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How To Find Your Nearest Cell Phone Tower for Fun and Profit

By Paul Lilly

We show you how to take the guesswork out of picking out a wireless carrier with adequate coverage in your area.

Every major wireless carrier now offers nationwide coverage, but that doesn't mean all telcos are created equal. When you start breaking down coverage maps to different geographic locations, the difference can be night and day, especially the further away you get from major cities like Boston, Chicago, and San Francisco, to name just a few. It all depends on where the cell phone towers are located, and if your carrier isn't invested in your particular area, you're going to find yourself bitching and moaning throughout the course of your two-year service agreement. 


 

Locate Towers in Your Area

www.cellreception.com/towers/. Mobiledia has done the dirty work for you by not only digging through the FCC's database of registered towers, but also keeping track of non-registered towers, all of which are plotted using Google Maps. Just type in your city and state and click the Go button. Another great cell tower database is AntennaSearch.
 
The results can be broken down by carrier, including AT&T, Nextel, Sprint, T-Mobile, and Verizon, or you can choose to view all towers, or any combination thereof. It's important to note here that carriers often sell or rent towers to other companies. To get a better idea of the local coverage, click on the Comments tab to see what others in your area have to say.
 

Avoid Dead Spots


 
This is where www.signalmap.com comes in. This community driven site pinpoints dead spots all around the country based on user submissions, which you can categorize by "All," "T-Mobile," "AT&T," "Verizon," "Sprint," "Alltel," and "Other." In addition to dead spot locations, the site shows the average signal strength measured in bars.
 

Do Cell Phone Towers Pose a Health Risk?

Depending on your level of paranoia, perhaps you'd rather get as far away from cell phone towers and mobile phones as possible. There have been a number of studies attempting to link cell phone usage with various types of cancers, and the largest study to date on the topic was released earlier today. Unfortunately, the ambitious research project conducted by the World Health Organization's International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) doesn't provide very many answers. IARC director Christopher Wild told Reuters that the results didn't allow the agency to conclude that any risks associated with mobile phone use exists, but "it is also premature to say that there is no risk associated with it." Helpful, isn't it? You can read more about the study here.
 
Which wireless carrier do you go through? Are you happy with the coverage in your area?