I have a cellphone problem.

By erwin1978 · 22 replies
Jul 2, 2002
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  1. I just got my first cellphone yesterday: a Motorola v60t with At&t. As this is my first cellphone experience I don't know what is standard quality of service. My concern is that I'm getting dropped calls inside my home and sometimes the busy signal is distorted, fades in-out with static in certain parts of the house. Is this normal for indoors?

    Also, any of you use those signal amplifiers, especially the one I see in commercials all the time? It's that metallic tape-like thing that you put on the back of the phone and supposedly it boosts signals and prevents dropped calls. Does it really work and is it worth the money?

    I am aware of cellphones causing health problems due to radio frequency(RF) radiation from the antenna. I've been doing some research on the net and according to CNET.com the motorola v60c(same phone for sprint PCS) has a 0.42W/Kg(watts per kilogram) rating.

    "According to the Cellular Telecommunications Industry Association (CTIA), SAR or specific absorption rate is "a way of measuring the quantity of radiofrequency (RF) energy that is absorbed by the body." For a phone to pass FCC certification, that phone's maximum SAR level must be less than 1.6W/kg (watts per kilogram). The SAR level listed in our chart represents the maximum SAR level with the phone next to the ear, a level obtained through required FCC tests."

    Being my phone is well below the FCC maximum, I wonder if this is my problem. Is the SAR proportional to the signal strength of the cellphone? If I do use one of those signal boosters modules, in effect I'm increasing the SAR of my cellphone am I not?
  2. Mictlantecuhtli

    Mictlantecuhtli TS Evangelist Posts: 4,345   +11

    Yes, it's quite normal. Phones have a lot of differences on how well they pick up the signal, too. I've had four phones: Nokia 8110i, 9000i, Alcatel One Touch Com and now Motorola v100, they all work well enough here.
    And there's no need to worry about RFI, in my opinion.
  3. PHATMAN5050

    PHATMAN5050 TS Rookie Posts: 593

    Personally, i have never dropped a call before, i usually just hang up if my reception is poor. On the V60 it has a meter inside the phone on the screen that tells you the strength of the signal. Depending on the house, and the materials used to make the house, it'll be easier or harder to get signals. I have parts all in my room where the signal changes. Reception will be less strong inside a building, but usually you will still have service so you will be able to call and receive calls. The V60 is a TDMA phone which means that the service will not be as good as a GSM phone. Unfortunately, AT&T is just starting out with GSM so their products and services are expensive, and not as reliable YET as TDMA. Since this is your first cell phone, your experiences are probably used to portable phones from your house. Sometimes the service will be equal to that, and other times it will be worse. That's just the way cell phones are. However, if you notice that you never get good service, you may want to return to the AT&T dealer and have them take a look at the phone as it may have been programmed poorly or there may be some physical defect with the phone.

    Cell phones have not been proven to cause cancer as of yet.

    Those 'signal boosters' are nothing more than stickers. I don't care what any of those commercials say, they dont work. I have several friends who own cell phone stores and they will tell you that they plainly just dont work.

    Your phone has an external antenna, which means that it will get better service than phones with internal antennas, like mine, the Nokia 8260. When i say better, it is not noticeable, if i take my mom's phone, the Nokia 5190, which has an external antenna and i take mine and put them next to each other, they will have the same service.

    I hope i have answered all your questions, i'd like to work in a cell phone store but they only hire at 18. :(
  4. MYOB

    MYOB TS Rookie Posts: 492

    Just starting GSM?? We've had GSM since 1993, and the last ETACS transmitters were turned off in 1999. there is almost 100% nationwide coverage on the VodaFone network here, and simiar amounts for the other two, all are GSM, and O2 and Voda have GPRS capabilities.
  5. MYOB

    MYOB TS Rookie Posts: 492

    and my phone, which is a nice, small Ericsson, cost €100, has no line rental, no minimum call spend, wireless internet, came woth €80 of calls and SMS's, etc. thats not expensive
  6. PHATMAN5050

    PHATMAN5050 TS Rookie Posts: 593

    Well well, aren't you just special...there are just a handful of GSM networks in the US, one is Cingular Wireless, the partner of AT&T wireless. The US will all be GSM one day i assume, but since TDMA was introduced in america not too long ago, they are not going to switch all the systems over this soon.
  7. Arris

    Arris TS Evangelist Posts: 4,730   +379

    For once the United Kingdom is ahead of the US technologically ;)
    I've considered upgrading my 8210 Nokia but I really don't intend to use any advanced features... As long as I can receive calls and text messages I'm not too fussed.
    I mean what do I really need any of the following features for?

