mobile phone sensitivity and antennas

Submitted: Saturday, Mar 19, 2011 at 17:42

Member - Mel D (NSW)

For the best available mobile outback reception I have been using a Telstra ZTE T6 mobile phone which I can connect to an external antenna on the bullbar through a patch lead. We had quite good coverage from Telstra through Queensland on our last trip with better reception when the antenna was connected. But I wanted to upgrade to a smarter phone and recently bought a Motorola Defy which Telstra sold as having a blue tick for remote sensitivity. Now Telstra has announced they made a mistake and the Defy does not in fact deserve a blue tick. Rats. Not so smart. It doesnt have a socket for an external antenna anyway.

Is there anyone out there who has a blue tick smart phone which has a connector for an external antenna? I have been searching fruitlessly through phone technical details to try to find such a thing.
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AnswerID: 448661   Submitted: Saturday, Mar 19, 2011 at 17:53

Ozhumvee replied:

Not many have an external aerial socket these days but there are a few that have a cradle which has an inductive connection. We've got a couple of cradles with inductive antenna connection, power connection and data connection in different vehicles for our Nokia phones which work well. The cradles are quite often made by 3rd parties like Force which are generally cheaper then the brand name ones from the big manufacturers like Nokia.
1996 Oka Motorhome
2005 F250 4x4 Super Duty with Real Lite slideon (in USA)
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Reply 1 of 14
AnswerID: 448662   Submitted: Saturday, Mar 19, 2011 at 18:05

Member - Des replied:

Samsung S5510T has an external antenna socket and patch leads are available for it. We have one of its predecessors (Samsung A411) and it works well, although light on features.

If you have the Motorola Defy, presumably you are on a plan rather than pre-paid. The Samsung is available with prepaid. It might be prudent to check with Telstra whether a prepaid phone will work with a post-paid SIM. You would think it would, but that is not the case with mobile broadband (pre-paid SIM won't work with at least some modems on a plan)

You could try an inductive coupling with the Motorola and see whether that makes a difference. (See RF Shop for more information. They are very helpful too.) Thumbs UpThanks 0
Reply 2 of 14
FollowupID: 720955   Submitted: Sunday, Mar 20, 2011 at 10:36

BFreer posted:

The samsung S5510T does have an antennae socket, but unless they have changed the case in the last few months they have a problem connecting to a patch lead because the connector is is behind the battery so to connect you have to take off the back cover, take out the battery, connect, and then work out how to power the phone - not the best design. Otherwise a nice phone and works OK in a inductive cradle. The samsung 5220 works well and can connect directlly to patch lead via external socket.
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AnswerID: 448664   Submitted: Saturday, Mar 19, 2011 at 18:16

Member - Tezza Qld replied:

Hi Mel

I use a Samsung C5220 blue tick , $89 at Dick Smiths , through a patch lead to a 7 db aerial mounted on the roof and this works very well. Don't know what features the phone offers as we only use the basics. We also have a sat phone mounted in the cab with an external aerial also on the roof to ensure good communications

Cheers Teza
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Reply 3 of 14
AnswerID: 448672   Submitted: Saturday, Mar 19, 2011 at 21:02

lizard replied:

I just bought a Defy - when I was doing my reseaqrch a month ago it was listed as a 'blue tick' - when did they say it was a mistake ?
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FollowupID: 720921   Submitted: Saturday, Mar 19, 2011 at 21:16

TTTSA posted:

Telstra sent me a txt message on thursday informing me of the re rating of the Defy. You can register with telstra if the blue tick is important to you, which I did. Will be interesting to see what they do about it. Defy was the only touch phone with a blue tick when I bought mine. Thats why I bought it.
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FollowupID: 721084   Submitted: Monday, Mar 21, 2011 at 11:52

Mike DiD posted:

. . . when Telstra released the Blackberry Torch as a Bluetick Smartphone - for 3 times the contract price.
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AnswerID: 448684   Submitted: Saturday, Mar 19, 2011 at 23:52

Member - Tony H (touring oz) replied:

This post has been read by the moderation team and has been moderated due to a breach of The Foul Language Rule .

