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Azimuth

FYI South African base stations (Previously: Azimuth's local South Africa lte base stations)

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Now that I've posted an intro to South African carriers, I'm comfortable to share some images of our base stations this side of planet Earth.  I'd really appreciate help identifying everything since our equipment is common.

 

Oh, this base station is located at a local school and serves a really large area.

 

nhplcRG.jpg

This is my base station I have clear LOS to.  It's 1622m away.

 

RSSWD7F.jpg

What is what here? :unsure:

 

VjYi5uX.jpg

All the sector antennas seem old yet this site was upgraded within the past year to 100Mbps LTE.

 

BogLMAF.jpg

Again, not sure what antenna this is, or what belongs to who.  I suppose it'll be difficult for you guys too given the country difference.

 

2TAz1Lu.jpg

MTN owns this site but also hosts Telkom Mobile equipment.  There is only one large BTS shelter from what I could see.

 

T7MoqLZ.jpg

Interested to know what this is...

 

LwuHaev.jpg

Close-up.  I hope the high resolution photo I took is in tact because I can read the writing on the original.

 

bOhinxS.jpg

Cabling...

 

HA6qUS3.jpg

A lot of cabling... :P

 

oEvug18.jpg

Company that provided the cooling for the BTS shelter.

Edited by Azimuth
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I won't comment again on each photo since I can't add any value; I'll just post the lot here and we can discuss further.

 

pzEixiE.jpg

 

utacpDM.jpg

 

v0nnQ7B.jpg

 

XrHluOX.jpg

 

ZxTCFLP.jpg

 

ysiCMa4.jpg

 

mb6BSkB.jpg

Edited by Azimuth

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The antennas didn't change because they can generally broadcast whatever technology you feed in to them. An antenna that broadcasts HSPA+ in 5800Mhz should also be able to broadcast LTE in 5800Mhz. I can't really comment on anything else, and I may be wrong about what I just said, but it's true from what I've read here. I hope this helps! :)

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The "interesting to know what this is" looks like GPS.

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The antennas didn't change because they can generally broadcast whatever technology you feed in to them. An antenna that broadcasts HSPA+ in 5800Mhz should also be able to broadcast LTE in 5800Mhz. I can't really comment on anything else, and I may be wrong about what I just said, but it's true from what I've read here. I hope this helps! :)

GSM antennas used for LTE? I kinda thought all along the elongated antennas were GSM, while the smaller ones were LTE.

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The "interesting to know what this is" looks like GPS.

It's an omni antenna of sorts?

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GSM antennas used for LTE? I kinda thought all along the elongated antennas were GSM, while the smaller ones were LTE.

Antennas are completely agnostic. They can broadcast whatever technology you hook up to it as long as it's within the supported range. Hell Sprint can broadcast CDMA one or GSM or iDen over their new triband antennas (6 ports - 2x SMR 4x AWS/PCS) if they wanted to as long as its within those frequencies.

 

To help your query out..

 

The ones with 4/6 ports are dual polarized 1700-1900-2100 antennas. They're hooked up with TMA (tower mounted amplifiers) or a RF combiner / splitter and hooked up to the base stations on the bottom. It's LTE Release 8 because they do not have remoted radio units mounted next to antennas (RRUs).

 

The one with 6 ports are the 2300 antennas with a DBS 3900 series Huawei setup with a RRUS3704 model RRU. It's the same series of RRUs that are utilized by Clearwire (owned by Sprint) for the Clear Wimax / TDD-LTE markets (see the How to Spot Clearwire TDD-LTE / Wimax thread) that are going to be decommissioned by the end of 2015 because of US Government concerns and a condition of the Softbank buyout.

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Just how long does it take to be an antenna Jedi?

 

P.S. I could make out Powerwave branding only.

Edited by Azimuth
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It's an omni antenna of sorts?

heck I couldn't tell you that. I am honestly unsure what type of antennas GPS are usually.

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How does the cabling work? What sort of cabling are we talking here?

 

I work a fair bit with antennas and cabling on the consumer side so trying to relate to the carrier side.

Edited by Azimuth

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How does the cabling work? What sort of cabling are we talking here?

 

I work a fair bit with antennas and cabling on the consumer side so trying to relate to the carrier side.

Copper coaxial or hybriflex / hybrid cable which has fiber and power in one.

 

American carriers uses hybridflex to connect to remote radios units and the final connections from radio to antenna are coax jumpers.

 

Sent from my Nexus 5 using Tapatalk

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Okay that makes sense. Short runs are coax, long runs are fiber.

 

After all, it's pure networking between the BTS and radios, right?

 

Thanks for the wealth of information, lilotimz! Out of interest, are you in the industry or is this also a hobby for you?

Edited by Azimuth

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Very interesting.  I wish we could get pictures like these from all around the world.

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I was first inspired by this GizModo article and thought it'd make an interesting topic on SA forums. So far the interest has been extremely low but that didn't stop me.

 

It's now become a 'thing' to photograph base stations and learn more about them - which ultimately led me to your forum. :tu:

 

If some people can do train spotting, why not 'tower spotting'? :D

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Copper coaxial or hybriflex / hybrid cable which has fiber and power in one.

