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UER Forum > Archived UE Main > Climbing Radio Towers? (Viewed 15031 times)
DJ Craig 

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Climbing Radio Towers?
< on 2/25/2009 10:04 PM >
Posted on Forum: UER Forum
 
I'm considering checking out a local radio tower (OK, I'm not sure if it's a radio tower or cell phone or whatever, but you know the kind of tower I'm talking about). I have two questions:

1. Do we need to worry about dangerous radiation levels?

2. What are the chances of there being alarms, cameras (that are actually monitored), and that kinda shit?

"You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose. You're on your own. And you know what you know. And YOU are the one who'll decide where to go..." -Dr. Suess
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Re: Climbing Radio Towers?
<Reply # 1 on 2/25/2009 10:36 PM >
Posted on Forum: UER Forum
 
Okay my understanding is limited and hopefully someone will chime in but in my experience,

1. sometimes the towers themselves are the transmitter/antenna, rather than merely being a mounting point for the antennas. I was told his is bad, do not climb such towers.

2. those big mounted microwave dishes are usually directional, standing in front of them will fry your eyes, nuts, cartilage and other soft tissue. There is minimal leakage in other directions.

3. I would expect any alarms to be mounted around the base, since alarms are used to deter and scary people, not trap them.

4. If you're worried about becoming sterile perhaps spooge in some tupperware and store it in the fridge. Check first though, your girl might be spitting and storing already, as a last ditch self-fertilization method if you try to leave her. They're fucken devious I tells ya.


We climbed this one back in 2003 and it took at least 30mins to reach the top, if security/police/wtf were coming they certainly could have taken a coffee and donut break at the bottom while they waited to bust our bitchasses.



sleepycity.net: watch out for the third rail baby, that shit is high voltage. urbex and urban exploration photography
Banditt 


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Re: Climbing Radio Towers?
<Reply # 2 on 2/26/2009 12:29 AM >
Posted on Forum: UER Forum
 
So im sure I dont have to say that the number one rule here is safety... As a UE enthusiast and RF engineer I have worked with towers and transmitters for many years, so I suppose I could expend a few words on this... The sites themselves are awesome, often secluded and well worth a visit. Just stay well away if bad weather is around... Ive been around towers when lightning hits and WOW! Its unbelievable how much damage that can do... The equipment is grounded in a multitude of ways, but the lightning can jump out at the concrete base and cabling.

Expanding on the above post:

#1 The towers themselves are almost never the actual transmit/receive... The trick is recognizing the actual antennas. Do your research before trying to climb... Know what the site is and how to best do it safely...

#2 The big (and little) parabolics are very directional. NEVER stand in front of one. They always both transmit and receive. They also can have a significant amount of energy radiating out the back, so be wary. The parabola size is no indication of power, only operational frequency, so dont ever assume a 'little one' isnt extremely dangerous. The cellular towers are safer, running at up to 300 watts, although urban Digital PCS service is usually radiating only a couple of watts per antenna. Just keep in mind that if the tower is active, you are absorbing the RF radiation. Of course, you are already having that done to you via radio, tv, satellite, cellphones, etc. REALLY watch out for a tower used to transmit AM/FM Radio and Television. Modern transmitters in the US and Canada are now limited to 100KW, but some of the older ones can be over 500KW! Keep in mind your microwave oven is only ~1 Kilowatt at around 2GHz, so these transmitters can be hundreds or thousands of times more powerful and should generally be avoided if operational. These may also be the antennas confused with being "the tower itself" as the antenna can span much of the tower height and not be easily destinguishable from the tower structure at a distance. The high power RF cables or waveguide here are also very dangerous and quite delicate.

#3 Alarms: All the equipment is alarmed, not so much for people, but equipment failures. I have never run into any tower security alarm. The equipment shelter is always security alarmed back to the network operation center, but any breach will most likely result in a technician dispatch. Still no good if you then climb 30 mins up a tower... If you want to see inside, best to ask one of the techs who regularly service these sites... they are usually more than happy to entertain.

#4 I agree. LOL!


