Friday, August 15, 2008

Cutting Off the Antenna

It has been a difficult process. After being an advocate of using a pull-out antenna, I finally started using an all-digital phone with an "internal" antenna. My last CDMA phone with its long antenna and analog circuitry is always nearby, but my experience with phones without analog and extendable antennas is surprising me. I have spent many days out at the edge of coverage this summer, and have found little reason to curse the all-digital phones.

Yes, the new phones do seem to be more sensitive, and life in the "sticks" with no bars and only the antenna icon showing on the screen seems to be survivable. With Verizon and AT&T no longer using analog, I wondered just how important it was. The answer lies in where you go, and unless you are wandering in the areas of the small carriers that still support analog, it really has become unnecessary. There are some areas of rural New Mexico and Arizona that gave us some concern, but we have noted that in many spots where service was wanting, the 'infill specialist', Commnet Wireless, has indeed added new cell sites both in GSM and CDMA.

Most users will never get near analog and will see no need to pull out an antenna, but I wanted to champion the idea of maximum service, and for me, that's what it takes. That is, until I was working out in the local recreation center, a consistent dead zone, where my digital-only phone with the internal antenna, rang...where no phone has rung before. Progress indeed!

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