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How many times do we mention ''calling in'' - something. Be it a witnessed attack, suspicious behavior - even it could be a call to inform we have just shot someone!!

Fine - in principle, necessary even. But tell ya what - in my region anyways, so many dead spots, it might have a 50% success score at best. Where I actually live I am lucky to see one bar - on a good day, better known as ''no service''!

So - other than finding a house near with a land line - we could be SOL- yeah?

Then what? How about you guys?
 

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Before I had my cell phone I kept a small CB radio in my truck. My Step-Dad has that now as he's a radio junkie (short wave, HAMM and such). You make a good argument for getting a replacement.

We had a really bad - for our area - unexpected snowstorm about three years ago, it shut down most of Middle TN. Took my wife 2.5 hours to get home that day when it normally takes 15 minutes. The cell towers were so overwhelmed I had a hard time getting through to her with weather updates - another reason to not be overly dependent on cellular technology!
Jack
 

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This isn't really an answer to your problem, but I would suggest researching which cell company has the best coverage in your area, and possibly switching.

Another suggestion is an external vehicle mount antenna. I used to have a 50db gain truckers antenna (800mhz-1800mhz) on my old work truck. It looked like it had been stolen off of a ufo, but it helped.

I would also avoid those miracle antenna stickers they sell on tv and such. Passive repeaters are pretty much useless as well. You need one that actually plugs into your phone. If your current phone does not have a place for one, swap it for one that does. Before you do that though, you would do well to investigate. I have had two or three phones with the antenna plugs hidden. Sometimes the less honest, <cough>nextel<cough> cell providers will not tell you they are there in an attempt to sell you an overpriced "car kit".

Many people would not think of carrying a cheap gun, and won't be caught dead without their surefire, but will then go out and get whatever cell phone comes free from their cell provider.


If you don't mind me asking, which cell co are you with and what model phone do you have?
 

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Ask what other cell phone users, who their service is through and if it's any better. My sons service sucks, but mine I have very little problems, so been with them 5 years.
 

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The area that I moved from,in the extreme western mtns.of Maine,to this day has no cellular service,not to mention direct connect. When I first got there all we had was the old style mobile phone. I chose to get the bulkier old style with the better range of about 25 miles. Of course that was very dependent on atmospheric conditions. Finally we got smart and went together and bought a repeater and installed it atop the tallest mountain in the area. This worked pretty good. If you could hit the repeater with your 100 watt truck VHF, the repeater put out 750 watts. Good comm is a blessing. For those that don't have it,I feel sorry. Now in Fla.,we even hunt with a Nextel direct connect in our ear. Anywhere in NW Fla you can get full service. I have since donated 4 cellular phones and 2 digital pagers to a charitable cause. Now I can direct connect my friends all over the US,as long as they have Nextel. I now carry a cell phone everywhere I go. Not for the call that I might recieve,but for the call that I might have to make. --------
 

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For myself and I would guess most of the members here, if the cell doesn't work , we continue on without. Self reliance is a great attitude to have. Most areas we have coverage , except east of town.
While Hamm radios all are nice, I don't see a CB working in most cases.(atleast here)
 

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rocky said:
For myself and I would guess most of the members here, if the cell doesn't work , we continue on without. Self reliance is a great attitude to have. Most areas we have coverage , except east of town.
While Hamm radios all are nice, I don't see a CB working in most cases.(atleast here)
As rocky is saying, do the best you can with what you have. If you have a good phone with a good service (they all have good and bad points), you will always have "dead spots". If you can't get service, you have to make due with what you have available and then go from there. Try to make the right decisions, do what you need to do, and then get in touch with the right people when it is safe and available.
 

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If you don't mind me asking, which cell co are you with and what model phone do you have?
Bryan - I ''downgraded'' last year. I had a 2 year deal with Cellular One and because of my location/signal prob's gave that up - my ability to use free minutes etc was almost zero.

