Record of Site Changes: 2000
9 Visitors Online

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Dec. 22/00: Rogers finally activates cellular and PCS towers in the Tofino and Long Beach area.
Dec. 11/00: More international cell pictures: this time some from Thailand on the International Cell Pictures page.
Dec. 08/00: Just for all the international cell hunters: pictures of cells from Australia added to the International Cell Pictures page.
Dec. 01/00: GeckoBeach is featured as a Canadian link in a Macleans Magazine (Dec 4/00 issue) article entitled The Cell in Your Future.
Nov. 30/00: Rogers releases plans to augment its existing wireless services by overlaying a GSM network with integrated GPRS (General Packet Radio Service) packet data capability throughout its nationwide digital coverage area. Rogers will launch 'always on' GPRS wireless packet data service along with GSM digital voice service with a variety of integrated handsets by July 1, 2001, and expand this coverage to more than 83% of Canada's population by year-end 2001.
Nov. 30/00: Why do North Americans talk so loud on their cell phones? In other places of the world the mobile phone per capita rate is much higher but people generally are a lot more discrete with their conversions. A new product on the market called C-Guard will intentionally jam cell phone signals so that you can enjoy a peaceful walk in the park while people within your radius have their cell phones rendered useless. The handheld device is about the size of a book, but there is the potential of installing these devices in places were cell phones would be undesired, such as theatres and classrooms.
Nov. 30/00: Updates to Nokia 6185/8 secrets page, including determination of the cell ID on screen 6 plus a few new screens.
Nov. 29/00: Long time, no site updates... what gives? I've been hiding in Australia and S.E. Asia for the last six weeks and have been unable to do any site updates. But I am back now and will be updating the site plus adding a few new phone reviews and getting to all those emails that everyone has sent in over the last 1.5 months.
Nov. 03/00: Highly anticipated UVic Microcell site (on Saanich East map - Cell ID 1144) goes live. The site will finally give the UVic/Gordon Head/Arbutus areas coverage that has been promised for the past 2 years.
Oct. 30/00: New Microcell site (on Saanich East and Victoria maps - Cell ID 1201) goes live. This site greatly improves coverage in the Hillside area while also filling in many smaller coverage holes in the rest of the region thanks to its height.
Oct. 23/00: Updates to the Cityfone opinion page, updated Digital PCS Plans Comparison, added site info to Saanich East and Victoria.
Oct. 23/00: Fido launches new handset, the Motorola V2282 with built in FM Radio and Internet (WAP) browser at the launch price of $75.
Oct. 11/00: Fido users will soon have digital services in Nanaimo. Microcell Connexions installs their first macro cell, downtown Nanaimo.
Sept. 26/00: 'Cellular Saves Lives' is an ad series currently being run by Telus Mobility to promote the idea that cellular phones can be used for emergencies and can save precious moments. Last night while taking my sailing course in Oak Bay I used my cell phone to call 911 for a serious medical emergency. Information regarding the situation was relayed directly to the 911 operator since I was right on the scene with my phone. Just another example of the value of a cell phone and my third 911 call since getting a phone almost three years ago.
Sept. 19/00: Microcell Connexions new macro install: University of Victoria Stadium on a light standard, Saanich East.
Sept. 17/00: Updates to Rogers rates on the PCS comparison and Rogers opinion pages.
Sept. 17/00: New cell pictures for Telus Mobility and Clearnet.
Sept. 11/00: GeckoBeach's first newsletter is published. If you are not a member of the newsletter group yet and/or would like to read the newsletter then visit the newsletter page.
Sept. 10/00: Six more European cell pictures added to the International Cell Pictures page.
Sept. 07/00: Added forcing headset/car options to Nokia 6185/8 and updates to Rogers pre-paid plans.
August 30/00: Updates to Telus Mobility pre-paid plans.
August 21/00: Telus Mobility acquires Clearnet Communications in the largest purchase in Canadian telecommunications history worth $6.6 billion. This transaction will now put Telus Mobility on par with the number of subscribers held by both Rogers and Bell Mobility. See the official press release here. Telus is offering Clearnet shareholders $70 per share, which as of last week were going for around $45.
