At first glance I jumped with joy over this project. Living in Kansas usually means a pretty weak cell signal unless I happen to be in a large city—which don't exist in Kansas. Unfortunately, this project isn't made for mobility—it is still cool, nonethless. Basically:
However, in an incredibly geeky flash of inspiration, I realised that there really isn't much difference in operating frequency between WiFi (around 2.4Ghz) and UMTS (2.1Ghz). And there are loads of different clandestine WiFi antenna ideas floating around the Internet. If I could find an easy-to-build directional WiFi antenna, perhaps I could reverse-engineer its dimensions and adapt it for 2100Mhz use.
Quite a few more confusing steps later, this chap had an antenna that would receive one bar of reception in his previously signal-less rear end of his home. Check out the link for his confusing write-up. (I'm a journalist, not an electrical engineer, damnit!)
How I got mobile phone reception where there was no signal [Earth: Mostly Harmless]