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[TowerTalk] Equipment Installations on towers...

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Subject: [TowerTalk] Equipment Installations on towers...
From: (Michael J.Castellano)
Date: Wed Feb 26 10:24:03 2003

first off, find out if the particular tower in question is"a colocated(shared 
site). Thats what you want. Some carriers, though go out of their way to NOT 
co-locate.  In todays world, you have a very very good chance that your 
intended site is co-located.

An easy way to determine colocation is simply to look at the tower or monopole. 
If there is more than one level (row, if you will) of antennas, then it is a 
colocated tower, and you have a good chance of renting space on it within the 
limits of loading, RF and of course $$$ your budget..

Not sure about your state, but Connecticut has a Siting Council. This 
supercedes local zoning. If your state has it, chances are it works like this:  
You find the site that will work. enter into a conditional agreement with the 
tower owner. Then you file for an exempt modification to that site for your 
equipment. Exempt from siting hearings,  modification cause you are putting 
something new one the tower.

If your state simply uses local zoning, you probably only need to get a 
building permit for the installation as well, of course as the usual electrical 
permit. (Though 99 % of carriers don't ever bother to do either!!!). ( I didn't 
tell  you that!)

I would always have a professional ie licensed tower rigger do any work aloft 
for insurance purposes AND so there wont be any flak down the line from the 
others on the tower. Large tower companies usually insist on this.

To find the actual owner, look at the gate on the fence around the site... 
There should be a contact info sign on it with owner and telco #.  If the thing 
is of any significant height there MUST be an FCC ID number on it.  You can 
dump that number in the FCC WTB search and find out all sorts of stuff.  If you 
can GPS the lcoation, you can enter that into search also.

You can always go to your local zoning etc office and get the info, but that 
usually raises questions... and that is not what you need in the early stages!

Licensing?  Almost ANY reputable tower site owner will require you have an FCC 
license for your operation before letting you on the tower.  That will 
invariably be spelled out in the lease agreement.  If it is for an unlicensed 
service, be prepared to prove it. they may want an RF study done to prove out 
interference, intermod, and to make sure what you are emitting is what you say 
you are!!

Some tower owners will require you do a loading analysis for your additional 
antenna(s), though they might be tiny ones. Usually folks like A-T towers, 
Sprint, Pinnacle, etc like this.

It sounds like a lot of work, but really, it isn't... basically you are 
determining the owner, finding out if he has space, how your system will work 
from that site, the actual legal procedures, lining up a rigger, and how much 
he is going to rip you off in rent.

I am in the tower site business, (30 yrs) and yep, its an unfortunate fact, but 
when the "little guy" is sometimes at a disadvantage, simply because he cannot 
afford to pay the $2-$5K per month for rental... Lots of tower owners (small 
and large) dont want to be bothered with the smaller users, such as "Joes Oil 
Truck", or "Mikes Two Way" etc... you know what I mean.

Just be prepared to beasked for a a ridiculuous rental rate, simply because the 
tower owner considers your operation "not worth their time", or even in 
competition with them"

(By "Him" I mean the tower companies.)

First: find the potential site, make sure it will work, contact the owner, get 
it all installed, and enjoy!!!!!

And for heavens sakes, dont let my "devils advocate" ramblings deter you!!! Let 
me know how you are progressing!

and be careful out there!

73, Mike  KM1R
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