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Cell Phone in the Woods


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I've been reading some 'getting started' topics with people recomening that cell phones be taken with them as a safety measure. Now where in the world do you folks like that still have cell phone service in the woods. I'm in central california and as soon as I get into the hills and canyons my cell goes dead. The Diablo range is ust 3 miles west of my house. As soon as I drive 1/2 mile into that canyon.. nothing. As for the Sierra Nevada, cell service starts to go away as soon as the foothills start to roll. I'm sure that cell service is semi reliable on main coridors like I-80 and such..

 

My questions is, do most of you folks still have cell service when you head into the woods?

 

george

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I would guess that at least analog service is available in well over 90% of the continental U.S. If you don't have a dual-mode phone, the lack of an analog signal might account for some of the issues you are seeing. Also, coverage depends heavily on how close you are to a repeater, and on the terrain. For example, much of Texas is fairly flat, so it's almost expected to have at least analog service even in fairly remote areas. In really mountainous areas you may have to be on higher terrain to have coverage. I suppose if you are routinely going into an area that is completely devoid of any service and you suspect the reason is due to a lack of repeaters, you might want to consider a ham radio. If the issue is terrain, I doubt the ham radio will be any better, however.

 

Just some food for thought.

 

Scott / Brokenwing

http://www.cordianet.com/geocaching

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quote:
Originally posted by Scott Thomason:

For example, much of Texas is fairly flat, so it's almost expected to have at least analog service even in fairly remote areas.


 

I can however attest from experience that wherever my truck decides to breakdown is never covered; analog or otherwise. icon_rolleyes.gif

 

... Two roads diverged in a wood, and I--

I took the one less traveled by, ...

 

unclerojelio

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quote:
Originally posted by Scott Thomason:

For example, much of Texas is fairly flat, so it's almost expected to have at least analog service even in fairly remote areas.


 

I can however attest from experience that wherever my truck decides to breakdown is never covered; analog or otherwise. icon_rolleyes.gif

 

... Two roads diverged in a wood, and I--

I took the one less traveled by, ...

 

unclerojelio

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I've pretty much learned NOT to expect cell phone service in the woods, anolog or digital. A few years ago I was looking for a camp site in the sierra when I came across a man and woman looking for help. The man had found the woman on a old jeep road. She thought her boyfried was having a heart attack down the road aways where this guy's car could not go. My car wouldn't make it either so I tried to call for help...... NO SIGNAL. I pointed the people in the direction of the ranger station while I rode my mountain bike down to find the guy having problems. It took me a while, and when I eventually found him he had already been dead for a while. About 5 minitues later the rangers showed up in a 4wd.

 

george

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Here on the east coast I've maybe had no cell service once or twice. There are a few places that I can't get a lock but they are few and far between. I I've even used the phone to call my wife at home to check log entries for me on a particularly hard micro cache.

 

====================================

As always, the above statements are just MHO.

====================================

 

39478_400.jpg

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I agree that one cannot count on having cel service when they absolutely need it any more than you can count on having your GPSr in working order. I do, however, think that it is a good idea to keep mine on me when I am out and about by myself.

 

I sure wish I could get away to a place where mine didn't work...

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"I would guess that at least analog service is available in well over 90% of the continental U.S. "

 

I would guess that you are quite mistaken. Not even 90% of my State (Oregon) has cell service. Now sure, you can get it in most towns and cities, but really, that is a very small portion of the area here in Oregon.

 

Now, I have heard about a service that is set to go into place in a year or two, one which utilizes small transmitter/recievers, which will be sent up along with weather balloons nationwide, this is supposed to give service even in the most remote areas, with coverage almost as good as Satellite, I saw a news show on it on the discovery channel, it was fascinating. The little devices will be small, only cost about $300 bucks each, and though they are designed to parachute to the ground once the balloon bursts, the low cost of the unit makes them relatively disposable. It sounded fantastic, and if it works, it may even make the old towers obsolete.

