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April 25, 2016 — by KEN PERKINSSHARE ARTICLE
It’s easy to find nearby cell towers plotted on a Google Maps display.
In this post:
I’ve discussed before some of the things you can do immediately to improve poor cell phone reception. If you want to, you can read that post here. bit.ly/1HqOdwZ
As I noted then, one of the simplest and most helpful things you can do to improve cell reception is to find the location of your cell tower. When you know where the cell tower is located, you know which direction your signal is coming from.
Once you know that, you can more effectively implement the suggestions from that earlier post. Knowing the origin of your cell signal can help you understand why you have poor reception, and how you may be able to improve it.
Of course when I say ‘your’ cell tower I mean your carrier’s tower – the one providing the signal your cell phone uses so that you have service. Normally that will be your carrier’s tower closest to your location. So how do you find it? Fortunately there are some very good – and free – resources to help with that.
One of my favorite resources is antennasearch.com. You can enter your location by street address and the search engine will return a list of all towers within a 3 mile radius. The site also plots all the towers on Google Maps. For those towers that were registered with a street address, it will display the address.
If no street address was entered at the time the tower was registered, you’ll have to make do with GPS coordinates. You also can see additional data like the tower’s owner, height and date of construction.
The only drawback is that this is a comprehensive database. It includes all towers in your area – TV & radio stations and even private comms towers, in addition to cell towers. So you may have to wade through a fair amount of data to find the tower you’re looking for.
Another very useful site is cellreception.com/towers/. Enter your city and state and click Go. The search results are a Google Maps display with all nearby towers plotted. An awesome feature of this site is the filtering capability. You can filter the plot display by carrier. So you can show only the locations of Verizon towers plotted on the map, for example.
This filter feature is particularly useful because, again, all towers, not just cell towers, are included in the unfiltered results.
The site that many say is the best tower-finder tool on the web is www.opensignal.com. The site allows you to toggle between a coverage map, showing where signal is likely to be strong or weak, and a tower map that plots tower locations by carrier. A nice feature – unlike the other sites this maps displays cell towers only. Hover over a tower pin and the GPS coordinates will display.
OpenSignal.com allows you filter the tower map by carrier and by technology generation (that is, 2G, 3G and 4G service). I’m slightly disappointed that the carrier filter will display only one carrier’s towers at a time. By contrast the tech gen filter allows mixing and matching to display any combination of 2G, 3G and 4G towers.
Cell phone apps
If you’re wondering about tower locator apps for your phone, there are a bunch. The locator app I used previously is apparently no longer being maintained. I doesn’t work right and can’t be found in the app store, so I guess I need to find a new app for that.
As I stated, there are a bunch to choose from, so I’m going to do some research and find the one or two I really like. I’ll make that the subject a future blog post.
Found the nearest tower but still have lousy cell service? Click below to learn more about how cell signal boosters can solve your problem.
TAGS: cell towers