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Vertical Antennas on Cell Sites in Spain

sflmonitor

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While recently traveling the roads of northern Spain, I noticed that cell sites located in remote areas had multiple vertical antennas in addition to the regular cellular panel antennas that we are used to seeing. I have attached a couple of pictures for reference. Some sites had two antennas while others had four. I sort of dismissed the idea of them belonging to another service and just sharing tower space, except that maybe they could be part of the Tetra system. I ran close call and a VHF/UHF with no results which really doesn’t mean much anyway. My first thought was that maybe they are relays or links of some sort. But if that’s the case, why not use microwave or even yagis? Thoughts?
 

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MASTER48

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It looks like the center vertical is cell site receiving antenna and the other verticals for a trunking system. Looks quite similar set up.
 

jonwienke

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The cellular antennas are the white flat panels. Everything else is for other radio systems. You can get a rough idea of the frequency band by the length of the verticals. Sharing tower space is pretty common worldwide. I count 4 small parabolic dishes in the photo on the left (3 of them 1/3 and one 2/3 up the tower), which are probably microwave relays. The center verticals at the top appear to be lightning rods rather than antennas.
 

Ubbe

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Looks like standard configuration for a diversity system. One antenna for transmit and receive and then extra antennas for additional diversity receivers. Sometimes they are for mobile cellular systems and other times for things like Tetra.

Spain got Tetra systems for regional use and a Tetrapol, which is nothing like Tetra, for national service. So it might be both in that tower with 4 receive antennas.

/Ubbe
 

sflmonitor

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The cellular antennas are the white flat panels. Everything else is for other radio systems. You can get a rough idea of the frequency band by the length of the verticals. Sharing tower space is pretty common worldwide. I count 4 small parabolic dishes in the photo on the left (3 of them 1/3 and one 2/3 up the tower), which are probably microwave relays. The center verticals at the top appear to be lightning rods rather than antennas.
I agree about the sharing of tower space and that’s what threw me off because generally speaking, you rarely see the same identical setup on multiple towers where sharing takes place. But the ones that I saw were cookie cutter setups, leading me to think that it may all belong to the same system.

I think it’s something Like what Ubbe was stating. It is something like Tetra or similar equipment as it is very cookie cutter.
 
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mikewazowski

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Hard to tell really.

Could be paging, cellular or colocated two-way but as ubbe suggested, it looks like a diversity receive setup.

Heck, the flat panel antennas might not even be cellular.
 

freddaniel

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I have seen this in China and Asian countries. I believe it is a low-cost, low-power telephone service based upon the DECT standard, which stands for Digital Enhanced Cordless Technology. If I recall correctly, it uses wide-area paging for in-bound call setup, and local telco lines for out-bound. It has one shared receive antenna and 4 transmitters or more combined. It could also be a MPT-1327 trunked system. Depends who struck a deal to share cellular tower space.
 

davidgcet

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older cellular used to use omni antennas a lot, I know of more than one tower here that still has some up even though they have long since been removed from use. a lot of times antennas are left in place either because it just isn't necessary to take them down if they own the tower, or the lease terms would keep the price the same/possibly give up the section of vertical space so they keep them up.
 
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