Until then, if you are in a heavily forested area, or canyon or hills, you probably won't be able to count on your cell phone. Heck I live in the city and my house is in a dead zone, I can sometimes get very poor reception, but often none at all. I go a few blocks away, and I'm in business again.

 

Until Cell towers aren't fought every time they want to place one, or some new tech like the one I saw the news show about takes hold, cell phones will only be good in urban areas, or flat streches.

 

ummmm....not sure what to say here....so ummm, well errrr, uhhhh, well I guess that's it.

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quote:
Originally posted by RAD Dad:

I would guess that you are quite mistaken. Not even 90% of my State (Oregon) has cell service. Now sure, you can get it in most towns and cities, but really, that is a very small portion of the area here in Oregon.


 

Well, I hate to argue this since it’s way off the topic of geocaching, but I didn’t just make this up. To be honest, I actually low-balled the percentage somewhat. I have read on several occasions, (but didn’t have the sources handy) that the percentages may be closer to 95% or more of the continental US landmass has at least some cell service. For example, look at this coverage map of the US from AT&T, perhaps the largest single providers of cell service:

http://www.attws.com/personal/buy/pop_coverage_map.jhtml?offerType=DOR

 

I will be the fist to admit that the coverage shown is “ideal”, not real world. After all, even the webpage states:

quote:

This map is a general representation of coverage. Coverage areas shown are approximate. Actual coverage depends on system availability and capacity, system repairs and modifications, customer's equipment, terrain, signal strength, weather conditions and other conditions.


 

My point was not that any one person or even any one vendor has coverage of 90%, but that if you were to look at ALL cell providers, (there are about 50 that I’m aware of) there has been a real attempt in the past 20 years to try to cover almost all of our country. For example, in areas where one of the majors may not have coverage, a smaller provider may have set up a regional system to capture these under-served markets. Sure, no matter who you personally use to provide service, there will be dead areas, but it’s entirely possible that in an area where you don’t have service, someone else with a different provider and different equipment may have coverage.

 

Add them all up together, and I believe coverage is at least as widespread as I stated. If you still don’t accept that, please provide real data to back your claims. Perhaps the reports I’ve read and the data suggested by the coverage map above is wrong. If so, I would at least like some proof if you have it.

 

Scott / Brokenwing

http://www.cordianet.com/geocaching

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I don't think I've ever lost cell service on my phone while out caching (although I'm not wandering around with GPSr in one hand, phone in the other icon_wink.gif.) That might also be because I live in Florida, where hills aren't exactly common, and the closest thing we have to mountains are the sand dunes at the beach after a strong storm. icon_biggrin.gif

 

15701_700.jpg

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I don't think I've ever lost cell service on my phone while out caching (although I'm not wandering around with GPSr in one hand, phone in the other icon_wink.gif.) That might also be because I live in Florida, where hills aren't exactly common, and the closest thing we have to mountains are the sand dunes at the beach after a strong storm. icon_biggrin.gif

 

15701_700.jpg

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I've lost coverage in and around the outer boroughs of NYC due to buildings, train tressles, etc. Outside in the woods north in Westchester county for example, with the hills, you can lose coverage in and out as your bushwacking. I always take it though in case of emergency it is comforting to have around. Plus my wife and dog often sit in the car so she can stay in contact with me in case she needs me.

 

Also, I wonder if someones particular serviice may effect coverage when in "roam" areas. Not sure about the answer; maybe someone else does know more about this issue.

 

Alan

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quote:
Originally posted by RAD Dad:

I would guess that you are quite mistaken. Not even 90% of my State (Oregon) has cell service.

Until Cell towers aren't fought every time they want to place one, or some new tech like the one I saw the news show about takes hold, cell phones will only be good in urban areas, or flat streches.


