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  1. brothamoveson's Avatar
    Thursday, March 27 2008, @ 6:47 AM (-0800 GMT)

    Hi All,

    I published this info here several months back, but have since added more to it. The "5 Bar" signal level display, at the top right corner of your 8820 display is, "cute," but of little practical use as it is too vague and insensitive. With a more accurate, and sensitive way to indicate signal power, you can experiment with "how" you physically "hold" and use your BB, try an external antenna in remote locations, keep a "handle" on receiver sensitivity, etc.

    A far better way to indicate cell tower signal strength is to display the actual signal power in "dBM." This is the signal power level, in decibels, referenced to a signal power of 1 milliwatt. The level will ALWAYS be a "negative" number as your signal level will always be less than 1 milliwatt, much less.

    To change your display from "5 Bars" to signal power in dBM, do the following: With one finger, hold down the ALT key on the far left. Now, with your other hand, press the letter sequence NMLL. Your display should instantly change from "5 Bar" to signal power in dBM. To revert BACK to "5 Bar," do the same thing again.

    There is ONE CAVEAT in doing this. An extremely WEAK signal, less than or equal -100 dBM, will NOT show on-screen becuz only 2 digits can be displayed. So, when your signal level gets VERY VERY weak, at, say, -99 dBM, a further drop will change the display to "-10," then "-11" etc, corresponding to signal powers in the -100 to -119 dBM range. This is of no real problem tho, as your phone probably wont work at that low a level anyway, BUT you can experiment with an iinduction coupled external antenna if you want. Also, it is highly unlikely you will ever see a signal level HIGHER than about -40 dBM, i.e. -39, -38, yada yada, dBM.

    For those who are technically oriented, as most BB Users are, and want MORE, here is an approximate tabulation of the # of Bars vs. signal level in dBM:
    1 bar ~ -102 to -120 dBM
    2 Bars ~ -93 to -101 dBM
    3 Bars ~ -87 to -92 dBM
    4 Bars ~ -78 to -86 dBM
    5 Bars ~ -40 to -77 dBM

    I hope this is helpful information? i have learned a LOT from the Crackberry forums and am trying to "payback" in a way that I can.

    If you participate in the 3D Virtual World of SL, "Second Life," Second Life: Official site of the 3D online virtual world, visit me "in-world." My name there is Linda Latte. We can "do lunch" on the SS Titanic, back in 1912, before it sinks. <giggle> YES, it "exists" there, really! Hahahaha. If you don't "do" SL, visit my web site for FREE antispam software. Its at FREE antispam software. Free spam blockers you can download.
    My signal is actually showing in a 3 digit format. I mean I am not proud of it because I get a crappy signal from my house. I read in your post that it would not, and was wondering if it is because I upgraded to the 4.5 beta.
    05-10-08 03:38 PM
  2. wirelessforever's Avatar
    I figured out why I don't show the numbers, it is because the numbers itself are black, as is the background on my home screen. DUH!!! my bad
    Same problem here. Changed the wallpaper to a white background and it shows up fine.
    05-10-08 06:40 PM
  3. chaseh140's Avatar
    Been trying it on my 8330 can't seem to get to work

    Posted from my CrackBerry at wapforums.crackberry.com
    05-10-08 06:45 PM
  4. wirelessforever's Avatar
    Anyone have any luck with those stick on antenna boosters to improve signal level?
    Complete and total waste of money.

    If you feel the urge to buy one of those things, go up to your roof tonight with your money and a lighter. Standing on the corner of your roof, light your money on fire with the lighter and throw it off the roof and watch it burn.

    Either way you use your money, it won't make any difference in the signal strength on your cell phone but lighting your money on fire and throwing it off your roof will at least give you a brief thrill which is more than you'll get from wasting it on one of those rip-off antenna boosters.
    05-10-08 06:47 PM
  5. jidx's Avatar
    Amazing!! Thanks!!
    05-10-08 06:47 PM
  6. wirelessforever's Avatar
    Thursday, March 27 2008, @ 6:47 AM (-0800 GMT)

    1 bar ~ -102 to -120 dBM
    2 Bars ~ -93 to -101 dBM
    3 Bars ~ -87 to -92 dBM
    4 Bars ~ -78 to -86 dBM
    5 Bars ~ -40 to -77 dBM
    Downtown Palm Springs, CA.

    -51

    Not bad.
    05-10-08 06:51 PM
  7. brothamoveson's Avatar
    I wish there was some sort o signal booster becasue mine sucks at home. I should have stayed at my old place, but I was trying to move up like the Jefferson's.
    05-10-08 08:34 PM
  8. hawkeye680's Avatar
    Been trying it on my 8330 can't seem to get to work

    Posted from my CrackBerry at wapforums.crackberry.com
    The numbers are in black, so change to lighter background. I didn't think my 8330was working either but it was.
    05-12-08 10:41 AM
  9. mbo108's Avatar
    Pretty sweet little trick, I like it. Thanks.

