There still remains controversy about how much, if any harm is caused using cell phones or being near a cell tower. To date, there has been no constructive evidence showing that humans are harmed in anyway by cell activity and the fact remains, after over 15 years of cell phone use, no human aliments have been attributed to cell phones or towers.
In addition, folks would be amazed to know that there is a lot more cellular activity around us then you might think. Towers are not the only means of maintaining the cellular antennas. They are on the roofs of many buildings in the cities and in the suburbs. Perhaps you may have seen them. More visible in the suburbs, because the buildings are lower, look up and if you see white vertical ‘placks’ on the side of the building’s roof, you are looking at antenna arrays.
This water tower in Nassau County, New York is a perfect example depicting the false conclusion that cellular arrays are only on towers.
This municipal utility tower is also providing an assortment of cellular arrays.
With that said, we will discuss how cellular towers are constructed.
Initially, before any tower can be installed, the owner of the property where the tower will reside (and subsequently, will lease to) needs to appropriate the necessary utilities (electric, etc.) to be wired to the tower location and have appropriate zoning laws confirmed.
Once all utility and zoning is complete, construction can begin. There are four categories of towers: monopole towers, lattice towers, guyed towers and concealed towers.
- Monopole towers are probably the types that are most noticed. They are small in comparison to the others and stand about 200 feet in height and the structure is one large pole, with antennas mounted on its exterior.
- Guyed towers are higher are similar to Monopole as they are one mono structure, but the difference between the two are that Monopole towers are only for phone use, while guyed towers are used for phone, radio and television.
- Lattice towers are 3 sided structures and manage heavy loads.
- Concealed towers, also called ‘Stealth’ are used where there is concern for the enviornment and landscape.
Cell Antenna Array on Monopole Tower
Concealed tower can be seen from this highway in Central New Jersey
Cellular arrays are attached to the left transmission tower
Probably the most noticeable entity of all towers are the antenna array. The platform that holds the antennas for mobile transmission. The amount of antennas varies, depending upon the number of ‘tenants’ that the tower will hold; that is, no one tower contains only one cellular company’s equipment. The towers are leased out to numerous carriers; hence, tenants of the towers and the amount of antennas usually vary between 3 and 18.
Some locations, such as New York City, specifically, Manhattan do not have a need for cell towers. Instead they rent the space above the tall buildings and skyscrapers, utilizing their antennas (if the building has one) and attach their arrays there. The picture below depicts a simple pair of antennas on top of the side of its roof.
Two antenna arrays are seen at the top of this building in Long Island.