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Old 20-10-2009, 17:23   #1
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Join Date: May 2009
Location: Panama
Boat: Steel trawler 63' Eileen Farrell
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Verizon Modem

Does anyone out there use an antenna to boost their phone / modem reception?

I use Verizon for both cell phone and computer modem. My reception is variable, esp. below. Modem's 2 years old- may have a faster one by now.

Tech wise, I'm one step up from the electronic ooze, so need an off the shelf solution.
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Old 20-10-2009, 17:48   #2
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Verizon midi 2200 is pretty cool the plan looks a bit pricey. I know that's not what you asked. I tethered through a blackberry and usually had good connections with verizon on the east coast
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Old 20-10-2009, 17:49   #3

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I'm not sure what you mean by a modem in this context. But if your cell phone has the ability to use an external antenna, yes, that can radically increase the performance. They range from 6-9dbi omnidirectional antennas (which are vertical rods) to sometimes more powerful omnis, to directional antennas (typical "yagi" or "barbeque" parabolic dish) that can provide 20-20 dbi of gain. Every 3dbi of gain doubles your signal, so you can see there's quite a lot to be had.

The problem is that antenna CABLES for microwave use tend to be very inefficient. You will start at 1/4" thick and move rapidly to 1/2" thick in order to get a low-loss cable. If, for instance, you install a 9dbi gain antenna, but add in 50' of cable that has a 7dbi've only gained 2dbi. Not much.

WIlson or AntennaWorld or a half dozen of the long-established marine antenna and cellular folks can help you figure out bang for your buck. Generally, go for the shortest thickest cable you can come to terms with (quality counts) and make sure they install the right connections on it. Then go for a high-gain omnidirectional antenna, unless you plan to stand next to the antenna pole and literally swing the directional antenna till it points at a tower to pick it up and work that call.
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Old 21-10-2009, 10:41   #4
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If you want to use it while sailing, don't forget that sailboats heel. As such, for the same reason that very high gain VHF antennas are not recommended for sailboats, a very high gain cell phone antenna might not be the best.
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modem, phone, verizon, cell phone

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