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Flat Out Fishing Column – Stay Connected No Matter Where You Are

OK, this article has nothing to do with fishing, but all of
us need to stay touch, and one of the goals of this column is to give you
insights on great new products.

We’ve all had this experience, you are in an office, house,
or boat and your cell phone just doesn’t work. No “bars”, period!
Now however, there is there is something
you can do about it.

The new PowerMax DA4000MR-30U from Digital Antenna Inc is a
cell phone signal booster/repeater for the North American market. It supports
the 800/850 and 1900Mhz network bands used in North America, and it works with
any carrier except Nextel. It doesn’t matter if you are using GSM, and the guy
in the next room is using PCS, the PowerMax can help.

The PowerMax DA4000MR-30U
kit includes the amplifier unit, both internal and external antennas, a
30′ coax cable, and a couple of power adapters. By making use of one of the 12
volt power adapters, you can use the PowerMax system on your boat as easily as
you can use it in your home or office. It’s a very small amplifier measuring
only about 1” x3”x 4”.

The system works like this. The exterior antenna is able to
detect much weaker signals than a typical cell phone can. The exterior antenna
is attached by a shielded cable to the amplifier, which processes the cell
signal and retransmits with more strength to the interior antenna. Inside the
house, your cell phone is now able to able to

see the signal broadcast by the repeater. At the same time,
the transmissions from your cell phone are then picked up by the internal
antenna, amplified, and retransmitted with greater strength by the
exterior antenna.This often results in
some huge gains in cell phone transmission allowing everyone to make and
receive calls a that would have been impossible before.

The DA4000MR-30U ‘s amplifier is protocol independent,
meaning it doesn’t actually look at what is being transmitted. It has no
concept of GSM vs. CDMA vs. PCS. It just knows when it sees a signal in the
correct band, to amplify it, and send it along.

I tested the unit at my condo on St. Thomas using both a GSM
and a PCS phone. Inside the condo I couldn’t make or receive calls at all. If I
went out to the parking lot, I could make a call, but just barely, it was
always one of those can you hear me now calls. I mounted the external antenna
on my roof as far from the internal antenna as the 30′ of cable would allow.
Then by moving the antenna around the roof, I used a walkie-talkie to get a
report from my daughter who was watching the phones for increased signal
strength.

Moving the exterior antenna as little as one foot, proved
that location and separation of the antennas was important The phones would go
from no bars to 4/5 bars with very small movements in the exterior antenna. The
system is designed to give you about 100 sq feet of coverage, or roughly 10
feet from the internal antenna. When close to the internal antenna, which is to
say within that 10-foot radius, each phone was at a full 5 bars.

In the end, this unit was performed beyond my expectations.
The fact that I went from not being able to make a call to a full 5 bars made
me a very happy camper. The relative low cost of the PowerMax DA4000MR-30U, at
around US$500 suggested retail,(although the street price is considerably
less.) makes it a viable solution for many office, marine, and home situations.
They company also makes more powerful units that offer much greater range and
coverage areas.You can contact the
company website www.digitalantenna.com
for full specs. I managed to find a VI friendly merchant that was very price
competitive, and understood the hassle we can endure ordering from the states.
Give Jim at Northeast Marine Electronics a call at 860-274-9173 or visit their
web site at www.northeastmarineelectronics.com

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