[last edit 2/26/2009 5:30 AM by Banditt - edited 1 times]

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Re: Climbing Radio Towers?
<Reply # 3 on 2/26/2009 12:48 AM >
Posted on Forum: UER Forum
 
Posted by Banditt27
-lots-


Thanks for taking the time to write all that.



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Re: Climbing Radio Towers?
<Reply # 4 on 2/26/2009 12:49 AM >
Posted on Forum: UER Forum
 
hit up the local BASE jumping community. They are usually super friendly and really fun people. They know a lot about antennas. Maybe one of the times you're back 'round these parts I'll see if they wanna let us climb with 'em and watch them jump.

Edit: Also whenever you're back we can climb this ATT microwave tower, its surprisingly easy:


[last edit 2/26/2009 12:52 AM by uLiveAndYouBurn - edited 1 times]

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Re: Climbing Radio Towers?
<Reply # 5 on 2/26/2009 2:18 AM >
Posted on Forum: UER Forum
 
Sorry, one correction to inaccuracy: "The parabola size is no indication of power, only operational frequency"

This got screwed up while editing the post... LOL...


What i meant was: "it is no indication of system power OR frequency...."

Actually, the exact parabola size is related to antenna gain and focus... not actual transmitter power...



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Re: Climbing Radio Towers?
<Reply # 6 on 2/26/2009 2:42 AM >
Posted on Forum: UER Forum
 
I'd also like to add that there might be leakage on microwave waveguides too. Be careful. I've heard of stories inside transmitter buildings where fluorescent tubes were actually lit without being powered on!

Do not climb AM towers too as the tower is the actual radiating antenna.

I've seen cameras and movement detectors at the base of some towers.



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Re: Climbing Radio Towers?
<Reply # 7 on 2/26/2009 3:19 AM >
Posted on Forum: UER Forum
 
I used to work on Cell towers and I never once seen any kind of alarm for anything related to security..
but yea, everything on Banditt27's post I have to agree with from my experience. I wouldn't call climbing an active tower /safe/ but if you have some common sense and basic idea of what your playing on you shouldn't get hurt.. granted thats taking out the human stupidity angle outa the equation..

Live to Serve, Serve to Live..
Banditt 


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Re: Climbing Radio Towers?
<Reply # 8 on 2/26/2009 4:55 AM >
Posted on Forum: UER Forum
 
Occasionally there are movement detectors outside, usually on the equipment shelters.. these are only for the outside lights... So when a tech approaches, he can see the obstacles and not trip on anything while carrying a $50,000 piece of test equipment...

Cameras can sometimes be found, but I have NEVER seen them for security... sometimes to monitor road conditions, some for weather reports, some just web cams... There is just NO WAY a NOC has time or personnel to monitor all tower sites on video.... Its just not done. Im not saying there arent exceptions, just that in working with several thousand tower sites over the years, I have never seen a single one.


Also:

It is possible to have a radiative mast. These generally are old VLF/LF/MF type transmitters and usually very high power. Could be AM, navigation transmissions, or govermnent comms towers. Possibly security cause they are deadly...

DO NOT EVER ATTEMPT TO CLIMB THESE.... The potential between the tower metal and the ground while transmitting can be over 120,000 volts at far more amps than you need to stop your heart and you could die instantly. The usual sure sign is a tower with a small (maybe 6'x6' hut) next to each one. You will not see any other antennas on the tower (probably lighting rods will be installed up top). It is insulated from ground and has the RF jumper connected *mostly* near the tower bottom between the tower and hut. There are probably signs posted, so dont ignore.

126599.jpg (15 kb, 300x450)
click to view


126600.jpg (21 kb, 300x225)
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[last edit 2/26/2009 5:38 AM by Banditt - edited 3 times]

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Re: Climbing Radio Towers?
<Reply # 9 on 2/26/2009 4:37 PM >
Posted on Forum: UER Forum
 
You can find info on towers here:
http://www.fcc.gov...bin/audio/tvq.html

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Re: Climbing Radio Towers?
<Reply # 10 on 2/26/2009 6:35 PM >
Posted on Forum: UER Forum
 
Directional AM antennae are often found in a phased array-- that is, several identical ones in a geometric pattern... like a precise line.

