The other day I was helping my son move some things but in my rush forgot some crucial items. He was located in a near “dead zone” for mobile phone reception. Without a land line I had to depend on my cell phone that showed no “bars” of signal strength. Under these circumstances sometimes sending a text message will get through (see “A Texting Tale“). However, that doesn’t work with land lines on the other end.
Having spent a good portion of my career in the aerospace/defense industry I have spent some time around parabolic “dish” antennas and have applied this reflective principal to my cell phone on occasions.
Years ago I participated as an Assistant Scout Master at a camp. The parents of one of the Scouts helped transport our troop members and during the week took a vacation along the nearby California coast. At the end of the week they shared this experience with me. At one point the husband needed to make a call but had trouble finding a signal. He asked himself “what would Ken do?”. He looked for a parabolic feature in the landscape and found a rock with a concave surface. He placed the phone at it’s focal point and “bingo!” was able to connect his call.
I couldn’t find a signal at my son’s place so I found a pan and put my phone inside it. Surprisingly, even without a registered signal strength bar showing I was able to connect my call and have the critical items delivered.
This parabolic effect has worked for me and you might keep it in mind if you find yourself in a similar situation. I’m sure that there are other techniques that I would love to hear about so please share your successes in the comments section below so that we may all be better prepared for this eventuality.