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Alpo

Surely there's some boat folks here

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About how far offshore can you be and a normal cell phone still work?

 

In the book the guy proposed and the girl called her folks to tell 'em, and I'm thinkin', "Bet there ain't a whole lot of cell towers out in the Gulf. Wonder if that phone would reach?"

 

Standard cell. Not satellite, not ship-to-shore.

 

Thoughts?

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Don't need boat folks, just cell savvy folks.

 

There are no hills in the gulf to block a signal. 45 miles if the phone has enough power to reach the tower. According to my source

 

Now if a cell company put a cell tower on an oil platform, wow, that would change everything

Edited by Marshal Mo Hare, SASS #45984

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22 miles for GSM and 38 miles for CDMA. Even though the signal will reach a lot further, the timing requirements of the communications protocol limits the distance.

 

Way back when cell phones were analog and not digital the range was a lot further.

 

That said some cell towers are configured so that their maximum range is less to minimize interference between adjacent cell towers.

Edited by Sedalia Dave

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22 miles for GSM and 38 miles for CDMA. Even though the signal will reach a lot further, the timing requirements of the communications protocol limits the distance.

 

Way back when cell phones were analog and not digital the range was a lot further.

 

That said some cell towers are configured so that their maximum range is less to minimize interference between adjacent cell towers.

GSM? CDMA??

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GSM? CDMA??

Cell phones use one of 2 communication protocols.

 

Global System for Mobile Communications ( GSM ) is the standard in all of Europe. AT&T and T-Mobile, and Rogers use this standard.

 

Code division multiple access (CDMA) is used in the Americas by Verizon and Sprint, Cricket, Metro PCS and others.

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Some of the oil platforms do have cell repeaters. Depending on your carrier and your phone, you can get a good signal when within range of one of these platforms.

 

I've had some luck with AT&T and a BlackBerry out to about 20-25 miles with voice in 2012 off the AL/MS coast. Text was better.

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Also there is line of sight.

 

Using a height of 6 feet above the surface ... water ... the horizon is approximately 3 miles away.

At 100 feet the horizon is a little over 12 miles away.

At 200 feet it is about 17 miles.

 

A cell signal with high out put can reach 45 miles.

However,a cell phone also has a connection protocol.

GMS has a fixed distance of 22 miles limit.

CDMA has no limit but a range of 30 to 45 miles because of their lower power output.

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Back in the early 70's I went to work for a RCC or Radio Common Carrier pre cellular by quite a few years. The company had 4 UHF automatic (direct dial) channels and 2 manual (operator assist) channels and 99% of the customers using the two services were agriculture or ag related businesses. I was an installer at first and installed the phones and two way radios. One day my boss comes out to the shop and tells me to pack up my tools in the service truck and put together what I need to install a direct dial mobile phone in an AIRPLANE!! So I got all of the stuff together and packed up and the lead tech came out of the tech room with a new Motorola Pulsar II mobile phone all set to go.

 

We got in the service truck and followed my boss out to the airport and just as we got there an airplane was landing. We got our stuff set up in a hangar and guess who shows up in the airplane that just landed? Barry Goldwater!!! My boss and him were good friends and Barry wanted a phone in his airplane so that he could make calls while flying back and forth from Arizona to DC. Well we did the install and Barry was very appreciative and he gave me and the tech each a hundred dollar bill when we were finished.

 

When we got back to the shop the tech informed me that what we just did was highly illegal because there were all sorts of rules about what types of electronics can go into an airplane. I guess the hundred bucks was for us to keep our mouths shut. My boss told me a couple of times that Barry really liked the phone and he could make calls all across the country.

Edited by Yul Lose

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If I'm out on a boat the last thing I want is a $%#$ cell phone! Now if the boat is sinking.......... ;)

JHC

 

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Spent many years boating off the California coast out to 100+ miles fishing. All of the electronics that are non satellite signal are basically line of sight. Signal strength, antenna height, land based tower height/location and atmospheric conditions can effect the signal and the distance it can be sent/received. In my experience when you gat out beyond 50 or so miles, signals can get very weak, intermittent or just disappear.

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I had a rule about cell phones when I had my boats. The rule was "No Cell Phones".

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I work on oil production platforms all around the gulf. I'm usually on platforms out on the continental shelf, and I've yet to be on one where I had a cell signal. I was told stories though, that sometimes ships have repeaters. One fella in particular cranked up his phone one day and had a signal, so he called his wife and chatted for a few minutes. The bill for that call was more than he made in a year.

 

I think the platforms I'm on are somewhere around 50 miles from the heliport, so a little less than that from "shore"

 

However, lotsa people use the wireless internet connection to make phone calls. If that ship had internet (and most of the big ones these days seem to) she could have been doing that.

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Unlikely. 36-foot sailboat, and the story's 6 years old.

 

 

 

Also, later in the story it mentions "the bay", not the gulf, but don't say which bay, so it could be fair-sized. They're in Texas, and as we all know, EVERTHING'S bigger in Texas. It also mentions they are anchoring in sixty feet of water, so it don't sound too far off shore.

Edited by Alpo

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