Because my cell phone needs are extraordinarily modest compared to many I did not feel like again setting up with a contract deal costing me near $500 a year. I asked around and checked out all the major deals - Sprint, Verizon, Cingular, Nextel - and found that none of these was very stellar where I live.

I opted to go simple - ''Simple Freedom'' in fact - a basic Nokia phone (3587) from Wally World. Minutes are pricey but - after purchase for $40 or so - I only put $20 to it every 2 months. So cost per annum a mere $120. Saves me a bunch. It is AFAIK using or hooked up to the Sprint network, which most folks seem to find quite fair.

Annoying thing is - within sight of me is a mast on Babcock Ridge - at about 3,000' plus and yet it seems none of the major providers are using it, yet. If that becomes a factor for improvement I'll get something better again.

On the road - due to terrain - also dead or weak spots everywhere so it is luck sometimes if you were stopped on roadside whether you'd have signal or not.
 

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About the CB radio: I was thinking more about being able to contact LE in an emergency. Several years ago I was driving to work one morning and came across a car that'd driven off the road and into the median ... directly into a concrete bridge Bent (center column support). Driver was unconscious and since cell phones were still relatively rare, I was the only one of three people who stopped that was able to call for help - just called on channel 9 and had a State Trooper on the scene w/i a few minutes. I have no idea what the outcome was then but at least I was able to get help on the scene.
Jack
 

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I have had Sprint PCS since 1999 I have never had any problems with their service or the two phones even the first one still works.

I have used it to call Gary Brommland when I place orders both when he was in Fl and Tn he sounded great.

A local TV news reported that Sprint had the best plan for this lady who used her cell for business. I really don't make many calls so I never use even my basic minutes.
 

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maclean3 said:
About the CB radio: I was thinking more about being able to contact LE in an emergency. Several years ago I was driving to work one morning and came across a car that'd driven off the road and into the median ... directly into a concrete bridge Bent (center column support). Driver was unconscious and since cell phones were still relatively rare, I was the only one of three people who stopped that was able to call for help - just called on channel 9 and had a State Trooper on the scene w/i a few minutes. I have no idea what the outcome was then but at least I was able to get help on the scene.
Jack
Most LEO agencies are removing CB radio capability from their cars. You may get lucky and someone may be monitoring ch 9 and call for you though.

I guess before there were cell phones we managed. We waited until someone came along or started walking until we found a house. I used to carry a butt set, so even if you weren't home I could make a phone call from the box on the outside of your house. With newer places they are mod jacks so any phone with a cord will do. The nice thing about the butt set is I didn't even need to walk all the way to the house. I just needed a junction box and I was in business. They lock the new ones though. In some areas you have to climb a pole, which I wouldn't recommend unless you have the correct gear.

-Scott-
 

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Scott said:
Most LEO agencies are removing CB radio capability from their cars. You may get lucky and someone may be monitoring ch 9 and call for you though. -Scott-

I wasn't aware of that, thanks for the heads up. Guess I'm just looking for a backup to the cell for those times when the towers are overwhelmed. So far it's only happened to me once but my office was hit by a tornado once too - that's why I keep a flashlight handy now. I may be slow, but I get there eventually! :yup:
Jack
 

