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Wireless Communication System Towers
According to the FCQ there were 500,000 antenna structures nationwide as of January1995. With the buildout of PCS services since 1996, this number has probably increasedsignificantly.There are three basic types of tower available for erection at a cell site: monopoletowers, freestanding towers (also known as self-supporting or lattice" towers), andguyed towers. The type of tower that is actually installed at any given cell base stationmay be dictated by company policies, operational needs (such as a minimum tower height), or local zoning restrictions. Each choice in tower design has advantages anddisadvantages that must be weighed against its intended use.Tower design and construction methods are predicated on the tower's purpose, location,average weather conditions at the site, projected load, and future expansion needs. With proper research and commonsense planning, a properly constructed and maintainedtower can last for decades. How much space a tower structure will occupy is determined by the type of tower its maximum height, and its support design.
In the wireless industry towers may be used not only for mounting base stationantennas, but also for mounting microwave antennas. The microwave antennas (dishes)are used in a wireless carrier's fixed network. The practice of deploying extensivemicrowave radio systems for the fixed network usually depends on the particular wireless carrier.Local municipalities are becoming much more stringent in approving tower locations. Insome communities (usually urban areas), wireless carriers sometimes meet with verystiff resistance when attempting to install cell base stations with unsightly" towers.When building cell base stations, the goal when determining tower heights is to getabove the ground clutter (trees and buildings). Tower height depends on how many cellsites a carrier installs overall, taking into account frequency reuse. The minimum heightdepends on the area in question (i.e., the overall height of the ground clutter) and theextent of the territory you want to cover.
Many of the factors that are used as input in a site survey are simply common sense.When conducting a site survey for a communications tower, a wireless carrier includesall the applicable criteria that were decided upon concerning cell placement in general.For example, the carrier takes into account the geographic area to be covered andwhether land for the cell base station can be obtained at a reasonable price (lease or own). The site for any type of communications tower should be level and,
easilyaccessible by a semi-tractor trailer and a heavy-duty crane.