Base Station Antennas
Several issues must be considered when installing antennas. A few of the factors include, an antenna mount, the use of jumpers, feedhorn location and the type of tower or roof structure. All of these items will contribute to overall system cost, performance and ease of factor installation.
The aspect that contributes the most to labor cost will be the mount that is chosen. Many times an antenna can be mounted directly to the structure, saving the expense of a costly mount. Guy towers and sometimes self-supporting towers are straight (vertical) at the top and an antenna can be mounted directly to the tower without the use of a mount. A monopole, building, water tank, smokestack or other structure will usually require the use of some sort of mount.
For budgetary considerations, the default prices are based upon the price that an antenna and line installation crew will charge their client to install an antenna if they are on site. Otherwise, mobilization charges must be added. Each project is site specific and pricing will vary according to conditions.
We recommend that you contact our valued antenna and line installation companies to obtain additional information about their services, capabilities and experience.
Mounting applications are varied
Mount types can vary greatly; from a simple clamp system to a more complex system of adapters, stand-offs, platforms and face frames. Most towers will require the use of some sort of adapting clamp to get to a vertically level 2”-3” O.D. pipe which is what most wireless antennas mount to.
The most complex mounting systems are typically used on monopoles where this is usually a requirement for some sort of clamping system, extension arms, cross pipes, mounting pipes and sometimes platform grating. These systems are typically expensive from both material and labor standpoints but are usually required to get the proper distance from the tower and proper spacing between antennas.
Depending on the structure type, antennas and mounts can be installed with nothing more than a crescent wrench or 5/16” nut driver. Others may require as much as a crane, gin pole and winch combination, or a capstan and rope combination. These are all important considerations when determining one’s budget for antenna and mount installation as costs can vary greatly.
Feedhorn location can be an important factor when considering labor costs. Choosing the proper feedhorn location can save thousands of dollars in mount and labor costs and contributes to an aesthetically pleasing installation. On towers and monopoles, one would typically choose an antenna that is fed from the middle of the back of the antenna. Many roof top installations one would prefer a top-fed or bottom fed antenna to make for a clean installation and low installation costs.
Jumpers are another factor to consider when determining both material and labor costs. The use of smaller diameter coaxial jumpers will usually aid in the connection to the antenna and improve aesthetics but it also adds to both material and labor costs. The coax and connectors that make up a jumper, the extra connection that must be weatherproofed and additional supports that must be installed all contribute to the costs of the installation.
Multiple methods for alignment
Wireless companies set their azimuths to True North as opposed to magnetic north. Some firms insist upon an accurate reading and will hire a surveyor to ensure that the antennas are installed with the exact azimuth, adding an additional $1,800.00 to $2,200.00 to the project cost. Others will require using an azimuth adjustment tool for precise measurements. A US Topo map is used to work out the angle between the designed antenna azimuth and a target such as a church, building or other structure. After the $475.00 tool is clamped to the antenna the telescope is used to aim at the target object. Many antennas are aligned by using a quality compass with an adjustable magnetic declination.
Declination will vary throughout the country and within a state. The below declination chart will provide the degrees that should be used to determine True North. If you have the need to have finite degrees and minutes, you can visit the National Geophysical Data Center where you can enter a zip code or the latitude and longitude of the site location.