How To Improve Your Cell Phone Reception

Old man using phone

Poor cell phone reception is the #1 reason people will switch cell providers. Problem is, if you are in the beginning or middle of a contract, you can't simply--or should I say cheaply--change services.

If you are unhappy with your reception, then you have a few options that may be helpful.

  1. Make sure you get a signal. If you live in an area where you get absolutely no service, then you are probably out of luck. No antenna in the world can pick up a signal that does not exist. If you get a signal right outside of your area, then it's probably just interference from the structure and there is help for you.
  2. Make sure your battery is charged. The phone uses power to receive the signal so the more power, the better the reception.
  3. Make sure your antenna is not in between being fully extended and closed. If it is in either of those positions, it is not engaged and therefore not picking up the optimal signal.
  4. Get an external antenna. There are plenty of external antennas to choose from. Most of them will work with your phone with the correct adapter. They usually mount outside the house and have a long cable, so you will be tethered to it. The rule of thumb is if you live in a flat area, look for a higher gain antenna (3db to 9db) while hilly and tree-filled areas are better for lower gain (0db to 3db). They will cost you anywhere from $30 to $100 and can be professionally installed if you want that level of service. Google search  "external cell antenna" and you'll find some places to buy these. Add your phone model to the Internet search to narrow it down.
  5. Buy an amplifier. These "power boosters" claim to up your coverage by 50 miles using power to amplify the signal that comes to and from your phone. This is in addition to your external antenna, and they cost from $250 to $300. They can be mounted in your car or boat, or on a building.
  6. Try wireless repeaters. OK, so if you have bad reception in your car or home and have about $750 to spare, then this is the contraption for you. It is basically an external antenna attached to an amplifier and an internal antenna. It takes the good signal from outside and brings it inside.
  7. Get an internal antenna. You might have seen these on TV. They look like a flat rectangular circuit board. There is no scientific evidence that these things do a thing to improve reception. There might be, however, an internal antenna that your phone manufacturer makes that will improve your signal. The best way to find this out is to ask a customer service representative from the manufacturer.
  8. There are a few other natural things that could affect your reception. Cell signals travel better in dry air than in humid conditions. Rainy weather with lightning will definitely create a problem from time to time. Electronic devices that are in the vicinity may interfere if their power is on. Terrain, such as deep valleys, tall mountains and buildings, will interfere. The inside of large buildings can be tough, also. If you get some sort of signal, get a cheap external antenna. If your cell phone is your livelihood and you simply cannot afford to miss a call, then be prepared to fork out the big bucks for a wireless repeater.


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