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Cell Phone Interference with OTA Reception?

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Old 05-29-2008, 09:41 PM   #1
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Default Cell Phone Interference with OTA Reception?

Earlier this week my girlfriend and I recently cancelled our Comcast cable service in turn to subscribe to satellite service. While subscribed to cable, we received digital channels via our QAM tuner. However, while we're deciding which satellite provider to choose, we're still receiving digital channels via antenna. We live within six miles of all towers and don't have a problem receiving a strong signal. But we've noticed that when we either of us receive a call on our mobile phones, there's interference with the OTA picture. I can handle a little static every now and then. But she tends to use her phone quite often in the evening and if we choose D* (my choice), local channels aren't available in our area.

Do the mobile phones create interference, or am I imagining things? And if so, is there anything I can do to minimize the interference?

Here's our setup:
* Toshiba 32" Regza connected to a Radio Shack 15-1892 antenna through two coax cables (I bought one cable about a two feet short so we connected two coax cables.)
* The antenna has a preamp, which I have the gain usually set at 2 or 3.
* The television and antenna are in our renovated bungalow attic.
* She uses a Nokia 6085 phone and I use a Samsung A437, both through AT&T.

Any and all help is greatly appreciated!
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Old 05-30-2008, 03:21 AM   #2
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my cell phones create interference with our fm reception when we stand near our radio....our fm reception is dependant on an indoor antenna and since fm is in the middle of vhf low tv band it is possible that it could interfere with tv too.....however I haven't noticed that here, but my sd and hd locals come in through an outdoor rig making it less susceptible to interference.......I don't think that our cells are directly interfering with the signal though, because they also do the same thing to our pc speakers....so it would seem that they are getting into the amplifier transistors....

short answer: not sure whether its interfering with the signal or the bits in your tv, but it is possible.
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Old 05-30-2008, 06:03 AM   #3
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thanks for hte information you havr shared with us...............................
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Old 05-30-2008, 08:21 AM   #4
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Not to get off the topic of interference caused by cell phones, but I have the occasional problem of my neighbors' lawn mowers causing interference and creating a brief loss of digital signal. I also have a slight decrease in signal strength when my computer is on, particularly with the VHF channels. I guess my point is that a lot of different things can cause interference. I haven't had problems with cell phones though.
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Old 05-30-2008, 12:48 PM   #5
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Hmmm...I'm guessing the celly is too close to the telly. Given most cellular phones operate at 1.9GHz and TV reception is betwixt 55-800MHz, these are far enough apart that no interference should occur. Guessing that your TV is susceptible to interference vis a vis FCC Part 15 - see notice on back of set. Solution is to move phone away from set or use the landline. Cause is cheapness of manufacture and I assure you not unique to your particular set.
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Old 05-30-2008, 01:26 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by donnyjaguar View Post
Hmmm...I'm guessing the celly is too close to the telly... Solution is to move phone away from set or use the landline. Cause is cheapness of manufacture and I assure you not unique to your particular set.
donny's ideas are the way to go if the receiver is the real problem. But it may also be the antenna itself: It's probably amplifying the cell signals since it's only a few feet away from the phone, and it may be enough of a boost to upset the TV tuner. You may also wish to try relocating the antenna to a closet, another room or even the attic by attaching it to an additional length of RG-6 cable. The idea is to get more distance between phone and antenna. You'll need a "barrel" coax connector to couple the two cables.
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Old 05-30-2008, 01:49 PM   #7
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Did you have Cingular, or Cellular One before AT&T bought them out? They were both on 800MHZ before the changeover. Just a thought. Not sure if everyone has been chaged over to 1.9 yet.

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Old 06-02-2008, 08:25 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Don_M View Post
donny's ideas are the way to go if the receiver is the real problem. But it may also be the antenna itself: It's probably amplifying the cell signals since it's only a few feet away from the phone, and it may be enough of a boost to upset the TV tuner. You may also wish to try relocating the antenna to a closet, another room or even the attic by attaching it to an additional length of RG-6 cable. The idea is to get more distance between phone and antenna. You'll need a "barrel" coax connector to couple the two cables.
We could extend the cable and place the antenna towards the other end of the room, which would move the antenna an extra 20 feet away from where we sit. We currently have a coax connector between the two cables we use now, could that connector be allowing for interference since it's a break in the cable?

Thanks to everyone for your input and help so far.
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Old 06-03-2008, 11:44 AM   #9
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We could extend the cable and place the antenna towards the other end of the room, which would move the antenna an extra 20 feet away from where we sit.
Every foot helps. If the spot you're contemplating is near, or in front of, a window, so much the better. That would provide stronger signals from the antenna(s) to the built-in antenna amp. Stronger TV signals would help your tuner overcome unwanted cellular interference.

Quote:
We currently have a coax connector between the two cables we use now, could that connector be allowing for interference since it's a break in the cable?
Barrel connectors involve a little bit of signal loss. That aside, they're not more vulnerable to interference. A more likely culprit would be badly crimped coax connectors, but that's not likely if your extension cable has factory-molded connectors at both ends.

Also, make certain there's no apparent physical damage to the cables. Too much bending, or crushing under heavy furniture, can compromise or break the outer shielding and/or inner conductor. Evidence of either kind of damage sharply increases the likelihood of interference. Any suspect cable should be replaced.

As added protection against interference, be sure all those connectors are tight: Snug each one by hand, and then use a small 7/16" wrench to tighten the connectors about an additional quarter turn. This ensures both a good electrical path for the signals and a solid shield to block interference.
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