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August 1997


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CVTS To Help Towns
With Cellular Issues

EE students from Tech's Communications and Vehicular Technology Society (CVTS) are working to help local governments determine the optimal location for cellular towers.

In some locales, tower location is a contentious issue. People continue to demand cellular telephone and other wireless services, but don't always want the necessary towers located near them or within their view.

The group plans to develop usable procedures and questions for local communities to assure that a communications company has selected the best place for its proposed antenna, based on performance, safety, and aesthetics. Using Blacksburg as a test case, the students are exploring topography, building location, propagation, and aesthetic issues involved in antenna placement.

The project is expected to take about two years as students become acquainted with the issues involved.

"There are a number of variables involved, starting with what type of tower is best for the purpose," explained team member Andras Kovacs (EE '98). "For example, a truss tower can hold more antennas so that multiple companies can use it. However, a monopole is less obvious in the landscape."

Another issue is height. "The higher you can put up an antenna, the better it functions," Kovacs explained. "However, above 200 feet, you have to register the tower with the FCC. It's also very costly and aesthetically unappealing."

The group is talking with communications providers such as GTE Mobilnet and Blue Ridge Cellular, and planning some crash courses in propagation and wireless design.

The core students involved in the effort include, Kovacs, Rajesh Banerjee (EE, '98), Tom Welsh (EE '98), and Pete Tenerelli (G). Professor Warren Stutzman is serving as faculty advisor to the work group.

For more information, visit the CVTS home page at http://www.vt.edu:10021/org/cvts.

The Bradley Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering
Virginia Tech

Last Updated, November 23, 1997
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