Also AM antennae are usually stuck in a swamp... the ground conductivity helps. If "you're going to do it anyway" consider most AM licenses are for 1/10 the power at night.

That FCC database above lists GPS coordinates so research should be easy. Consider ancillary services (cell phones, pagers, religious low power Tv stations, microwave repeaters) that lease antenna space from the main broadcaster.

TV towers often have "towercams" as a way of testing/maintaining the microwave network link the news live trucks also use. Sometimes you'll see them used as webcams on that station's website.

I do know of a scrapper busted by remote cam! People have been fried stealing grounding cables etc, true darwin award candidates.
[last edit 2/26/2009 6:37 PM by mesomewierdo - edited 1 times]

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Re: Climbing Radio Towers?
<Reply # 11 on 2/26/2009 7:54 PM >
Posted on Forum: UER Forum
 
I got an email a while back from a tower company about people stealing the bulbs from the hazard lights. Apparently they are worth some dollars.

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Re: Climbing Radio Towers?
<Reply # 12 on 2/26/2009 10:56 PM >
Posted on Forum: Infiltration Forums
 
Posted by mesomewierdo
Directional AM antennae are often found in a phased array-- that is, several identical ones in a geometric pattern... like a precise line.

Also AM antennae are usually stuck in a swamp... the ground conductivity helps. If "you're going to do it anyway" consider most AM licenses are for 1/10 the power at night.

That FCC database above lists GPS coordinates so research should be easy. Consider ancillary services (cell phones, pagers, religious low power Tv stations, microwave repeaters) that lease antenna space from the main broadcaster.

...



Good information.

In the USA, the highest FCC-allowable MW (AM) signal power is 50000 watts. Ten percent of 50000 watts (the highest AM broadcast transmitting power licensable) is still 5000 watts, and still enough to cook you like a hot dog in a microwave. Even if you live, RF burns, even from just a few hundred watts, are really nasty things, with different frequencies causing different physical or neurological effects. In most of Europe, the limit is either 50000, 150000, or 500000 watts, depending on country. In Mexico, the limit is now 250000 watts.

There's often a lightning arrestor connecting the Mast Radiator to ground with a very high resistance. Don't look at that and think that despite the huge insulator, the tower is grounded. Look closely at the mast's guys (the tensioned wires that support it), you will see insulators there too, usually right near the top, but I have seen them right near the bottom. If they are near the bottom, the guy should be considered electrified, too.

Mast radiators never have any sort of microwave dishes or other smaller antenna gear attached to them.

Not all mast radiators have their own helix buildings. Depending on the length, not all require inductance tuning, and some may share tuning equipment.

NEVER ENTER A HELIX BUILDING!
NEVER EVER ENTER A HELIX BUILDING!
NEVER EVER, EVER, ENTER A HELIX BUILDING!
If someone's chasing you with a gun, NEVER ENTER A HELIX BUILDING!

Helix buildings (the little squarish huts often found immediately next to a mast radiator) have nothing inside to see, will have no lighting at all, and are extremely dangerous to enter while the transmitter has power. Transmitter or antenna technicians don't even enter them with power on, there is no available safety equipment. Don't even touch the outside of the building at a high powered transmitter site.

Longwave masts almost always have these buildings, Midwave (AM Broadcast) masts do about 60% of the time, though in probably half of cases, there is not one for each mast, they are either paired (one per two masts) or there is just one.

Longwave transmitters may be in excess of one million watts, though are more typically from 200000 to 750000. The longwave broadcast band is not commercially licensed in the United States, but transmitters of the same frequency and technology (essentially AM) are still around here and there for other purposes (LORAN-C for one).

For those in the USA, the FCC has a list which is searchable by map coordinates, tower height, tower type, city, street(s), address, broadcast type, and lots of other ways. It will tell you exactly what is on the tower, what frequencies are licensed, what power is licensed, who owns it, how it is supported, how high it is, and a lot more. It is freely and anonymously accessible to the general public.

Old AT&T Long Lines TD-2 towers are safe to climb up, as long as they aren't used for anything else. Many are simply not in use, many are leased to cellular and radio companies. They are very distinct with their large 2500MHz horns on top, and quite interesting to look at. Unused sites come up for auction periodically, especially the ones AT&T still owns. You can buy them fairly inexpensively, building and all, often for as little as $30-50000 in many cases. The entire AT&T long distance microwave repeater system is shut down, the last segments as of 2002.

