Wireles Networking is a practical guide to planning and building low-cost telecommunications infrastructure. See the editorial for more information....

Antenna Masts

Recovering used materials has become an important industry for the poorest countries. From old cars to televisions, any material that has value will be stripped, sold, or re-used. For example, you will see vehicles torn apart piece by piece and day by day. The resulting metal is sorted and then tossed into a truck to be sold. Local metal workers will already be familiar with how to make television masts from scrap metal. A few quick adaptations and these same masts can be re-purposed for wireless networks.

The typical mast is the 5 meter pole, comprised of a single 30mm diameter pipe which is then planted into cement. It's best to construct the mast in two parts, with a removable mast that fits into a base which is slightly larger in diameter. Alternately, the mast may be made with arms that can be securely cemented into a wall. This project is easy, but requires the use of a ladder to complete and therefore some caution is suggested.

This type of mast can be augmented by several meters with the use of guy lines. To sturdy the pole, plant three lines 120 degrees apart, at a decline of at least 33 degrees from the tip of the tower.

Last Update: 2007-01-24