AM towers and wireless carriers can thrive together
Can wireless carriers and AM radio station towers partner? You betcha! There is a proven collocation engineering system that successfully weds wireless antennas and AM towers. In this blog, Lawrence Behr, founder and chief executive officer of LBA Group Inc., explains how it’s done.
Historically, the wireless industry has been warned to steer clear of AM radio stations. The towers were considered unsuitable by most wireless carriers (cellular, PCS, SMR) because of presumed grounding difficulties, interference and safety considerations.
Not today! We have developed new technologies to overcome these problems and efficiently integrate wireless and AM systems at reasonable costs.
Our technological approach to AM and wireless colocation is a proprietary system called CoLoSiteSM. This technology has been developed through the collaboration of two LBA Group companies with more than 35 years of experience in AM broadcast and wireless industries. The system is based on patented hardware by LBA Technology, Inc. with engineering and integration systems implemented by Lawrence Behr Associates, Inc.
With CoLoSiteSM, collocation is practical for both single tower and multiple tower AM antenna systems. Using the system, wireless antenna and coaxial cable installations have virtually no effect on host AM towers and the AM signal has no effect on the wireless antenna.
Moreover, antennas and transmission lines can be added without the use of additional isolation devices. This means a tower owner can lease additional space to other wireless carriers.
On non-directional towers, a CoLoPole RF isocoupler typically is used. CoLoPole directly grounds an AM tower. The system benefits the AM station with improved efficiency, “air sound” and lightning protection.
Directional stations use multiple towers to form an FCC-licensed radiation pattern crucial to protecting other stations from interference. LBA has developed CoLoCoil AM isocoupler to prevent wireless transmission lines from interfering with the operating parameters of the directional AM towers. Because CoLoCoils are modular, adding wireless equipment to a tower in the future is done systematically.
Call Lawrence Behr Associates early in planning AM colocation, because the process really begins with an analysis of a station facility. Not all AM stations are economically or technically suitable for collocation. And where multiple towers exist, choosing the optimum one is critical.
Because AM towers operate “hot” at high RF voltages, candidate towers must be carefully selected and worked on. (It is not true, however, that AM stations always must be shut down for installation and maintenance of collocated antenna equipment.)
The best time to call Lawrence Behr Associates is during the site acquisition stage so as to avoid unnecessary costs between the tower owner and a wireless carrier. There are numerous subtleties to negotiating a satisfactory lease or acquisition agreement. Advance screening of potential sites can also eliminate unneeded detuning situations.
Professionally managed AM colocation by Lawrence Behr Associates has been repeatedly accomplished throughout the country for such wireless carriers as Sprint, Nextel, AT&T and Omnipoint. With our help, a wireless carrier and AM host partner can fashion a long-term colocation relationship.