I lived in central Colorado for 3 yrs and had my own business. I was at 9k ft, surrounded by mountains. The only way in or out was though a pass. My business basically lived by cell phone. In even most of the remote areas I had coverage. In the few areas where I could not get a signal my ham radio did work.

 

I also know people in the Dallas area that there coverage stinks in areas around town. I guess it depends on the company you are using and the number of towers they have. icon_cool.gif

 

inceptor

the only difference between men and boys is the price of their toys

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quote:
Originally posted by RAD Dad:

I would guess that you are quite mistaken. Not even 90% of my State (Oregon) has cell service.

Until Cell towers aren't fought every time they want to place one, or some new tech like the one I saw the news show about takes hold, cell phones will only be good in urban areas, or flat streches.


I lived in central Colorado for 3 yrs and had my own business. I was at 9k ft, surrounded by mountains. The only way in or out was though a pass. My business basically lived by cell phone. In even most of the remote areas I had coverage. In the few areas where I could not get a signal my ham radio did work.

 

I also know people in the Dallas area that there coverage stinks in areas around town. I guess it depends on the company you are using and the number of towers they have. icon_cool.gif

 

inceptor

the only difference between men and boys is the price of their toys

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Upstream from Alan2, we're getting good cell coverage on the hills. The valleys can be different. I'm not worried about not carrying one with me but I make it a point to have it with me all the time.

 

Harrold has the right idea, he calls and gets information about caches while on the trail.

 

kB

 

garyu2.jpg

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reception is very dependant on a few factors... depending on what your using, analog vs. digi... range is dependant on line of sight meaning a mntn or hill is going to kill the signal if its between you and the tower... its also dependant on the ceiling. if the ceiling is higher the signal can bounce off the clouds and potentialy over hills etc.

 

<-T 3 a |/| B a || d i T 0->

S [] U T |-| 3 U < |_ i D [] |-| | []

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Well, I always carry my cell phone while out and about, including geocaching. And with one or two obvious exceptions, like down a subway tunnel or below ground parking lots, I can't think of a place where I had no reception. And it's not a urban/rural flat area thing, because I have had no trouble picking up a signal in the mountains of West VA. And I have had no trouble with signals down canyons in NM. A lot depends on your cell company. For instance, for years, my home town - a suburb in between two major metro areas - was a dead zone for Cingular. And you still can't get Sprint PCS out here.

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And it's not a urban/rural flat area thing, because I have had no trouble picking up a signal in the mountains of West VA. And I have had no trouble with signals down canyons in NM. A lot depends on your cell company.

 

mountains east of the mississippi and mountains west of the mississippi are two different things. there are loads of towers on top of mntns in Virginia, WV etc etc... but try and get a tower on top of the Tetons, or the Sierra's. You get what im saying. as for the NM canyonlands... again ive had simular surprising reception in AZ... 4 hours from nowhere, and i had analog signal (half strength) again when your talking about towers that are designed to bounce off the ceiling (clouds etc) if the ceiling is high enough it can cover serious ground. these towers are usually deployed in areas where this type of coverage is desirable... i.e not along major highway's but for covering large areas with low tower density or no tower denisty... such as along both coasts of several great lakes. Sprint is towerspecific becasue of their network... no tower means no phone... Cingular on the other hand now has tower sharing agreements with virtually every tower operator in on the contenent. I have Cingular national and have used it all over including very remote parts of the coastal Kootenay (sp?) range in BC and on up into Yukon which blew my mind i even got reception in spots along the transcanada.

Another factor is that a digital signal carries less than analog. ever wonder why your battery life is less in analog mode... (or why your ear sweats more?) its becasue your broadcasting at a higher wattage in analog mode.