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Re: Climbing Radio Towers?
<Reply # 13 on 2/27/2009 2:57 AM >
Posted on Forum: UER Mobile
 
Great thread... Next time I go climbing I will have to bring a hotdog on a stick and test some of these assertions out...

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Re: Climbing Radio Towers?
<Reply # 14 on 2/27/2009 4:33 AM >
Posted on Forum: UER Forum
 
Never had the balls to climb one yet, but here's a couple of pictures taken by me.



















Not climbable hehe



[last edit 2/27/2009 4:37 AM by Q1W2E3R4 - edited 1 times]

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Re: Climbing Radio Towers?
<Reply # 15 on 2/27/2009 5:05 PM >
Posted on Forum: Infiltration Forums
 
#1 cellular or low powered civic (unlikely by tower design)
#2 Mast radiating antenna, AM system. Don't touch the tower! Also note the lack of cables and the huge ground insulator.

#3 commercial microwave, cellular
#4 prefabricated feed building
#5 same model prefabricated feed building, looks cellular by cable.
#6 Qualcomm CDMA 800MHz Base Radio (Cellular)
#7 very well populated tower, 11-20GHz microwave waveguides (on side), cellular antenna feed lines (inside, flexible), Note cameras on tower corners.
#8 Microwave data/voice, AC power (for tower mounted equipment), possibly broadcast radio feed.
#9 microwave, possibly civic radio, cellular, and some sort of low powered 200-800mhz radio, not sure what.
#10 looks broadcast television or maybe FM radio (don't think so), by feed line thickness.

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Re: Climbing Radio Towers?
<Reply # 16 on 2/27/2009 5:19 PM >
Posted on Forum: UER Forum
 
well if we're throwin tower porn out there:











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Re: Climbing Radio Towers?
<Reply # 17 on 2/27/2009 5:47 PM >
Posted on Forum: UER Forum
 
More tower pr0nz!

sleepycity.net: watch out for the third rail baby, that shit is high voltage. urbex and urban exploration photography
Q1W2E3R4 






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Re: Climbing Radio Towers?
<Reply # 18 on 2/27/2009 6:06 PM >
Posted on Forum: UER Forum
 
Thanks, I added some extra details

Posted by Zorb
#1 cellular or low powered civic (unlikely by tower design)
Yep, Rogers Wireless !

#2 Mast radiating antenna, AM system. Don't touch the tower! Also note the lack of cables and the huge ground insulator.
Exactly, part of a 6-tower AM array (CHRC 80)

#3 commercial microwave, cellular
Yep, Bell mobility cellular + emergency services

#4 prefabricated feed building

#5 same model prefabricated feed building, looks cellular by cable.
Brand new Bell Mobility prefab building

#6 Qualcomm CDMA 800MHz Base Radio (Cellular)
Inside of this building

#7 very well populated tower, 11-20GHz microwave waveguides (on side), cellular antenna feed lines (inside, flexible), Note cameras on tower corners.
Bell, Telus, Rogers are on this tower.

#8 Microwave data/voice, AC power (for tower mounted equipment), possibly broadcast radio feed.
Same thing, Bell, Telus and Rogers cellular

#9 microwave, possibly civic radio, cellular, and some sort of low powered 200-800mhz radio, not sure what.

#10 looks broadcast television or maybe FM radio (don't think so), by feed line thickness.
If I remember this tower had 2 FM stations, Bell mobility, and there's a building at the base of this tower with a Governement of Canada sign.



I'll add more tower pr0n tonight, I have hundreds more ;)

[last edit 2/27/2009 6:07 PM by Q1W2E3R4 - edited 1 times]

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Re: Climbing Radio Towers?
<Reply # 19 on 2/28/2009 3:17 AM >
Posted on Forum: UER Forum
 
Some more tower pr0n !








damn vandals:


It says Grounding Problem - do not enter the shelter during a thunderstorm






quite big shelter for only 1 cellular carrier:





What's the purpose of that thing? External generator?










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