There was a breakthrough at Monkey Valley this week. For two years now I have been suffering with my cell phone here. I could only get a signal by standing on a bench on my back deck and holding the phone in the air, or by climbing up on the roof. Not great for those 7:45 AM conference calls with my client in winter with -10 C temperatures! Not to mention wind and rain…
So I finally forked out some cash to get a power booster, hoping that this technology would allow me to use the existing Yagi antenna on the roof to channel the digital signal to my phone inside the house. So I went to Kamloops, and got the power booster (second trip, and after many preparatory phone calls with different providers). I brought it home, and hooked it up, hoping this would be easy for a change.
I put my phone near the inside antenna and saw the discouraging message “Searching for service.” Shit! I took the phone up on the roof to see what kind of signal I could get, and got about two bars. I called Telus to see what was up, and confirmed there were no outages in the area. So something was wrong with the setup. Maybe the Yagi had broken down since I last used it with my old analog 3-watt bag phone a few years ago, before Telus forced us all to switch to digital.
I thought the best thing to do would be to test the antenna by moving it higher up on the roof, to where I was standing with the cell phone when I got two bars. But how would I support the antenna? I looked at the spot, and saw my dining room chair balanced on either side of the roof ridge, with the antenna strapped to it. Okay, that might work…
So I went in the house, got a chair, and hauled the chair up onto the roof, along with some trusty duct tape. I went to the antenna, and tried to pull it out of the plumbing outlet pipe in which it was lodged. It wouldn’t come. I pulled and pulled. It wouldn’t budge. I pulled some more, cursing to give myself more power. Finally the antenna budged, but the pipe came with it. Darn! But since it was loose anyway, it probably wouldn’t hurt to pull it some more. I pulled the pipe out as far as it would come, gaining about three and a half feet of height for the antenna.
In fact, about the height it would have been strapped to the chair. So what the hell… I went inside to check the reading on the cell phone and lo and behold: four bars!!! It worked!!!
The ridiculous notion of the chair on the roof led to the solution: the antenna just needed to be higher. Since I had contractors coming this week to do some other work (Brent and Tom of Tri-Ross Construction—great guys), they agreed to mount the antenna with a more permanent solution than sticking it in the outlet pipe with duct tape, and they also fixed the pipe I had dislodged. Wow! For once the new problems I created were easy to solve. And now I have indoor phone service at Monkey Valley.
My first phone call was a real thrill let me tell you! By the fourth call, not so much! And today, the darn reception was down to “Searching for service,” even up on the roof. Well aren’t we all! So unfortunately, I am still at the mercy of the whims of the universe as to whether some mysterious force chooses to send the signal my way or not. I guess that’s pretty much what life is like. At the mercy of a mysterious force, which sometimes sends visions of dining room chairs on roof tops.