Author: Molly Cooper

The No Longer Camouflaged Cross Cell Tower

The camouflaged cross tower with flush mounted antennas is a good example of how old concealed towers can change due to new technology requirements to where they look more like a tower and less like a camouflaged tower that the local jurisdiction originally required.  Anyone trying to add RRUs or other equipment onto a concealed flagpole or cross tower like this is only too familiar with this issue. I recall working in St. Louis doing a project for T-Mobile back in 2000 – for some reason, many of the 96-plus zoning jurisdictions that make up St. Louis loved flagpoles. One company we worked with used to take old billboard poles and convert them to 48” thick flagpoles. Of course, they looked nothing like a flagpole, but no one questioned them until the jurisdictions got wiser.  I suspect that if I go back to St. Louis all, there will either be a lot more towers or wider shrouds will have been added to the flagpoles.  (Makes them look like Q-tips) Now, of course, carriers can’t or won’t use fake flagpoles unless they have to – which means that new towers are needed in the...

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What’s the Big Deal About Equipment Modifications?

AT&T’s engineers once said that the amount of equipment they plan on installing on a tower is like placing a Honda Civic on the tower. How could this be? Let’s look at the equipment changes from AT&T on one of our client’s towers between the years of 2007 and 2015. Original Lease 2007 – Total equipment = 6 antennas, 6 transmission lines.  Total antenna weight 210 pounds, not including tower mounts 2011 – Equipment upgrade = 12 antennas, 9 amplifiers 2012 – Tower modification = redundant bracing 2013 –  Equipment upgrade = 12 antennas, more coaxial lines 2014 – LTE...

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Tower Construction Errors – A Picture Is Worth 1000 Words

I was looking at some client photos. While I’m supposed to be looking for clues about who is on the tower, I often notice other details – such as installation mistakes. Overtightened “J” bolt – Notice how the plate on the right is bent and the one on the left is straight. Climbing ladders and cable ladders are held to the tower with these goofy, tiny 3/8” “J” bolts.   Old insulator on the grounding buss bar – The insulator in the red circle above is so faded from UV that it is almost white. It should be a...

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Ospreys On Tower = Work Stoppage

One of our current clients is having negotiating difficulties with a wireless carrier because the wireless carrier couldn’t follow through on their equipment modification due to osprey nests on the tower. Osprey nests are a reality of towers and tower work, and it is illegal to disturb the nests if the nests are active. Usually, nests are only active during spring nesting season, but sometimes from the ground, we can only see the nest, and we cannot tell if the nest is active. If that is the case and it is spring nesting season, climb carefully and quietly up...

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Tower 101 – Tower Mounts

Tower mounts for cell antennas are triangle-shaped mounts that attach to each of the three tower legs. The design looks something like this. In this drawing, the blue triangle is the tower and the white triangles are the tower mounts. The small blue dots represent antennas. Each tower mount triangle represents a sector of the antenna array. This is illustrative of an average macro cell tower arrangement, three tower mounts, with three antennas on each mount. The sector mounts are named Alpha, Beta, and Gamma (or A, B, and C, if lettered). The sector closest to North is called...

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