New here. Passive cell repeater 1900-2500mhz?

Discussion in 'Antennas, Feedlines, Towers & Rotors' started by FASTLINE, May 31, 2021.

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    Short story. In the engineering field but this is outside my lane! In an area with poor cell coverage but not exactly. I am 5mi from the tower and if I stand out on the dirt road, I have line of sight and can access the Sprint band 41 (2.5Ghz) with download tested at 250mb/s. The issue comes in that I am about 500ft off the main road in which band 41 is totally inaccessible and reverts to bands 25 and 26 with poor signal. I have tested up in the scissor lift and I certainly get signal if I am high enough. It is simply a matter of repeating the signal.

    Due to this drama, Sprint is sending me a SIM to access the 600mhz band which should cover better but probably poor data speed.

    Originally I figured I could just amp and rebroadcast the 2.5ghz until I realized I could not get an amp for that? Some FCC rule because it is too close to the typical 2.4ghz wifi bands?

    I have a few options I guess but because I can clearly see my dirt road 500ft away, I considered a passive double yagi to rebroadcast and turn the signal 90* over to me. But I have had conflicting advice on that, or if I can do a simple booster closer to the road and cover the property better? I am told "it does not work like that".

    Even if I get stuck using the 600mhz, I am sure it won't be well covered either because I am a bit low in elevation. I don't want to get stuck just having service inside a structure because it becomes a safety matter to have outdoor cell service on a farm.
  2. WB2WIK

    WB2WIK Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    Cellular service boosters are perfectly legal when properly certificated (in the U.S., by the FCC) and authorized by the service provider.

    They are active, not passive. They amplify the signal in both directions using a high-gain bidirectional amplifier and normally come with an antenna, typically a wideband log periodic directional antenna you'd aim at the cell tower providing the best service for you. The cable from the amplifier comes down into the house (or building) where it connects to a separate transceiver which in turn connects to an omnidirectional antenna that allows you to walk around in any direction and maintain service, usually for 100 feet radius (or maybe more if the area is fairly clear).

    These systems typically cost about $1000 complete, and in my experience they work fine. I set one up for a friend in quite a canyon about 70 miles from here in eastern Orange County, where his service was literally "zero" (no connection available at all) and is now rock-solid, $1000 and several hours later.:p We put his "omni" house antenna in his attic and it covers the whole house and also his front and back yard. The directional antenna with the booster amplifier is on a mast above his chimney at about 30' above ground.


  4. N5AF

    N5AF Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    Ditto to what WIK outlined. You may not have a choice in spending $1K (or more) when it is all said and done to obtain the service level you desire.

    How much acreage on this farm are you trying to cover? Trying to "repeat" or "boost" that level of cellular connectivity will likely present regulatory issues which you already seem to be aware of. If you are on Sprint, you have been assimilated into T-Mobile. Their 600MHz Band 71 service will be slower, but should still give you a more than adequate connection unless you have some insane data transfer requirements.

    If you had phones and a carrier that supported WiFi calling - boosting the cellular signal into the home with a good external antenna+router and then improving your local area WiFi signal might be a better route than trying to amplify the cellular signal on your property.

    Lots of good cellular connectivity information over here: They are geared towards the mobile and RV crowd, but the information about hardware, antennas, and cellular options is easily translated to fixed installations.

    My primary home internet is AT&T cellular. I'm 7 miles from the tower. Using a cellular router and a 700 MHz Yagi up about 25-feet, I get full bars of 4G LTE and 30-50MB upload and download speeds. I can't stream 4K video (and wouldn't want to), but for 99% of everything else internet-related, the connection is stable and plenty fine.

    If you wanted to have comms in and around your farm, consider getting your amateur radio license. :) There may be repeaters nearby that could be accessed with a 2 meter amateur HT for emergency communications.
  5. WB2WIK

    WB2WIK Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    I think you meant 30-50 Mb/s, but understood. That's actually enough to stream very HD video since everything on line is compressed and not native. Nobody's cellular connection no matter what it is could stream uncompressed 4K video, but that doesn't matter much since nobody's streaming that.:p

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