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Author Topic: Cell Phone Coverage in the Park  (Read 34252 times)  

Offline SHANEA

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In Case...
« Reply #15 on: February 04, 2007, 07:45:12 PM »
In case you wanted even more information....

http://www.marfatx.com/bb_index.asp

Quote
Phone line outage affects long distance, internet, 911

 

By STERRY BUTCHER

FAR WEST TEXAS – A construction company doing roadwork between Alpine and Fort Stockton inadvertently sliced a fiber optic line Monday morning, causing a day-long outage for long distance service, 911 and internet availability.

The problem first surfaced at about 9 a.m. Service was largely restored by about 4 p.m.

A crew from the Reece Albert Construction Company was working on a Texas Department of Transportation project to widen culverts and create passing lanes, said Chris Weber, the TxDoT area engineer out of Alpine.

“The contractor’s equipment hit the fiber optic line about 14 miles north of the [Hwy. 67] Y,” he said.

AT&T spokesman Ryan Stirpe indicated that the construction crew had not made a call to locate the line before digging.

“Something we preach is the need to call for a locate to avoid these situations,” he said. “The outage covered Alpine, Marfa, Marathon, Fort Davis, and Fort Stockton.”

Presidio also lacked service on Monday and intermittently on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Stirpe added that a second cut was made on Monday by a construction crew near Van Horn, but he had no information about that incident.

The outage confounded callers and stymied workplaces and offices that required the internet.

Presidio City Administrator Cindi Clarke was in the middle of a long distance call when her line went dead on Monday.

“I’m trying to fax, people are trying to call,” she said. “There was no ATM. It was a mess.”

It was an especially urgent problem for emergency personnel. The outage affected 911 service, which had to be re-routed to Alpine. Cell phones really helped out, said Presidio County Sheriff Danny Dominguez.

“We had no 911, no radio, no long distance, but we did have satellite communication systems,” said the sheriff. “We had cell service and communicated that way.”

Marfa Police Chief Lupe Cataсo said his department was in touch via cell phone with the sheriff’s office, EMS and fire. The same was true in Presidio, where city personnel ran a notice on the local cable station asking folks to call City Hall in case of emergency.

No emergencies were reported in Presidio County during the outage, according to the sheriff’s office.

“We were lucky,” said Cindi Clarke.


Offline dryer

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Cell Phone Coverage in the Park
« Reply #16 on: February 05, 2007, 06:56:17 AM »
Quote from: "chisos_muse"
I currently have NO Cingular coverage in the park, and have not had it for about 4 days now. Jon said there were other people complaining of the same who usually drive down Basin road to make calls. We went to Terlingua last night and the coverage was fine.
I don't know what happened, but if they've discontinued coverage in the park, I'm saying "bye, bye". My contract's done and I've been on a month to month.


I've gotten Cingular coverage at Panther Jct. parking lot, standing on the north curb just opposite the post office, on the side of the road at the basin road turn off, and really spotty coverage at Candalia, of all places.  If you use a high gain external antenna, coverage is much better.  Digital cell phone can only go about 20 miles due to phase error.  Analog goes much farther.  An external yagi antenna would be the most effective.
My HF mobile ham radio goes anywhere, all the time (i use that to talk back to Dallas if the cell doesn't work)  and the VHF raido gives me 911 service from all over the park.
KD5IVP, Texas

chisos_muse

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Cell Phone Coverage in the Park
« Reply #17 on: February 05, 2007, 08:26:16 AM »
Quote from: "dryer"
Quote from: "chisos_muse"
I currently have NO Cingular coverage in the park, and have not had it for about 4 days now. Jon said there were other people complaining of the same who usually drive down Basin road to make calls. We went to Terlingua last night and the coverage was fine.
I don't know what happened, but if they've discontinued coverage in the park, I'm saying "bye, bye". My contract's done and I've been on a month to month.