Forum Moderation Team
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AnswerID: 448704   Submitted: Sunday, Mar 20, 2011 at 09:50

Robin Miller replied:

A blue tick is not related to sensitivity.

A blue tick , means it can have an external antenna connected.

Many phones with Blue tick have less sensitivity than ones without , but when you connect an antenna they give you the range which is intended to roughly coincides with phone companys reception chart.

The cheap samsungs mentioned above have an external connection & coincidentally good reception.

But aerial connection is a bit iffy and subject to coming loose if used a lot and makes the phone harder to pick up and use.

Robin Miller
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FollowupID: 720956   Submitted: Sunday, Mar 20, 2011 at 10:37

Member - Des posted:

Good point about the nature of the antenna sockets. The one on our Samsung (A411) has a very fine pin than would break easily (not to mention a plastic cover plug it that is difficult to prise off). I wouldn't count on plugging in and unplugging a patch lead on a regular basis. But then we don't find we need to - we only connect the external antenna when we can't otherwise get decent reception and really need it.

Most of the time when in NextG mobile range the Samsung has good reception without external antenna. My partner has a HTC HD2 smartphone on NextG and the reception on that is not as good.

If you expect that you will use an external antenna regularly, better to buy a cradle with inductive coupling.
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FollowupID: 720975   Submitted: Sunday, Mar 20, 2011 at 13:57

TTTSA posted:

"means it can have an external antenna connected"
Don't know that is 100% right, my Motorola Defy had the "blue tick" when I bought it and it doesn't have an external antenna connection that I know of. Happy to be corrected.

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FollowupID: 720984   Submitted: Sunday, Mar 20, 2011 at 15:06

Member - bungarra (WA) posted:

Blue tick DOES NOT mean it has the socket for an external aerial.........We only purchase blue tick phones because of our location and I know this for 100% certainity.....some blue ticks have them others dont unfortunately

Also some blue ticks are vastly superior to other blue ticks unfortunately..nothing beats the old samsung 411 / 412 for reception simply because they had a little stubby antennae ....later models dont

the Samsung c5220 is blue tick with the aerial socket...we in desperation purchased one of those pre paid at a Australia Post outlet and use the post paid sim in it......because at the time when we needed to change / replace our phone Telstra did not have a blue tick with the aerail socket !

Life is a journey, it is not how we fall down, it is how we get up.
VKS 1341
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FollowupID: 720989   Submitted: Sunday, Mar 20, 2011 at 15:56

Alloy c/t posted:

Blue tick = best for rural and remote coverage ,nothing at all to do with external antennae connection , eg. LG GU290f is telstra blue ticked , no way to attach external antennae , blue tick in general give 5 to 10 klm extra radius coverage from the tower [ in flat country] than phones without the blue tick.
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FollowupID: 720994   Submitted: Sunday, Mar 20, 2011 at 16:51

Member - Gavin W (QLD) posted:

The blue tick has nothing to do with external antennas. The HTC Snap that I have is blue tick for rural and remote areas and an external antenna cannot be connected.
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FollowupID: 721015   Submitted: Sunday, Mar 20, 2011 at 20:15

Robin Miller posted:

Sorry guys , but thats what Blue tick is - ring up Teltsra engineering and check (not a sales girl) - you may not know that a given phone has an external aerial connection , or where it is and even in engineering it can be reffered to as a test port.
For example in the case of the Samsung 5220 reffered to, the manual that comes with it has no reference to it but its still there , in this case as a little plastic dot that is removed by screwdriver.
Robin Miller
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FollowupID: 721023   Submitted: Sunday, Mar 20, 2011 at 20:37

Member - Gavin W (QLD) posted:

You must work there right?

