cell phone coverage?

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jshandyman
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cell phone coverage?

Post by jshandyman » Tue Jun 14, 2011 8:17 pm

will i be able to use Droid x on the island?

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Tom
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Re: cell phone coverage?

Post by Tom » Wed Jun 15, 2011 5:07 am

Most common answer: Don't count on it.

There are no cellular towers on the island, and therefore coverage must come via the mainland. Spotty at best.
Some folks have gotten limited coverage while up on the ridge trails, and under certain conditions. Others have also reported being able to text message out, but not talk, since that apparently requires less signal.
This past fall reports were coming in that WiFi access was discovered at Windigo (and perhaps Rock Harbor) but hard to say if that was for the concessionaire or general public use.

Personally, I leave the phone at home as it's adding weight I don't need, and cannot reliably count upon.

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DonNewcomb
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Re: cell phone coverage?

Post by DonNewcomb » Wed Jun 15, 2011 7:28 am

I did some tests which confirmed that ATT's long-range GSM service reaches much of the island. To access this I used a Motorola V550, multi-band GSM phone with an external Wilson Yagi antenna. The key is that the phone had a jack for an external antenna connection. I could make calls and send and receive texts. There was no data service. It was common that all available circuits were busy. I had to stand in a place where I had a clear view of the lake to the SE and point the antenna back to U.P. Obviously in interior valleys there was no service.

As for your particular phone, I have no idea. You don't even mention who your carrier is.

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Backpacker534
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Re: cell phone coverage?

Post by Backpacker534 » Wed Jun 15, 2011 4:45 pm

For what it's worth, I was able to make a cell phone call three different times on the island. I was able to get through at Feldtmann Lake one trip but not on another. I was also able to make a cell phone call from the top decking of the ranger tower on the Feldtmann Ridge Trail. Finally, I was able to make a couple calls from the top of the bluff at Chippewa Harbor (all on the same trip and same day). With that said, every call I ever made was very spotty and reception was poor at best, although I was able to carry on a conversation. If you get enough of a signal to make a connection you'll probably want to walk a couple feet in a few different directions to see if you can "dial in" on the signal strength.


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jshandyman
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Re: cell phone coverage?

Post by jshandyman » Wed Jun 15, 2011 9:47 pm

Great information ===thanks
I'm going to try to post some pictures to facebook so my wife, family and friends at home can see.

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DonNewcomb
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Re: cell phone coverage?

Post by DonNewcomb » Thu Jun 16, 2011 12:20 am

BTW, it has been reported at the store at Windigo has a free WiFi hotspot. So if you are at Windigo and your phone has WiFi, that might be a good alternative.

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DonNewcomb
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Re: cell phone coverage?

Post by DonNewcomb » Tue Jan 03, 2017 4:44 pm

I'm curious if and how AT&T's sunsetting of 2G service will affect Isle Royale? Will they make an exception for their long-range GSM service in UP? Is their 3G/4G service up to the job?


jerry
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Re: cell phone coverage?

Post by jerry » Wed Jan 04, 2017 6:10 pm

I made cell phone calls from Malone Bay campground several years ago (during a five or six minute time period).


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Re: cell phone coverage?

Post by treeplanter » Sat Jun 10, 2017 10:00 am

I climbed the portage trail between Tobin Harbor and Duncan Bay last week while on the island. About 1/2 way up, still on the Tobin Harbor side, I pulled out my cell phone to take a few pictures. All of a sudden, my phone started to download email. Looking down, I had a strong LTE signal. It didn't last long, maybe five minutes, but I had total internet and phone service. No idea what tower I locked onto but I'm guessing something in the Keweenaw. Interesting I thought.


JerryB
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Re: cell phone coverage?

Post by JerryB » Sat Jun 10, 2017 11:56 am

I once got a signal on the ridge above Malone Bay

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DonNewcomb
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Re: cell phone coverage?

Post by DonNewcomb » Tue Jun 13, 2017 6:02 am

Of course, it all depends on what carrier you have. AT&T and Verizon are the only carriers that serve the area. Sprint roams Verizon, last I heard. and T-Mobile roamed AT&T when I was there. You might also be able to get a signal from the Canadian carriers in Thunder Bay. I used a GSM flip phone with an 850 MHz Yagi antenna to make calls from Rock Harbor but AT&T is supposed to have shut down their GSM (2G) service. Current phones have no provision for an external antenna connection, which leaves you at the mercy of your phone's puny internal antenna. Otherwise you could probably get a signal at any spot that has a reasonably clear view of the lake.


The_Guy
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Re: cell phone coverage?

Post by The_Guy » Tue Jun 13, 2017 6:24 am

Last year I on the top of the tower at Mt Ojibway I had 2-3 bars of LTE service. I made a few phone calls and was even able to upload a couple photos to FB. I was using an iPhone 6 with Verizon as the carrier.


huntertim214
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Re: cell phone coverage?

Post by huntertim214 » Tue Jun 13, 2017 10:21 am

Don't tell anyone the secret, but do you want to know one of the best things about Isle Royale? ... no cell phone service! :) just kidding... but I love to just enjoy to wildness of these places and plug back in after I get home.


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Re: cell phone coverage?

Post by Chorizo » Tue Jun 13, 2017 9:51 pm

I have never taken my phone over. My view of it is that by having a phone I have gone a long long way to still be tethered to the world. Feels better to me to break that tether while I'm there.

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DonNewcomb
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Re: cell phone coverage?

Post by DonNewcomb » Wed Jun 14, 2017 6:47 am

Chorizo wrote:
Tue Jun 13, 2017 9:51 pm
I have never taken my phone over. My view of it is that by having a phone I have gone a long long way to still be tethered to the world. Feels better to me to break that tether while I'm there.
Which is all well and good until something goes terribly wrong. I feel that leaving a means of emergency communications behind is about a sensible as leaving your first aid kit and rain-gear behind in the hopes that you won't need them.

I do get it. One of my most annoying memories was trying to read a book and enjoy the view from Blood Mountian while half a dozen idiots were face-timing at the top of their lungs, "Honey, just look at this view." But that's not a question of someone having a phone, rather how it's used.

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