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Old 03-11-2004, 09:28 PM
RockyMtnRay RockyMtnRay is offline
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Location: Colorado Springs, CO
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Default "Smooth Talker" cellphone amplifier reviewed by TrailerLife

For those like me who venture deep into areas where cellular phones seldomly work, there is a now a way to dramatically improve cellphone functionality...the relatively new "Smooth Talker" cellphone bidirectional amplifier /antenna system.

This month's issue of Trailer Life (just arrived in my mailbox today), has a pretty scientific test of this amplifier/antenna system that shows dramatic improvements in both the receive and transmit capabilities of a cellphone (on the order of 40 db of signal strength...which is huge!) when used in areas where a cellphone either barely shows any signal or no coverage at all. And even cooler (for me anyway ) is they did the testing with a Motorola V60 phone which is exactly the model I have!!! Unfortunately this article apparently is only in the print issue of TL so I can't provide a web link to it.

This is not a cheap system (runs around $350 to $400 depending on choice of antenna(e)) but if you regularly get into remote areas and still want connectivity this is the best solution I've ever come across. I'm ordering one within the next 45 days and will provide a report of my experiences by mid summer (after I've had a chance to take it into very remote areas). As I mentioned in the thread on internet connectivity here , I really need this soluton.
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Old 05-14-2004, 05:59 AM
dcrdark dcrdark is offline
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Default Re:"Smooth Talker" cellphone amplifier reviewed by TrailerLife

Hey Rocky,
I was interested in your post about the "Smooth Talker". Have you had a chance to try it out yet?
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Old 05-14-2004, 09:45 AM
RockyMtnRay RockyMtnRay is offline
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Default Re:"Smooth Talker" cellphone amplifier reviewed by TrailerLife

[quote author=dcrdark link=board=1;threadid=1762;start=msg13581#msg13581 date=1084535979]
Hey Rocky,
I was interested in your post about the "Smooth Talker". Have you had a chance to try it out yet?

[/quote]

As a matter of fact, I did buy this system and tried it on a recent trip to Great Sand Dunes National Monument and Lathrop State Park, both in southern Colorado.

At the Sand Dunes campground I was around 20 miles from the closest cell transmitter and barely able to get one bar of signal strength on my cellphone (Motorolo V60C). With the Smoothtalker hooked up, that signal strength went up to 5 bars...a huge increase. For some reason (possibly the type of arrangements that Verizon (my carrier) has with other carriers) the phone switched into Analog Mode before the call went through...but it was an extremely quiet, noise free analog signal (nearly as good as digital).

Later at the Lathrop SP campground (which is around 10 to 15 miles from the nearest cellphone antenna), I again could only get one bar of signal strength with just the phone's built in antenna...and when I tried a voice call, the phone went into Analog Mode with a very noisy connection. After I hooked up the Smoothtalker, I again got 5 bars of signal strength and the phone was able to find a good digital signal so it went into Digital Mode. Using the phone as wireless modem for my computer with the Smoothtalker hooked up was wonderful...it connected to an Earthlink POP (point of presence) faster than it ever had before when I've used the cellphone as a modem and the transmission/receive was so error free that the transfer rates were simply great.

I bought the system with the standard 2 inch mast antenna on the larger (3 inch) magnetic mount and also got a 26 inch mast antenna to swap with the 2 incher. The 2 inch antenna is best for the 1900 Mhz band (digital) but the 26 incher allegedly has higher gain for the 800 MHz band when you really want to reach the horizon in flat terrain. With the 2 interchangeable antennae and all the various other parts and pieces, the total charge was $407...but that did include overnight Fedex shipping.

So far I'm exceedingly pleased with the system but I haven't yet tested it in really mountainous terrain...will post another followup in a couple of months after I've used it in a variety of locales here in Colorado. It's kinda pricey for just casual, recreational phoning but for someone like me who really needs to stay in touch (both by voice and internet) while camping in the boondocks, it's more than worth the price.

P.S. My real name/nickname is "Ray" and not "Rocky"...the "Rocky" and "Mtn" parts of my signature are just adjectives (rather than nouns/names) to indicate I'm a guy named Ray who lives/plays in the Rocky Mountains of the western US.

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Old 05-14-2004, 06:51 PM
dcrdark dcrdark is offline
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Default Re:"Smooth Talker" cellphone amplifier reviewed by TrailerLife

Ray
Thanks for the information. We live in VA near the Blue Ridge Mountains. It's beautiful, but nothing compared to the Rockies. I'm thinking of using the Smooth Talker at our house, we live in a low spot and even though we have a tower about 5 to 10 miles away, we get poor coverage, about one maybe two bars. Would like to be able to use the cell phones more than we are now. I was wondering if I should go with the shorter or the longer antenna? Would you have any thoughts about this?
Sorry for calling you the wrong name, I thought Rocky would be your nickname.
Again, My Apologies.
Dave
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Old 05-14-2004, 09:47 PM
RockyMtnRay RockyMtnRay is offline
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Default Re:"Smooth Talker" cellphone amplifier reviewed by TrailerLife

[quote author=dcrdark link=board=1;threadid=1762;start=msg13599#msg13599 date=1084582299]
Ray
Thanks for the information. We live in VA near the Blue Ridge Mountains. It's beautiful, but nothing compared to the Rockies. I'm thinking of using the Smooth Talker at our house, we live in a low spot and even though we have a tower about 5 to 10 miles away, we get poor coverage, about one maybe two bars. Would like to be able to use the cell phones more than we are now. I was wondering if I should go with the shorter or the longer antenna? Would you have any thoughts about this?
[/quote]
From what I've read, you'll probably do better with the short 2 inch antenna, counter-intuitive as that sounds...but put it in as high a place as you can (maybe even up on some sort of mast). The long antennae (like the 26) apparently are most effective in very flat places where the horizon is very distant. The differences have to do with the radiation pattern of the antenna in combination with how closely the antenna equals one half of the wavelength of the desired signal. 2 inches is a very close match for half the wavelength of the 1900 Mhz digital carrier (at least for my CDMA phoned...it may not be for your phone if it is a GSM or TDMA type). You might want to give the folks at Mobile Communications Technology a call or email (they're the relatively small Canadian company that makes the Smoothtalker) to see which of their antennae would be best for your phone and your geographical location....their phone # is 1-877-726-3444 (a toll call I think).

Quote:
Sorry for calling you the wrong name, I thought Rocky would be your nickname.
Again, My Apologies.
Dave
No problem and really no apology needed...several folks on various other forums have also mistakenly thought the base name in my nom-de-web is "Rocky" instead of "Ray". I just felt I should clarify things since we do have a forum member who does go by "Rocky" (IIRC, his membername is EPICSDUDE). For some reason, it's invariably been someone who lives in an East Coast state who's assumed I go by Rocky so I've concluded it must be one of those East-West things...here in the West "RockyMtn" is readily recognized as a place/geograhical atttribute and hardly anyone is named "Rocky"; apparently in the East "Rocky" is a more common nickname.
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