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Frequently Asked

What about those internal patch antennas I saw on TV (or at the drug store, etc.)? Do they work?

Probably the most frequently asked question we get. We have tested this device and it comes as no surprise that there is no increase in signal level. We have sold hundreds of our antennas and adapters to folks after they had purchased one of these "patch antennas" that didn't work.

Do I have to have a cable attached to my phone?

Yes, there has to be a way to get the signal from the phone directly to an external antenna . However, if you use a repeater system you would not have to have an antenna cable attached.

What about two antennas attached to each other? Wouldn't that work?

This is what can be referred to as a " passive repeater " system. In concept and at higher power levels it should work. But most all portable cellular phones have less than 0.6 watts of power and a very low gain antenna. By the time the minimal signal spans the (air) distance between the portable, is picked up by the first antenna and travels outside to the 2nd antenna there is no signal increase. Quite simply, with no powered amplification it just doesn't work. See our repeater systems here if you want to consider this option.

I don't see an adapter for my phone on your web site. Are there models that you have that just aren't listed?

There are many phones that we do not have adapters for. Some phones are too new yet may be added to the site when they are designed and produced. Others may not have a place to hookup an external antenna (ie; Nokia 3360). Still other models are too rare and we will not have adapters for them since development costs are too high to justify the low production levels. Also, some phones use existing adapters that may appear under another model (ie; Nokia 6100 uses the same as Nokia 7100, etc.) Please feel free to e-mail us to see if we have an adapter for your specific phone. We will need the model number and manufacturer in order to best assist you.

What is a ground plane? Can I just attach a ground wire to a mag mount antenna?

A very important distinction! A ground plane is REQUIRED for a mag mount antenna to work properly. For optimim performance, a ground plane for 800 MHz  is a minimum 28" x 28" plane of metal that becomes an integral part of the mag mount antenna. A ground plane is NOT a ground wire. Or put another way, a ground wire will NOT satisfy the need for a ground plane. Ground plane information also here. Please note: A ground plane can be smaller than the dimensions listed here, however the performance of the antenna will be minimized.

My building is made of metal, can I stick a mag mount antenna on the side of it?

No, mag mount antennas will not perform well when mounted horizontally.

Can I use a planar/panel antenna on my dashboard or in a mobile configuration?

Planar or Panel antennas are high gain directional antennas. They have a specified beamwidth (65 degrees) that radiates from the front surface of the antenna. Panel antennas do not work well in a vehicle that moves frequently. They are designed to be aimed at the carrier cell site and left in place. Much like a satellite dish. However, if you have several locations that you plan to use them in, it is possible to strategically place the antenna in that same location every time you are in that location. For example, you place the panel antenna on the west side of your house when you are there for the weekend. During the week you take the antenna to work and place the antenna on the East side of the building where you know you get reception.

Are the panel antennas weatherproof?

Yes and No: the panel antennas were designed to be used outdoors. If mounted outside (recommended), the antenna cable should exit the bottom and the curved side should face in the general direction of the carrier. As an added protection against the weather you should apply a thin bead of clear silicone caulk around the back metal plate once you have determined that the antenna is in the location where it performs best.

I am in a cement or metal building that has no reception. Can I just get a Panel antenna and use it inside the building?

No, the antenna has to have access to the outside of the building where it can receive and transmit the cellular signal. Panel antennas (or any antenna for that matter) cannot create signal from nothing. It has to be placed in a location that has at least minimal signal .

I have a Dual Band phone. I notice that I am in Digital mode. Does this mean that I am using the 1900MHz frequencies?

Not necessarily. Keep in mind that digital transmission can be used on both frequency ranges. This is where the term "Tri-Mode" comes in. The options are: 800MHz Analog, 800MHz Digital and 1900MHz Digital. So just because your phone shows as digital does not automatically mean 1900MHz. However the reverse can be true. If your phone is using analog, there is only ONE option--800MHz since there is no 1900MHz analog.

I don't like how tall the dual band mag mount and glass mount antennas are. Aren't there any shorter ones that will work just as well?

Not really. Gain is increased by the size(height) of the antenna whip. To have a shorter antenna would mean no significant increase in gain for the antenna. As an example; On a car that has a standard, solid AM/FM antenna (approx 31" high)--You could get a bolt cutter and chop that antenna exactly in half. The result would be a shorter antenna that would still work but your signal would be decreased since you have removed half of the wavelength of the antenna. The same is true for cellular antennas. Perhaps you've seen those little antennas that are about 1-2" tall, some have a little globe on top. These antennas are called Unity Gain (0dBd). Note: the antenna that comes on most cellular phones is also 0dBd. Adding a 0dBd antenna would not improve your reception. All antennas (radio, cellular and others) are precisely tuned by their length according to the frequency and the gain desired. Shorter may be attractive but will not help your reception.

I have a Nextel phone. Doesn't it use the same frequencies as 800MHz cellular?

Not completely. For information about Nextel Phones please follow link.

I used to have a Car Phone. Now I have a portable cell phone. Are they different?

Both phones are Cellular Phones. More than likely the Car phone is/was 800MHz Analog only since very few Digital Car Phones were ever manufactured. Many carriers in the US will not activate analog car phones anymore or will make you pay a premium airtime rate to use them. However, there are some states that still use only 800MHz analog service but they are becoming very rare as each carrier upgrades their system to digital service. If you want to improve the reception of your portable phone to the power of a car phone see our digital amplifier .

I noticed you sell only a few mobile antennas from basically one manufacturer. Why is that?

You've noticed correctly. At this time we sell only the Antenna Specialist line of antennas. We do this for several reasons.

First off , we have been installing the Antenna Specialist (AS) line of antennas since the mid-1980's. They invented and patented the On-Glass/Through Glass technology. We know that when we install an AS antenna it will work for many years under non-abusive service (non-abusive meaning not driving under a low overhang or tree, and no hits directly to the antenna). So we have years of experience with Antenna Specialist antennas and we like them.

Secondly , we don't want to confuse or insult our customers with a bunch of trendy, cheap antennas that won't serve their needs or provide the highest value for the money.

Lastly , there are very few (maybe three?) antenna manufacturers that are realistic and true to their performance claims. Antenna Specialist has always produced accurate and verifiable gain ratings while providing the most reliable and usable designs. However, there are one or two other antenna manufacturers that we have used in the past with good results--we may offer their products on our web site in the future but only in addition to the Antenna Specialist line.

Have a question not answered here? Why not email us.

We'll be happy to help.

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