I've gotten Cingular coverage at Panther Jct. parking lot, standing on the north curb just opposite the post office, on the side of the road at the basin road turn off, and really spotty coverage at Candalia, of all places.  If you use a high gain external antenna, coverage is much better.  Digital cell phone can only go about 20 miles due to phase error.  Analog goes much farther.  An external yagi antenna would be the most effective.
My HF mobile ham radio goes anywhere, all the time (i use that to talk back to Dallas if the cell doesn't work)  and the VHF raido gives me 911 service from all over the park.


Thanks for the advice. Problem is, the cell phone that I moved here with worked great in my residence, thus allowing me to use it in place of my landline for long distance and it cost me only the regular monthly charge with unlimited minutes. I haven't had a landline since I moved to TX. I need to have one now in order to have the internet service offered out here. No problem, I bought one of those lil $10 phone cards and it gives me like 964 minutes or something like that. Besides, I was on a month to month with Cingular, being my contract was done. No biggie! 8)

WayneR

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Cell Phone Coverage in the Park
« Reply #18 on: February 05, 2007, 07:32:48 PM »
Quote from: "dryer"

My HF mobile ham radio goes anywhere, all the time (i use that to talk back to Dallas if the cell doesn't work)  and the VHF raido gives me 911 service from all over the park.


So, how do you get 911 service within the Park using a VHF radio?   :shock:

Wayne

Offline dryer

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Cell Phone Coverage in the Park
« Reply #19 on: February 05, 2007, 08:22:33 PM »
Quote from: "WayneR"
Quote from: "dryer"

My HF mobile ham radio goes anywhere, all the time (i use that to talk back to Dallas if the cell doesn't work)  and the VHF raido gives me 911 service from all over the park.


So, how do you get 911 service within the Park using a VHF radio?   :shock:

Wayne


The Christmas Mtn. repeater is linked to several other Brewster County repeaters.  They use DTMF tones for various options including phone patch and 911 into Alpine.   I'm talking about VHF ham radio.
KD5IVP, Texas

WayneR

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Cell Phone Coverage in the Park
« Reply #20 on: February 05, 2007, 09:05:45 PM »
Is it possible to hit the Christmas Mtn repeater from say, Juniper Canyon?  Probably not.  Park Rangers have a tower on Emory Peak and there are still dead spots.  I wouldn't count on a dtmf patch unless you are on top of one of the peaks with good line of sight...

Wayne

Offline dryer

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Cell Phone Coverage in the Park
« Reply #21 on: February 05, 2007, 09:13:24 PM »
Quote from: "WayneR"
Is it possible to hit the Christmas Mtn repeater from say, Juniper Canyon?  Probably not.  Park Rangers have a tower on Emory Peak and there are still dead spots.  I wouldn't count on a dtmf patch unless you are on top of one of the peaks with good line of sight...

Wayne


I've not tried it from Juniper Canyon but you're probably right.  I have sat on the edge of the south rim and hit it on low power with a  talkie.  Also camped at PC3 which is behind the rocks.   From the car on full power with a gainy antenna, I've had very good luck from most parts of the park.  
Heckuvalot better than a cell phone.... 8)
KD5IVP, Texas

WayneR

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Cell Phone Coverage in the Park
« Reply #22 on: February 05, 2007, 09:25:14 PM »
My cell phone (Nextel) is totally dead at BIBE.   :lol:   Seriously though, communications in the Park are iffy at best atleast with current technology.  I took a 6 watt HT on my last hike to the South Rim.  Working off VHF high band (simplex) on high power, lost comms with my buddy in the Basin at Laguna Meadows and didn't re-establish until the crest on Pinnacles Trail...

Wayne

Offline dryer

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Cell Phone Coverage in the Park
« Reply #23 on: February 05, 2007, 09:56:00 PM »
Quote from: "WayneR"
My cell phone (Nextel) is totally dead at BIBE.   :lol:   Seriously though, communications in the Park are iffy at best atleast with current technology.  I took a 6 watt HT on my last hike to the South Rim.  Working off VHF high band (simplex) on high power, lost comms with my buddy in the Basin at Laguna Meadows and didn't re-establish until the crest on Pinnacles Trail...