    -GPRS (General Packet Radio Services)
    -HSCSD (High Speed Data)
    -Bluetooth 1.1 standard version
    - Supported application level Bluetooth
    profiles are: Dial-up networking profile, Fax
    profile, Object push profile, Headset profile
    and Handsfree profile
    -WAP 1.2.1 (via GRPS or CSD)

    Might upgrade to the 8310 for £30 (€45) for the partially useful feature of a built in radio (over GRPS)...

    Even GSM phones vary in cell strength depending on your location/distance from phone cell/building contruction. The interference from buildings is quite bad where I am from because a large percentage of the city of Aberdeen is built from granite, which does tend to cause quite a lot of interference. :(
  8. Goofy Newfie

    Goofy Newfie TS Rookie Posts: 199

    Yep. Fancy looking, but a huge scam. And how do you prove it doesnt improve reception, say by a tenth of a percent?
  9. PHATMAN5050

    PHATMAN5050 TS Rookie Posts: 593

    how would it? have u ever taken on of those apart? i was told what the metal inside was, but i have forgotten, all i remember him saying was it was one that did not affect signals, it would be like putting a piece of paper on your radio antenna, it does nothing.
  10. Goofy Newfie

    Goofy Newfie TS Rookie Posts: 199

    ..and yet there have been thousands upon thousands of dollars made selling them...somebody should be held liable for misleading consumers...I bought a couple a year ago at $0.99 each believing that they worked...
  11. MYOB

    MYOB TS Rookie Posts: 492

    HSCSD (High Speed Data)

    Arris, HSCSD is very good, as it works on a standard GSM account. However, i think only Orange have it in the UK, and Voda have it in Ireland. Ir takes two or more channels, and links them for dat sending, but you ionly pay for 1 call. It can reach 41.2Kbps on Voda here, and 28.8 on Orange in the UK
  12. Elcarion

    Elcarion TechSpot Paladin Posts: 169

    Most of Europe and Southeast Asia have GSM. The US is very much behind due the choice of the cellular phone industry years ago to go with TDMA and CSMA. I've heard that GSM might eventually take over in the next 5 years or so partly due to the requirement by the government for cell companies to locate the source of emergency cell phone calls.

    As for your weak signal in your house, you're in the same boat as me. The coverage within many buildings is very spotty with my new phone and company. I did not have that problem with my previous phone or company. I don't know if it is the phone or the service. When I'm in my cube at work the phone will go from roaming to non-roaming. My signal is 4-5 when I'm roaming but only 2-3 when I'm not while sitting in my cube. My phone does not allow me to choose the roaming priority so I'm thinking that is the root of the problem. My old phone did allow me to choose.

    The answer to your radiation question is simply that nobody knows for sure if cell phone radiation is safe. The key is that all radiation that your body absorbes during your lifetime is cumulative. It doesn't go away. Your cell phone, sunlight, microwaves, and many other things need to be added together to determine your total exposure. The problem with cell phones is that the source of the radiation is right next to your body and it typically right next to your head. Most people recommend that you use a handfree device...just to be safe. Moving the phone just a foot (1.5 meters) or more from your body greatly reduces the radiation absorbed by your body. Just last month, bread was good for you and now it might cause cancer...nobody really knows the whole picture.

