such as canyons, where no service is likely to work, but otherwise there should be service available.

At least, that is what we understand on this end.

kat


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Subject: RE: Tech: free wireless antennas?
From: Joe Offer
Date: 16 Nov 10 - 07:53 PM

Well, there's confusion in terms, in the use of the word "wireless." When you speak of "wireless Internet" (as opposed to a wireless networks) I think the term refers to wireless modems that do indeed take their Internet signal from wireless telephone providers (and I believe "wireless Internet" operates on the same wave bands and would use similar antennas). Aluminum foil reflectors are supposed to be somewhat effective in increasing signal strength in fringe areas. I'm trying to imagine holding my cellphone up to my ear, somehow manipulating that tinfoil reflector so I can hear and still pick up the signal.

There are also cellphone signal boosters for fringe areas, in a wide spectrum of prices. Some are useless gimmicks, and some may actually work.

-Joe-


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Subject: RE: Tech: free wireless antennas?
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 16 Nov 10 - 10:32 PM

Thanks for the info, kat.

We are having problems where I call her at home, and the cell phone doesn't even ring, it just goes to voice mail. She has missed calls about job interviews this way. She also feared (incorrectly) that I was 'cutting her dead' by not returning her calls.   

So I want to see if she can increase signal strength right in her own apartment. Could she rig up some kind of antenna and keep it next to her cell phone, for example? Ditto the computer?

Anything outside is out of the question. Closest she could get is on the sill of the picture window.

As for the computer, let's just say that it seems to have 'tired blood.'

My brother thinks that her signal is getting swamped by signals from a huge hospital nearby. Does that sound possible?

She has a lot of challenges. Pain, grief, worry. I could tell her to duke it out with her cell phone company and ISP, but she doesn't have the energy.

I guess my main question is, does the home-made gizmo in the link above have any credibility at all?


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Subject: RE: Tech: free wireless antennas?
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 16 Nov 10 - 10:34 PM

PS They talk about routers a lot. I thought only offices and website providers had routers.


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Subject: RE: Tech: free wireless antennas?
From: GUEST,.gargoyle
Date: 16 Nov 10 - 10:57 PM

Holy Mole' Crap and Ole'

Why be soo cheeeap?

What will it cost you??? 20 USD a month?

Come on what is your sister worth?

Sincerely,
Gargoyle

Ok ... I paid less than that


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Subject: RE: Tech: free wireless antennas?
From: katlaughing
Date: 16 Nov 10 - 11:01 PM

leeneia, my Rog says if she could put her cellphone near the window it might help as there might be a better signal. Cell phones do not have routers.

If she has a wireless connection for her computer, Rog says she would probably be better off getting it directly through a cable instead of off of a router which her ISP must have provided, unless she's tapping into wifi from somewhere near her, like a lot of people do.

As to the homemade antenna, according to Rog, some of the things work, external antennas and all sorts of things. If she lives in a city, as it sounds, she ought to be able to pick up signals fine without anything like that, though.

Rog says he tends to doubt the hospital would be interfering with any signals.

I hope this helps. It's tough to live apart from family members and have miscommunication worry them into thinking we don't care, etc. I know what it's like from experience.:-)

kat


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Subject: RE: Tech: free wireless antennas?
From: Joe Offer
Date: 16 Nov 10 - 11:29 PM

This Wikipedia article on cellphone repeaters will give you an idea. They ain't cheap, though. Looks like they're $125 and up - with most right around $250. I'm sure some won't help at all, but they sound good in theory.

The tinfoil parabolas won't cost you anything, though - why not give them a try?

-Joe-


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Subject: RE: Tech: free wireless antennas?
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 17 Nov 10 - 09:39 AM

Gargoyle, do you do surgery on your kitchen table, too? Because that's about the level of your counseling.

Thanks, kat and Joe. I'll tell her what Rog says. And as Joe says, why not give it a try?


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Subject: RE: Tech: free wireless antennas?
From: Amos
Date: 17 Nov 10 - 10:24 AM

A router can be used inside a house. It directs traffic to different nodes on a network. If your house has multiple computers in it it can be a good thing.

The first question is how well her cell phone works right outside the house.

If she's in a cell deadzone she might do better to put in a landline (they stillhave those, right?)


A


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Subject: RE: Tech: free wireless antennas?
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 17 Nov 10 - 12:20 PM

Yes, there still are landlines. I have one next to my collection of buggy whips.

I'll ask her how well the cell phone works right outside. She's in an apartment building.


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Subject: RE: Tech: free wireless antennas?
From: Simon G
Date: 17 Nov 10 - 01:43 PM

Cellphone aerial

How to Make a Cell Phone Antenna Under 5 Minutes..

This might be over the top if the signal close to working.


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Subject: RE: Tech: free wireless antennas?
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 17 Nov 10 - 02:17 PM

Thanks, Simon G. That was interesting.

High tech stuff, though. Solder?!

How refreshing to hear him speak of the port for an external antenna which every maker puts in a cell phone "because they know reception sucks."


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Subject: RE: Tech: free wireless antennas?
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 17 Nov 10 - 06:03 PM

I've just checked 4 phones. One only has what might possibly be such a port. The three different Nokias appear not to have. The Sony Eriksson Z750i has something that might be such a port but the the internal details do not look convincing.

I'd be more worried about the VSWR (variable Standing Wave Ratio) of this bodged up antenna in a can. Aerials come in different types but just supposing that we are talking about full wave antennas, the antenna needs to be the same length as the transmission wavelength (or an exact multiple) - ignoring for this purpose 1/4 wave, 5/8 wave and 3/4 wave antennas. If it isn't then a proportion of the broadcast power will be reflected back into the transmitter. Unless your VSWR is less than 1.5 to 1 you stand a real chance of destroying your transmitter. A book about CB or amateur radio aerials will tell you more.


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Subject: RE: Tech: free wireless antennas?
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 17 Nov 10 - 10:12 PM

I thought so!

Thanks, Richard.


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Subject: RE: Tech: free wireless antennas?
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 17 Nov 10 - 10:24 PM

If a phone does not have such a port, how does it 'plug in' to an in car phone dock?


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Subject: RE: Tech: free wireless antennas?
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 18 Nov 10 - 03:08 AM

Most mobile phones don't, any more. The norm is to hang them in a cradle on the dashboard and use a bluetooth speaker. No physical connections. You can charge them as you go along using a car charger if you want.


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Subject: RE: Tech: free wireless antennas?
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 18 Nov 10 - 03:12 AM

Here however are a range of what the bloke in the video called a "pigtail" - one apparently designed not to need an actual electrical connection.

http://abaks.co.uk/pigtail-modem-phone-plug-universal-p-154.html


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Subject: RE: Tech: free wireless antennas?
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 18 Nov 10 - 03:14 AM

Same place appears to sell antennas too - but I have no clue yet on how to avoid excessive VSWRs.


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Subject: RE: Tech: free wireless antennas?
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 18 Nov 10 - 03:35 AM

There are a range of cradles that do offer antenna coupling. Usually phone-specific and quite pricey.

Stuff about VSWR


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Subject: RE: Tech: free wireless antennas?
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 18 Nov 10 - 04:35 AM

"Secured with turnips" ....

:-)


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