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Cell phone reception on the Rock
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Uncle Steve
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 15, 2007 10:32 pm    Post subject: Cell phone reception on the Rock Reply with quote

Laughing Due to a great plan that Cingular/ATT is offering .. We are seriously considering changing from Alltel after 10 years.. Question.... Does anyone have Cingular/ATT, and how is the reception.. ? Alltel, was ok-good from the Bar to the Pines and slightly North West. Along the road and close to the water..
Thanks in advance for any information... Laughing
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Rosemary
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 16, 2007 7:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Uncle Steve


I have Verizon. I have the same reception as you and in the same places. No other plan is going to give you a much better signal. Heard the same from everyone that I know that has a cell on the island, no matter what the company.
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TonyDriza
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 16, 2007 7:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Uncle Steve, I've got T-Mobile, which up north roams to pick up NPI Wireless. It's a strong signal in the places you and Rosemary mentioned, and it's strong down to and past Snow Beach as well. I use it for the laptop at the cottage. Reception is pretty lame once I head into the interior...
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Conis
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 16, 2007 8:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Steve, I have Alltel, too. We both know the scoop on booster antennas etc. I can usually get 3-4 bars on Rocky road, without the roof antenna.

Eric Gibbons bought an entire amplifier/booster setup and mentioned he got reception over most of the south shore. Forget it in the interior until something happens and the island gets a cell tower.

If you are going to switch, make sure you aren't paying roaming on BBI. Alltell pretty well has ALL of northern Michigan covered. A lot of folks use Alltel and with the plan I have, can call mobile to mobile free.

There's more to it that this as far as "better reception tricks". As far as cell on the island, I'd stick with what you have. All these companies are competitive. If Cingular has a "great deal", Alltel will match it if they haven't already.

Also (I almost forgot) Do some comparison shopping on phones themselves. I am using an ancient motorola V60 which isn't really state of the art. A friend has a Nokia which will show 2-3 bars and not drop out when mine is dead in the water, (both on alltel) The newer phones are MUCH better than one ones even a couple years old. Another friend just ditched his V60 and bought a new motorola flip phone. Same results.
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Uncle Steve
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 16, 2007 8:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks guys, Thinking about switching is not due to a reception issue.. I am well aware of the problems with reception on the Rock.. The issue is the plan.. Conis I have checked with Alltel and they won't match it...or even come close as of yet, still working on it though.. #Mad #Mad There are no roaming charges, no long distance, ANY ATT land line phone no charge any time, any ATT Mobile no charge any time of day, Nights and week ends non ATT Mobile or land line no charge,.. and more.. But I am still working on Alltel to match it for the price 2 phones shared 700 out of plan min. 69.99 + tax.
This is through Sam's Club, and they represent most all the phone vendors... The Manager did a very in-depth review of our use and requirements and came up with the Cingular/ATT solution..
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Conis
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 16, 2007 12:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sound like you are way ahead of me in the homework department.

I think all the major carriers have recriprocal usage (no roaming). They wouldn't last long if they didn't.

Sonewhere on line is a site I found that was like a "cell phone freak info overload" site with plan comparisons, phone comparisons, coverage areas, YOU NAME IT. I was looking at it when all the discussion about a tower on the island was going around.

I'll see if I can find the link...
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Conis
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 16, 2007 12:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

[quote="Conis"]Sound like you are way ahead of me in the homework department.

I think all the major carriers have recriprocal usage (no roaming). They wouldn't last long if they didn't.

Somewhere on line is a site I found that was like a "cell phone freak info overload" site with plan comparisons, phone comparisons, coverage areas, YOU NAME IT. I was looking at it when all the discussion about a tower on the island was going around.

http://gallery.wirelessadvisor.com/

Compare Cell Phones & Service - Cingular, Sprint, T-Mobile ...Compare cell phones from 19 carriers and save with our free cell phone deals. Try your phone risk free for 7 days. Letstalk.com, the smarter way to buy a ...
www.letstalk.com/

This is good!

