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narkedfrog77

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Greetings,

The other day I flew over a cell tower. I captured a few images and was wondering what some of the components are. I have done a little research online, but am having a hard time identifying some of the components. I know what the antennas are, but what are the boxes positioned on the tower. I know some are network switches and some are amplifiers, but I don't know which one is which. Can anyone help me to identify these components. Thanks.

Topher
 

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Welcome.

A good way to understand what components are through detailed examination. The white boxes behind the antenna has large heat sinks on them with an LCD window. To my uneducated, in cell towers, level it would indicate that it generates lots of heat.

From the photo looks like there are only 2 of these on 2 of the antennas and with a quick Google-Fu image and it maybe amplifiers for a Wi-MAX system.

Cell_tower_antennas.jpg
 
Last edited:
Welcome.

A good way to understand what components are through detailed examination. The white boxes behind the antenna has large heat sinks on them with an LCD window. To my uneducated, in cell towers, level it would indicate that it generates lots of heat.

From the photo looks like there are only 2 of these on 2 of the antennas and with a quick Google-Fu image and it maybe amplifiers for a Wi-MAX system.

Cell_tower_antennas.jpg


I don't know much about it but in another forum we discussed something similar and we had to be careful with the microwave emitters. The advice I stayed with was not to stand right in front of them to avoid interference problems with drone signals.

If anyone can confirm it or give any advice. For now I, in case of need, avoid them.
 
I don't know much about it but in another forum we discussed something similar and we had to be careful with the microwave emitters. The advice I stayed with was not to stand right in front of them to avoid interference problems with drone signals.

If anyone can confirm it or give any advice. For now I, in case of need, avoid them.

That is good advice, try to avoid them if possible but it is not always possible. There are a lot of different emitters so one solution is not a cure all. If you can try to keep flying past them, you may see some interference but continue on if you can or have a need to continue on, sometimes you can fly thru the interference. We have seen some emitters stop the uav in its tracks until the uav decided to regain control on its own with no input from the pilot. That is a good reason to set the RTH to landing vs come home. You do not want it to try to return to home thru the tower, better have it go straight down until you can regain control.
 
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That is good advice, try to avoid them if possible but it is not always possible. There are a lot of different emitters so one solution is not a cure all. If you can try to keep flying past them, you may see some interference but continue on if you can or have a need to continue on, sometimes you can fly thru the interference. We have seen some emitters stop the uav in its tracks until the uav decided to regain control on its own with no input from the pilot. That is a good reason to set the RTH to landing vs come home. You do not want it to try to return to home thru the tower, better have it go straight down until you can regain control.

In that case, it may be better, a landing instead of an RTL and as soon as you start to descend and regain communication take control.

I haven't been in that situation, but it's nice to know what can happen to you :)
 
This is great advice from Florida Drone Supply... My personal experiences have varied in many different ways. As I was taught during my “ Cell Tower certification class “ you should always set your UAV to LAND in case of disconnections. In some cases I have seen this work great. The UAV will hit the bad spot on the tower, disconnect communications from the controller, freeze and hovere for a few seconds, and start to land. You will be able to regain control before it reaches the ground. But yesterday, my UAV just hovered and disconnected from the controller. My first Plan of action, was to let the battery die and the aircraft will start to land on its own. I finally choose to switch the controller frequency to 5.8 instead of the default 2.4. The aircraft immediately regained connection, and I was able to continue the flight with no other issues. On the other-hand, I have had these “round cone emitters” put my UAV in ADDY MODE, and disconnected my controller at the same time. Good luck with this scenario..... I unfortunately lost a Matrice 210 on this day... the wind took the UAV and had-his-way with it. If I would have known to switch to 5.8 on-the-Fly, I probably could have saved it. Saying all this to say, stay away from emitters if at all possible. But if you have to fly in their path, try using 5.8 on your controller settings.
 
This is great advice from Florida Drone Supply... My personal experiences have varied in many different ways. As I was taught during my “ Cell Tower certification class “ you should always set your UAV to LAND in case of disconnections. In some cases I have seen this work great. The UAV will hit the bad spot on the tower, disconnect communications from the controller, freeze and hovere for a few seconds, and start to land. You will be able to regain control before it reaches the ground. But yesterday, my UAV just hovered and disconnected from the controller. My first Plan of action, was to let the battery die and the aircraft will start to land on its own. I finally choose to switch the controller frequency to 5.8 instead of the default 2.4. The aircraft immediately regained connection, and I was able to continue the flight with no other issues. On the other-hand, I have had these “round cone emitters” put my UAV in ADDY MODE, and disconnected my controller at the same time. Good luck with this scenario..... I unfortunately lost a Matrice 210 on this day... the wind took the UAV and had-his-way with it. If I would have known to switch to 5.8 on-the-Fly, I probably could have saved it. Saying all this to say, stay away from emitters if at all possible. But if you have to fly in their path, try using 5.8 on your controller settings.

It's too bad you lost a bird. Plus a 210, because they're so cheap :(:(

It is good to know that with this type of emitters in 5.8 GHz the link behaves better.

