Getting a Signal Level without a Data Card

Suppose you want to know what the signal level is at your location but you don't have a EVDO subscription yet. What to do?

If you have cell service you can use your phone as a meter. This works with either Verizon or Sprint. Just like in the data cards there is a Debug menu that you can scroll through to find the RX (receive) and TX (transmit) signal levels. It will look similar to this:

The advantage with this is you can walk around different parts of your house or property to find the best reception area. That would be handy for locating a spot for a antenna or router if you don't have a laptop to drag around or have EVDO service yet.

You, of course, need a code or procedure to get into this Debug screen. You can find the field test mode for various phones here.

For a cheap signal meter you can go online to virgin mobile and get the cheapest by-the-minute plan they have with a free phone and use that. Or buy one at WalMart.

Virgin uses Sprint's network, so that would not work for Verizon. But using the debug mode on a Verizon phone will.