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Phone Experts Challange: External Antenna - Finding a phone for my brother

Discussion in 'Sprint Forum' started by dalbrich, Mar 27, 2007.

  1. dalbrich

    dalbrich Junior Member
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    I have a brother that lives in a remote location, most of the way up a mountain. Where he lives, Cingular and Verizon have been the only option for years -- and then only with a directional external antenna.

    He currently has TDMA/analog (AT&T Wireless legacy) Nokia 5160 phone.

    Sprint recently overlaid CDMA service in his area due to their synergy sites. i.e. They added CDMA to a former IDEN Nextel tower.

    My phone - Sprint PPC6700, when connected to the external antenna gets slightly better signal than his old Nokia did, and yes it is Sprint native signal.

    He doesn't want a PDA, and isn't very technology savvy, so I think he would hate the 6700 as a basic phone. I went to a Sprint store to see if I could look and see which ones have it, but the locking clips on the backs of the display-model phones obscure the antenna connector (or lack thereof).

    In addition, some phones that "do" have an external antenna connector aren't really practical for day-to-day use. My meaning is that some of these connectors (even when present) are really tiny, and not deeply seated. They are soldered onto the circuit board of the phone. What this means in practice, is that if you pull on the connector from an angle, even just slightly, you will break it-- and you may break the phone too!

    For example, the Samsung A900M has a test port under the battery cover, but with no support from the plastic case, and being just a little tiny connector, it is trivially easy to break it. I also had a look at the Moto Razr, but if you remove its rubber cap, again you will see a tiny connector without any depth (because the phone is so thin) and subsequently no support from the plastic case.

    Even the 6700 has a sort of wimpy looking connector, but it is deep inside the plastic case, and subsequently the connection is supported on all sides by the similar hole in the plastic case. From there, one can attach a piece of velcro both to the cable, and the back of the phone to keep any tension from the cable from reaching the fragile connector itself.

    So here's the 64 thousand dollar question:
    -----------------------------------------

    Are there any current Sprint phone models with a real external antenna connector? (other than the 6700).

    Equally good: Are there any past Sprint models with at least 1xRTT (Vision) or EVDO (Power Vision) support with a real external connector?

    I believe a Nokia 6185 would fit the bill except for the lack of 1xRTT data (or I assume it lacks that...)

    -Dan
     
  2. dalbrich

    dalbrich Junior Member
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    Following up to my own post...

    There are some phones with a real antenna connector. Nokia 6185 to name one (although pretty old). Some of the 1x phones might work too. Of the modern phones few if any actually have a usable antenna. Most that have what looks like an antenna port actually have something used as a test port, but not a functional external antenna port.

    In helping my brother, what I finally did is order a 1900Mhz repeater -- cost around $270. This enabled him to use a "normal" phone -- in this case the A900M in his remote location.

    -Dan
     
  3. Jay2TheRescue

    Jay2TheRescue Resident Spamslayer
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    Yeah, a repeater is a good solution. I know I have an external antenna that plugs into my Motorola V551 that I use in rural areas that works very well. I don't know of any CDMA phones with external antennas available though as I have GSM service, not CDMA.

    -Jay
     
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  4. WPSANTENNAS-MATT

    WPSANTENNAS-MATT New Member

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  5. dalbrich

    dalbrich Junior Member
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    Just FYI, we did try an external antenna with the A900M and I did think of drilling a hole for it. We tried it first with the battery cover removed. The connector on the A900M is extremely delicate and it appears that it could be broken easily.

    All this is just to say that the connector on the A900M or even the RAZR don't hold a candle to the durability of the old Nokia 5100/6100 series or even older Motos. YMMV.

    Thanks for taking the time to assemble a list, and to have it laid out so nicely. I'll definitely think of you next time I need an accessory.

    -Dan
     
  6. Jay2TheRescue

    Jay2TheRescue Resident Spamslayer
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    I liked the connector on my V60 and V551. They were sturdy and I never had problems with them. My StarTac's external antenna was the most comfortable to use, but the port deteriorated as the phone aged.

    -Jay
     
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