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I have Verizon service here, even though the local phone company is Sprint. Their cell service (Sprint), along with Cingular, are amongst the poorest in the region. T-Mobile is good also. I agree with GoodSam, that just save your money on those "sticky antennas inside battery cover" stuff, and the passive repeater outside antennas. That is the biggest joke, but people eat it up, just thinking it works. Passive repeaters only work in the microwave region. I know, I installed plenty of them, along with the dishes, when I was on the "Tower Crew" as a lineman for the phone company. All it is, is a reflector, nothing more. Microwave is straight-line, thereby, aiming the Microwave dish at the passive repeater (usually on a mtn), there thereby "reflects" that signal, onto the next Microwave dish, or another passive repeater. If you ever drive along, and look up and see what you think is a "billboard" at the top, or on the side of a mountain, that is a Passive repeater. It's just a mirror of sorts, but made from metal.
I have one of the Wilson "Trucker" high-gain antennas on my pickup, for better coverage. What is hard about those, is finding the right connector to match up your cellphone, with the plug on the end of the coax of the antenna. There are so many cell phone models now, that Wilson cant keep up .
As for Ham Radio..... dunno..... I've been licensed for over 50 years (K6YDW), and living here in an area of 2 million people, and approximately 2000 hams, you can scan the 2 meter vhf bands anytime of day or nite, and not hear a soul. Dont know where they are, but they must be on their computers?? Only time you hear them, is when they are providing communications for a bike race, etc.
Dont know why I keep my license, but after all these years, cant see giving it up. Use it more in our RV travels, as usually meet another Ham on the road, and we can converse as we drive along.
Oh well.... I keep my cell on my bod when out and about, so guess I have to depend of it, if need be.
 

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When you dial 911 on a cell phone, it is possible for the cell phone to pick up another network to make the call, since it is an emergency call. This means that if you have a Verizon phone and call 911 in a no service area, the phone can connect to Sprint's network to make the call. 911 calls also have priority over other calls, so even if the network is full, your call should go through. The network should drop someone else's call to allow the emergency call to pass through.

Landlines aren't perfect either, though. About 5 years ago we had a hurricane which knocked out the 911 Center's communication lines. For several hours, when you called 911 from your house phone you got a busy signal. Definitely a major problem.

One other thing to remember, if you can't make a call on your cell because the tower is full, you can send a text message. All of the cell phone companies recommended that user's in Hurricane Katrina-affected areas use text messaging instead of phone calls. It doesn't use the same communication method so it won't be blocked like your phone call when the tower is busy. Text messaging won't let you get in touch with 911, but it will let you keep in contact with your family members during disasters.
 

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If you feel you must have a functioning phone at all times and places, the satelliite phone has global coverage; really expensive, of course.
 

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I havnet seen Channel 9 being monitered in a dispatch center for the past 10 years. However any cell that can reach any tower can dial a 911 call. Another was that was touched on is a hand held or vehicle mounted HAM radio. There are usually many people monitering them across the nation and they do have an emergency channel. A small hand held can reach alot of miles and a vehicle mounted one can cross state lines. I'm fortunate on the cell side I only have a few places that I cannot get service that I travel. If I felt a true threat, I would rent a satalite phone and or if it was a constant problem, sign up with a satalite service and use the emergency feature only.

One last thought, there are emergency beacons that are available out there that work off satalite. They have a 911 feature and if activated will dispatch the local law enforcement agency. However its a monthly fee (about $35) and a hefty fine for misuse (typically if you "accidentially" trip it more than once). If someone is truly interested I will get the information and post it.
 

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I live in PA and work in NY. (eastern half of both)

This is an area where you can't drive or walk more than
two miles straight line without running into houses , farms, or commercial buildings.
It's all Hills and river valleys too.

I have cell service ONLY at home - NO Land Line.

I have had service thru Verizon for 2 years , with no problems.
There are some dead spots , but they tend to be VERY Small.
 

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Get Sprint, mine even worked in the middle of the painted desert, WOW.
 

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I don't talk much on a cell phone so I went to T-Mobiles pay as you go. 100.00 for 1000 mins (good for 1 year) good any where TM has connections. It saves me about 379.00 over the 39.95/mo I had before (1 year contract). I have the phone mostly for short comms with the wife and kids when I'm out, AND just in case something BAD happens...:comeandgetsome:
My wife has the same plan. She's not high mileage on a cell either. This way we have 2 phones for less than we would for 1 contracted phone.. I'm not very rural, and about any company would work here.
Just a thought for some of you that don't have ANY cell phones and think you may need/want one some day..
CraigJS
 
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