nRF24 not working in open air

Hello All,

I got an issue I can't for the life of me figure out. I am running 3 nRF24 modules (1 to receive, 2 to transmit). 2 of the modules are hooked up a laser trip wire fashion were it senses the input of a laser and if that laser line of sight is lost its transmits a single message. 2 are monitoring two different lasers that will never be tripped at the same time. So for this reason the code is identical on both modules. The receiver is listening for a signal and if it receives any signal it starts a timer and if it receives another it stops the timer. Pretty basic stuff. No need to worry about conflict like I said since they never transmit simultaneously. The reciever module has the long antenna module so its "good" for 1km. The other two use the modules that have the antenna built in. The distance between the reciever and the transmitter is no more than 20m in open air with direct line of sight. Theoretically it should pick up a signal and has occasionally but it is spotty at best to no picking up a signal. Here is the wierd thing. It works perfectly at home in my room, distance is 1 ft (to be expected) but when I bring it to open air, it doesn't work even at a distance of 1ft. Is their things I may not be considering that has an affect? It is in a metal building.

Is it possible since the building is populated with a lot of people that its running into interference from cell phones?