How to extend cell phone range in the middle of nowhere

June 2, 2015 — by KEN PERKINS


extend cell phone range

extend cell phone range

Awesome photo of Al Lounsbury on the roof of his cabin, improving his poor cell phone reception in frigid northern Ontario.


Here’s another real-life story about a solution for poor cell phone reception. This one is from Al Lounsbury in Canada who couldn’t get a reliable cell phone signal at his getaway cabin in northern Ontario.

As Al says:

“It’s beautiful and peaceful there, but the nearest grocery store is 30 minutes away in a town with a population of less than 1,000 people. Cell coverage is spotty at best. If I’m on top of a hill on a clear day, I might be able to pull in one bar on my mobile. In fact, many renters in the area take a daily walk to the top of a nearby hill just to receive their text messages and emails.”

First, locate your cell tower
Al didn’t want to take the daily hike up the hill. Or maybe he just wanted to see his text messages and emails as they hit his in-box instead of waiting, as well as make and receive calls. So he figured out a solution to get reliable cell phone coverage even out in the middle of nowhere.

He points out that the very first thing to do if you want to extend your cell phone range is to find out where your service provider’s nearest tower is located.

Your carrier’s customer support group can tell you the tower location. Or you can use any of the numerous resources on the Web, or even download an app to your smartphone. Do a quick search and you’ll find a ton of resources to help you locate the nearest tower.

After finding the location of his nearest tower, Al designed a booster system to assure better cell phone service. You can read the entire story at his blog here.

Find your signal strength
Two things I need to point out for you to keep in mind as you read Al’s story:
1. Al frequently references Wilson Electronics in his post. The company has changed its name and is now known as weBoost.

2. In his post, Al includes a link to a PDF file that describes how to put various phone models into “test mode.” Unfortunately that PDF is outdated. You can read how to do that in these posts: Find the Signal Strength of your Android Phone and Find the Signal Strength of your iPhone.

Going into test mode allows you to see your cell phone’s actual signal strength reading. Using test mode is ideal because the the “bars” graphic, with its 1 through 5 count, is at best an approximation of the signal strength you phone is receiving. At worst the bars can be completely misleading, indicating a much stronger signal that you are actually getting.

Be sure to check out Al’s story. And below see links to some previous posts that may help you extend cell phone range.


Did you like this post? Find it helpful? Do you have questions about this topic? Please let us know how we’re doing by commenting below.


Related posts:

How to Get Better Cell Phone Reception

Why Do I Have Such Poor Cell Phone Reception?

How Does a Cell Phone Signal Booster Work?

Better Cell Phone Reception – 8 Things You Can Do Right Now

How to Improve Poor Cell Phone Reception Inside a 100-Year-Old Solid Granite Building


TAGS: cell phone signal booster, cell towers, customer story

For buildings greater than 7500 sq ft, we recommend our WilsonPro brand of products.
signal bars
Improve your signal up to 32x

    Comments (4)

    Edward Vlahakis on August 22, 2015 at 11:19 am said:

    1. How do I locate nearest cell tower?
    2. If tower transmits 4G, will a 3G booster work.

      Ken Perkins on August 24, 2015 at 9:03 pm said:

      Hi Edward –

      Here’s an earlier post on How to Find Cell Tower Locations –

      To answer #2:
      If a tower transmits a 3G signal, then a weBoost 3G booster will boost that signal and make it available to your phone. A 3G booster cannot receive nor transmit 4G signals. However, nowadays all 4G-capable phones also work on 3G networks. So if you have a 4G phone, it will work with a 3G booster. The booster will deliver a boosted 3G signal.

    Jan Hoie on March 16, 2016 at 3:41 pm said:

    I was wonder how come there is no reception in the area I live. I live south of Bagley Minnesota. I can’t even send out txt messages. What can I do to improve it with out spending any more money on top of what it is already costing me for something I can’t use at the house.

    weBoost Support on March 16, 2016 at 8:19 pm said:

    Jan Hoie,

    Thank you for your question. There are many different reasons why signal could be poor in your area. These reasons range from terrain, weather, construction of your home, geography, and more. In regards to our boosters, we do not recommend using our line of products if you are not able to make and keep calls outside. For additional questions, you can reach us here: