The Cellranger Stix is a portable and affordable cellphone booster that I can recommend but only with certain caveats. The seductive claim is that its microprocessor technology can analyze an arriving cell signal via that five-inch magnetic-base antenna and add 50 dB of gain ("2-3 bars!") as it retransmits the signal in a six-foot radius around the 12-volt lighter-like casing. My problem is that in the Verizon areas where I most need the boost, I have to place my Palm Centro phone very close to the amplifier—awkward even with a wireless headset—but if it's too close the phone reduces its outbound signal. So the technology works but for me the sweet spot is tiny, and most of my fringe area calls remain poor. That said, I have a trust-ed and cell-savvy acquaintance who is getting as-claimed Stix boost on his AT&T service. While we both think that a fixed marine cell amp, wired or wireless, is apt to work better, try the $150 Stix if you're looking for an edge you can use in whatever car or boat you're in. But test it thoroughly with your particular phone and service before the 30-day money-back warranty runs out.
This article originally appeared in the December 2008 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.