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Old Fleetcall/Nextel antennas


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Does anyone know what old cellular antennas looked like in the early 90s when Nextel was FleetCall?  I ask because I remember a tower as a kid that had three antennas next to each other that looked like basic vertical antennas.  Now, the same site has three panels and looks to be Nextel, according to a database search.


When digital cellular came on the scene in the late 90s, is that when the cellular carriers switched to sectors and panels with antennas in them?  Or has cellular always been this way.


If you have pictures of towers from the analog days, I'd be interested in seeing them.  Just looking to see a bit of history.



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I think there is 6 antennas That are long and skinny, If memory serves me right. Because over a year ago, the nextel equipment  on the tower behind me was removed and the buildings aswell.The racks at the top of the tower are empty lol

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Current Nextel sites use three to four antenna panels, which tend to be deep and narrow, per sector, making 9 to 12 per site.  Some older and still functional sites are still using the omnidirectional segmented monopole or vertical dipole antennas, of which there would generally be two.  In these cases, the site works as a single sector but all practical operational matters remain the same otherwise.


Don't forget that most city or county trunked radio services use very similar looking equipment.


You can often tell what frequency an open element antenna is optimized for by its segment length.  You often have to get very close to the antenna to be able to tell the segment length, however.  It will be height of the full wave, half wave, or quarter wave.  For a center frequency of 850MHz, that would be about a 30cm if I remember correctly.  This means that the antenna will be a collection of 3 to 4 segments that are each 30cm in length that are electrically isolated from one another and recombined to operate as an antenna array.  From a distance, it would be a stick about 4-5' long.

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The Nextel panels in my area tend to be massive.  Very long, pretty wide and as thick as they are wide.  They have 45 degree tapered edges on the sides and usually have a difficult to see belly band right in the middle the bisects the panel in two.



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