Wayne


Well then, you need one of these:

http://www.backpacking.net/makegear/yagi-antenna/index.html

I designed this little 2.1 ounce yagi to fit in my pack, double as a tarp pole, and be as light weight as possible.  It wins transmitter hunts and has hit sats too.   Enjoy!   What's the call sign?
KD5IVP, Texas

WayneR

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Cell Phone Coverage in the Park
« Reply #24 on: February 06, 2007, 07:34:48 PM »
dryer,
sent you a pm....

Wayne

Offline BIBEARCH

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Re: Cingular coverage in Big Bend
« Reply #25 on: February 07, 2007, 01:14:21 PM »
Over in another topic:
Quote from: "RichardM"
I found a site that lists cell tower locations (http://www.cellreception.com/).  Here's the data it has on the tower in BBNP:
http://www.cellreception.com/towers/details.php?id=1053652

It shows it being in the employee housing area behind Panther Junction.


The tower on the Rosillos only serves as a repeater that talks to the dish at Panther Junction. The dish at PJ links the cell to the land line at PJ, which goes out via fiber optic to the rest of the world. The cell is only analog. There's a pullout on a high spot about 2 1/2 miles west of PJ that the locals refer to as the cell phone pullout. The FedEx, UPS, etc. trucks are frequently stopped there - no, they're not snoozing...
The opinion expressed above is my own and not that of the National Park Service or the Federal government.

"Government of the people, by the people, for the people . . . people hey, that's us!"? - Swami Beyondananda

Offline ReDiscovering

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Cell Phone Coverage in the Park
« Reply #26 on: February 07, 2007, 08:09:11 PM »
Quote from: "chisos_muse"
I currently have NO Cingular coverage in the park, and have not had it for about 4 days now. Jon said there were other people complaining of the same who usually drive down Basin road to make calls. We went to Terlingua last night and the coverage was fine.
I don't know what happened, but if they've discontinued coverage in the park, I'm saying "bye, bye". My contract's done and I've been on a month to month.


I was there this weekend and had no coverage anywhere NEAR the park.  The first coverage I got was going north into Marathon about 6 miles south of town.

Being my first time there, I just thought that was normal.   We did get some brief service on the Maxwell scenic drive.   It was only for about 5 mins on that road.

I have Cingular

SCEliot

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Big bend cell phone reception?
« Reply #27 on: December 20, 2007, 04:03:14 PM »
Going to BB next week, I haven't been since I was a kid.  Very excited!

Can you quickly tell me what the cellphone situation is there?  My brother is going to meet me there and we were hoping to get in touch via cell phone.  Can we recieve calls throughout BB or not?

Thanks

Moderator note:  this thread was merged with the existing topic on this subject.
« Last Edit: December 21, 2007, 10:24:34 AM by RichardM »

Offline RichardM

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Re: Big bend cell phone reception?
« Reply #28 on: December 20, 2007, 04:14:47 PM »
There are areas within the park where you can get coverage, but I wouldn't rely on it.

Quote from: jamesb
here is a coverage map of the area

http://www.cingular.com/coverageviewer/?zip=79834&x=47&y=13
Hope you don't mind me grabbing a screenshot of the map.  If so, I can nuke it.



This map explains why we saw that guy drive up the hill at the start of the Southern end of Old Ore Road in an RV just to make a cell phone call. :)

Offline jeffblaylock

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Re: Big bend cell phone reception?
« Reply #29 on: December 20, 2007, 04:58:54 PM »
I'd say that map exaggerates mobile phone reception. If you have a GSM-only device, I wouldn't count on any reception once you get 10 miles south of Marathon (5 bars in Marathon though). There are landline phones in the park, so think about taking a calling card if you have to check in.

I go to Big Bend to check out, so I'm glad the cell phone situation is as lousy as it is.  :icon_biggrin:
Jeff Blaylock
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"We'll be back, someday soon. We will return, someday, and when we do the gritty
splendor and the complicated grandeur of Big Bend will still be here. Waiting for us."--Ed Abbey

 

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