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marybeth
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PostPosted: Thu May 26, 2005 11:53 am    Post subject: Here's a question Reply with quote

Well, Its only a little over a month untill I get to come and see this great island I keep reading about and I have a few questions. How is the cell phone reception up there? Do you think I will be able to send and receive calls up there? How is the weather up there the first week in July? I know it's Michigan and anything is possible but I thought someone might have some insight. And as far as firewood, I know I can't bring it from home but would it be a better idea to buy it on the island as far as cost and quantity or should I grab some in cheboygan? I'm sure I'll have a million more questions before we get there but that's all I have now. I can't wait to meet you all.
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Troy
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PostPosted: Thu May 26, 2005 2:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Cell phone reception is okay, its better near the water and the further inland you get, the worse the reception. I haven't been up duiring the first part of July in a long time, but I think it is usually pretty cool in the morning, mid to high 50's and then it warms up during the day, high 70's. Someone correct me if I am wrong. I have never had a problem finding firewood to burn while on the island, but I think it is still safe to bring it from Cheboygan. I think the infectious bugs are still down state and into Ohio.
Hope that helps!
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PostPosted: Thu May 26, 2005 3:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I would get the wood on the Island.. Ash Borer now in Grand Traverse Co.. Plaunt's may not allow it on the ferry.. Better check on that and be safe.. Troy is right about the cell reception and weather.. Warmer is definitely possible.. Cool Very Happy Have an excellent time!
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Squeaky
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PostPosted: Thu May 26, 2005 7:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have heard that the cell phone reception coming in or going out is horrible on the Island. Is there a public phone?
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pilotkid
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PostPosted: Thu May 26, 2005 10:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The current products that the Nat. Weather Service is putting out are forecasting a cold and wet summer, much like last. At least down here (Muskegon) it hasn't appeared that way yet, but we have had cooler temps and more rain than usual, but also our share of hot sunny days as well. Like you said, it is "Michigan weather". Anythings possible.
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bknoll
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PostPosted: Fri May 27, 2005 6:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes Troy......Many infectious bugs in Ohio called Buckeyes!!!!
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Cindy Childs
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PostPosted: Tue May 31, 2005 7:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Get your firewood on the island, there are lots of dry dead trees, and I'm sure you'll be able to buy firewood too. You are not allowed as of this March to transport any firewood from the lower peninsula to the upper. The DNR has a check point at the bridge to inspect for firewood, and they are fining this summer. The emerald ash borer was found in October at Cheboygan State Park, according to the DNR, but seemed to be contained in some firewood that was brought in, the DNR are asking for groups or individuals to volunteer for a study groups to look for the EAB, the Landscape professionals publication printed an excerpt from MSU that shows there is a treatment for the trees that has pretty good success rate in eliminating the problem. It was used for three years in the McComb CO area 3 years ago and has been proven successful. So the trees do not need to be removed. But we sure don't need them on the island. They also think that the EAB will ride in lumber, so if you bring building materials from south of Cheboygan, please inspect for EAB, DNR can tell you what to look for. I'll get off my eco-horse now Smile
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Dave Coombs
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 02, 2005 4:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

There is a public telephone in the shed at the ferry dock. I don't know of any other ones.

Dave
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Cindy Childs
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 04, 2005 7:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Our Verizon phones work on the shore, and on the ferry really well. We have a stump in the yard out by the lake and if you stand on it and turn just right you get reception too! Rolling Eyes Really, I stand on the stump to get better reception..."Can you hear me now??"
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Conis
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 04, 2005 8:38 pm    Post subject: Cell Phones on BBi Reply with quote

A Tip:

I think the cell towers are in town/Cheboygan (Obviously not on BBi). Radio waves travel well over water and "reasonable" reception can be had on the south shore (only).

I have a similar problem in Afton, with the tower only a mile away. I am down an a valley, there.

At Radio Shack in Cheboygan, they sell cell phone booster antennas which will plug into the back of your phone (take your phone in with you to match adapter plug). Cost is $25 or so, complete. These antennas have a magnetic base mount and about 15' of coax cord (they are not a phone add on exactly, but external). The adapter to connect this antenna cable to your model of phone is specific to your phone. Just get the right stuff and plug it into your phone. The RS people can help you

If you can get marginal reception, this will make a difference.

I have mine semi permanently placed up in the attic to get it up in the air as high as possible. 2-3 bars with it, no service without. When I get there, I simply take my cell phone inside and plug it in to the antenna. Set in on the shelf. 90% of the time, as good as a landline.

This wouldn't be a solution all over BBI but might help of you can get spotty/iffy reception along the south shore or slightly into the interior.

The Cheboygan Radio Shack store is about one drive north of Walmart, in a little mini plaza by the Sec State. The only place I have found these. They DO work, I have picked up a few for friends. Also Have one in my pickup for hinterland usage.
C
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Uncle Steve
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 05, 2005 6:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Very Happy Conis.... is this what you are talking about ?



