When you are with your family on extended trips the need to boost your cell signal when camping may become a necessity. Some families take long trips camping with their school-age kids when school is in. And with remote classes becoming more prevalent, having a stronger cell phone signal could be necessary.
How to boost your cell phone when camping? Update the software of your phone. Check the phone's battery strength. If the phone's battery is bulging, quickly shuts off, or causes your phone to become hot then replace the battery. Turn off unnecessary apps. Change your phone settings to roaming. Check your phone carrier's service plan to see if it supports using data while traveling. Check with the campground to see if it has wifi or cell phone towers are within 45 miles of your site. Use a directional antenna or signal booster to increase your phone's reception.
Let’s get started.
Why your cell phone signal is weak?
The first thing to do is to update your software regardless of the type of phone by going to your settings icon and finding the update button and click it, then click update now. Do this before you head out into the bush at home to ensure you have a strong signal and a speedy update. Also, be sure your phone is plugged into a charger while doing this. Some phones even require it when updating the software.
The next thing to check is your battery’s strength. You may have an old and malfunctioning battery. If your battery cannot stay charged for very long your phone's antenna may not get the power, it needs to send and receive its strongest signals. If the battery does not stay charged for more than a couple of hours of use, then replace it.
Oddly enough your cell phone's battery could be almost dead. Here's how you can tell. Now may sound elementary but the phones show no signs of life after charging for a while, say an hour and if there is no sound, nothing lights up and shows no life, then replace the battery.
· Bulging Battery. Many times, when batteries get old not only do they lose the ability to stay charged but because of overheating they cannot receive the charge they expand and the walls of the battery began to expand and crack. If this is unattended and they burst, then they can damage a very expensive phone. One way to check early on if it is bulging and you cannot see it by looking at it is to lay it on a flat surface and see if it spins sideways much like a top. The middle of the battery is not long and slim and even around the bulge.
· Phone Quickly Shuts Off. The phone may look like the battery is okay when you have it on a charge, but if it dies shortly (within minutes) after you take it off of the charger, then the battery is almost dead. This also applies if the phone only shows that it is working while only on a charger. Replace the battery before using it to avoid damage to your phone.
· Hot Phone. When a battery begins to die it will almost always cause your phone to feel warm or even be hot. If it seems like it’s getting warmer and warmer after you give it a full charge most likely it is starting to die.
Also, turn off apps that are not necessary when you are camping so that your battery will last longer, and your antenna can get the power it needs. Many times, apps are running in the background using power without being aware of it.
Most cell phones have settings for roaming. This allows the phone to search for the strongest cell tower signal to connect with. Some campgrounds though not many have a WIFI signal for their campers but it only works if you are camping in close range.
Carrier Service Areas
Your phone carrier's service areas need to be review. Some carriers may not support your phone with a strong signal if you are not around their towers. Go to your carrier’s website and check covered and signal strength for the locations of campsites or campgrounds you may be headed for.
Check your service plan for your phone service. It may only provide service in certain locations based on the level of the plan you are paying for. Some plans are very inexpensive because the service is provided in areas that your carrier has a greater market share. Going outside of their market may require you to upgrade your service agreement. Today most plans include unlimited data and other nice features but may not necessarily ensure you are in their network coverage when traveling to remote camping locations.
Your Campsite Signal
If you need a strong signal while camping for your kids' homeschooling needs, then a little planning ahead may be only what you need. Since cell towers are not the most attractive thing to have in your neighborhood, most city and county ordinances have restrictions as to where they can be built. Something this is a good thing for campers.
Cell towers can provide a strong signal between 22 and 45 miles. If your campsite is located only with this range from the nearest town then odds are there could be a cell tower between you and the outskirts of the town. Cell towers that are located near but not in towns have to boost their signal to provide cover over the largest population so the signal will also reach many miles outside of the town to the rural areas where campsites and campgrounds are located. The except would include mountains and valleys where the cell signal could be blocked or weakened.
On how to find the closest cell tower, I recommend that you use either CellMapper.net or OpenSignal.com. Both of these sites are easy to use and can provide the location of cell towers for the major carriers.
Two Options to boost your cell phone signal with equipment.
Use a Directional Antenna
You can boost your cell phone signal with directional antennas are mounted on poles to clear low-lying structures so you can receive and send signals unobstructed. Now unless you plan to camp somewhere close to being off the grid for a long time, but within 10 miles from a cell tower, this can be a lot of work. Just something to think about.
Basically, you should buy a Yagi antenna. The antenna will capture the signal and send it to a router (the signal will not connect directly to your cell from the antenna). Yagi uni-directional antennas can connect with nearby cell tower signals within a 10-mile radius and a maximum range of 90 degrees.
The antenna is mounted to a 20-foot pole (metal preferred). The metal poles should be either buried about 3-feet deep or anchored to a 100-lb object. The metal pole will help to ground the antenna, or you will need to put a metal rod into the ground and run a #12 copper wire to the antenna and clamped to the metal ground rod.
Connect the antenna to a router to create your own WIFI then you can connect your full charge phone to the router like you would your internet at home. This is assuming you still have a cell tower signal. Even at 45 miles, away a cell tower signal can be captured by a directional antenna. Yagi antennas are some of the best directional antennas available. You can check these out by click this link to Amazon.com.
Use a Signal Booster
There are portable cell phone boosters. While the signal booster cost more than the antennas both are effective if you have a decent cell tower signal as mentioned earlier. However, the signal booster works better for weak signals where you are barely close enough to get a signal but not connect to the cell tower. You can see it taking your phone but only sporadically. And yes, cell phone booster does really work, and here is how.
How a signal booster works
The phone booster does not need internet to work. The signal booster receives a signal from an outside antenna (usually comes with it when purchased) and connects with a cell tower then takes that signal and amplifies it and sends it out through an inside antenna (also included). You can then create a hotspot, or directly connect to your phone. The only caution is it does require power and the outside antenna (receiver) and the inside antenna must be at least 8 feet apart to work clearly depending on the brand you buy. Wilson Electronics sell an all-in-one unit (outside/inside antenna and signal booster). To read more and check prices click here.
Hope this helps.
All these best,