The 5 Phones With The Best Cell Phone ReceptionTesting which handsets have the best cell phone reception is a mamooth task. However, summing up individual experiences may bring us close to pinpointing, ...
http://cellphones.about.com/od/topcellphones/tp/best_signal_str.htm
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Last edited by Conis on Fri Feb 16, 2007 12:59 pm; edited 1 time in total
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NJean
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 16, 2007 12:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have always had Cingular and get great reception around most of the perimeter of the island, however, my reception was better with my old analog phone than it is with my digital phone. With the analog phone I could also get my phone to work near the Thompson Lake Campground, and occationally on our property North of Thompson Lake. Not true with my digital phone.

I think when I originally purchased a plan (many years ago) the dealer told me the analog would be better up north and digital was better in the city. He's a salesman, so I'm not sure how true this is.

Consumers Report has Verizon listed as better than Cingular stating that their advertising of of fewer dropped calls is not true, but I refuse to go back to Verizon due to some billing issues that took months to resolve.
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Conis
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 16, 2007 1:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

NJean

You salesmans wasn't pulling your leg.

Analog phones use a great deal more power to transmit, which is why they work better in rural areas with towers further apart. The down side is they use a lot more power, bigger batteries, larger size, etc. My first cell phone was a bag phone ($500) which transmitted at 5 watts. This would equal a 25mile range. Current digital phones transmit at 1/3 watt. 5 miles is pushing it. On the island we can get 8-10 line of sight across open water.

There are booster amplifiers on the market which boost your hand held phone to 3 watts. They are pricy. I see analog bag phones cheap on ebay. The trick would be to get the right kind and figure out if your carrier would authorize it for you. (good luck). Many carriers/towers are dropping analog service all together in 2008 since there are so few analog phones still in use. Uncle Steve would be one to discuss this since he is using an analog bag phone on the island, in his cottage, and tells me it works well down by Layfayette point.

Not to get techy here: I bought an external roof mount antenna that plugs into my phone. HUGE difference. I have a metal roof which otherwise blocks signals.

Doing a little research and talking to a technician... I learned how to get to an "inside" menu on my phone which shows signal strength from surrounding towers. There are 3-4 along US 23 any of which might be used from BBI. Calls are sometiems dropped when the phone continually switched back and forth between towers. Anyway, I was able to change a setting that keeps the phone locked on one tower after it initially chooses the one with the strongest signal. That solved a lot of problems.

BBI needs a cell tower. Not just for the island but for the amount of traffic passing through the straits. That would solve everyones problems with out tricks and gizmos, and make the area a lot safer in an emergency. Getting that accomplished would require involvement with the township...
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Kevin Gibbons
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 16, 2007 2:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think there all a bunch of crooks. Any time that you have to sign a contract for phone service means that they are trying to get you some where. If they didn't have a contract and relied on there service, then they all would be hurting.
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Al'sOtherSister
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 16, 2007 5:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Kevin ~ They try to get you, but if you learn all the tricks sometimes you can get them! #evil

Last year up on the Island I had my new razor, it worked great all over, I hit acouple of bad spots on the north shore, but had atleast a bar everywhere I went. I have Alltel. I had a V60 before, that really sucked!
They (the people at my sam's) said that the phone really does matter in these out of the way places.

Hope this helps!

Lisa
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Squeaky
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 16, 2007 6:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

My ATT/Cingular works fine. As far as everywhere on the Island, not sure, but it did work fine when we did use it. And we are not on any certain plan. We are on the deal where you buy your minutes, how many minutes you want each month. And we like it. Your minutes sure can add up and this is good. Our Verizon works great also. But I do agree, a cell tower would be the best for everyone.
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boisblancgirl
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 16, 2007 8:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Uncle Steve,

We had Cingular for almost 2 years and the reception sucked unless you were on the main road in the Pines area. We have Alltel now and it works GREAT for us!! Just a few spots that have no signal, but no matter what you get you are going to find it hard to get signal in most of the same spots. We have also had Cellular One and that was worse than Cingular. If I were you, I wouldn't make the change.
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Rob
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 16, 2007 9:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

We switched from Centennial to Nextel in the beginning of October. We're thrilled with the difference. With Centennial I would drop calls while standing on the beach looking at the lights of Mac City. #Mad Probably for the same reason Conis mentioned; phone automatically switching towers searching for the best signal. We've only been to the island once since the phone purchase and the performance was great from our place. Not so sure inland though.

