Thomas A. Horsley <email@example.com> wrote:
> Is there any kind of gadget available to interface with a
> cellphone (perhaps via the headset connection) that would allow
> you to plug your cellphone into it when you are at home, and
> have it provide your own little local phone system over your
> old phone wires so that you could use any phone in the house to
> make a call on the cellphone and have all the phones in the
> house ring when the cellphone rings?
Try "cellsocket" < http://www.cellsocket.com/ >.
For the past few weeks, I've been trying, without much success, to get
one of these things to work in rural Brazoria County, Texas. I've
encountered two problems: low signal from AT&T Wireless and the
cellsocket's inability to complete some calls.
In an attempt to overcome the low-signal problem, I installed an
outdoor omnidirectional antenna (Mike Sandman's "indoor cellular
antenna" < http://www.sandman.com/pouches.html > mounted on the roof
of a single-story building surrounded by lots of trees). The antenna
is connected to the cellsocket by about 16 feet of cable. According
to Sandman, this antenna is supposed to provide 3 dB. gain, but it
hasn't helped in my situation. Maybe the cable loss negates the
For test purposes, I connected a standard 2500-type touch-tone desk
phone to the cellsocket's RJ-11 jack. When I make a call from this
phone, I'm supposed to be able to dial 1-NXX-NXX-XXXX-#, where the "#"
serves as "SEND." Most of the time, this seems to work, but sometimes
the call doesn't go through: immediately after I press "#", it dumps
the call I get dialtone again.
I haven't been able to figure out why this happens. Perhaps the
low-signal problem is causing (or contributing to) it, so I don't
blame the cellsocket. I discussed this problem with cellsocket's
technician (a marginally-helpful guy named Roosevelt), who suggested
that I contact the cellsocket manufacturer, WHP Wireless, Inc.
At that point, I gave up on the whole idea, and signed up with Vonage.
The antenna is still on the roof, but I'll haul it down one of these
Further lessons I learned from all this effort:
- Tellular makes a "cellular fixed wireless" device
< http://www.telular.com/products/index.asp >. But
apparently, it doesn't just interface with a cellphone;
it *replaces* the cellphone. Which, I assume, means
you'd need a separate cell access line just for it.
- Mike Sandman's website describes a "Cellular POTS adapter"
< http://www.sandman.com/pouches.html >. It doesn't exist:
Sandman's website is WAY out of date. I originally planned
to use one of these adapters in conjunction with the rooftop
antenna; unfortunately, I had already installed the antenna
on the roof when I found out that the adapter isn't available.
Which is why I ended up using a cellsocket instead. (And yes,
I did grump at Mike Sandman about his obsolete website, but
he still hasn't fixed it.)
- Sandman's antenna doesn't mate directly with the cellsocket's
input connector (of course), so I had to buy an adapter
cable (SMA-male-to-FME-male). Fortunately, HamStop.com
< http://www.hamstop.com/ > had one for 5.95, including
- The cellsocket only fits certain kinds of cellphones, so
I had to buy a new one. I bought a used Motorola 120T on
eBay, only to discover that AT&T wouldn't authorize it
because it was on their "lost or stolen" list. So then
I managed to return that phone to the seller, and bought
another one. Then I spent a half-hour on the phone with
AT&T getting my cellphone number moved from my old old
phone to my new old phone. AT&T's CSR was a bit
perplexed that anybody would actually buy an old 120T,
but she proceeded cheerfully anyway.
As things stand now, I have a Motorola 120T cellphone, Sandman's
antenna, a cellsocket, an SMA-FME adapter, a big hole in the hall
wall, two holes in the roof, and a pending order with Vonage. And
nothing to show for it.
Maybe the cellsocket would work if AT&T's signal were stronger ...
[TELECOM Digest Editor's Note: AT&T's signal strength is a serious
problem in many rural areas. They seem to have a bad habit of *not*
releasing your phone from one of their towers until the signal
strength gets to be so awful they have no choice but to let you go,
then they have cut some deal with (some one or another) of the Cell
One carriers to take you. I originally got an AT&T Wireless phone
(the old Nokia 5165, still my phone of choice) when I was staying
in the Chicago area, on the '630' area code. I brought that phone all
the way to Kansas with me, and only rarely did it ever switch to
'roam' as the bus I was riding on came down I-55 and then US Highway
54 through Missouri. But the screen display would often times change
from 'AT&T' to 'AT&T Extended Area'. Once the bus got into Tulsa
the signal perked up again; then coming north out of Tulsa on the
Jefferson Lines bus it gradually pooped out again, and eventually
the screen display changed to 'extended area'. Here in Independence,
the phone always says 'extended area', and I am told it gets its
signal through Dobson's operation, an antenna farm over in Liberty,
Kansas, which is west and south of town a little. Dobson has the
Cellular One franchise here, but his 'antenna farm' in Liberty, KS
has not only Cell One, but also Cingular and other tenants renting
space through him.
AT&T closed their dealership here in Independence and sold their
local customer base to Cingular a few years ago. I still have a
Nokia 5165 but on Cingular now. (I rarely bother to use the AT&T
Wireless phone, which I have on prepaid service. I take the two
phones, hold them side by side, the Cingular phone **always** gets
better reception; I think because AT&T insists on 'serving me' from
Dobson's place in Liberty; while Cingular *used to* use Dobson as
well, but now have their own towers around town. PAT]