Wireless Phone Universal Antenna

$31.99 Brand: RadioShack
Catalog #: 17-345





Availability On-line: In-stock In Store: Check availability
Phone: In-stock 1-800-THE-SHACK (1-800-843-7422)

(Pricing and availability may vary outside the contiguous 48 United States.)


This antenna provides up to a 3dB passive gain to improve signal reception—this can be especially useful in fringe regions and drop-off coverage areas. For use with antenna adapters #17-346 (Motorola V120/T193/120T), #17-347 (Samsung N200/N300/N400/A400), #17-348 (Motorola T720) and #17-206 (Nokia® 5100/6100/7100).

PRODUCT FEATURES
• For use in-car or in your home
• Works with most wireless phones
• Includes stand for using the antenna on your desk, and suction cups for attaching the antenna on a car window
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Conis
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 05, 2005 9:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Uncle Steve:

I looked at the product you described... Looked kind of lame and am not sure how well they work. Seemed like they are more designed for inside use, only

The antennas I mentioned are available only at the Cheboygan RSstore and not a RS stock item. I have tried to get one at other RS stores and they had no idea what I was talking about. I looked them up on line (source) and the price was about the same (plus shipping) so I buy them when in Cheboygan.

Cell phone reception around Cheboygan County is P-poor except along major highways, and sometimes spotty at that. Cheboygan RS must sell a lot of these antennas in consideration of this.

This antenna is designed for use on top of a car or trunk. It has a magnetic base with a rubber pad under it. The actual antenna is maybe 15" tall with a center loading (amplifying) coil midway up. From it is 12-15' of coax cable which connects to a short phone-specific adapter cable. I think the antenna is $17.95 and the adapter $5-6.

I think the gain is 7db which is substantial. For $25 (complete) I think they work really well, 90% of the time...

Beyond that, there are commercially made amplifier-boosters which require antennas on masts. Entry level is around $300/up. A lot of change. I am not sure how much better these would work.

I have one mounted on a metal plate, on a pipe mast in my attic. Ran the cable through the ceiling into the kitchen. Had to tinker around some to find the best location. I get very good reception with it, and zippo without.
The further up in the air the antenna can be located, the better it will work.

I am experimenting with a metal shield behind the antenna to further amplify the signals from the closest tower and block another. Sometimes, the phone will switch from one tower to the other (further away) and the call gets dropped. Results are still up in the air.

Fortunately, I have a friend who is heavy into Ham radio and knows all this stuff. He suggested getting an old TV sat dish which could be pointed toward the cell tower and the RS cell antenna mounted out at the focus point where the dish receiving electronics were formally located. The concept being the dish would amplify and focus both incoming/outgoing signals directly to the tower. Sounds good on paper. The smaller tv sat dishes are being upgraded and changed all the time. Probably get an old obsolete one for $10 from a dealer. Obviously, this would be suitable for a "permanant" mount on a building with line of sight to Cheboygan.

I am pretty sure that anyone along the south shore, that can manage to get marginal cell phone signals (as in standing on a stump) could use one of these with success. For $25, might be worth finding out?

Research is ongoing. I am doing a study about it. If I come up with anything else that is cheap and works, I'll let you all know.

C
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Uncle Steve
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 05, 2005 10:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Laughing Conis.. Thanks for the update, I almost bought one like I described...
I will be in Cheboygan Wed/ and on the Island Thursday... I'll keep you posted on the "TEST " I have an Alltell phone... That's an "A " tower I believe..
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Conis
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 05, 2005 11:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Uncle Steve:

I am also using Alltel service, which seems to be the only show in town around the straits. I have no idea if the tower is an ABCD or E. I have an older motorola flip phone (V60?). One tip I forgot to mention is to put the cable which attatches to the plug which inserts into the phone... under the belt clip holder thing if you have one. This prevents the plug from popping loose when the phone is being handled.

I will look around on the net and see if I can find the same product I have tried to describe. Please stand buy while I study this.
C
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Conis
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 05, 2005 11:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

http://www.alternativewireless.com

I didn't find the exact product that Radio Shack sells, but many similar external magnetic mount cell antennas. As good or better. Man, there is a lot of stuff out there to wade through. For the $25, the radio shack job is probably as good as others similar. When you are done with it on the island, you can use it on your car coming/going.

One item I did come up with is called a "yagi" amplifying and highly directional antenna. Perfect for the south side of BBi. Put it on a pole and point it toward cheboygan. Need to study up on this some more, several different sizes for different frequencies and tech stuff. Those cost around $100. One of those would be the ultimate solution for a permanant cottage cell phone antenna.