August 16/00: More disappointment with Rogers on Northern Vancouver Island and through Johnstone Strait. Telus' network works extremely well in this area and Rogers network is poor at best. Additional problems experienced around the Texada Island/Powell River area where both Telus and Rogers have co-located sites, but once again it was next to impossible to place outgoing calls on Rogers phones, yet Telus phones worked beautifully.
August 15/00: New Clearnet PCS and pre-paid plans added
August 07/00: Rogers continues to disappoint me with the lack of cellular services in Pacific Rim Park, west coast of Vancouver Island. Telus has had services in this area for several years now and any Rogers cellular coverage map has been showing this area to have services 'in the near future'. It's not nice having to use pay phones when your phone doesn't work, but all your friends can use their Telus Mobility or Fido (with analog module) phones.
August 04/00: GeckoBeach sends out its first press release stating that it has had 1/3 of a million unique visitors in just over two years.
August 01/00: Have you signed up for the newsletter yet? Members will be receiving their first letter later this week!
August 01/00: Over this last weekend I had a chance to map out the towers in Kelowna and Westbank with Chad Gartley. This was primary a Clearnet PCS hunting trip since their towers were installed a few months ago. Telus also seems to be adding new towers as well as wireless services grow in this city. By the afternoon the temperature had reached 39 degrees, forcing me to stop cell hunting and go Ogopogo hunting in the lake instead.
August 01/00: New cell pictures for Clearnet.
August 01/00: Rogers lowers their Pay-as-you-go airtime down to $0.33/min from $0.42/min.
August 01/00: Coming sometime next week Clearnet PCS will release its new Pay-and-Talk prepaid plan. They promise it will be much better than the Say When plan. The plan will include both digital and analog service and the package will include the Sanyo SCP4000 with a $50 airtime card for $150. Any other Clearnet phone can be converted to this new plan for $75 which includes a $50 card. Cards will be sold in $10, $25, and $50 allotments, but there will be no discount for buying larger cards, unlike Fidomatic. No word yet on how much airtime will be.
July 19/00: Added warning about eBay handsets on FAQ page.
July 13/00: Get'em while they're cheap. Clearnet's offering refurbished Nokia 6188's for $25. See their website at: http://www.clearnet.com/specialoffer/.
July 13/00: My first sighting of a residential mount of a cell site. Microcell places a repeater on a house, Saanich East.
July 13/00: Updates to Nokia tdMA models field test screens.
July 11/00: Telus officially launches 1.9 GHz CDMA services in Vancouver and Victoria and along the Calgary-Edmonton-Grande Prairie corridor.
July 05/00: GeckoBeach introduces a newsletter that will feature information not yet available on this web site, previews of handsets, responses to users' emails, and more.
July 04/00: New Rogers site, Triangle Mountain, Colwood.
June 30/00: GeckoBeach turns one today. The original "Steve's BC Cellular Site" was first posted on April 23rd, 1998 on Geocites and over the next few months local cellular maps and equipment pictures were added to the site. The first month that the site officially went online (June '98) it had a whopping 143 hits. GeckoBeach was created a year later and the site was completely moved over on June 30th, 1999 for beta testing since the directory and content structure was much different than the original site. Most users got their first peek at the new site on July 6th, 1999. The original site has come a long way since the original half dozen pages -- it's now at 102 pages and for this month of June the site will exceed 26000 unique hits. Help yourself to a piece of cake before leaving today.
June 26/00: Fido adds the Nokia 8890 to their list of handsets. The 8890 supports both 900 and 1900 GSM and will cost $850.
June 22/00: New article added: Surfing Without Wires: A Guide to Wireless Data.
June 20/00: Added info on current drains for the Nokia 6185/8 test mode, screen 45.
June 19/00: Added Motorola P8167 review. Review also covers models 7867 and 7797.
June 11/00: It's been over a year since I've visited Pacific Centre Mall to hunt for picocells. They're everywhere now!.
June 11/00: Several new Telus 1.9 GHz CDMA sites now online in Vancouver West. It seems that some of the lower-capacity sites are omnidirectional.
June 11/00: Cell hunting just got a little more challenging. Not only is Telus setting up 1.9 GHz cells but so is Rogers. Just wait until Bell starts setting up their 1.9 GHz sites in BC and Alberta later this summer.
