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Cell phones in remote places

Discussion in 'Off Topic' started by Scoop, Aug 28, 2015.

  1. Scoop

    Scoop Northern Clackamas County New Member

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    ATT is no longer what it once was. In places I used to get service I no longer get it. And in really remote places like the Snake River area I find myself climbing to the highest peaks while those with other providers can at least get a text out with minimal effort. Several calls to the ATT tech people told me tough nookie but theres no plans for towers anytime soon. The really frustrating part is getting three to five bars and not being able to get out because there is no roaming anymore evidently.

    So my question is, which cell provider do you have and how hard is it for you to get out?
     
  2. The Heretic

    The Heretic Oregon Well-Known Member

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    I started with Verizon, but like all providers they have dead spots and their dead spots at that time was my workplace and home, where I spend 99% of my time. It was annoying having to go outside and stand in the middle of the street to get reception.

    So I went with T-Mobile, and they were okay for a while, but not as good around the edges as Verizon. Then I moved up here on the mountain and T-Mobile sucked here, even when I went to WiFi. So when my t-mobile phone wouldn't connect anymore, I went with a VOIP reseller that resells minutes and data from Sprint, and Sprint apparently has pretty decent coverage up here; even down in the gully on my property I have good coverage.

    YMMV - ask people who use their cells in the area where you need coverage.
     
  3. etrain16

    etrain16 Oregon Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    I carry two phones with me. One for work, one personal. The personal is Verizon, the work is too. Both were AT&T at one time, but they didn't work at my house or some other areas, so both got switched to Verizon a few years ago. Overall, very good coverage for voice and data. Dead spots happen such as inside certain buildings like our local Safeway as well as others. My inlaws live near Oregon City High School, just down in a little valley - zero coverage there - run up the hill 1/2 mile, 5 bars.

    I've also had better coverage with Verizon on the coast in places like Rockaway.
     
  4. WAYNO

    WAYNO Oregon City Gold Supporter Gold Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    I travel a lot throughout the state. My Verizon coverage is far better than folks around me that have different providers. Many times when their phone service doesn't work, mine works great. But, even Verizon has some shadow areas. The campground we use in Lincoln City is a Verizon dead spot. Vernonia is a dead spot.

    As somebody else said...Check with the people that frequent the places you do and see what works best in those places.

    WAYNO.
     
    Dyjital likes this.
  5. ThePhonMan

    ThePhonMan Spokanistan Gold Supporter Gold Supporter

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    Coverage is primarily governed by the laws of physics. At cellular frequencies, any obstruction creates a reflection of signal so line-of-site tends to rule the day (as a very simplified example). It also doesn’t help when some carriers crank up their control channels so you can see signal but can’t actually use it (they’re putting out 100 watts while your handheld phone puts out less than .2 watts).

    The other consideration is the signal technology. AT&T and T-Mobile use GSM (a form of time division multiple access over a semi-narrow band signal) while Sprint and Verizon utilize CDMA (code division multiple access on a spread spectrum signal). CDMA is much better at pulling usable signal out of the noise floor which is the primary reason you can send and receive text messages even with nearly no signal. GSM has a bit more of a challenge in poor coverage areas due to the time-based nature of the multiplexing scheme and the narrower signal band.

    The marketing hype says that every carrier has a map showing that they are awesome and everybody else sucks and there are only gaps in coverage on the competitor’s system. Reality is more accurately described as “try it and see”. Regardless of your carrier they will all have blind spots in some areas and to differing degrees.

    When in doubt, the laws of physics always win so ask your friends and neighbors so you can learn from their pain. :)
     
  6. oknow

    oknow amboy wa. Well-Known Member

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    My partner and I both had the same phone with the same carrier and we noticed that there were a lot of times she would have a good signal and mine would be in the toilet and other times it would be the other way around. You may want to just try another phone.
     
    Caveman Jim likes this.
  7. Koda

    Koda Oregon Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter 2016 Volunteer

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    I spend a lot of time outdoors and so years ago when I got my cell phone I specifically looked into who had the most coverage area in remote places and went with Verizon. I dont have anything to prove that other than their BS marketing coverage map but at the time it was more than ATTs map visually. I know thats not much to go on but...
    I don't plan on switching. I get less dead spots than my other friends when out in the boonies.
     
  8. etrain16

    etrain16 Oregon Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    I spend time in many of the hospitals in the Portland area for work. I can say from years of experience, many of these buildings are big dead spots no matter who you use. If there is ever an emergency inside one of these hospitals, don't count on your cell phone working to make an emergency call unless you can get right up against an exterior window. That goes for a lot of larger buildings that don't utilize DAS systems for cellular providers.
     
    edslhead likes this.
  9. oknow

    oknow amboy wa. Well-Known Member

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    Just more victim rich zones.
     
