Reporter tests some spots where wireless coverage tends to drop

March 18, 2007|by JULIE E. GREENE

The Herald-Mail tested several trouble spots reported by cell phone users in the Tri-State area.

A blast e-mail sent out within this company elicited dozens of responses about trouble spots in the Tri-State area. Discussions with nonemployees brought to light another trouble spot. I called several of the respondents to check the services and the areas.

Here are some of the results:

· A Cellular One caller was on Interstate 81 south heading into West Virginia when the sound cut out a little. Caller said calls normally get dropped in the area of the Potomac River bridge.

· A Verizon Wireless caller was in his home on Oak Hill Avenue in Hagerstown's North End. The call broke up and within two minutes was dropped. The caller often loses calls in his home unless he goes on front porch.


· A U.S. Cellular caller was in his home on Dry Run Road near City Hospital in Martinsburg, W.Va. The call broke up and was dropped within four minutes.

U.S. Cellular plans to add a cell site in the City Hospital area in 2008 because the coverage and capacity in that area is poor, said Dave Fabry, U.S. Cellular network operations manager for the Tri-State area.

· A Verizon Wireless caller was northbound on Interstate 81 near mile marker No. 2 in Pennsylvania when the call was dropped. She said her calls, usually to Chambersburg, Pa., tend to get dropped in this area.

· A Sprint caller was on Virginia Avenue (U.S. 11) in the Halfway area heading south. Near an underpass, the sound broke up and was lost for about 15 seconds. The caller was near a power plant tower at the time.

· A Cellular One caller was eastbound on Interstate 70. The caller said she normally loses a call while going over South Mountain but did not during the test. The quality of the call diminished as the vehicle drove up the mountain but improved as she drove over the mountain.

· A Cingular Wireless caller was driving south on U.S. 11 into Berkeley County, W.Va. The call cut out twice while the caller was traveling the hilly road. The caller said a call often gets dropped about a mile into West Virginia from Maryland on U.S. 11.

· A Cellular One caller was driving south on Interstate 81 near the Marlowe, W.Va., exit when he called, and the call was dropped within a few seconds. Neither of us could hear each other. He called back shortly after that and got through.

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