Tech Myths: Boosting Reality

Signal Booster: First Results

Finally, our results. Preliminary tests with the reformed Doritos container showed no improvement regardless of which way we pointed the can. (We had a rough idea of the nearest cellular tower’s location, but we examined signal strength in a complete circle.) With the Rockstar can, results were mixed.

We started with Joe’s Nokia, which, again, never hit more than one bar in camp. Set within our parabolic Rockstar booster apparatus and pointed toward where we estimated the cell tower sat beyond the tree line, we actually got two bars. I snapped the before-and-after shots you see here to prove the point. Unfortunately, after taking these pictures, we were never able to duplicate the result.

That put my BlackBerry up on deck. What I hoped to see was five bars. Three was normal inside of camp, plus or minus one bar. If you zoom in on the photos here, you’ll see that I was getting three bars when I held it in my hand, and two bars in the same physical spot when in the Rockstar can.

At no point did I ever see the “booster” help with reception. Facing in a certain direction I might get three or four bars without the booster. Then with the booster added, the most I would see is four bars. Yes, we saw two bars with the “boosted” Nokia phone, but there were also occasional instances when we’d see two bars without the can, and the two bars with the can wasn’t consistent enough to be called true help.

In the midst of my disappointment, I suddenly realized that I hadn’t exactly followed the source video. His can had been a 24-ouncer. Mine was only 16 oz., and that might have an impact on the dish’s ability to focus a signal. Great. Time to make a trip back into town.