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Thread: Cell phones

  1. #11
    Join Date
    Nov 2002
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    Quetico Ontario, Bellingham, Wa
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    330

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    Mike,

    I always look forward to your rants about cell phones! An update to my previous post about buying used phones. As it turns out, as of sometime last year, you CANNOT activate ANY phone that is not "911" compliant! This means that if your old phone craps, you can't just use the esn# and activate another identical phone. It seems that big brother wants to know where you are at all times, so that when you call 911 they can find you! Not a bad idea in some measure in therory, but give me a break! Makes it tough on those in rural areas that rely on 3 watt bag phones. I know of no bag phone that is 911 compliant. (See the post about the Wilson Amplifier system to solve that problem) I now know why my .99 cent phones were a bargain. I will continue to use my current startac until it dies and then figure out what to do!

    Ah well,,, progress,

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  3. #12
    Join Date
    May 2000
    Location
    Raleigh, NC USA
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    3,806

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    Mixed review on my latest visit to Verizon. I fell. Clumsiness, old age, inattention -- whatever. And of course, landed on and damaged my cell phone. Besides scruffing up the case pretty bad and my ego, I broke the antenna.

    My first thought was, since few cells are repairable, I'd make the "house" phone (of our 4) mine and do away with the house phone. Since wife, daughter & I each have a cell and shared minutes, having a designated house phone for LD use no longer made sense.

    My first surprise and kudos to Verison, is they actually fixed the phone. It wasn't complex, but they had an antenna in stock and fixed it for free in about 10 minutes. With a straight face, they told the customer next to me it'd be cheaper to get a new phone than put a battery in hers!

    However, I still wanted to check out my first idea of cancelling one phone. I'm a year into a 2-year contract. To drop one $12.95/mo line would trigger a $175 early termination fee. Keeping the phone until the end of the contract will be $129.50. I guess I'll keep it until the contract runs out.

    I priced a new case. $21.35. Same case was $13 at the independent wireless store. A piece of thin leather scrap, my trusty needle and a piece of left-over mylar tape to fix the torn window panel -- free.

    Next I'm going to test the distance/footprint thing. The Admiral, daughter & I are heading to the N. Woods of Wisconsin soon where digital cell is pretty spotty. I used to get a call out up there by sitting in the truck with the analog, firing up the 3W booster with outside antenna. Now I'll probably have to stand on the roof, raise one leg and face the moon.

    Update 7/17/06: I didn't have to face the moon. My cell couldn't find a tower in my cousin's house. Outside, it would find towers, a couple minutes at a time. I was even able to eliminate climbing the roof by climbing on top of my truck on the highest hill. Apparently rising one leg is still required.

    I also discovered that this constant dropping and reacquiring towers must suck up some serious battery. At home, I get several days out of a charge with reasonable talk time. In the woods, we'd get about 8 hours with neglible talk time. When we got back home, battery life returned. Oh, Batteries Plus doesn't stock my battery. But they'd gladly order me one for only half what I paid for all 4 phones!

  4. #13
    Join Date
    May 2000
    Location
    Raleigh, NC USA
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    3,806

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    A recent newspaper article says that Alltell will terminate its analog service as soon as legal. The FCC requirement to provide analog expires Feb. 2008. I would presume the others will follow suite.

    This means the old analog phones will no longer work anywhere. In many rural areas, analog is the only service available. I'd kept a docking station analog phone in my Westy just for calling 911 in an emergency as analog has a vastly superior range. I also have 3W analog transmitters vs. the tiny .6W of a digital.

    The problem is that digital technology isn't everywhere. So it's not a choice between digital and analog for some people. It's a choice between analog and nothing.
    --Tony Clark, president, North Dakota Public Service Commission
    CTIA, the cell providers' 'union', touts that 90% of their customers have digital. That's heavily biased because most of the users lives in urban areas and that would include most commercial account users. But 25% of our population lives in rural areas and 75% of the coverage is 'rural', meaning urban digital users will hit these many dead spots while traveling.

    With the short range of digital coverage from each tower, providers won't rush to build towers in remote areas where they don't have a sufficiently high number of base customers. Roaming is, in reality, limited by the demographics of the non-roaming service.

    Satelite phone service would not be similarly affected as they transmit upwards to satelites with relatively universal coverage. But they and land line will face the same deterioration in service when calling TO cell phones.

  5. #14
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Posts
    7

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    although, who stops any more? years ago I was broke down in my 1964 Pontiac and had 2 people stop in 10 hours

    there are digital cell phone boosters available too. Wilson makes them also

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