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188 posts

Master Geek
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  Reply # 303046 28-Feb-2010 17:48
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My perspective on cell sites is that due to the uncertainty as to the safety of RF emissions all reasonable steps should be taken to reduce exposure. I did some rough calculations and based on 1500 watts and assuming only free space loss you need to be around 180m away from a cell site before the emissions are down to roughly background levels. This could probably be achieved by using tall towers and antennas with radiation patterns which direct most of the RF outwards and not down to the ground. I wonder if this is an option - could sort out the problems with residents complaining.

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  Reply # 303061 28-Feb-2010 18:11
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sbiddle: Reminds me of the huge debate in Titahi Bay over both Vodafone and Telecom cellsites.

There was a campaigner who very publically protested claiming she decided to live in the suburb because there were no cellsites or overhead cables and yet she lives right under the 2 x Titahi Bay radio masts that pump around 70 kW each!

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Titahi_Bay_Transmitter

That is quite funny. This site used to have the most powerful transmitter in the southern hemisphere. From a quick look at the RSM database its licenced for 55DbW which is approx 316kW!

 
 
 
 


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Ultimate Geek

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  Reply # 303075 28-Feb-2010 18:59

We have a huge range of celltowers ranging from the big trivet arrangements you see on the hills down to rubbish bins on the waterfront and micro-sites for interior use like the one in my kitchen...

the power range is huge - my point is, they're far less than your average TV or radio station's output. If we're going to throw stones with little or no evidence, let's start with them.

Cheers

Paul

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  Reply # 303082 28-Feb-2010 19:22
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PaulBrislen: the power range is huge - my point is, they're far less than your average TV or radio station's output. If we're going to throw stones with little or no evidence, let's start with them.

Let's take Christchurch as an example. The main radio and tv transmitter is on the top of a hill looking over the city. I don't believe there are any houses which have significant levels of RF exposure from this transmitter site. The NRL report with measurements from various locations is here(pdf). Virtually all of the locations which the public would regularly be in are approx 1uw/cm2 or below. Compare this with the NRL report with quite a few Christchurch Vodafone's cell sites here. There isn't a huge amount of detail on exactly where the measurements were taken from but you can see there are quite a few cell sites with much higher readings than from the Sugarloaf transmitter site.

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  Reply # 303084 28-Feb-2010 19:31
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To sum this up if a telco wanted to put a cellsite near my house however they could say that the RF exposure would be 0.1uw/cm2 or less I wouldn't mind at all. Note that this is far less than what the official standard is (which I don't agree with the logic for). I wonder why they don't try this kind of approach with residents. If they could say the levels were so low they were close to background levels and this was explained to people I don't think they would get nearly as much opposition.
However you have to wonder if the telco's care at all (maybe some care more than others) when you see sites with antenna panels on the same level and pointing directly at someone's office in a building which is 10m away (2degrees site Montreal St, Christchurch)

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Ultimate Geek

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  Reply # 303088 28-Feb-2010 19:47

Much higher readings? Or readings that are so low as to make no difference at a distance of 400m?

All our readings are lower than the allowable maximum by (typically) fifty fold. That is they're a tiny fraction of the allowable power output.

There's so much FUD spread about "radiation" by those people who have only the barest grasp of what it means it's not funny. There is no proof because there is no proof. It's not uncertain, it's not in doubt, the last hundred years of radio have given us huge amounts of data about radiowaves and how they work and there is simply nothing to tie them to any health issue whatsoever.

except for the migraine I'm getting thinking about how stupid it all is.

Again, and still, not a company position: just someone who has heard of the inverse square law and isn't afraid to use it.

Paul

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  Reply # 303091 28-Feb-2010 19:50
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PaulBrislen: Again, and still, not a company position: just someone who has heard of the inverse square law and isn't afraid to use it.

The inverse square dropoff in free space is what makes your comparision between cell sites and radio/tv transmitters a red herring.

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  Reply # 303107 28-Feb-2010 20:45
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savag3:
PaulBrislen: Again, and still, not a company position: just someone who has heard of the inverse square law and isn't afraid to use it.

The inverse square dropoff in free space is what makes your comparision between cell sites and radio/tv transmitters a red herring.


While I have not made up my mind about whether or not cellphone RF is bad for you the comparison between a cell tower and a Radio / TV mast is'nt valid. 99.9% of us dont live next to a TV mast and the RF power drop off with distance is as mentioned a inverse sq drop off.

Now lets make this really interesting whose got a spectrum analyzer so we can compare TV signal power in the suburbs vs a cell phone freq? By the time they reach your home they made indeed be at similar levels?

The results good actually be in VF's favour? Just a thought......

-Al
 

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  Reply # 303109 28-Feb-2010 20:54
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savag3: To sum this up if a telco wanted to put a cellsite near my house however they could say that the RF exposure would be 0.1uw/cm2 or less I wouldn't mind at all. Note that this is far less than what the official standard is (which I don't agree with the logic for). I wonder why they don't try this kind of approach with residents. If they could say the levels were so low they were close to background levels and this was explained to people I don't think they would get nearly as much opposition.
However you have to wonder if the telco's care at all (maybe some care more than others) when you see sites with antenna panels on the same level and pointing directly at someone's office in a building which is 10m away (2degrees site Montreal St, Christchurch)

Because I don't have the necessary formula at hand to calculate the power levels, I am unsure as to exactly what the RF exposure is resulting from a typical cellphone emitting 600mW max. power at a distance of 1cm (say) from someone's head.  But I am fairly sure it would be many times higher than the allowable 0.1uW/cm2 background level you are talking about here.  And probably also much higher than the RF exposure resulting from a cellsite with 1500W EIRP at a distance of 50 to 100 metres (the typical distance of such sites from nearby houses).

