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F100
join:2013-01-15
Durham, NC
756.0 941.3
ARRIS SB6121
(Software) pfSense
Obihai OBi200

3 edits

5 recommendations

F100

Member

New T-Mobile Tower Site on Electric Transmission Tower

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Overview of new Site
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Charter Business Fiber handhold and 120v stepdown transformer
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Base-station Cabinet and power
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View from below site
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Close up of 3 new 120 degree Sector Antennas
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Overview of Cabinet
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Overview of Power Panel
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Power Meter in case you were doubting if this was T-mobile
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Emerson Power Panel Specs on Door
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Botton of Power cabinet
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Middle of Power cabinet
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Inside of Power Cabinet Panel
These pictures are photos I took a of new T-mobile site installed next to a High School in Durham that is within walking distance to my house. Installed October 2017. This install is on and at the base of a High Volt electricity transmission tower. This tower had nothing on it previously. On the next tower over by the sub-station, AT&T and maybe someone else already had a cell site. From what I can tell, the same company may be managing both sites. I actually knew this site was going up as I saw it in Durham's Zoning and permitting request site which has a lot of ARC GIS data last year.

First clue work was finally to begin was in late August or September when Charter Business installed fiber to the site and Duke Energy set another pole to bring distribution voltage to an underground transformer near the site.

As others on here have said and you can see by the pictures, T-mobile does use the Erickson Remote cabinets for their sites. Charter or TWC Business is doing the fiber backhaul to the site. Frontier and AT&T have fiber in the area. But I didn't really see T using either of these for fiber.

As of this week, I can't tell that the site is up yet. I'm sure it's in testing mode as there are other sites nearby that will probably have to be adjusted. I should have better coverage at my house though even though no calls drop indoors. The end of my street has a valley that is a dead spot so I hope this covers that better. Good thing I got pictures when I did cause I noticed this weekend they had the fence up around the site. Watching Google Fiber and AT&T Fiber do installs in the area and on my street, I've gotten pretty good at spotting new gear and sites like the Google Fiber Hut in my Neighborhood.
F100

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F100

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Back of Power Cabinet where Charter mounted the Fiber Backhaul Cabinet interface
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Side view of Charter Fiber Cabinet
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Side View of Basestation Cabinet with GPS antenna Showing
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Back of Basestation
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Closeup of GPS antenna
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Grounding base of Cabinet
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Riser cable to the Antennas
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Empty T-Mobile spool
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Fiber connections
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Hardline Riser cable
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Power Feeds for Antennas
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Hardline Rising up to Antennas
These are more pictures from the same post. Just breaking them up do I don't overload a single post.

These are some of the construction pieces left over and materials used for install. Also some pictures of the GPS antenna for the cabinet.
F100

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F100

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4 12v SLA batteries in series for 48v DC power backup
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Power Supply at bottom
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Closeup of Batteries showing capacity
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PSU in middle of Cabinet
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Bottom right with Networking Switch and Fiber above
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Nokia 7705 SAR-M Network Switch
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Cabinet Specs
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Fiber Interconnects
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View of AT&T site 2 Towers over
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Closeup comparison of nearby AT&T site
These are the insides of the Ericsson RBS 6102 cabinet enclosure that T-mobile uses. Power is on the left. Fiber and networking is on the right side of the cabinet.
TheMG
Premium Member
join:2007-09-04
Canada
MikroTik RB450G
Cisco DPC3008
Cisco SPA112

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TheMG to F100

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to F100
Cell sites certainly are getting smaller and more power efficient! Not all that long ago, typical cell sites had a building, usually with several 42U racks filled to the brim with equipment altogether consuming several kW of power, along with the large battery banks and backup generator as well as air conditioning system to go along with it.

Amazing the advances in technology over the past decade and a half.

PSWired
join:2006-03-26
Annapolis, MD

2 recommendations

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Nice pictures. Gotta love the #6 ground on the plastic GPS antenna. Reminds me of a rooftop site we used to share with clearwire. They built out ice bridge all over their equipment and coax, with nothing above it that could possibly drop ice.

Radio electronics integrated into the antennas sure cuts down on equipment on the ground. Also, although the cables connecting the cabinet to the antennas looks like traditional coax, it's actually just a few strands of fiber in there. The form factor is the same as the old coax to make the mounting systems compatible, and to keep the tower climbers from smashing it up.

ilikeme
Premium Member
join:2002-08-27
Stafford, TX

1 recommendation

ilikeme to TheMG

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Click for full size
Yup. This is the T-Mobile site just outside my neighborhood. It has been here since the days of Voice Stream and Aerial. It is fed by Comcast fiber, as are most T-Mobile site around here, unless out in the middle of nowhere.