****************************

Researching this a little more, I came up with http://www.mycellularsolutions.com/. Very informative and they have all the equipment and info a person would need if they wanted to install a cell phone antenna on a house/cottage to reach Cheboygan. Claim up to a 50 mile range in/out with directional antenna and amplifier set up. But is costs more than the $25 Radio Shack job. Check it out.

C
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Uncle Steve
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 05, 2005 3:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wink Thanks Conis.. I checked the site.. looks good.. I will still buy the RS one you speak about., since I have a place in the Barryton area also, and as you know that is 1/2 bar country...
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Conis
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 05, 2005 4:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I am all to familiar with Barryton (up the road from homestead Blanchard). It is indeed half bar country, depending on which bar you go into?

I edited the post after finding the celluar solutions site. Is this the one you checked out?

I have two of thses RS antennas and leave one on my pickup. It does make a difference. Know 3 others using them and they like them too.

I am going to look into this yagi directional antenna for the afton cabin. The tower is close enough but keeps switching towers because it is a weak signal in the river valley.

Let me know how it works for you.

C
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Kacy_Martin
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 05, 2005 7:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

you could also build yourself a parabolic cell phone antenna (definatelly not FCC approved), but they are supposed to give you a greater range on your reception Wink

http://www.usbwifi.orcon.net.nz/
http://www.usbwifi.orcon.net.nz/cellbear.jpg
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Uncle Steve
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 05, 2005 8:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Laughing That would follow Conis' previously mentioned above satellite dish idea.. Sort of
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Eric Evans
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 06, 2005 9:01 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm suprised that with the new phone tower they put in last year no cell companies have attached their antenna. It would really help in the event of an emergency back in the woods or on one of the inland lakes. Perhaps I should mention this to Cingular so I stop roaming into NPI Wireless. Consider they'd be renting the tower space, maybe the added revenue would be enough to keep the local phone co from raising rates as quickly...but I doubt it.
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Squeaky
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 06, 2005 9:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

So very true Eric. They need to improve. Would be so beneficial to everyone-residents and tourists. thumbs_up!
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Conis
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 06, 2005 11:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Eric Evans wrote:
I'm suprised that with the new phone tower (where???) they put in last year no cell companies have attached their antenna. It would really help in the event of an emergency back in the woods or on one of the inland lakes. Perhaps I should mention this to Cingular so I stop roaming into NPI Wireless. Consider they'd be renting the tower space, maybe the added revenue would be enough to keep the local phone co from raising rates as quickly...but I doubt it.


Couple comments:

If a tower has been erected on BBi, then I would asume it is only a matter of time until service(s) is installed. Then this all would be moot.

I am not so sure about other services: Here (blanchard) locally we use alltel because at the time it was that or nothing. For the most part, I can get decent service anywhere in Northern Michigan without roaming charges as they have reciprocal agreements with most other services.

If anyone choses to try one of the radio shack magnetic antennas I have been discussing, OFF OF A CAR, The antenna should be placed on something metalic which serves as a "ground plane" I used a 15" metal serving tray as a base. Without it gain is not all that great.

I emaied celluar solutions re the permanant mount "directional -yagi" antenna.

This might still be a solution for thos on the south shore with a clear shot to Cheboygan. Response is as follows:



Quote:
Alltel runs on an 800MHz frequency in your area. Since you are using your system in a fixed location and will always be operating on the same frequency, you can implement a 800MHz single band direct connect amplifier into your current set-up and obtain full bars. The amp is not listed on our website since it is not recommended in a mobile application, but can be referred to as part #811101. This amp retails for $195.00 and requires an AC/DC adapter (part #859903) which sells for $19.95.

The 800MHz yagi could be considered as an option but a directional antenna will not work in a ravine if you do not have line of sight to the tower. Make sure you are using low loss cable going to the roof to enhance reception. Feel free to call if you would like more info.

Bill
Cellular Solutions

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Eric Evans
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 06, 2005 2:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The new tower is sitting next to the old tower. You can totally see it when looking west from the state dock.
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Conis
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 06, 2005 4:03 pm    Post subject: kind of interesting Reply with quote

http://www.cellreception.com/

Found this site showing cell tower locations. Several around Cheb and between Mack City.

Enter in "Cheboygan" in type in box, also "mi", > GO.

Brings up a list of the towers, most are in use by more than one carrier. Also exact coords (GPS). Click on "view map" and it will show location.

This might be handy if anyone want to get into a directional cell antenna, to determine bearing/heading to a specific tower from a specific place on BBI

I suppose there will never be one on BBi for the cost of the equipment and limited seasonal use by so few. I would think Mac island would have one first and that would work for BBI, or at least be a big help.

C
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autumn
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 06, 2005 6:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

we don't use and don't want to use our phones up there. we did put in a land line incase we had an emergency that far out. because we can not get any reception anyway unless the breeze is just right and your pointing in the right direction with your foot in the air and your arm extended. so we would just rather not bother we don't want tv either.
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