 

Im just ready for cell wifi.. bOOyaa as it stands now mobile internet via cell is ****e imho! to slow content stinks etc. 3 years and the infrastructure will be there for 2mg down via cell net icon_eek.gificon_eek.gificon_eek.gificon_eek.gif

 

<-T 3 a |/| B a || d i T 0->

S [] U T |-| 3 U < |_ i D [] |-| | []

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And it's not a urban/rural flat area thing, because I have had no trouble picking up a signal in the mountains of West VA. And I have had no trouble with signals down canyons in NM. A lot depends on your cell company.

 

mountains east of the mississippi and mountains west of the mississippi are two different things. there are loads of towers on top of mntns in Virginia, WV etc etc... but try and get a tower on top of the Tetons, or the Sierra's. You get what im saying. as for the NM canyonlands... again ive had simular surprising reception in AZ... 4 hours from nowhere, and i had analog signal (half strength) again when your talking about towers that are designed to bounce off the ceiling (clouds etc) if the ceiling is high enough it can cover serious ground. these towers are usually deployed in areas where this type of coverage is desirable... i.e not along major highway's but for covering large areas with low tower density or no tower denisty... such as along both coasts of several great lakes. Sprint is towerspecific becasue of their network... no tower means no phone... Cingular on the other hand now has tower sharing agreements with virtually every tower operator in on the contenent. I have Cingular national and have used it all over including very remote parts of the coastal Kootenay (sp?) range in BC and on up into Yukon which blew my mind i even got reception in spots along the transcanada.

Another factor is that a digital signal carries less than analog. ever wonder why your battery life is less in analog mode... (or why your ear sweats more?) its becasue your broadcasting at a higher wattage in analog mode.

 

Im just ready for cell wifi.. bOOyaa as it stands now mobile internet via cell is ****e imho! to slow content stinks etc. 3 years and the infrastructure will be there for 2mg down via cell net icon_eek.gificon_eek.gificon_eek.gificon_eek.gif

 

<-T 3 a |/| B a || d i T 0->

S [] U T |-| 3 U < |_ i D [] |-| | []

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Just remembered that ATT and Verizon for example use different technologies and because of that numbers of towers. Also the reason the phones are not interchangeable if you swap service. Don't know the difference but I thought I'd mention it.

 

Alan

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since I'm a girl, and my mom and a few of my aunts think girls aren't supposed to do this stuff by themselves...they insist that I carry it with me "just in case". Sometimes ya kinda have to do the "can ya hear me now?" dance until the reception clears up enough for them to call and give their speech of the day. Oh, did I mention that I'm grown, and have my own child? icon_rolleyes.gif Maybe if they'd let me drag them along once or twice they would see why I'm not scared. For the most part though, my cell DOES work in the woods.

 

And I can tell you that Buck8Points cell definitely works in the woods. And it works on my last nerve everytime we're in the woods looking for a cache! icon_eek.gif Never fails...he says, "watch for snakes" and then the phone rings and we continue walking and he slacks off to chit chat...and I have to watch for snakes myself icon_razz.gif Heaven forbid I actually run across one, I'd really be mad then LOL icon_biggrin.gif

 

=============

 

If life gives you lemons, squeeze the juice into a watergun and shoot other people in the eyes.

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since I'm a girl, and my mom and a few of my aunts think girls aren't supposed to do this stuff by themselves...they insist that I carry it with me "just in case". Sometimes ya kinda have to do the "can ya hear me now?" dance until the reception clears up enough for them to call and give their speech of the day. Oh, did I mention that I'm grown, and have my own child? icon_rolleyes.gif Maybe if they'd let me drag them along once or twice they would see why I'm not scared. For the most part though, my cell DOES work in the woods.

 

And I can tell you that Buck8Points cell definitely works in the woods. And it works on my last nerve everytime we're in the woods looking for a cache! icon_eek.gif Never fails...he says, "watch for snakes" and then the phone rings and we continue walking and he slacks off to chit chat...and I have to watch for snakes myself icon_razz.gif Heaven forbid I actually run across one, I'd really be mad then LOL icon_biggrin.gif

 

=============

 

If life gives you lemons, squeeze the juice into a watergun and shoot other people in the eyes.