    Caveman Jim likes this.
  10. Sgt Nambu

    Sgt Nambu Oregon Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    Wow! Verizon always works for us. Pretty much anywhere anytime! I called while trout fishing in a canyon deep in the foothills on Mt. Hood yesterday! The spousal unit does care for our rates, but she's a cheap Charlie. I keep it cause it works! We were in the Monument Valley area of New Mexico, the new Garmen, no can do! The iPhone 4s, no problem!:D
     
    Caveman Jim likes this.
  11. mjbskwim

    mjbskwim Salmon,Idaho Well-Known Member

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    Even Out here my Verison phone works pretty good. I get some coverage when on top of the right hill.

    ** BUT ** mY son lives and works in one of the most populated counties in the world. LA county.
    We get disconnected every time he calls. Some times,when I lived in Sequim and traveled towards Port Townsend,there would be dead spots.
    But most every time we spoke,it was on his end.
    In the middle of one of the most populated places on earth.
    No matter what,there will be dead spots
    And as one comedian put it,we make a call that travels 20k miles into space and back and WE WANT IT DONE NOW

    Oh yeah,satellite phone
     
  12. The Heretic

    The Heretic Oregon Well-Known Member

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    Verizon does have better coverage around the edges, but often it really comes down to who has a tower in the right spot to give you coverage where you need it.
     
    PiratePast40 likes this.
  13. The Heretic

    The Heretic Oregon Well-Known Member

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    The problem with satellite phones is the latency - unless you use LEO satellites. A geosynchronous satellite will have a delay and sometimes echo because it has so far to go. Until someone discovers a way around the speed of light, then that will always be a problem.

    Some people talk about quantum teleportation as if that would solve the problem, but it wouldn't - wish it would but it wouldn't (it would be kewl to have a quantum communicator that didn't need to give off or receive an RF signal or use a laser, etc., but as we understand physics right now, it isn't possible).
     
  14. Medic!

    Medic! What just happened? Has eagle eyes. But cant remember what he saw. Bronze Supporter

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    Am I the only one OK with places my phone doesn't work? :s0140:
     
  15. slimer13

    slimer13 Deer Park Well-Known Member

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    Usually I'm perfectly content being out of contact for a few hours but it kinda sucks when I'm on a 6 day backpacking trip. That's a long time to not hear from the family. I've been looking into renting a sat phone for that. Normal use, Verizon is the best but my house and shop are still dead zones.
     
  16. mjbskwim

    mjbskwim Salmon,Idaho Well-Known Member

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    Not at all. I keep mine for my son and a couple other people.
    Now that I think of it,I could do with a land line and email.
    There are quite a few around here that just smile when you talk about cell phones cause they don't /won't have one.
    But it's a camera too!!
     
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  17. albin25

    albin25 Lewiston Idaho Well-Known Member

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    After reading through the "School bans superheros" thread, and then seeing this thread about " Cellphones in remote places"......
    ..... I was afraid to look.:eek:
    Thank goodness! .... It's about coverage and not another "performance artist".
     
    Last edited: Aug 29, 2015
    jessieD and Caveman Jim like this.
  18. clearconscience

    clearconscience Vancouver, WA Well-Known Member

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    I worked for AT&T in 2001 and they had the best coverage you could get. Then they sold out to Cingular I believe and when they came back to the cell phone biz they had crap coverage.

    Verizon has always (for me) had the best service anywhere I go. Too bad I hate them and their gold diggin ways. I would love to go elsewhere, but can't beat their coverage.
     
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  19. edslhead

    edslhead Vanc Gold Supporter Gold Supporter Silver Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    I've got ATT and it is pretty good . The only time I have trouble is when I'm swimming.
     
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  20. Provincial

    Provincial Near Salem, OR Well-Known Member

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    Two things to contribute:

    I have Verizon, but live in the bottom of a steep canyon where no cell signal reaches. Nextel used to work here outside the buildings, back when they used the Police/Fire band. I had to decide which carrier to move to when they abandoned the old bands, and Verizon worked best at the family timber acreage located a fair distance from our house.

    I installed a Network Extender that acts like a private cell tower that connects to the Verizon system through our wired Internet Centurylink service. When placed near a window, it provides cell service for over well over 100 feet inside and outside a metal building. Verizon charges a Data Usage rate for calls made on this system, but if you use WiFi for your data, the phone use data consumpton is nominal. It works for any Verizon phone, so if you have neighbors nearby, they might steal the signal!

    Second, dropped calls often are related to lack of available channels from the tower that you are connected to, often during the hand-off from one tower to another. The connected phone with the weakest signal is dropped first. During a hand-off, if the tower has no open channel, the "new" call cannot connect, and is dropped. The providers don't tell you about this, because it is easier to deflect your anger over a dropped call when you don't know that it is their lack of capacity, rather than a vague feeling that there was a problem with signal strength! :rolleyes: