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  1. #1
    Handmade in Switzerland
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    Idea! Coloradotrail - Mobile Phone Connection

    Me and my friend like to do the whole Coloradotrail by bike. We're from Switzerland and our Mobilephone Network in Europe is GSM. I would like to have the possibility to make an emergency call during our Coloradotrail-Trip in case of a problem.

    Does anyone know if there is mobile phone connection on the Coloradotrail?

    If yes, what kind of mobile phone?

    Is there another possibility to ask for help in case of a problem?

    Thanks a lot and regards from switzerland

    mat

  2. #2
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    Mat,

    I work for wireless telecommunication carriers here in Colorado and surrounding states building out networks of sites for Verizon & Cingular. The main GSM provider here in Colorado is T-Mobile and Cingular, unless you have a dual or tri-mode phone then you may be able to pick up other signals as well.

    As far as service on the Colorado trail, I am not sure. If there is service it will be spotty at best. Usually we only target populated areas or along roadways for now but more and more attention is being given to back country recreational users. Right now that is mainly only the ski resorts. Cingular (GSM) and Verizon (CDMA) currently have the best back country service.

    Have fun.

  3. #3
    I can't ride 45!
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    Mat -> There will be large expanses of trail (the majority of it?) where you will not have cell phone coverage.

    caudex333 -> Any idea why Genesee, which lies right along the heavily traveled I70 corridor, has such poor cell phone reception from all carriers? I have Cingular GSM and there is a cell phone black hole which covers most of Genesee leaving myself and every other person I have talked with without cell coverage.

  4. #4
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    jasonb,

    I am currently working with JeffCo on getting a site at the RTD Park&Ride lot on the SE corner of I-70 & Dakota Ridge. This site will hopefully be on-air in 2-3 months. It will help provide much needed Cingular coverage along I-70 up through what we call "Dead Man's Curve" to Genesee as well as south towards Red Rocks and Morrison. Hold tight, better service is on its way.

    Not sure about how Cingular phones work (not my area) but for other carriers you need to update your phones software in order to get the phone to connect with new sites. Otherwise you may not be getting the best coverage possible. Contact your nearest Cingular store or customer service to confirm if Cingular GSM phones need to be updated. For Verizon CDMA phones you call *228 and your phone automatically updates allowing access to new sites and services.

  5. #5
    I can't ride 45!
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    That is about the best answer I could have hoped for -- can I buy you a beer?

  6. #6
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    sat phone

    I have used them quite a bit and they work good. About 3 times the size of a cell, but not very heavy. I have purchased a lot of different systems from this place and they do rentals too. You need an Iridium or Globalstar type.

    http://www.outfittersatellite.com/

    caudex333 -> I'm going to follow jasonb's lead and go fishing for some info. CDMA or even Analog are really spoty on 285 with the exception of Aspen Park / Conifer, I don't expect it to ever be great in the lower canyon. At PIne Junction I can see a tower and my signal still sucks. I don't know if carriers share towers or what, so that may make no difference. The rumor up here is that Verizon is supposed to be buliding out more on this stretch. Can you share any info, I'll buy you a beer too

  7. #7
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    mateomtb,

    I will provide a little Radio Frequency 101. Most all service now is digital however some carriers like Verizon Wireless still own and transmit their analog frequencies. I don't think I need to explain the benefits of digital over analog but there were some trade offs. When the Feds (FCC) okayed the use of digital service over new frequencies a stipulation was added that carriers had to transmit at a lower power. This required more sites and the signal would not reach as far as it did with analog service. This was especially noticable in very dense urban areas and mountainous areas where there are a lot of obstructions of the signal.

    Wireless telecommunication service operates by line of sight. This means providing coverage in the mountains is VERY tough due to the trees and terrain (analog service was more forgiving in the mountains and liked to bounce around through the canyons providing for slightly better coverage). Couple this with property owners who do not want to lease us land for a new tower and local jurisdictions who hate towers and make it impossible to get new towers built, providing coverage anywhere is a challenge.

    Carriers do frequently share tower space (we call collocation). However, none of the carriers have the exact network design or use the same technology. Therefore a tower in one spot may work for T-Mobile but Cingular may need to have a tower 1 mile in another direction. The tower you see most likely does not have any Verizon Wireless antennas on it if you are near the tower and do not have service. Each carriers needs its own set of antennas and equipment to transmit and receive signals. Carriers can share towers but not antennas and equipment.

    Getting good coverage in the mountains and canyons like east of Vail, Glenwood Canyon, and the areas you have refenced is a daunting task but that's my job.

    I cannot speak to the carriers' exact plans and timing to provide more coverage along 285 but the gaps in coverage along this highway are a concern and some of the carriers are currently working on sites this year to enhance coverage along 285.

    Sorry for the long message.

  8. #8
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    um

    mtbr presents, real men of genius real men of geeeniuuuuussssss

    Today we salute you Mr. Cell phone tower spot finder. Mr. cell phone tower spot fiiiiinder


    Thanks a lot, good info!

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