F100
join:2013-01-15
Durham, NC
756.0 941.3
ARRIS SB6121
(Software) pfSense
Obihai OBi200

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F100 to PSWired

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said by PSWired:

Radio electronics integrated into the antennas sure cuts down on equipment on the ground. Also, although the cables connecting the cabinet to the antennas looks like traditional coax, it's actually just a few strands of fiber in there. The form factor is the same as the old coax to make the mounting systems compatible, and to keep the tower climbers from smashing it up.

Thanks. Yeah, that is why I wanted to get the pictures of the cable because it does look like the hardline Coax but is actually fiber and power wires for the Radio equipment in the Antennas. Guess they had leftover fiber connections. Too bad they didn't care because they had dirt on them and were wrapped up in the plastic bag.

There was also all the permit papers the city requires to be at the construction site. for the inspectors. It doesn't look like they have a generator for the site as all they have is the power connector for a portable one. However, I don't think they need one. The line come off the main line about 100 yard from the step down sub-station which that high volt tower feeds. And no trees in the way. So chances of losing power for very long are pretty slim. It's about as close as you can get to the hart of the grid after the transmission lines. As we are a 1/4 mile away, we don't lose power often either.

swintec
Premium Member
join:2003-12-19
Alfred, ME

1 recommendation

swintec

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said by F100:

It doesn't look like they have a generator for the site as all they have is the power connector for a portable one. However, I don't think they need one.

Why would they need one? Isnt that what the batteries are for?

Rambo76098
join:2003-02-21
Columbus, OH
·WOW Internet and..

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Rambo76098

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said by swintec:

Why would they need one? Isnt that what the batteries are for?

Longer term outages. Batteries are only going to keep a site up for so long. That said, I think T-Mobile sites having integrated standby generators is the exception, not the norm.

swintec
Premium Member
join:2003-12-19
Alfred, ME

1 recommendation

swintec

Premium Member

said by Rambo76098:

Longer term outages. Batteries are only going to keep a site up for so long. That said, I think T-Mobile sites having integrated standby generators is the exception, not the norm.

Correct. I did not find out until his week that Sprint uses battery backups almost exclusively, possibly like tmobile. Gen sets (and maintenance) would just become to costly these days with the number of cell sites.

F100
join:2013-01-15
Durham, NC
756.0 941.3
ARRIS SB6121
(Software) pfSense
Obihai OBi200

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F100

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Right. The DAS system that T-mobile, Verizon, and AT&T all use on top of my work at the University has an inverter/rectifier setup and 4 banks of 4 12v batters like this to power the Flexwave Prism units for about 8 hours before needing a portable generator to be brought on site. Like this, it just has a Gen Set plug with a throw in the circuit panel to switch power sources.
towerdave
join:2002-01-16
O Fallon, IL

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The pictures are cool, interesting to see what all goes into a cell site. I'm surprised though that you were able to get access to all that stuff to take pictures. Outside, no big deal, but the insides is what I'm surprised about. No locks?

I would think they'd have them locked up.

TD

F100
join:2013-01-15
Durham, NC
756.0 941.3
ARRIS SB6121
(Software) pfSense
Obihai OBi200

F100

Member

said by towerdave:

The pictures are cool, interesting to see what all goes into a cell site. I'm surprised though that you were able to get access to all that stuff to take pictures. Outside, no big deal, but the insides is what I'm surprised about. No locks?

I would think they'd have them locked up.

TD

Well, when you contract out things for others to install for you, it's not that hard to catch things mostly finished before they hand them over to the company. That's how I got so many pictures of AT&T fiber builds including the PFP cabinets before they are in service. Even the Google Fiber Hut in my neighborhood which I was able to video being set into place with a crane last year. Places are always abandoned on Sundays. Never did get a picture of the inside of the GFBR Hut but one of the Engineers that installed stuff did show me a picture. Those huts were locked upon arrival because they are per-loaded with OLT and Wireless gear.
towerdave
join:2002-01-16
O Fallon, IL

towerdave

Member

said by F100:

said by towerdave:

The pictures are cool, interesting to see what all goes into a cell site. I'm surprised though that you were able to get access to all that stuff to take pictures. Outside, no big deal, but the insides is what I'm surprised about. No locks?

I would think they'd have them locked up.

TD

Well, when you contract out things for others to install for you, it's not that hard to catch things mostly finished before they hand them over to the company. That's how I got so many pictures of AT&T fiber builds including the PFP cabinets before they are in service. Even the Google Fiber Hut in my neighborhood which I was able to video being set into place with a crane last year. Places are always abandoned on Sundays. Never did get a picture of the inside of the GFBR Hut but one of the Engineers that installed stuff did show me a picture. Those huts were locked upon arrival because they are per-loaded with OLT and Wireless gear.

I guess the contractor has insurance to cover theft and all that. I would think that would be a regular occurrence given the ease of access to the equipment.

