Homemade Cell Phone Signal Boosters

Michael Kwan
Homemade Cell Phone Signal Booster

Sometimes the best way to complete your call is to create your own homemade cell phone signal booster. There are other cell phone signal boosters on the market, but some of these are less effective than others. There is also something to be said about the raw satisfaction that can be derived from making something with your own two hands... and then it's actually useful to boot!

Do-it-Yourself Boosters

Before proceeding, it is important to note that any homemade solution is purely experimental and there are no guarantees that your cell phone reception will be improved in any way. Before resorting to a homemade cell phone signal booster, you should look into other avenues like commercially available signal boosters, different mobile phones, or different service providers.

Make a Coffee Can Booster

The people at PopSci discovered an interesting signal booster solution that uses a metal coffee can.

  1. Get two empty metal coffee cans approximately 13 ounces in size.
  2. Get other materials needed like a can opener, solder, a soldering iron, antenna connector, and a "pigtail" connector.
  3. Remove the bottom from one of the cans using a can opener.
  4. Solder the two cans together to form a long cylinder. Copper tape is a suitable alternative to solder too.
  5. Cut a hole approximately 97mm up from the closed end of the cylinder.
  6. Insert short length of copper hire into the receptacle of the antenna holder and solder in place.
  7. Attach antenna holder to the hole you cut in the can, securing in place with a nut. The copper wire should be on the inside of the can.
  8. Attach pigtail connector to antenna connector.
  9. Remove rubber cover from rear of phone, under which should be a port for an external antenna.
  10. Plug pigtail connector into external antenna jack on phone.
  11. Aim the open end of the can toward the closest compatible cell tower.

To gain a better understanding of how to make this coffee can cell phone signal booster, watch the video on YouTube. Near the end, Mike Haney mentions that this signal grabber is designed to nab the 1900MHz band, so it's probably most effective with providers like Rogers Wireless that use this frequency. Check with your mobile operator to see which band/frequency they use.

Extend the External Antenna

You may want to try the solution that Jason O (Username Jdo300) of physicsforums.com came up with when he discovered a rather interesting quirk with his cell phone. As with so many others, Jason was suffering from rather poor reception in his house. In an effort to actually be able to take and make calls, Jason decided to fashion a homemade cell phone signal booster using a wire coat hanger.

His mobile phone came equipped with a small stubby antenna. What Jason decided to do was to remove this stub and replace it "with a large, homemade one." This homemade signal booster consisted of nothing more than a screw and a metal coat hanger. Although this is far from being any sort of official solution, Jason reports that "it works great despite its obvious cheapness."

To his knowledge, this will only work with cell phones that have external stubby antennas, so if your phone has an internal antenna, it might not work. That said, many cell phones usually have a rubber-covered opening near the back where you can attach an external antenna. This is becoming less common with advanced smartphones and feature phones, so your mileage may vary.

Obviously, you should proceed with caution with any experiments such as this. There is a possibility that you may void your warranty, harm your handset or otherwise cause irreversible damage.

Improving Your Reception

While there is a chance that one of the methods described above might help with the problems you are having, they are not the best solutions for most situations and don't take care of the cause of the problems you are experiencing. Typically, there are several reasons why your cell phone reception may be poor, but most commonly it is because of the inhibiting features of walls and other structures that may block the incoming signal.

It is also noteworthy than certain phones from certain manufacturers are known to have better reception than others. Some cell phone networks may also have better coverage in certain areas than others; consider getting new equipment or changing to a provider with better reception in the area(s) where you use your phone the most.

Homemade Cell Phone Signal Boosters