b3ta.com board
You are not logged in. Login or Signup
Home » Messageboard » How Stuff Really Works » Message 243606

[challenge entry] How Mobile Phone Signals Really Work
Some fool at work wondered why their mobile phone showed their signal strength going up and down while they were sitting at their desk. My answer is:

The trick to understanding this is to notice that mobile phone towers are always placed high up - like on hills and tall buildings. People think they are sending out radio waves, but that is made up just to sell more tinfoil hats. They actually send out invisible water, just like a tap does.

Now because these towers are high up, when the invisible water comes down to ground level it splashes into a big pool of invisible water that has been put out by all the other mobile phone towers around the place. This causes ripples and then waves to occur on top of the pool of invisible water. And that's how come your mobile phone signal strength goes up and down all the time - it is telling you the depth of the invisible water where you are, which obviously changes depending on if you are under a wave or not at the time.

Using a mobile phone boils off some of the invisible water so the signal can be carried by the steam. That's why the invisible water always needs topping up from the towers. So, if you're having trouble with call dropouts, you need to take it back to the shop so they can open it up and clean out the invisible calcium deposits on the boiler element inside so your phone can boil invisible water better. Or sell you another phone.

It also explains why your ear gets hot when you talk on a mobile phone for a long time - your phone is trying to boil you too. Wrapping you head in tinfoil just bakes it. You could try using the phone in the shower instead, so you get cooled down and don't cook.

From the How Stuff Really Works challenge. See all 182 entries (closed)

(, Sun 4 Aug 2002, 15:43, archived)
# Okaaaaaaaaaayyyyyyyyy........
Late night?
(, Sun 4 Aug 2002, 15:46, archived)