So ... isn't it fair to say that the users of cellphones are at much greater risk of excess RF exposure than are others who live near to a cellsite?

And yet nobody gives a damn about putting their cellphone in their pocket, or next to their bed while they sleep!  The people who complain most loudly about cellsites being built near to their houses, probably do all of these things without giving it a second thought...

Talk about a double standard!







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  Reply # 303111 28-Feb-2010 21:05
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PaulBrislen: Much higher readings? Or readings that are so low as to make no difference at a distance of 400m?

All our readings are lower than the allowable maximum by (typically) fifty fold. That is they're a tiny fraction of the allowable power output.

There's so much FUD spread about "radiation" by those people who have only the barest grasp of what it means it's not funny. There is no proof because there is no proof. It's not uncertain, it's not in doubt, the last hundred years of radio have given us huge amounts of data about radiowaves and how they work and there is simply nothing to tie them to any health issue whatsoever.

except for the migraine I'm getting thinking about how stupid it all is.

Again, and still, not a company position: just someone who has heard of the inverse square law and isn't afraid to use it.

Paul


so why don't you increase the power levels in places with not so good coverage like waitakere? because as you say your readings are lower than the allowable maximum. if i owned a cell site i would want to get as much out of it as legally possible.

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Ultimate Geek

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  Reply # 303121 28-Feb-2010 21:15

For those that want to know more, including what level of emission is seen at each site (not how much each site puts out because levels aren't just from one source of course) have a look at the Vodafone website on Health and Mobile Phones.For those that want to know more, including what level of emission is seen at each site (not how much each site puts out because levels aren't just from one source of course) have a look at the Vodafone website on Health and Mobile Phones.

Vodafone is the only network provider in New Zealand to provide this level of information on outputs at each site.

The NRL is the Ministry of Health's unit that looks into such things. Martin Gledhill is the man there who goes out with the meter and says there's nothing to worry about. He says it a lot. He says it to lots of people.

The reason the inverse square law doesn't work against my position is that it applies to all sources of EMF equally based on their power. So a lower power site causes less of a problem at 100m than a higher power site at the same distance. Havinag a lower power site in your kitchen or in your ceiling is fine because (just like your wifi wireless router or your cordless phone) it's so low powered it barely shows up.

We comply with the laws. There's no evidence to suggest the laws are wrong. The NRL tells people there's no problem. The WHO tells people there's nothing to worry about.

So why do we keep getting these circular discussions where no evidence is presented to the contrary?

From the 2009 report linked to:

Exposures at all sites complied with the reference levels for the public in New Zealand Standard 2772.1:1999 Radiofrequency Fields Part 1: - Maximum exposure levels 3 kHz - 300 GHz.

At most of the sites, the maximum exposure was less than 0.2% of the reference level. On this basis, no adverse health effects are anticipated for people who live, work or pass by close to the sites. [emphasis mine]

Paul

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  Reply # 303123 28-Feb-2010 21:22
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yuxek: so why don't you increase the power levels in places with not so good coverage like waitakere? because as you say your readings are lower than the allowable maximum. if i owned a cell site i would want to get as much out of it as legally possible.


It does not work like that Waitakere Township has got hills around it. The town needs a cell to serve the area

You can't just go increasing the power of cells either without radio planning this is very complex



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  Reply # 303126 28-Feb-2010 21:41
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johnr:
yuxek: so why don't you increase the power levels in places with not so good coverage like waitakere? because as you say your readings are lower than the allowable maximum. if i owned a cell site i would want to get as much out of it as legally possible.


It does not work like that Waitakere Township has got hills around it. The town needs a cell to serve the area

You can't just go increasing the power of cells either without radio planning this is very complex


so is vodafone planning a cell site to serve the waitakere township soon? can't you share land with another carrier?

wtf

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  Reply # 303339 1-Mar-2010 16:24
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People are very bad at assessing and comparing risks, especially when they are at low levels. Hence we worry more about the flight in the aeroplane than the drive to the airport. Once we have become obsessed with the possibility of a particular risk, it can be hard to get our minds to look rationally at the actual probabilities and mitigation involved. So lots of people have bought into the meme that cell phone radiation might be harmful, without really being capable of assessing the relative level of risk.

My own opinion is that enough research has been done by now that if there was a real and significant level of risk, either from the cell phone itself or from the cell site, we would know about it and would have a fair idea of the mechanism involved. The only radio related risk where we have that sort of knowledge is the direct heating effect, and the limits are set to be well clear of any risk from that. (and much less than the direct heating that you would get from a hot water bottle for instance) Radio frequency diathermy is used in medicine and physiotherapy to aid healing......

Meanwhile those who study such things can give you well informed estimates for the number of people killed each year by pollution from motor vehicles, and it is not an insignificant number. While the number of people who can be proven , or even reasonably suspected, of being harmed by radio waves is hovering somewhere just above zero. (I have had a minor RF burn on a finger once, I am sure there must be the odd other one.)

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Ultimate Geek
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  Reply # 303389 1-Mar-2010 17:57
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Is there a list anywhere of planned new cell sites? Reception at my place is crap and trying to see if Vodafone plan any new sites. Saw one being built nearby the other day and got my hopes up but then saw the Telecom logo on the grates. Bugger I said.

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