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I'm sure everyone been there when you don't have great signal (reception) for your mobile phone (cellphone) and you need to make a call.

Are there any easy ways to improve a mobile phone signal?

I've heard that holding the phone to your head or holding upside down work a bit and I have had some degree of success with this but I was looking for a slightly better method!
I was thinking sort of making an aerial through the headphone jack but not sure if that's possible so in open to many suggestions!

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  • The most simple method is to go to a place with better signal. Go on a balcony or near to the window. Usually the signal outside is stronger. There is higher attenuation in the buildings.

  • When talking with the phone next to your head the phone signal has 3dB attenuation in human body. If you use a headset you can put the phone away from your head and hold it higher for better signal reception (or you can hold it out of the window).

  • You can check the information for your cell phone to understand where the built in antenna is placed to avoid covering it with hand when talking. Some phones have their antenna in the upper part and others in the bottom, so would depend on the manufacturer and model.

  • Some of the older phones used to have a special connector for attaching an external antenna, but I haven't seen similar thing on new models during the last 5 years.

You can improve the reception with these methods only if the signal level in your case is a little below the useful level. If it is too weak then this won't help.

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First, get to higher elevation. Usually a balcony, or an upstairs window should do the trick. Now, don't move around. I know that many people walk around when talking on the phone (me included), but that makes it harder for the cell phone tower to make a connection.

Some technological things you can do:

  • Keep your phone charged - when a phone has more battery, it can work harder to get a signal
  • Holding your phone correctly - most new phones have the antennas on the bottom of the phone. Because of this, holding your phone upside down can help you get a better signal
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    This is what I would usually opt for when at home or at someone else's house, but what if I am out and about and the signal drops out? – MrPhooky Mar 9 '15 at 9:54
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This might sound counter-intuitive, but a pair of cheap earphones will improve a signal inside where there's lots of interference. Use one with a microphone. Costs less than $10 and will improve the signal considerably, especially when the other caller can hear you, but you can't hear them and the call constantly gets dropped. It's counter-intuitive because the earphones with mic boost the FM signal, but somehow, it boosts the cell phone signal, at least for 3G. I don't know about 4G LTE, but with 3G it works like a charm. Just make sure to put both earphones in, because just one will only improve the signal a bit. It takes a bit getting used to when you've got noise cancelling earphones and you can't hear your own voice, and you might talk louder, but the signal improves considerably. Maybe it works because the antenna isn't covered by your hand.

  • As an electrical engineer, I see no reason why that would work. You're probably not improving reception, but improving intelligibility by increasing the call volume relative to ambient sounds. Phone speakers are crap, earbuds often sound better, making it easier to understand the conversation. – Hobbes Apr 25 '18 at 9:31
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I have had some luck holding the phone against a metal plate or railing that acts as an antenna. Good luck making this work without a headset.

I have had much better luck using the mobile signal booster I bought online, but that isn't a hack ;-)

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