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US Cellular Roaming and Technical Thoughts


Trip
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Good afternoon, all,

 

I find myself at my parents' house for the weekend, way off in the middle of absolute nowhere.  If there was work here and reliable Internet, I would want to live here in this peaceful, pleasant area, but there isn't an FCC field office here, so DC is where I live.

 

For Christmas, my parents got me an RF Explorer spectrum analyzer.  I already have a spectrum analyzer, but it's for cable TV and tops out around 800 MHz, putting it below any of the bands of interest above TV.  This unit, much smaller, lighter, and with better battery life, is really nice.  I've used it first of all to verify what I already knew, which is that out of the hundreds of MHz in 700, SMR, CLR, AWS, PCS, and BRS, the only spectrum being used here is US Cellular's A block in CLR, the only spectrum they own here.  (Rural spectrum shortage my rear end; the other guys are sitting on piles of licenses here and simply not using it.)  I've attached a snapshot showing US Cellular's chunk. 

 

USCC-CubCreek.PNG

 

It appears that there's LTE in the 869-874 piece, then EV-DO above that and 1X at the top.  My phone is connected to 1X on channel 242, which is apparently around 877 MHz.  It also appears the small piece of A block at the top of the band is unused. 

 

But this raises an interesting question.  Does US Cellular only allow 1X roaming?  My deactivated US Cellular Galaxy S4 Mini no longer connects to LTE since only 1X is used for 911 voice calls, but it does still seem to connect to EVDO.  My Sprint Galaxy S5, however, only seems to connect to 1X here, even though it sees EVDO when roaming on Verizon.  At first I thought maybe US Cellular had done what Sprint does with 800, 1X and LTE only, but the spectrum analyzer and my deactivated phone both seem to indicate that's not the case. 

 

Finally, does anyone know why US Cellular might be transmitting two different NIDs?  At first I thought it was frequency specific, that I was connected to one carrier with the NID 10 and then a different with NID 65535, but that's not what's happening, because my phone tells me it's on channel 242 in either case.  I'm at a complete loss because it only seems to be happening in this county and not in the surrounding areas to the north where I came from yesterday. 

 

Happy New Year!

 

- Trip

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SPRINT only allows 1x roaming on consumer plans.  USC I am sure would love for EVDO roaming due to the extra $$$ they would get.  I have a hunch that if you tried a different PRL, either one of the custom ones here or the corp. ones, you would see EVDO roaming.

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SPRINT only allows 1x roaming on consumer plans.  USC I am sure would love for EVDO roaming due to the extra $$$ they would get.  I have a hunch that if you tried a different PRL, either one of the custom ones here or the corp. ones, you would see EVDO roaming.

 

Their coverage map states otherwise though. Several parts of the country now offer EVDO roaming.

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For Christmas, my parents got me an RF Explorer spectrum analyzer.  I already have a spectrum analyzer, but it's for cable TV and tops out around 800 MHz, putting it below any of the bands of interest above TV.  This unit, much smaller, lighter, and with better battery life, is really nice.  I've used it first of all to verify what I already knew, which is that out of the hundreds of MHz in 700, SMR, CLR, AWS, PCS, and BRS, the only spectrum being used here is US Cellular's A block in CLR, the only spectrum they own here.  (Rural spectrum shortage my rear end; the other guys are sitting on piles of licenses here and simply not using it.)  I've attached a snapshot showing US Cellular's chunk. 

 

attachicon.gifUSCC-CubCreek.PNG

 

It appears that there's LTE in the 869-874 piece, then EV-DO above that and 1X at the top.  My phone is connected to 1X on channel 242, which is apparently around 877 MHz.  It also appears the small piece of A block at the top of the band is unused.

 

The RF Explorer is a nice little truly handheld unit.  I keep intending to pick one up for convenience.  But I do find its resolution to be somewhat lacking compared to my slightly larger portable spectrum analyzer with directional antenna and USB connection to dedicated software on my laptop.  Basically, airlink identification can be a bit tricky with the RF Explorer.

 

Now, if your handset is camped on CDMA1X band class 0 channel 242, then USCC almost certainly is running at least two CDMA1X carriers.  For the Cellular A block in band class 0, the primary channel is 283.  In all my years, I have yet to find any CDMA2000 operator without a carrier channel centered at 283 as F1.  So, at channel 242, your handset most likely hashes to F2.

 

If you would like more background on the hashing process, I wrote up an article:

 

http://s4gru.com/index.php?/blog/1/entry-318-can-toggling-airplane-mode-actually-improve-your-3g-data-speeds/

 

AJ

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Their coverage map states otherwise though. Several parts of the country now offer EVDO roaming.

and will have lte roaming too soon :-) As long as they can finally work out the lte roaming deal and go though the cca/rrpp argeement sprint is setting up

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