My brother works for Telstra mobile (repairing phones), and a blue tick does not mean it has an external antenna. He nearly fell off his chair laughing when I asked him.

I had him check out this feature before I bought mine as I wanted an external aerial like my old LGTU550 had. He came back to me with a list of phones that have external ports.

He told me that some phones have an external port that doubles as a service port and an aerial connection. Most phones have a port somewhere inside allowing tech access. He siad possible ports and locations are simply dependant on the manufacturer or model.

Again, the blue tick is simply for wider reception.... straight from a friendly Telstra techie that repairs them all...
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FollowupID: 721028   Submitted: Sunday, Mar 20, 2011 at 20:56

Bazooka posted:

Perhaps it did once Robin, but not for quite a while.

Very few mobiles now have external aerial sockets. My Blue Tick Nokia 6720 is one such beast (ie no socket). Can connect to an aerial via a cradle. An aerial like the Little Devil Antenna apparently boosts the signal significantly (with patch lead and cradle).
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FollowupID: 721049   Submitted: Monday, Mar 21, 2011 at 07:50

Robin Miller posted:

Hi Bazooka

My statement wasn't that they have external aerial sockets - I think some have missed that point - it says "means it can have an external antenna connected. " - as per your Nokia it seems.

The difference being that some other phones like 6120 could come with a cradle which did not allow for an external aerial connection and still used the internal one - hence no Blue Tick - even though it outperformed the A411.

Gavin - go back to tech and ask him to give you the sensitvity figures for the that LGTU550 you mentioned - you will find some interesting things.

1st it has Blue Tick
2nd it has less sensitivity than the equivalent Nokia of the time which had no blue tick.

3rd as you say - the LG had an aerial socket

Robin Miller
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FollowupID: 721054   Submitted: Monday, Mar 21, 2011 at 08:44

Member - Gavin W (QLD) posted:

You obviously have more knowledge than Telstra techs it appears. Do you still work there?

Again, the HTC Snap has blue tick for rural and remote, not just larger towns AND HAS NO EXTERNAL PORT FOR ANYTHING AT ALL.

Is it so hard to admit you may be wrong occasionally?
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FollowupID: 721060   Submitted: Monday, Mar 21, 2011 at 09:26

Robin Miller posted:

Gavin - your post seems to be raising the temperature here.

Its not a competition , all we are all trying to do is get at the correct information.

As probably the only radio engineer on this site I have investigated certain products and give you my results .

I made no comment on a HTC snap as I do not know it.

Your statement about it though is consistent, not inconsistent, my reply at the beginning.

For the 3rd time I repeat my first comment
"A blue tick , means it can have an external antenna connected."

You assume that this means an external port , whereas Telstra choose to provide this funcionality in different ways - some have a Phyiscal connector - for others they provide a means to achieve thru a device like a cradle.

The key is they provide the functionality and stock and support the necessary components to achieve this result.

Robin Miller
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FollowupID: 721064   Submitted: Monday, Mar 21, 2011 at 10:01

Robin Miller posted:


Maybe your motorola defy phone is not really blue tick , the current listing by telstra does not show it as Blue tick

Most of these like current HTC etc are not - but with so many variations out there maybe an earlier version was.

If you can find a reference to its being Blue Tick and provide its model number we should be able to find how Telstra provides the functionality for it to fit within its Blue Tick definition.

Robin Miller
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FollowupID: 721065   Submitted: Monday, Mar 21, 2011 at 10:12

Member - Gavin W (QLD) posted:

No Robin, not at all. Sweeping statements regarding blue tick phones are raising the temperature. My discussion centers around the correct information being supplied, as supplied by an engineer at Telstra with 22 years experience with mobile phones.

Not all blue tick phones are able to have antennas connected or have any external ports or the support or necessary components to achieve this.

Some blue tick phones like the HTC Snap do not have a physical connector or provide a means to achieve this through a device like a cradle. Some simply have extremely good sensitivity and are graded by Telstra as a blue tick phone because of this. This is the correct information in a nutshell from a Telstra engineer who has been working with and on mobile phones since 1989.