June 09/00: Updates to voice mail on Rogers PAYG.
June 09/00: Added link to cell phone page in Quebec.
June 09/00: Added undocumented feature concerning prefixing directory entries to give special rings on the Nokia 6185/8.
June 09/00: Microcell PCS service confirmed in St. John's, Newfoundland. Services were launched on June 23/99, but Microcell has not made it common knowledge yet. Any interested tower hunters in Newfoundland out there?
June 06/00: Updates to digital phones available from Telus Mobility.
June 05/00: Updates to links page.
June 01/00: Not cellular related, but you can find out what I do in real life when I'm not hunting cell towers. Check out the special scientific feature section in today's (Thursday June 1) edition of the Vancouver Province, page A43. There's a misprint stating that I am holding the wire (middle picture), but this is not me, however the bottom picture does feature my fingers (just in case you wanted to lift my fingerprints or something...).
May 31/00: Opps, misidentified a cell site. New hydro tower mount above the Fort Victoria RV park, Saanich West, is Clearnet PCS and Mike, not Telus.
May 31/00: New unknown tower in Richmond East, Burrows east of No. 6 Road
May 30/00: Did you know that Microcell launched digital services in St. John's, Newfoundland back on June 23rd, 1999, yet they have not made it public knowledge? Any St. John's Fido users out there want to map sites?
May 20/00: Updates to Clearnet PCS rate plans.
May 19/00: Clearnet PCS introduces the new Motorola StarTac Timeport 8167. It's now available at a few select dealers for $250 and will be generally available starting in June.
May 17/00: Added new plans to Fido page.
May 14/00: More terriority turfs are on the way between Telus and Bell. On Monday May 15/00 Bell World will open a retail store in Pacific Centre, Vancouver to sell Bell-related products, including cell phones. BC Bell Mobility customers will roam on the Telus cellular network. Bell plans to open two more stores in Edmonton and Calgary this summer.
May 13/00: Updates to the Nokia secrets page, including more information about the field test mode on Rogers' 6160 and 6161 tdMA models.
May 13/00: Added International Cell Pictures page.
May 13/00: Starting to add paging channel numbers to Clearnet Mike sites on maps in BC.
May 13/00: New picture of the Sandown Raceway cell site on the Clearnet Pictures page.
May 13/00: Added Microcell equipment shelter picture, these shelters are more common in Ontario than the cabinets found in BC and Alberta. Thanks to David Gutierrez for the pix.
May 13/00: Another Clearnet PCS wiring problem? West of Sooke I get a PN offset of 184, which I assume is a new cell site on Mt. Maguire. The signal is Clearnet's and not Sprint PCS since I can place local calls to the site and Sprint PCS does not have any sites in the area. The offset however does not conform to the usual 'divisible by 6, separated by 168' rule for Clearnet sites.
May 13/00: Thumbs up to Mike, the Sooke tower provides coverage all the way out to the entrance of Juan de Fuca, the best of any provider. I hearby lay claim to have made the farthest western network access on the Canadian iDEN system.
May 13/00: Updated rate plans for SimPro.
May 13/00: A few more terms on the glossary page.
May 13/00: As of May 01/00, the US government has removed the selected availability or intentional degradation of Global Positioning System (GPS) signals for non-military use. Prior to this date GPS units had an accuracy to about 200 m, unless you could tie into a Differential GPS (DGPS) station. With selected availability removed GPS units can now obtain a resolution of 20 m or better. In the offical press release two cellular-related topics were mentioned: 1. Increased accuracy location determination to improve responses to emergency 911 calls made from cell phones, such as companies like Cell-Loc out of Calgary are working on; and 2. Increased adoption of GPS time precision will improve to within 40 billionths of a second, encouraging an alternative source of time acquision and synchronization of cellular networks, such as is the current CDMA standards. Find out more about the removal of selected availability at http://www.igeb.gov.
May 01/00: Telus in BC brings several of its new 1.9 GHz CDMA sites online in Vancouver and Victoria. You can obtain network information about this new network by placing your 1.9 GHz CDMA phone into field test mode and entering *22805 and hitting send. If you successfully contact a Telus 1.9 GHz site you will be able to obtain PN offsets. On non-Telus phones (e.g., Clearnet PCS) you may with several attempts get into Telus' interactive customer service centre where you can learn about current products and more.
