Due to the rising popularity of cell phones over the last 15 years, communication towers can now be located almost anywhere you look. However, it’s important to note that not all cell towers are the same. There are four different types of communication towers that can be used to transmit cellular signals. There are many different types of cell towers that can be installed depending on your specific purpose — the most common of which is referred to as a guyed tower.
What is a Guyed Tower?
A guyed tower is a light- to heavy-weight communication tower constructed with straight rods aligned in a triangular form, but supported with wires at all angles. Guyed towers are especially tall, reaching heights as high as 2,000 feet, and are typically used to hold antennas high off the ground allowing for greater signal strength and cell reception.
In addition to cellular use, they can also serve for radio and television purposes. They are ideal for rural customers who require maximum height at an economical cost.
Partially Guyed Towers vs. Additionally Guyed Towers
A partially guyed tower consists of a guyed mast atop a stable, freestanding structure. The wires may be anchored to the top of the structure or to the ground.
An additionally guyed tower has added wires for support. They can be attached temporarily to add stability (such as during construction) or attached in only one direction to support unidirectional shear stresses.
An example of this could be a utility pole at the end of a power line where the line ends or angles off in another direction. Guys are only needed in one direction to support the unbalanced load of the power line in the other direction.
Other Types of Towers
In addition to guyed towers, there are other variations that can be used depending on the project’s demands. These include:
A single tubular mast comprises this type of cell tower; because of the instability that comes with the use of a single pole, the height of these structures will not exceed 200 feet. A benefit of this tower type is that it requires little ground space to erect, and the antennae are simply mounted to the top-exterior of the mast.
Also referred to as “self-supporting towers”, lattice towers are typically made from steel and constructed in a triangular or square shape. These towers often offer the most stability and flexibility as compared to other cell tower types.
Stealth towers can be deployed to satisfy zoning regulations. They are more expensive than other towers because they require additional material to create a concealed appearance. Their smaller size typically makes them less efficient.
Have you ever seen a painted metal tree standing tall on the side of a highway? That’s one familiar example of a stealth tower. This type of structure is used whenever there may be a need to hide a tower in plain sight. They are designed in a way to ensure that they blend in with their surroundings, as many people view bare cell towers as ugly, or an intrusion. These towers can take the shape of many other objects such as signs, flagpoles, and even cacti!
Tower Services from PTTG
Pittsburg Tank & Tower Group employs certified tower technicians who perform design, installation, maintenance, and inspections of all types of towers. Our team of structural engineers and tower designers has the software, experience and certifications required to handle any project, anywhere.
Our Design and Inspection Services
In order to prevent damage to your infrastructure, it’s important to understand the most common causes of such damage. If you guessed that water is the leading cause of damage to telecom structures, then you’re correct.
Many of our structures (especially lattice towers) are built from structural members that are hollow or tubular (pipe). Unfortunately, when there’s a hollow space, water can almost always find a way in to occupy it.
Even boats take on water, and we clearly know that boat engineers try to keep that water out.
Fortunately, when we design our towers, our engineers do not need to worry about keeping the water out – they just need to prevent it from collecting. This is achieved quite simply with what are known as “weep holes”. These small holes in structural members do not significantly impact the strength or stability of the tower, but do allow any collected water to drain.
Water does two things when trapped in a pipe:
- It corrodes steel, thus reducing its strength;
- And in many cases, water will freeze during cold months, expanding and potentially causing the tubular members to burst.
In either of these cases, the capacity of the tower can be significantly reduced, thus leading to structural demise.
Let Us Help
How long has it been since your tower has been inspected? To ensure your structure is free of damage, contact PTTG to learn about our annual cell tower inspection services.