I know you run the roads a lot so this might interest you. I can carry on a conversation from Coopersville all the way home to Big Rapids and never drop signal. With Centennial I would routinely lose the call around Alpine Ave by the weather ball and then from about Cedar-Rock exit to Pierson exit coverage was spotty at best. When I wrecked my car on M46 between Kent City and Cedar Springs last Sept and really needed to make a call there was no coverage, gal with a Nextel handed me her phone and had four bars.

We have unlimited direct connect (walkie-talkie) minutes, free nights/weekends start at 7PM and end at 7AM, 700 anytime minutes, $69.99 for two phones. The phones (i870) can also be switched to straight walkie-talkie mode if there's no cell tower available. I got them at letstalk.com

Can you tell I'm impressed? Very Happy
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TonyDriza
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 16, 2007 10:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It really comes down to 'horses for courses' in the end. I've had them all, and in different situations, they've all been great, or lousy. I had Nextel for a while, thought it was great until I tried to communicate with my loved ones during a few solo Chicago - Mac races. It then became 'No-Tel'. Truth is, some are better than others, at different places.

Something to consider - with the increasing use of cells for wireless laptop, you might want to look into something that doesn't cost you an arm and a leg if you roam while wireless. The T-Mobile that I have will break the bank if you stay connected while roaming (unlimited free minutes if you are on the T-Mobile circuit). I can sit in the Adirondack on Snow Beach and surf the web to my heart's content - I just have to remember to log off when I'm ready for a nap. In Grand Rapids with the T-Mobile tower, I never have to turn the 'puter off - $20/month covers it all...On the other hand, if you wander down to Hawk's Landing for a sandwich and a beer with your laptop, you're in good shape with their wireless connection. I bought a Sunfish on Ebay there last summer while having lunch, and wouldn't have gotten it for the price I did were it not for the signal and speed (thanks Larry!).
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theeislandgirl
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 17, 2007 3:00 am    Post subject: cell phones Reply with quote

When we had our old Analog phones .. they worked everywhere !!
first trip out to see my Jolinda my daughter in the middle of no where in nevada my new phone would not work !! But the old Analog did ... I wished we had not changed so soon ..
We have Cingular ... The gal told us that they were going to get rid of the Analog one of these days .... so that is why we switched to a newer phone and the fact that the older phones were getting pretty beat up . All the city folk that came to eureka nevada could not use the newer phones ...
When I go home to alaska my new phone works wonders there ...
We have been with that company over 6 years now ... I like them and do not plan to change ..
What I am planning to do is call Att and see what they have to offer .. as we have our home phone and computer hooked up with att and yahoo ... Att bought out sbc ...
The phones on the island were almost useless .. we do need that tower on the island in case we need it for life and dealth or things close to that ...
It will be a while yet unless the township gets right on it .. it is the township right ?? Never know you know ... they might jump right on it ...
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Squeaky
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 17, 2007 2:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

We too had to get rid of our old phone. And that good old phone worked anywhere and everywhere. We were notified by ATT/Cingular that as of ( I think ) it was Dec. 31, 06 we could no longer use it and we would loose our minutes if we did not change.. So in turn we got a new phone free and here we are. The little buggar works great. We all think we have the best. Laughing To many phone companies........ BBI needs a cell tower and then everyone would have the best-be happy.....
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theeislandgirl
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 18, 2007 1:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

thumbs_up!

Squeaky !!
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 19, 2007 11:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

We've had Cingular for years now. Good coverage around the perimeter of the island. Spotty signal inland. I used to have to walk down to the water's edge to guarantee that a call wouldn't be dropped. But, since ATT/Cingular merged, my signal seems to be much stronger. I can now talk from anywhere inside our cottage and can get a signal, a little further inland. There are still a few dead spots though. Overall, I'm very satisfied with Cingular. About a year ago, I switched our home phone to a third line on our cellular contract. (Kept the same phone number) That has worked out well. My cell is $59.99, with free nationwide long-distance and no roaming. Plenty of roll-over minutes, free nights and weekends, etc.... My wife's phone and our "home" cell phone share the minutes/features, and are $9.99 per month, each. We now take our "home phone" with us, when we head up north for the summer. All told, we have three cell phones, and no land-lines, for about $90 per month.
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theeislandgirl
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 21, 2007 11:25 pm    Post subject: cell Reply with quote

Its Time for John and I to check on the plans with Cingular ...

West End piper ... your plan with them sounds pretty good ... sounds alot like ours .. I am going to check to see what we are paying and getting in return for it ... compared to your plan ...
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islandnana
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 23, 2007 8:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Uncle Steve

I use my Nextel/Sprint phone just about in front of your house as it won't work around the corner. We are also able to use them in several areas around the island....no more going to the dock to use the phone. As for the antennaes we bought the little one for the vehicle which was a waste. Also called about another antenna you could buy to put on the house but you had to be able to get a couple of bars on the cell phone before it would work. If I remember right Conis told me about that one. Maybe someday in the future the island will catch up to the outside world. Laughing
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Conis
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 23, 2007 9:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

There are several different "schemes" used by different carriers. Some work better than others depending on where you are and how much local coverage support there is.

Nextel/sprit is a "PCS" system. As far as I know, the only supporting PCS tower is in Cheboygan, possibly one west toward Mac City. This means as you move down toward the ferry dock and can see Cheboygan, you will get better reception. On the east end... probably spotty at best.

Mount pleasant has Sprint PCS service. Works great in town. 4-5 miles out, nothing.

Altel, Verizon and others use a more established "CMDA" scheme which operates at a lower frequency, carries better over water, and is supported by just about all towers regardless of who manages the tower. There are several along US 23, East and west.

With my plug in truck antenna, I can get coverage at the landing on Lake Mary, Lake thompson, GOOD strong coverage on the west end. Dead spots here and there. Nothing north of Thompson on firetower road. So basically all of the south shore and and a mile or two in. I have alltel.

A lot more to it that most realize. Basically it amounts to picking the best carrier in the area you will use your phone the most.

http://www.cellreception.com/towers/ map of towers in Cheboygan and along 23.
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Al'sOtherSister
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 23, 2007 9:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Remember the v60 you so admired, Conis?
I went off the road with my tracker, acouple years back, on the road going out to the north shore. Thought I could get over enough for two cars to pass...duh!
Well, called Al on my v60, with one bar, got him and got pulled up, onto the road. That lil piece o'crap phone worked when I needed it. Had to stand on my head, legs a flayling around and sticking my tongue out for extra coverage!! Very Happy
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Conis
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 23, 2007 10:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

V 60 moto was front edge 4 years ago.

Have to admit my still works pretty well. Needs a new antenna.

Friend of mine bought his about the same time and had nothing but problems.... really poor reception, anywhere. Bought a new antenna and hat it "tuned". Still a lemon. Just recently he ditched it and bought a current motorola flip phone (not razr). Gets two bars where his V60 was zippo. Maybe he just got a loser phone?

Of the three phones we have , two are V 60s. Guess I shouldn't complain. They do all I need them to do. I really don't need or want a camera, ringtones email and all the crap. I think mine will do text. Never used it.

My daughter had one. Got stolen, they took the battery out and gave it back. Gee... how thoughtful of them. Another story going no where. Only to say I had to buy a new battery which turned out to be a 2x power double thinkness job,,, then the case wouldn't fit so a new case, too $100 into a $10 phone... which is the phone I am using now.
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Al'sOtherSister
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 23, 2007 11:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Bought 2 v60's when we first set up with Alltel. Mine I had for close to 5 yrs? I think..
My husbands went in a grout bucket, on the jobsite. I was calling him, with no answer, then he told me what happened. I laughed so hard thinking of that phone just a' gurgling as it rang. Of course it was dead, but just the thought made we crack up. He did that about 2 yrs into the contract, and I had insurance on his phone.

The 14 year old ended up with the v60, it finally went to it's grave, not able to hold a charge, about 2 months ago. Less the antenna...
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