It's one of those things where everyone assumes a certain thing to be true when there will always be an exception to the rule.

Let's leave it at that.

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FollowupID: 721067   Submitted: Monday, Mar 21, 2011 at 10:26

Robin Miller posted:

Hi Gavin

I agree with you

I looked into the HTC snap case and their is now a class of phone that does not require an external aerial connection - i.e. Blue tick is now subdivided into catergories - this explains things.

The snap and some others are rated for Blue Tick as handheld phones (not car mobile) - by definition handheld doesn't require a connection.
Robin Miller
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FollowupID: 721114   Submitted: Monday, Mar 21, 2011 at 17:09

TTTSA posted:

I still have the original packaging for my 2 Defys, clearly has a blue tick on the box saying "recommended for rural handheld coverage". As above, Telstra sent me a text message last week saying,"Thanks for recently purchasing a Motorola DEFY. The coverage rating for this phonehas recently changed. For more information,"
please visit

Model, MB525
Type, MWQ7-334411AA11

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FollowupID: 721132   Submitted: Monday, Mar 21, 2011 at 18:58

Robin Miller posted:


Thats a very complex way for Telstra to say "Its not as sensitive as it was"

They make it all so hard - when I was designing this stuff , we had measured sensitiivity for each product and it was written in a specification page in the back of the manual.

Hope your happy with yours - if not I guess you have an out.
Robin Miller
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AnswerID: 448707   Submitted: Sunday, Mar 20, 2011 at 10:16

Hollywood replied:

If you go to Jaycar the have an inductive antenna stick on pad that has a patch lead on it. I am going to try it for my Testra Next G internet that I can't get reception for at a RAAF Base in Brisbane.
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Reply 7 of 14
AnswerID: 448715   Submitted: Sunday, Mar 20, 2011 at 11:23

Member - Tony H (touring oz) replied:

G'day Mel D'
I purchased two new Samsung's just after the blue tick business started, as we live in a rural situation with dodgy reception was assured by salesperson they would work. Surprise surprise they didn't.....took them back to the shop ....they didn't want to know about it. Struggled on for a couple of months eventually got the 'bleeps' rang Telstra they sent a tech out to our home, he was here for over an hour driving around the property checking signal strength he agreeded it was pretty ordinary. He gave me the name of a Telstra person to call which I did, explained story to him, told him about the other Telstra guy coming out & checking signal strength. Long & the short of it.....original contracts torn up full refund on eveything I had spent on phone purchase & repayments & credit for half the calls made....very happy.
Ended up with two new ZTE T6, very happy with them & Telstra now. Telstra didn't even want the 'old' Samsungs' back.
If you bought a phone with a blue tick for the reason of better reception in rural situations & Telstra pull or remove the blue tick from a particular phone I think you would have a case for complaint. Ring & speak to someone in the mobile area in Telstra explain your case, DONT scream & shout (not saying you would) at them & see how you go.
I hope you get a suitable outcome like I did!
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Reply 8 of 14
AnswerID: 448788   Submitted: Monday, Mar 21, 2011 at 00:31

Simon Curly replied:

Slightly off the topic.. last year i found that in a fringe area for Optus i could get considerably improved reception just by holding the phone (with no aerial connection) against the base of the external antenna.
However since the antenna is on the roof rack i did get a few "looks" standing on the rear bumper bar.
Another form of inductive coupling?

cheers Simon
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Reply 9 of 14
AnswerID: 448807   Submitted: Monday, Mar 21, 2011 at 08:18

Capt. Wrongway replied:

