Goin with my Firend to Repair a Cell Tower!!!

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Ryfly

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A Cell tower took a dump and one of my close Friends (who just got hired by t-Mobile) is to go up with a crew and simply fix it. I got invited ( well i kinda invited myself) So I'll post what i see and hear.....hmmmm

It should be pretty fun. Pretty curious of what i'm gonna find. Update tomorrow.
 

Ryfly

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Remember pictures if possible!

Just got BACK!! Sorry no pics, i wasn't allowed to bring a camera since some of the equipment was well, i guess you could say top secret.

Now it was a pretty quick fix, i guess a power surge blew the surge protector. But when they got it up and running, they had a handheld device that was able to tune into the Tower frequencies. Now even that device wasn't able to unscramble the digital data cause even for the techs i guess it's illegal but at least they can hear the CC goin and other communications flying around in data. They also had a computer hooked up to test and make sure everything was running computer wise. So easy quick fix i guess.

Well at least now i feel more comfortable that not even the techs get to listen in to my cell phone lol.
 

shaft

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As a guest, you have to abide by their rules, but theres nothing "top secret" at cell sites. Its just industry standard comm gear.
 

KLH

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It's probably more likely "Your not supposed to be here, so I'm not going to let you take a picture of you & me here and get me fired."

So what is it like in the little building next to the cell tower? Was it full of equipment, or just a rack of gear?
 

jon_k

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It's probably more likely "Your not supposed to be here, so I'm not going to let you take a picture of you & me here and get me fired."

So what is it like in the little building next to the cell tower? Was it full of equipment, or just a rack of gear?
I've been by these "little buildings" and the coax coming out is the size of my drive shaft in my truck. There are huge fans in the side of the building blowing out hot air that smells like its been through a power supply.

Whatever those things do I assume the system is pushing wattage that would fry you crisp if you were up there while in operation.
 
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fwradio

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I have worked on a lot of cell sites. Very little stuff in those buildings. Also not much power output. A typical Nextel site only has 3-4 cabinets. Verizon is the same way. Not a whole lot to look at either.

Thought I'd share my experience on that to help keep any curious people out of jail.
 

kb2vxa

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Those fans blowing hot air that smells like a power supply are air conditioners. (;->) For what it's worth yesterday the AC failed at a server center with the expected results; inside temperature of 150F and racks full of smoked equipment. Now that was an unusual and interesting fire call on the scanner.

Oh, earlier it partially failed at one in Phoenix and www.qrz.com was down for a few days. With any luck RR won't bite the dust and with all that's happening around here in this heat wave with today's high of 99F I'm praying to Elektra my AC has enough juice to keep me from melting like the Wicked Witch of the West.
 
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DickH

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Whatever those things do I assume the system is pushing wattage that would fry you crisp if you were up there while in operation.
That's right. We (the Fire Dept.) had a warning about getting within a certain number of feet from cell phone antennas. I don't remember the details because I'm the FD photographer and I don't plan to get near them.
 

ayaresr

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Those fans blowing hot air that smells like a power supply are air conditioners. (;->) For what it's worth yesterday the AC failed at a server center with the expected results; inside temperature of 150F and racks full of smoked equipment. Now that was an unusual and interesting fire call on the scanner.
That wouldn't have been the cause of the AT&T voice outage for the NJ area would it? Data worked, no voice though. Sorry, didn't mean to hijack the thread...on as you were.
Ryan
 

E-Man

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That's right. We (the Fire Dept.) had a warning about getting within a certain number of feet from cell phone antennas. I don't remember the details because I'm the FD photographer and I don't plan to get near them.
When I was working on Cell sites we never had outages. There is a meter that you are supposed to have on you at all times, I dont know if it was a RF meter or what exactly?(I was never issued one) The meter had lights on it something like green, yellow and red. When the light was red you are not allowed to do any work. I think its the Microwave Antenna's you want to be careful around?
 

Raccon

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When I was working on Cell sites we never had outages. There is a meter that you are supposed to have on you at all times, I dont know if it was a RF meter or what exactly?(I was never issued one) The meter had lights on it something like green, yellow and red. When the light was red you are not allowed to do any work. I think its the Microwave Antenna's you want to be careful around?
Any kind of radiation, though in general I think it's fair to say that microwave antennas are more dangerous. We usually had cell-systems switched off, in particular high-powered ones, when we sent people to work close to the antennas. Better safe than sorry.
 

Ryfly

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Yep, my friend had a meter just like it, thats how they determined it was safe for me and the techs to come to the Shed where the equipment was.

It was sort of interesting how the equipment was arranged. There was a stack of radio equipment, sort of like a blade server set up with all sorts of stuff being displayed on there LCD screens. When we started it up, i saw were the equipment did a start up scan and ran through all the frequencies.
There was a air conditioner outside blowing cold air into the shed too. REALLY Big fans on the back of all the radio stuff.

When we got it started up, my friend said no one will be able to use it for 1 hour cause the tower wasn't at full power. Maybe he was referring to the RF thing.

What i found interesting is half the equipment had a AT&T sticker and the other Half was Verizon labeled. (My friend works for verizon)

So i guess maybe they share towers??
 

Raccon

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What i found interesting is half the equipment had a AT&T sticker and the other Half was Verizon labeled. (My friend works for verizon)

So i guess maybe they share towers??
That's quite possible, it's done in many parts of the world.
 

WayneH

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What i found interesting is half the equipment had a AT&T sticker and the other Half was Verizon labeled. (My friend works for verizon)
Some of the equipment they use is so old that Lucent (now Alcatel/Lucent) used to produce their cell site parts with the AT&T name on it.

So, no, no connection to AT&T wireless services. Each carrier will have their own space under a tower.
 
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