Apr 28/00: Updates to Rogers opinion page.
Apr 27/00: Updates to Mike and Telus plans plus digital PCS comparison page.
Apr 23/00: New US-based links added to the links page.
Apr 23/00: Telus continues expansion of their new 1.9 GHz CDMA network. Several new towers have been placed in the last few weeks throughout Vancouver and Victoria. Telus 1.9 GHz cells look similar to Microcell and Clearnet PCS flat cells and have a GPS antenna somewhere near the site. Two new Victoria sites include the Hillside water reservior microwave tower, Victoria and the Fort Victoria RV Park, Saanich West.
Apr 23/00: Updates to cellular/PCS coverage map for Howe Sound and Schelt, Northern Vancouver Island, and Strait of Georgia.
Apr 16/00: Added cellular/PCS coverage map for Howe Sound and Schelt, including coverage limits for Telus, Rogers, Clearnet Mike, Clearnet PCS, and Microcell PCS.
Apr 13/00: Added cellular/PCS coverage map for Northern Vancouver Island: Comox/Courtney to Port Hardy, including coverage limits for Telus, Rogers, Clearnet Mike, and Clearnet PCS.
Apr 12/00: New Clearnet Mike plans added.
Apr 11/00: Opps... lost a few updates...
Mar 17/00: Free Qualcomm digital PCS handsets for the first 25 people at the new Clearnet kiosk in Mayfair Mall, Victoria this Saturday (18th) as their grand opening special. The mall opens at 9:30, but I don't know which door they unlock first!
Mar 13/00: Fido introduces two new handsets to the Canadian market: the Motorola tri-band L7089 (GSM 900, 1800, 1900) for $600, allowing owners to roam throughout the world anywhere that there is GSM service AND the Ericsson T18z selling for $125 plus a free mobile accessory kit with any $40 or $100 monthly airtime package activation.
Mar 08/00: Entering into the competitors territory? Telus has previously offered wireless services in BC and Alberta. Now they are offering both digital and analog services in Saskatchewan (800 CDMA/AMPS), Manitoba (800 CDMA/AMPS), and Ontario (1900 CDMA/AMPS). See the Telus Mobility site to check out their coverage maps and rates for these new provinces.
Mar 08/00: A new company, Norigen Communications shows up in Vancouver and Calgary and plans to resell Microcell Connexions' PCS services. See the Vancouver Sun story or visit the Norigen web site.
Mar 05/00: Updates to Clearnet Mike rates and comparisons.
Feb 23/00: Clearnet Mike, Bastion Square, Nanaimo South.
Feb 12/00: Added about 50 new Clearnet Mike site locations to Victoria and Vancouver maps.
Feb 12/00: New cell tower pictures from Calgary NW for Telus, Rogers, and Clearnet.
Feb 11/00: Added Bell Mobility opinion page
Feb 08/00: Added Bell Mobility rates to Pre-Paid and Digital PCS plan comparison pages
Feb 07/00: Added new plans and rates to Rogers opinion page
Feb 06/00: Added PN offsets for Clearnet PCS and MT&T (800 and 1900 MHz) for Halifax, NS
Jan 31/00: Banners added to several of the more popular pages. Since it has never been my intention to make a profit on this site, any banner proceeds will be used to fund test handsets, map books, and an upcoming contest which I have planned for the Spring.
Jan 30/00: Added SimPro opinion page
Jan 25/00: Site overhaul #4 complete. Comments anyone?
Jan 25/00: New sites for: Surrey, Pitt Meadows, Langley, Mission and Abbotsford maps.
Jan 21/00: Added i700 test mode secret to Mike/Nextel secrets page.
Jan 21/00: More records: Clearnet climbs to new 52 week high of 65.00; Microcell climbs to new 52 week high of 71.00.
Jan 18/00: A big day on the TSE: Clearnet climbs to new 52 week high of 62.00; Microcell climbs to new 52 week high of 54.50. Both close at 54.50.
Jan 17/00: The Cantel name dies and is replaced with 'Rogers Wireless'.


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