I have a cradle and external antenna connected to my Iphone. I can highly recommend the cradle which is a "Bury " brand. It has passive external antenna connection ( FME ) and power plug. It can be plugged into a lighter or power outlet socket, or hard wired. It is a smart charger so it will not over-charge the phone. The cradle is an excellent design for 4wd operation as it securely locks the phone in place. The new model 3G antenna I'm running was supplied to me free of charge, by "MobileOne" as I was involved in field testing it for them. I tested it for them for many weeks in many locations and situations, and the conclusion I came to, was that it was only of marginal benefit in fringe and semi-remote areas. In suburban areas, I found that there was no advantage over the phone's internal antenna.
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AnswerID: 448820   Submitted: Monday, Mar 21, 2011 at 10:32

nqdave replied:

I bought a ZTE T6 for exactly the same reason and get great reception with it directly connected to a big external antenna. To get Internet capabilities I tether my laptop to the ZTE via bluetooth for a full Internet connection.

You can do this with most netbooks (ultra-compact laptops), Apple iPad, and most Android tablets (there are plenty of these going cheap now, check these eBay search results for some options).

The best setup would be an iPad tethered to a ZTE T6 directly connected to an external antenna.

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Reply 11 of 14
FollowupID: 721071   Submitted: Monday, Mar 21, 2011 at 11:02

nqdave posted:

I forgot to mention that it's very important to use a SIM in the ZTE that has adequate data in it's plan, otherwise it can get very expensive. I just take the SIM out of my HTC Desire and use it in the ZTE T6 so data is priced as per my smart phone plan, and some of these have ample quotas now-a-days.

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AnswerID: 448828   Submitted: Monday, Mar 21, 2011 at 11:45

Mike DiD replied:

The Defy used to be the only Bluetick Smartphone – at a total contract cost of $1176

Now the Blackberry Torch is the ONLY Bluetick Smartphone – at a total contract cost of $3096 !!!!!

The Defy is no longer rated as BlueTick.

Coincidence ???? . . . or a Marketing ploy ?
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FollowupID: 721122   Submitted: Monday, Mar 21, 2011 at 17:44

TTTSA posted:

Mmmmmmmmmmm, very interesting point Mike.
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AnswerID: 448837   Submitted: Monday, Mar 21, 2011 at 13:34

Mike DiD replied:

To save endless debates about peoples' view of the meaning of Bluetick, here is the definition that Telstra has publicly committed itself to -

"The 'Blue Tick' symbol identifies handsets recommended for rural handheld coverage. It's displayed in Telstra Shops and Dealers and on this website to help you choose the right mobile to get the best coverage for your specific location."

Telstra Bluetick

Don't confuse Regional and Rural coverage -

"Regional - Those areas in and immediately around major regional centres and towns

Rural - Those areas outside metropolitan and regional areas, within the Next G® network coverage area."
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Reply 13 of 14
FollowupID: 721089   Submitted: Monday, Mar 21, 2011 at 13:41

Mike DiD posted:

Note that it says HANDHELD coverage - i.e. no external antenna involved at all.
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FollowupID: 721134   Submitted: Monday, Mar 21, 2011 at 19:20

Robin Miller posted:

I got that also Mike, which makes my comments about it having ext ant capability no longer relevant.

After all its now illegal to have phone literally handheld when driving so making it plug into aerial is no longer a feature.

All those phones that do so presumably use a cradle.

Robin Miller
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AnswerID: 449892   Submitted: Thursday, Mar 31, 2011 at 18:31

Pine replied:

We have just purchased Motorola Defy and are needing to find a car kit/cradle for it that will allow a passive connection from the phone to an aerial to boost reception. Has anyone been able to track down one ?? I have now called about 6 telstra / phone shops and have had no luck.
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Reply 14 of 14
FollowupID: 722275   Submitted: Thursday, Mar 31, 2011 at 19:23

dickybird posted:

Try They advertise a generic cradle for connection to an antenna for $99.00. I havnt found a specific one for the Defy.
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FollowupID: 722802   Submitted: Monday, Apr 04, 2011 at 13:25

Pine posted:

Thanks for that. They were a help.
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