Cellular Passive Repeaters-do they work?

A coworker was asking about these (example) for use in his house as opposed to a car, thinking that maybe he could put it on his kitchen window and be able to get better reception. (My impression is that he gets reception but often gets static). I’m not even sure how something like this can help much without external power, I guess it just helps the signal get through the window.

So, for $25.00 is this a good product? Does anybody use one of these?


I used to sell cellular and two-way radio products.

The passive antennas used to work rather well, with the caveat that you must be less than 5 feet from the antenna. So for in-home use you would have to stick numerous ones all over the house.

I used one on my car when my old 800 MHz analog phone was having trouble finding a site, and it improved markedly. However, with the explosion in cell sites and digital transmission, this product is really no longer useful, IMHO.

When will the reverberations of that explosion be felt here? Seriously, are there projections as to when “can you hear me now” will be passe? I often have calls drop in my area, and I have been places (Cooks Forest State Park for example) http://www.dcnr.state.pa.us/stateparks/parks/cookforest.aspx where a Ranger told me to make a call I could drive north 15 miles.

Digital makes sense in high population density areas, because you can have more simultainious calls/bandwidth.

However, due to timing issues and the finite travel speed of radio waves (same as light…fast, but still finite) digital suffers from a “hard” range limit of ~15 miles between your handset and the tower serving you.

Digital thus makes no sense in low population density areas, where there is enough bandwidth using old analog technology. Using better antennas, 30 mile range is possible, requiring only 25% of the cell sites to cover a given area.

So, if one of the reasons for carrying a cell phone is “In case I break down out in the boonies” an analog capable (tri mode) phone makes a lot of sense, though usually this means forgoing a lot of other neato features like cameras, MP3 players etc.

Antennas like that are only really good for redirecting your signal. For example I have a customer that has his office in his basement; he gets no reception, 0 bars of signal. He took something similar to this and put it outside the basement window and ran a cable down to his desk. When it’s plugged in he gets enough bars to make and receive calls. I don’t know if it would make that big of a difference in your car. What company does your friend use? There may be alternatives for him.


There would be no real reason to forsake the high end features in an analog phone (they don’t have them, but they technically could) a camera and an MP3 player would work just fine. What would get lost is the Data side of things. There would be no way to get E-mails or text messages (and contrary to popular belief, that stuff is a huge reason people buy phones, I would say more than 50% of my customers ask about txt in the first 3 questions) Also the enhanced E911 wouldn’t work. Right now if you call 911 from your cell phone and don’t tell them (or more often don’t know) where you are they can still track you. With analog they can only triangulate based the signal reception from the 3 closest towers.