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quote:
Originally posted by georgeandmary:

Now where in the world do you folks like that still have cell phone service in the woods.


 

I live in the Netherlands (Europe...), where we have service in 95% of the country. Even the worse networks have coverage in 90% of the country... including most of the forests. ONly problem area is a large national park, where transmitters can;t be placed.

 

--

Robert Elsinga =8-)

geocaching (at) elsinga.org

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I think that Cell coverage applies mainly to the populated areas of the USA, so that most of the populated areas are covered by Cellular service. There are some small communities that have poor to no Cell coverage, or they dont allow an ugly Cell Tower to spoil their community.

 

Here in Detroit Mich, I have poor cell coverage around my house, but I can get excelent coverage in the middle of a lake in a large Metropark, west of Detroit. Sounds backward here.

 

5_Rubik.gifMy home page about GPS units and information

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Hiking recently from one cache to another in Colorado Springs, CO, I realized that somewhere enroute mine was gone! I had done several caches and had sat a few time and did some fairly good climbing. Luckily I hiked back up the same way the next morning and found it.Mine clips over my belt..I think that I'm going to find a chain for the next caching trip. icon_rolleyes.gif

 

barondriver1.jpg

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Hiking recently from one cache to another in Colorado Springs, CO, I realized that somewhere enroute mine was gone! I had done several caches and had sat a few time and did some fairly good climbing. Luckily I hiked back up the same way the next morning and found it.Mine clips over my belt..I think that I'm going to find a chain for the next caching trip. icon_rolleyes.gif

 

barondriver1.jpg

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"request cell coverage map"

 

Well, all the cell coverage maps I've seen are really small (like 3"x4" or worse) and just show some kind of general graphic of a 1000 sq mile area, so that it's pretty much impossible to tell whether I live in or out of the coverage area.

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I keep my phone on one shoulder and the GPS on the other. I bought two of the cell phone pouches at the Big Orange Box, attached them to the shoulder straps of a Camelbak. The phone is there just because I can take it with me. The neat thing is the way the GPS receives signal on top of my shoulder. I'll see if I can get a photo....

 

KernBob

 

mifune.jpg

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I seldom have cellular coverage when Geocaching except when near some of the bigger cities here in Oregon. I always have it with me, however. It’s small enough that even on a long hike it’s no trouble. You just never know and it’s cheap insurance.

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Just saw a news release from Verizon Wireless about their coverage in California:

 

"Verizon Wireless Test Man Targets Northern California; Company Enhances Network in the Great Outdoors

 

5/13/2002 1:00:00 PM

 

Benefits Include Expanded Digital Wireless Coverage, Increased Call Capacity And Longer Battery Life in Rural, Recreational and Suburban Communities

 

SAN RAMON, Calif., May 13, 2002 /PRNewswire via COMTEX/ -- Verizon Wireless, the nation's largest wireless provider, has upgraded and expanded its digital network in several rural, recreational and suburban communities in northern California. Based on the findings of its local team of "Can you hear me now?" Test Man experts, the company launched a series of network enhancements near Auburn State Recreational Area, Gaviota State Park, Mount Diablo State Park, Lake Ming near Sequoia National Forest, Woodward Reservoir Regional Park, the city of Lamont and the San Francisco Bay Area.''

 

You can find the full release on CBS Marketwatch at this URL:

 

 

Verizon Wireless

 

Gary of Team Grayrun

 

Take care of the land. Someday, you'll be part of it.

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quote:
Originally posted by Echo2000:

Though I can see where it would be moot.

 

"Hello? Officer? Yes, I'm hurt. Would you please come get me? Yes, I'm by a tree. Surrounded by a bunch of other trees... with some dirt..."


 

Yes officer, I'm at N.... W.... Hurry, there is a FTF prize for the first one to find me.

 

george

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