Hand severely cuts down reception

Discussion in 'iPhone Tips, Help and Troubleshooting' started by Hunabku, Jul 23, 2007.

  1. Hunabku macrumors regular


    Feb 9, 2006
    Turtle Island
    I have noticed that if i move my hand so that it is not covering the bottom back plastic part of the phone my reception gets noticibly better - more bars.

    So now when i am in a place that doesn't get good reception I have to hold the phone in a delicate top down sort of fashion.

    Anyone else have similar experience?
  2. iBookG4user macrumors 604


    Jun 27, 2006
    Seattle, WA
    The cell phone antennae is behind the black plastic of the iPhone.
  3. Greenjeens macrumors regular

    Aug 25, 2005
    Antennas, Internal/External and Rural Cellular Tips

    Many cellular handsets with an internal antenna require being held in a way so the users hand doesn't cover up the antenna, which is hidden under the case, on the back of the phone. Usually the antenna is at the top back of the case.

    It's good you noticed the difference it makes covering up the antenna and putting two and two together. Although the "bars" are notoriously innacurate, tuned to read different information depending n the handset brand, and leave
    much of the important info about the network connection missing, they are still useful for seeing some of the major signal blocking environments. Like a hand covering the antenna. Could be a head too, if it's positioned between one tower and the handset!

    Find the "debug" screen code and see the many measurements a modern phone can display including sent and received signal strength in -db. Since a cellular call is a two way affair, incoming and outgoing ranges tell much more about the quality and distance of a signal. I use the debug screen to aim a Yagi directional antenna for maximum signal strength.

    Before consumers started complaining about external antennas getting caught on clothing or ruining the sleek lines of a beautiful design, when phones actually put out multiple watts and not tiny fractions of a watt, antennas were our friend:)

    You don't want to be holding a three watt (bag phone) antenna up to the head for a long time. Actually, rural cell towers were spaced to provide nearly continuous 3 watt car/bagphone coverage. Many analog sites still are working, but it's too expensive to build towers to fill in the gaps in Podunk.
    Now with so many tiny pico transmiters, focused antennas and and plenty of computing horspower in modern smart cellular networks, users can be "bathed" in a nearly a constant signal. There's amazing control of power and seamless handoffs between any one of several cell sites to a very fine degree, with our super efficient digital handsets.

    All over the urban landscape, even the cell antennae have been hidden, more or less. Note, don't hide a cell tower in an fake evergreen tree, in a location where only deciduous trees grow, the year round leaves really stand out!

    Just get in a metal building, or stray out to the burbs or worse yet, go camping in the rural mountains... and the lack of a robust cellular network becomes very obvious. Head position, hand position and especially elevation, can make a huge difference in attaining signal quality that allows for an uninterupted call. If your car breaks, or you need to call 911, walking up a hill to find a usable cellular signal, is often more rewarding than any external antenna!

    A cellular handset with an external antenna, especially having a length that equals have a wavelength to about 5/8 of a wavelength, will nearly always make more, better connected calls, than a handset with an internal antenna.
    [The 5/8 length transects roughly a half wave, when a handset is held at an angle while up to the ear/mouth.]

    Anyway, does the iPhone have an external antenna adapter? When hooked up to an external yagi or panel antenna, the signal can be improved quite a bit. Critical for a house in the woods. The 1900mhz band, known as PCS, doesn't get the same boost from an external antenna, since much of the signal can be attenuated or lost in the connecting cable. Thicker, sheilded cabling is better!

    PCS phones generally don't need a telescoping antenna, just a nub, since a half wave length is only 3 inches. Amps/analog, some GSM and many CDMA phones operate at 800mhz. A half wave at 800mhz is about 7.5 inches, so longer antennas are needed to get the optimum signal.

    If your going travelling off the beaten path this summer, swap the SIM. Can you swap the SIM in the iPhone?
    Or better yet carry an old analog/digital phone. The American Roaming Network works for unactivated phones many places and has a new prepaid plan or instant credit card or collect, but it's pricey, but better than depending on the kindness of strangers, should the car break down on vacation, on a lonely side road!
    911 calls from unactivated phones are always free, (IF YOUR IN RANGE OF A TOWER WITH THE SAME TECHNOLOGY AS YOUR CELL PHONE) but it should be a real emergency. GSM SIM equipped phones have very reduced rural coverage, compared to analog phones, still, at least out in the rural west. YRMV

    Antenns FAQ (CDMA centric info)



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