I didn’t encounter this too much on the East Coast but in the midwest and over much of the intermountain West between the Sierras in California and the Rocky Mountains cell phone coverage is spotty at best. It doesn’t seem to matter which carrier you go with here in the Great Basin because they all have coverage areas where they work great and huge areas where there is little to no signal.
Not having a signal isn’t the end of the world, of course. People did without cell phones for, well, all of human existence until about forty years ago. By about ten to fifteen years ago nearly everyone started carrying a cell phone. Now, it’s difficult to find someone without a cell phone. Hell, even my grandmother has one. She doesn’t even have call waiting on her land line!
The ability to use a cell phone in the field, especially in some of the remote areas of the west, can mean the difference between a good day and a very bad day. I worked with a friend a few years ago that decided to take a shortcut to get to the town we were working in. The town was about five hours from the office. The shortcut was a very long (over fifty miles) gravel road. His tire blew out on that gravel road and, since the company had several field vehicles of different makes and models, he found out that his spare had a different bolt pattern than his hubs and it wouldn’t fit. No problem. He called the office on his cell phone and someone drove him out a spare. So, instead of sitting there for days with no one knowing where he was (he didn’t tell anyone he was taking that short cut) he sat for a few hours and was back on the road.
So, in those areas where cell coverage is poor it might be necessary to have a cell phone signal booster. Check out the video below:
MobilePro ($150 to $280). This little device receives a signal from a cell tower and boosts the signal from and to the tower. The advantage of this device over others is that it doesn’t hook directly to your device. It just sits in the vehicle and allows multiple devices to connect to it. You could run several cell phones and even a data connection from several devices such as tablets and computers.
Dual-Band Mobile Wireless ($260 to $430). This device is similar to the MobilePro but is mounted securely inside your vehicle and is not intended to be taken out. The MobilePro could be installed in a rental but this is not designed for that. The Dual-Band system is extremely powerful and has the ability to connect multiple devices.
Designed for one phone per cradle, the Sleek line of cradle boosters are designed to boost both voice and data signals and will also charge your device. They work best with hands free systems that allow the phone to sit in the cradle while you use it. This is a great option if only one person needs to use the cell phone and that cell phone has hotspot capability. You could leave the phone in the cradle, turn on the hotspot, and connect all the company computers and tablets for fast uploads of the day’s data. The cradle boosters range in price from $75 to $200.
So, be safe and stay connected with a cell phone signal booster. Wilson isn’t the only company that makes these boosters but they have been around for a long time and are highly trusted. I’ll certainly be picking one up in the near future. Anyone that works in remote areas and/or needs to upload secure company data from the field should have one.
Thanks for reading and I’ll see you in the field!