    My sister-in-law used to measure the radiation off of large radar dishes used to track airline flights. Federal law requires companies to measure the radiation on a regular basis to ensure that it is below the predefined "safe" level. One day the meter was pegged all the way to the right. She was amazed because she had never seen that before. Then she realized that the cell phone she was talking on was causing the meter to be pegged. At a distance of a foot or so, the cell phone was giving off enough radiation emissions to exceed those for other radar dishes...it definitely makes me wonder.
  13. Elcarion

    Elcarion TechSpot Paladin Posts: 169

    BTW: Your cell phone sends out a variably-powered signal based on how close you are to a tower. The better the signal, the less power your phone will use to transmit and the less radiation it will emit.
  14. PHATMAN5050

    PHATMAN5050 TS Rookie Posts: 593

    HEY! that's my saying! LoL. Personally, i don't think i believe that speculation about the headset. Where is the 'portal' where the radiation enters our bodies? I doubt it matters whether it is against your ear, or in your pocket, or on your belt clip, i would tell people to pick their poison.

    TDMA and CSMA are still able to be tracked by emergency services and depending on the service, they can 'lock' your cell phone, meaning that you can dial any number, and it will patch you back to the police. Some companies, like Cricket, allow the police to lock the phone so that you can not send calls nor receive any calls except those from an emergency service number.

    BTW: today i learned how to make ringtones, so if there are any requests, i will try to fill them free of charge of course. :)
  15. Arris

    Arris TS Evangelist Posts: 4,730   +379

    I still don't think I would make use of it.
    Possibly pick up email in airports with a phone and my laptop, but apart from that its not something I would see myself making much use of. Just upgraded from an 8210 to an Ericsson T68 (still have to get the software upgraded so that its has the same functionality as the Sony Ericsson T68i) so I might give HSCSD a try at some point ;)
  16. PHATMAN5050

    PHATMAN5050 TS Rookie Posts: 593

    Those phones are nice, if i decide to go GSM in the next month i'd buy one of those. There is no real point to having a GSM phone if you dont use the Data services. I can't see a technologically experienced user as yourself not utilizing in the wide world of gsm to its full potential.
  17. MYOB

    MYOB TS Rookie Posts: 492

    GSM has one wonderful feature - SMS messaging

    And WAP is bearable
  18. Elcarion

    Elcarion TechSpot Paladin Posts: 169

    The key is to move the phone as far away from your body as possible. On your belt clip probably isn't the best choice if you plan to have children anytime soon!
  19. Goofy Newfie

    Goofy Newfie TS Rookie Posts: 199

    Have there been any studies that have definitively proven that cell phones can cause health problems such as cancer? I find that if we had to believe all the radiation/cancer scares out there, we wouldn't leave our houses...wait a minute...household electricity is said to cause cancer as well! I guess we are all doomed!

    Just one question: Does everybody here use radiation screens on their monitors? I don't recall seeing many in the "Where you post from" thread.

    Just food for thought(radiation free, I hope).

    P.S. This is my 100th post! Yippee!

    P.S.S. Thank you God for Word Association.
  20. erwin1978

    erwin1978 TS Maniac Topic Starter Posts: 290

    word association sucks!

    I've been wanting to get those filters coz my monitor is scary. When I turn it on it makes an undescribable, loud sound. I feel like whenever it does it I'm being bombarded by X-Ray. If the monitor is near a television, the TV pic will distort when I turn on the monitor. Now that's scary. It shows me the radius of influence of the monitor. Next time I won't be standing in front of the monitor whenever I turn it on.

    If only these filters were cheap I would've gotten one a long time ago.
  21. young&wild

    young&wild TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 993

    Sounds like my father...lol...i bet he's gonna use his nokia 3210 until it condemns
  22. SNGX1275

    SNGX1275 TS Forces Special Posts: 10,742   +421

    I have one, it wasn't on in the pic though. I didn't really get it solely for blocking radiation, but more for deturring glare in my old room.
  23. Elcarion

    Elcarion TechSpot Paladin Posts: 169

    The loud sound is caused by a degaussing magnet that encircles the picture tube of the monitor. The magnet neutralizes any stray magnetism that the monitor has picked up.
    New monitors project less radiation than older ones that are not TCO compliant. Read this for more info: http://www.closerange.com/working_solutions/TCO.html .

    Like I said, studies have been inconclusive on whether or not phones, monitors, power lines, microwave ovens, radar, etc... cause health problems. The real problem is that most, if not all, studies only look at a single radiation source rather than all sources combined.

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