    Any way to change battery bars to percentage charged or something like that?
    05-15-08 06:33 PM
  10. jonesdc's Avatar
    Yes it works on the pearl. Double tap for the letter n

    Posted from my CrackBerry at wapforums.crackberry.com
    05-17-08 08:50 AM
  11. sbarker777's Avatar
    Didn't work on my pearl
    05-17-08 10:17 AM
  12. sbarker777's Avatar
    Got mine to work finally. Much thanks guys you are great
    05-17-08 10:30 AM
  13. asp13's Avatar
    It works on the pearl, i just did it to mine
    05-19-08 12:03 PM
  14. RMenendez's Avatar
    I'm getting -6, -7 at work. Havnt checked at my house. Is it normal? Also I noticed that some themes won't allow the dbm to be displayed.

    Posted from my CrackBerry at wapforums.crackberry.com
    05-19-08 04:36 PM
  15. ferralis's Avatar
    i tried it.... it seemed kinda wack at moment -19 aparently = 1 bar but you know
    05-19-08 07:21 PM
  16. H2SUT's Avatar
    Either it's not accurate or something is up with my 8320. In my office building I'n getting in the range of -65 to -75 but if I switch back I only get the SOS symbol.

    Anyone know why that may be happening? I thought I had little/no service but the numerical readout says otherwise.
    05-20-08 07:42 AM
  17. linda anne's Avatar
    I'm getting -6, -7 at work. Havnt checked at my house. Is it normal? Also I noticed that some themes won't allow the dbm to be displayed.

    Posted from my CrackBerry at wapforums.crackberry.com
    If you are getting a reading of -6 dBM, or so, something is wrong, as it is incorrect. Even if you climbed up a cell tower and wrapped your arms around it, you wud not get that high a signal. 0 dBM = 1 milliwatt of signal power. -3 dBM = 1/2 that or 0.5 milliwatt, -6 dBM = 1/2 that or 0.25 milliwatt, and so on.

    It's possible you are in an area where there are strong interfering signals from other sources. The number yer seeing is NOT from your cell tower. In the "world" of RF / Microwave signals, there is an effect known as "desensitization" & another called "intermodulation." These effects can play havoc with cell communications and the signal power readout. You can, in a few places, even have 5 bars and can talk fine but you may not HEAR anything. The only solution to this is to MOVE to a different location. If you've ever had your TV signal interfered with by a ham radio transmitter, you have experienced desensitization.

    In regards the display, the signal power is in BLACK. Any theme that is dark will obscure it.
    Last edited by linda anne; 05-20-08 at 09:48 AM. Reason: Add information
    05-20-08 09:06 AM
  18. ch1l1d0g's Avatar
    Works on an 8110. Sitting at -36db at the moment....
    05-20-08 05:59 PM
  19. ns_red7's Avatar
    I have never seen lower than 80db on my pearl. And I can see the cell tower that's closest, about 1km away... Maybe the pearls have a weaker antenna...?

    Posted from my CrackBerry at wapforums.crackberry.com
    05-20-08 06:07 PM
  20. linda anne's Avatar
    Works on an 8110. Sitting at -36db at the moment....
    You are GOOD, and probablt within a 1/2 mile of a cell tower
    05-20-08 06:09 PM
  21. linda anne's Avatar
    Works on an 8110. Sitting at -36db at the moment....
    You must live next door to a cell tower? That is just about the max you'll ever see. <g>
    05-21-08 12:03 PM
  22. linda anne's Avatar
    I have never seen lower than 80db on my pearl. And I can see the cell tower that's closest, about 1km away... Maybe the pearls have a weaker antenna...?

    Posted from my CrackBerry at wapforums.crackberry.com
    Saying "80dB" is incorrect. The signal is referenced to 1 milliwatt of signal power, or 0 dBM so it will have a (-) minus sign in units of dBM, i.e., dB referenced to 1 milliwatt, or, -80 dBM and not "80dB". <g>

    Picky, picky, picky, right? Hahhahahahaha
    05-21-08 12:07 PM
  23. anon(52425)'s Avatar
    I made the change and I like it. None of my friends know what it means.

    Posted from my CrackBerry at wapforums.crackberry.com
    05-21-08 02:34 PM
  24. linda anne's Avatar
    I made the change and I like it. None of my friends know what it means.

    Posted from my CrackBerry at wapforums.crackberry.com
    Educate them. <g> Simply put, tell them signals get weaker the furthur you are from a transmitter. They get less and less or more and more negative, Wat is their problem? heheheh
    05-21-08 03:01 PM
  25. johnnyshinta's Avatar
    dude i love this. i just did it on my phone. now i can finally show my users why 4 bars doesn't necessarily mean great signal

    i'm a systems tech and my user's are such noobs on bb's

    thanks much
    05-26-08 05:34 PM
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