With a device such as a Sprint or Verizon cellular repeater, it can require some general knowledge. Most people know that an antenna picks up radio waves, like an FM radio. However where people often times get confused is how they do it, or how to properly set one up. We hope to guide you through your home cell phone booster antenna install. I’m no expert on how a radio wave travels, shapes, etc. however I do offer some basic advice and techniques for a home owner.
Why It Matters:
When working with a single antenna, such as a TV antenna there really isn’t much to worry about. Give it a clear view above your home and it should work OK without much thought. When working with multiple antennas in close proximity though brings on a new issue. This issue is more pronounced when both antennas are broadcasting, and receiving information on the same radio waves.
I Can’t Hear Them Over You:
When two antennas are both transmitting and receiving near each other they can pick up each other’s signals. This may seem harmless at first, but it drowns out the important signals also. Listening to a really faint radio station, only to find out your roommate is transmitting on the same frequency with their cordless phone as an example.
You find out because the only thing you can hear is your roommates conversation through your antenna. A signal repeater is much like the above scenario, you’re trying to listen to the 200Ft tall cell tower 5+ miles away. However you keep picking up your cellular repeaters signal from inside your house.
There is a scientific term for this, oscillation. The outside antenna picks up the inside antenna and it begins an infinite loop of communication. Instead of being sent to the carriers tower like it should. Many installations suffer from this due to improper mounting locations, which we hope to resolve in this post. The key is to avoid this during the home cell phone booster antenna install.
How Not to Aim the Outdoor Antenna:
When mounting the outside antenna in particular, it’s extremely important on how it’s aimed. You need to aim it at a tower, that’s kind of obvious of course. The not so obvious is where to sit it on your home. If your antenna is pointing over the majority of your home, the odds of it picking up the indoor antenna are very high.
I had an install where a Yagi antenna faced straight down the center of the home. So the entire home was engulfed in the outdoor antennas path. It was impossible to mount the indoor antenna without getting oscillation. Luckily after hours of testing, we finally accepted the fact that we must aim at the next closest cell tower, which was 90 degrees away from the home.
This yielded great results, and it opened up dozens of possible mounting locations. We were surprised that the outdoor antenna was picking up our indoor antenna. Even after passing through several walls, and a roof. After rotating it 90 degrees away from the home everything worked well.
General Outdoor Antenna Guidelines:
- Aim at nearest cell tower location
- Ensure to mount right side up (polarization arrow up, drip hole on bottom)
- Mount as high as possible for best results
- Don’t mount pointed over home if possible
Indoor Antenna Mounting:
Unlike the rather fancy mounting of the outdoor antenna. The indoor antenna depends on a combination of personal preference, and avoiding the outdoor antenna. If the indoor and outdoor antenna are facing mostly opposite directions then you shouldn’t have any problems.
The indoor unit should be located in the room you are most likely to use it the most. A higher mount location may yield more coverage, however too high and you may lose coverage where you need it. My own personal preference is to mount it about 4 feet off the floor. I have even gone as far as sitting it on an end table.
The benefits of this means a stronger signal near where you’re most likely to have the phone. It also allows you to sit your phone on the antenna for a more extreme signal boost. If you’re a die hard for data speed and tethering it works great this way.
The other option is to mount it higher up so it doesn’t get blocked by furniture etc. I have also heard of some people mounting them facing downward from the ceiling. This would require an interesting install but could be done with the right knowledge. The downside to this would be the distance it would be from the antenna when it got to your phone. The standard ceiling is eight feet tall, however it may cover more area mounted up high.
A lot can change from each home cell phone booster antenna install, more so if you’re on a very fringe area for coverage. If this is the case your phone will need to be very close to the indoor antenna to gain Sprint, AT&T, T mobile, and Verizon 4G LTE signal.
Spacing between Antennas:
Spacing between the antennas is recommended to be around 20 feet vertically, or 50 feet horizontally. During my personal testing these numbers can change dramatically. As we talked about above during our roof install, it was impossible to mount the indoor antenna anywhere. Some test locations were over 50 feet away through several walls.
Just remember to test everything before you decide to wire it all up in the permanent location during your home cell phone booster antenna install. Hopefully you found this mild guide helpful for the install of your new signal repeater. I trust that you will love it once it’s up and running!