 

American carriers uses hybridflex to connect to remote radios units and the final connections from radio to antenna are coax jumpers.

 

Sent from my Nexus 5 using Tapatalk

P.S. Lilo...RRU is the unit bolted to the rear of the antenna panel? Tried to find a primer on here for the basics but came up empty. Edited by Azimuth

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P.S. Lilo...RRU is the unit bolted to the rear of the antenna panel? Tried to find a primer on here for the basics but came up empty.

 

The FAQ has some basic answers to most general questions like yours.

 

http://s4gru.com/index.php?/topic/1704-frequently-asked-questions/

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The "interesting to know what this is" looks like GPS.

You were right. :) I was given the following inside info:

 

That is an active GPS antenna. When looking carefully you can see the frequency on the side of the unit is 1574.42 MHz. This is the L1 band used in the GPS system.

 

The fact that it requires 5V and there is a current specified means that it is active. Using a device called a bias-tee, you can feed DC through the coaxial cable and thereby power the amplifier inside this antenna.

 

It is difficult to see the gain on the label, but a lot of commercially available active GPS antennas has 20 - 30 dB amplifiers inside. The size of the enclosure also leads me to believe that it uses a patch antenna. Patch antennas are used for a lot of these types of applications since it will always point upwards. The radiation pattern of a patch is ideal since you don't need a lot of gain on the horizon, but from about 20 degrees above horizon you want decent gain.

Edited by Azimuth
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Hey COZ, getting slapped with a PM restriction.

 

Please can you change the title of my thread? I don't think people will appreciate it if I litter the forums with non Sprint stuff!

 

Please change to "FYI South African base stations".

 

I'll post all my photography to this section.

 

Thanks,

Pete

Edited by Azimuth

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Right, another site I photographed and which I detailed from the consumer side here

I was a bit disappointed that I couldn't take in the whole tower...zoomed all the way out to 75mm was still too close! I've learnt my lesson to cart my 17-55mm with next time. :td:

J4y5B58.jpg
So this site had three carriers operating on the tower.  A reminder that I intro'd these here.  This is MTN.

ueymIJt.jpg
Quite a mix of antennas plus microwave.  I see a real small directional panel antenna as well.
 
DdntyYi.jpg
A closer look...

KymeBPh.jpg
I don't know if it's just me but the cabling is rather messy on this tower.

jecdK2y.jpg


pwebdIl.jpg

 
pKxHLGr.jpg
Powerwave label visible. The microwave dish is pretty small - is this the standard size? Any way to tell

if this is for backhaul or to feel other cells?

BH0cags.jpg
My lens is just a bit short of reach to read the labels; perhaps I should have used my tripod to stabilise

and make the writing clearer. In any event, the images here obviously are short of resolution compared

to the originals.

4qzwqfY.jpg
Looking up into the belly of the beast.

kW0UXf6.jpg
Cell C carrier.  I personally haven't used this carrier yet.  I've use the other three daily.

qzJP9Qe.jpg

 

 

NeR4DOD.jpg
Huawei RRU.

Qbf98dX.jpg
Not sure what this little guy is for but it's an Ericsson antenna.

okSUxTx.jpg
If I'm not mistaken the label has fallen off here.  Powerwave I think?

fUT9I4s.jpg

 

 

llmpRfK.jpg
The last operator, "8ta", which was rebranded about a year ago as Telkom Mobile.  People incorrectly

shorten it here as "T-Mobile" which is one of your carriers. :rolleyes: This is the carrier I was looking for and

would be connecting to from 806m away.  I obtained a symmetric 9Mbps down/up connection with a

LOS install at the consumer side.  I know I can get at least 30Mbps so I've reported this site to Telkom

Mobile.

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Not sure what this little guy is for but it's an Ericsson antenna.

Oops, rookie mistake. On a second look this is an Ericsson RRU.

 

Still getting my eye in for RRU vs TMA. Help lilo...

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Oops, rookie mistake. On a second look this is an Ericsson RRU.

 

Still getting my eye in for RRU vs TMA. Help lilo...

 

Remote Radio Unit / Remote Radio Head (RRU/RRH)

 

f2xBcUg.jpg

 

Tower Mounted Amplifier (TMA)

 

7O4gid1.jpg

 

RF Combiner / Splitter

 

FJGGhAi.jpg

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Do TMA's replace RRU's?

 

Where do RF combiners/splitters come into the picture?

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Do TMA's replace RRU's?

 

Where do RF combiners/splitters come into the picture?

That are amplifiers. They amplify the signal going up. If you got a RRH by the antenna you don't need one.

 

Sent from my Nexus 5 using Tapatalk

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But I thought the TMA was already an amplifier?

 

Is it RRU or TMA or RF Combiner/Splitter?

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But I thought the TMA was already an amplifier?

 

Is it RRU or TMA or RF Combiner/Splitter?

Yes... Each one is unique.

 

Sent from my Nexus 5 using Tapatalk

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