Tower "DXing"; does this happen often?

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ylrkdr
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Tower "DXing"; does this happen often?

Post by ylrkdr » Sun Sep 20, 2020 10:25 pm

Long story short, I live in an "AT&T LTE hole" where the surrounding towers are beaming away from me, so the closest tower I can actually regularly connect to is 13 miles away. Using a set of Iskra P-58s, I can get, on a good day, in the low to mid 20s on B2(15mhz) with my MOFI.

Last night, I noticed on my modem status page I was connected with B4, with B29 on CA! I grabbed the hex cell ID, converted it, checked the location on cellmappers, and found the tower was located near Jasper, IN, over 31 miles away! :shock: I did a speed test, and got 8mbps down.

Granted, the Jasper tower is in the same direction as the one in Santa Claus, IN., but I've never heard anyone connecting to a tower so far away. Does this happen often?

As an aside, the closest AT&T tower is 3 miles away, but it beams toward a four lane road in the opposite direction, so I rarely ever get a sniff at it, even when the Iskras are pointed directly at it. There are hills blocking LOS, but the same is true for the Santa Claus tower.

ylrkdr
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Re: Tower "DXing"; does this happen often?

Post by ylrkdr » Sun Sep 20, 2020 10:31 pm

It's doing it again! DL 11mbps, UL 2mbps. Weird!

Operational Mode: LTE
Band: B4 LTE bw: 5 MHz (1700 Mhz)
Carrier Aggregation: ACTIVE LTE Scell band:B29
Signal Strength: -120 (dBm) (Very Poor or No Connection)
Signal Quality: -15.5
Diversity Signal Strength: -116 (dBm)

mtl26637
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Re: Tower "DXing"; does this happen often?

Post by mtl26637 » Mon Sep 21, 2020 10:38 am

If the tower hasn't been 'logged' from many users from "all" directions then the location of the tower can be fairly inaccurate on cellmapper. First thing I would do is download cellmapper on your phone and go find the exact location of that tower and drive around it in all directions and get some good logs so the cellmapper site will have better information available. You can also fine tune the location of the tower by actually picking its location and dragging it to its actual location once you know where its actually at. Doing this will also give you better information of the bands available etc.

Also, I'd be surprised if any of those towers are 'directional'? Every 'tower' i've seen (no matter the carrier) in rural IN uses the triangular shaped brackets at the top and has the actual antennas pointing in 120 degree increments.

ylrkdr
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Re: Tower "DXing"; does this happen often?

Post by ylrkdr » Tue Sep 22, 2020 6:40 am

I can "see" the tower on cellmapper using Google Earth, using the data provided by a cell signal app(not cellmapper) on my wife's phone, and matching the eBN ID on cellmapper. This is verified by taking the MOFI hex provided, and using a hex calculator. The eBN ID of the tower I get most of my internet from is 159727. #153404 is less than 3 miles away, and I can barely get anything from it, ever. Using Google Earth Street View, I can see there's antennas from the closer tower pointed in my general direction; however, using the topography feature in the path calculator in G.E., there's some hills in between me and the tower. Will have to investigate further.

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Re: Tower "DXing"; does this happen often?

Post by mtl26637 » Wed Sep 23, 2020 9:31 am

Took a quick glance at those locations just out of curiousity. Let me know if you figure anything out or are able to get anymore info. I can't believe a phone would even bounce in between those 2 towers as the distance between them is something like 20+ miles no? Furthest I've really seen an LTE connection was around 7 or 8 miles before latching on to a different tower. Pretty interesting..

swwifty
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Re: Tower "DXing"; does this happen often?

Post by swwifty » Wed Sep 23, 2020 11:53 am

Short answer to your question is: Yes, this is possible.

I'm guessing by the title of "DX" you're a ham radio guy or short wave listener? It's entirely possible that you occasionally are connecting to that distant tower due to propagation enhancement. I'm a ham radio guy, and am really into high frequency "weak signal" contacts. During certain times of the day, typically the morning, weather conditions can enhance the range of a frequency due to what is called tropospheric ducting. You can read about it here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tropospheric_propagation

ylrkdr
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Re: Tower "DXing"; does this happen often?

Post by ylrkdr » Wed Sep 23, 2020 9:38 pm

Spent many hours as a kid listening to faraway stations on AM and shortwave, still have a shortwave radio, though there's not nearly as much to listen to anymore. We have been under the influence of a strong high pressure system the past few days; I even got a 43 mbps D/L (which is 50% higher than my previous record) a couple of nights ago! It'll be interesting to see what happens when winter arrives; I've only been using this setup since May.

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Re: Tower "DXing"; does this happen often?

Post by swwifty » Thu Sep 24, 2020 11:40 am

ylrkdr wrote:
Wed Sep 23, 2020 9:38 pm
Spent many hours as a kid listening to faraway stations on AM and shortwave, still have a shortwave radio, though there's not nearly as much to listen to anymore. We have been under the influence of a strong high pressure system the past few days; I even got a 43 mbps D/L (which is 50% higher than my previous record) a couple of nights ago! It'll be interesting to see what happens when winter arrives; I've only been using this setup since May.
Gotcha. High pressure systems often introduce tropospheric ducting, so I'm sure that's what was going on. I've never heard of it happening on LTE before, but it makes perfect sense.

I personally love when it happens, cause I can talk on high frequencies, hundreds of miles easily on ham radio :)

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