Carrier Stronger Cell Signal in winter?

Discussion in 'iPhone' started by imagineadam, Nov 12, 2014.

  1. imagineadam macrumors 6502a

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    Jan 19, 2011
    #1
    So all summer I've been switching my iPhone 5's LTE switch off when I'm at home inside because I've been getting about 2 dots sometimes one of signal and I got better 4g signal with 4-5 dots usually. I got better battery this way too. Now after our very first winter snow storm and pretty quick drop in temperature I'm getting 4-5 dots of signal inside of LTE again! I'm pretty sure this happened last year too so it must be because of the weather huh? It just seems weird to me that it would be that big of jump! Anybody else have this same behavior?
     
  2. deeddawg macrumors 604

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  3. groggy2333 macrumors regular

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    #3
    Yup, that'll do it. less thingies for the waves to bounce off of and more direct.
     
  4. nwmtnbiker macrumors 68000

    nwmtnbiker

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  5. Sketchr macrumors 6502a

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  6. Small White Car macrumors G4

    Small White Car

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    #6
    I know that radio stations travel further at night because the ionosphere works differently when the sun's not hitting it.

    I know nothing about cellular radio waves, but I bet there's some kind of similar thing going on where having less sun across the day makes some kind of difference.

    And I'm betting the 'no leaves' thing contributes too. It's probably several factors all added together.
     
  7. deeddawg macrumors 604

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    #7
    You might want to revisit Charles' law... :)


    Good memory. Ionospheric skip comes about from radio waves refracting off of ionosphere layers. During the day, there are layers much closer to ground than at night; thus the tendency to receive more distant signals at night. Details are much more involved that needed in this post, but a good article is here: http://www.arrl.org/files/file/Technology/pdf/119962.pdf
    (I have an amateur radio license albeit unused for years)

    In any event, ionospheric skip really only happens with shortwave radio bands (including AM radio frequencies and up to around 30MHz). At the typical cellular frequencies (700Mhz and higher) the signals punch right through the ionosphere and don't get refracted downward. Good thing too as it's be rather interesting for your phone to be hitting towers hundreds of miles away.
     
  8. iolinux333 macrumors 68000

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    #8
    Cold air is more dense. Cold enough and it's a solid object. Be careful out there.

    I guess you vote too? Sigh.
     
  9. scaredpoet macrumors 604

    scaredpoet

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    #9
    Could be the loss of tree leaves as suggested, or it could just be that your wireless carrier was doing some antenna work, that just happened to coincide with (or maybe because of) this winter storm.
     
  10. Sketchr macrumors 6502a

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    Jun 15, 2009
    #10
    Yeah, yeah....scientifically cold air is more dense. :rolleyes:

    On hot humid days - you know, the days where the air is thick with moisture, I seem to experience to worst reception. Cold days where air is so dry, reception seems to be far better. For the literal folks, on days where it is dense with moisture, signal seems weaker. :cool:
     
  11. wxman2003, Nov 12, 2014
    Last edited: Nov 12, 2014

    wxman2003 Suspended

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    Apr 12, 2011
    #11
    Simple. After a good snow and it clears out, you sometimes set up a strong inversion. The signal doesn't disperse as easily, and actually bounces off the inversion, thus a much stronger signal can travel a much further distance closer to the ground. Now if you have a very shallow inversion, below the top of the tower, just the opposite can happen. The signal bounces off the inversion below and scatters off into the atmosphere giving you a much weaker signal. This may happen for a short time as the inversion develops and rises above the height of the tower. In the summer, on warm humid nights where there is little or no wind, you are likely to set up the inversion and it remains below the top of the tower and the signal really drops off.
     
  12. groggy2333 macrumors regular

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    Sep 17, 2014
    #12
    People don't fart as much during winter, cleaner air for signals to pass thru. :cool:
     
  13. iolinux333 macrumors 68000

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    Feb 9, 2014
    #13
    Good observation. Suspended water does in fact scatter radio waves in some of the common cell bands.

    ----------

    This guy gets the Nobel. :D
     
  14. wxman2003 Suspended

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    Apr 12, 2011
    #14
    Almost guaranteed if it occurs at night on cold winter night, it's a temperature inversion. I have seen it many times with weather radar over the last 35 years. I remember as a kid on cold winter nights in Wisconsin picking up tv stations much further away, same with radio stations. Strong inversions were great at aiding in picking up stations from New York, Chicago, etc.
     
  15. Gathomblipoob macrumors 601

    Gathomblipoob

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    Mar 18, 2009
    #15
    Cell signals contract in the cold winter months, making it easier for them to get into your phone.
     

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