TD

F100
join:2013-01-15
Durham, NC
756.0 941.3
ARRIS SB6121
(Software) pfSense
Obihai OBi200

F100

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said by towerdave:

I guess the contractor has insurance to cover theft and all that. I would think that would be a regular occurrence given the ease of access to the equipment.

TD

Suppose so. The fence is up now as is all the obligatory warnings about the RF cooking your brain if you get too close. Trust me, that is one site you don't want to climb unless you know what you are doing. A kid climbed on of these towers for fun in this same area several years ago and got hit by the transmission voltage. It's not something you survive from.

I don't know if they craned the support and antennas up there or what. But all that on top is new. I hope there is Band 71 support for the 600Mhz frequency on this new site as well. The permits were done over a year ago but maybe the gear is current. Perhaps the new Samsung GS9 will have Band 71 support. The new iPhones and Google Pixel gave us the shaft in that department so Samsung will have the leg up if they add band 71 to the next batch of high end phones.
FlatWorld
join:2016-07-11
US
917.6 919.2
·AT&T U-Verse
·AT&T FTTP
Alcatel-Lucent G-240G-A
ARRIS BGW210-700

FlatWorld to swintec

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to swintec
said by swintec:

said by Rambo76098:

Longer term outages. Batteries are only going to keep a site up for so long. That said, I think T-Mobile sites having integrated standby generators is the exception, not the norm.

Correct. I did not find out until his week that Sprint uses battery backups almost exclusively, possibly like tmobile. Gen sets (and maintenance) would just become to costly these days with the number of cell sites.

I am in a weak Sprint area at home as it is. I get one bar of "1x" outside. I have come to find out that after a few hours of no power, my phone will say "Extended 1x" but signal stays about the same.

I asked Sprint about it and they said it means the cell site went to generator power, but I always took that as if my phone couldn't find a Sprint cell site anymore??

swintec
Premium Member
join:2003-12-19
Alfred, ME

swintec

Premium Member

said by FlatWorld:

I am in a weak Sprint area at home as it is. I get one bar of "1x" outside. I have come to find out that after a few hours of no power, my phone will say "Extended 1x" but signal stays about the same.

I asked Sprint about it and they said it means the cell site went to generator power, but I always took that as if my phone couldn't find a Sprint cell site anymore??

I was actually in that situation this week. Much of the state lost power. Sprint stayed up for a couple of hours around me but eventually died once the batteries were depleted. I then started roaming on US Cellular who apparently has a fuel based backup at the sites. Extended may be verizon roaming for you.

PSWired
join:2006-03-26
Annapolis, MD

PSWired

Member

In the Washington DC area, at least, Sprint and T-Mobile don't generally have generator backup. AT&T sometimes does, and Verizon usually does. That's changing with small cell and rooftop deployments--they're usually battery only, or sometimes nothing.

Back in 2012 when the derecho blew through, T-Mobile was dead in the water throughout much of the region for roughly a week.

swintec
Premium Member
join:2003-12-19
Alfred, ME

1 recommendation

swintec

Premium Member

said by PSWired:

That's changing with small cell and rooftop deployments--they're usually battery only, or sometimes nothing.

At least with small cells, they connect to the macro network anyways for backhaul so there is little reason to worry about those during power outages since once the macro is down and out, the small cell would be useless. Although maybe in the years ahead with large amounts of small cells scattered throughout a town and city, gen sets at macro sites would make more sense.

With Verizons prices I would expect them to have a generator at just about all sites. You get what you pay for.

Well Bonded
join:2015-10-17
Labelle, FL

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said by swintec:

Why would they need one? Isnt that what the batteries are for?

For about 8 hours or so.
Well Bonded

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said by F100:

The fence is up now as is all the obligatory warnings about the RF cooking your brain if you get too close.

Like this one on the wall of my shop?


MurrayB
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join:2014-02-23
Longport, NJ

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Great pictures - Thank You So Much!

chip89
Premium Member
join:2012-07-05
Independence, OH

chip89 to F100

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No gen set I don’t like that.
chip89

chip89 to F100

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Interesting that cabinet says Time Warner Cable on it!
chip89

chip89 to F100

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There’s still an good chance we’ve lost it here and our power is all underground.
chip89

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Since it can be run off an portable generator they could use an 7.5 KW standby for sites now.

swintec
Premium Member
join:2003-12-19
Alfred, ME

swintec

Premium Member

said by chip89:

Since it can be run off an portable generator they could use an 7.5 KW standby for sites now.

Sure, they could but the battery set up seems to be what tmobile and sprint and maybe others are going towards.

chip89
Premium Member
join:2012-07-05
Independence, OH

chip89

Premium Member

Batts only last for an couple hours so so usually so.......
kmt5150
join:2014-10-08

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Yes. That site is online.

giguchan
join:2011-03-26

giguchan to F100

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Did you open up the cabinets to take the photos? or were they left open?
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