Do we always have to learn by punching? Thank you for sharing it, if you avoid that at least one other partner could lose another bird, it will have been worth it :)

P.D.: Welcome to the forum :D
 
With these types of high end equipment, you must have good insurance at all times. I switched to a Phantom 4 Pro for cell tower inspections from now on. Less expensive Bird and just as good picture quality. Most inspection clients a looking for 20 megapixels or better. The P4P is prefect for the job. I only found the upgraded lens on the X5s to be a great advantage on the Matrice. Some times with guide wires you can not get the close-up shoot that you might want get with a P4P. Cell tower inspections really need to see into the RAD closely.
 
This is great advice from Florida Drone Supply... My personal experiences have varied in many different ways. As I was taught during my “ Cell Tower certification class “ you should always set your UAV to LAND in case of disconnections. In some cases I have seen this work great. The UAV will hit the bad spot on the tower, disconnect communications from the controller, freeze and hovere for a few seconds, and start to land. You will be able to regain control before it reaches the ground. But yesterday, my UAV just hovered and disconnected from the controller. My first Plan of action, was to let the battery die and the aircraft will start to land on its own. I finally choose to switch the controller frequency to 5.8 instead of the default 2.4. The aircraft immediately regained connection, and I was able to continue the flight with no other issues. On the other-hand, I have had these “round cone emitters” put my UAV in ADDY MODE, and disconnected my controller at the same time. Good luck with this scenario..... I unfortunately lost a Matrice 210 on this day... the wind took the UAV and had-his-way with it. If I would have known to switch to 5.8 on-the-Fly, I probably could have saved it. Saying all this to say, stay away from emitters if at all possible. But if you have to fly in their path, try using 5.8 on your controller settings.


I'm curious, where did you get your "Cell Tower Certification" from? I have been in contact with a company out of Florida who apparently has a certification class for cell tower inspection. Can't remember the name, but he was looking for Part 107 pilots to conduct cell tower inspections all over the country. Apparently because AT&T and Verizon are getting ready to deploy 5G.
 
Hi Mike. It is certainly possible you spoke to us (although there are other companies you may have spoken to). We have a pilot network that we are currently sending to training for cell tower inspections and have contract work all around the US either in process now or coming up sometime soon. In the last month, we have begun contracting our network pilots to inspect towers in TX, CA, IL, IN, MI and NC. This is just the beginning. We have also sent pilots to training for a large power company contract in VA. Those pilots begin a 90 day contract (estimated) in just over 2 weeks which is expected to lead to a multi year contract for several more pilots. We are also rolling out other lines of business for our pilot network that includes golf course turf analysis opportunities, construction site mapping and we recently finished a test program which may lead to substantial road mapping contracts for our pilots. We expect 2018 to be a great year for our pilots. If you have an interest in the industrial or commercial type of work we would love to talk to you further.

Click the link in our signature to get registered with us and we will get in touch with you about everything we have on the horizon.

Thanks!
 
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Yes, I received my “Cell Tower Inspection Certification” from the same company that you are referring to. Florida Drone Supply... They are a subcontractor to a major cell tower inspection company. They sent me to a 3 day class in Alabama, where I was trained and certified by the major company directly. If you want to do this work, you must go to the school in Alabama First. You must have your 107 as well. I just completely my first 50 Tower assignment in Austin Texas.
 
Hi Mike. It is certainly possible you spoke to us (although there are other companies you may have spoken to). We have a pilot network that we are currently sending to training for cell tower inspections and have contract work all around the US either in process now or coming up sometime soon. In the last month, we have begun contracting our network pilots to inspect towers in TX, CA, IL, IN, MI and NC. This is just the beginning. We have also sent pilots to training for a large power company contract in VA. Those pilots begin a 90 day contract (estimated) in just over 2 weeks which is expected to lead to a multi year contract for several more pilots. We are also rolling out other lines of business for our pilot network that includes golf course turf analysis opportunities, construction site mapping and we recently finished a test program which may lead to substantial road mapping contracts for our pilots. We expect 2018 to be a great year for our pilots. If you have an interest in the industrial or commercial type of work we would love to talk to you further.

Click the link in our signature to get registered with us and we will get in touch with you about everything we have on the horizon.

Thanks!


Thanks for all the great information in this forum. If its not too forward, what kind of deliverable do cell companies look for from these inspections?
 
Hey @Florida Drone Supply thanks for all the information on your program. For your pilot network, is the work usually long term like the 90-day contracts you mentioned, or is there shorter term work as well?

There is work for periods shorter than 90 days and 90 days is not the norm. For example we will get 50 cell towers to be inspected in a certain area and offer the work to a couple of pilots who live in that area. Depending on weather that can usually be completed in less than 2 weeks. We have one pilot at this time finishing a group of 16 towers that he has taken about 10 days to complete while working around his other commitments.
 
There is work for periods shorter than 90 days and 90 days is not the norm. For example we will get 50 cell towers to be inspected in a certain area and offer the work to a couple of pilots who live in that area. Depending on weather that can usually be completed in less than 2 weeks. We have one pilot at this time finishing a group of 16 towers that he has taken about 10 days to complete while working around his other commitments.


It sounds like you have hired Super Man! That's very impressive to say the least.
 

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