Lamppost Radio Device

Discussion in 'General Electronics Chat' started by IrradiateResident, Nov 16, 2008.

  1. IrradiateResident

    Thread Starter New Member

    Nov 16, 2008
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    Hi,

    I am hoping someone here can help. I am trying to get information about this radio device installed on top of a lamppost right outside of my bedroom (see attached pictures).

    I am on the 4th floor on an apartment building and the lamppost comes right up next to my bedroom window. I also work out of my home office which is also adjacent to this radio device. See the 2 attached pictures. I took one sitting on my bed looking out the window. The other I took from my home office desk chair, looking out the window. Between sleep and work, I estimate I am either in my bed or at my desk for 20 hours a day Monday to Friday. I measured the distance from my head to this device outside the window when laying in my bed. It is about 12 feet directly out the window about 3-4 feet down. I also measured the distance from my desk chair to this device. It is about 21 feet from my chair to through the window to this device (also about 3-4 feet down). Whatever this is, it was installed about a week or 2 ago.

    I mention this because I have developed a horrible and debilitating ringing in my ears in the past week. At first I didn't even know the radio thing was out there. I was desperate to figure out what was going on with me as these high pitched hissing/ringing sensation would overcome me. Then I would get a little nausea and feel light headed and have to close my eyes for a little while. It wasn't until the other night that I noticed this radio device as my neighbor pointed it out to me. She and her son are experiencing trouble sleeping. It has been a full 1 to 2 weeks that I have been within 10-25 feet of this device, at the same level (horizon) for 20 hours a day and now the ringing in the ears persists even when I am not in my apartment. My wife is 5 months pregnant and although she works outside the home, she is experiencing some ringing sensations as well. She describes it as sounds like one of those electronic rodent repellent devices or also like those high pitched, barely audible hearing tests you get when you are young (the one where you put the headphones on and raise your hand when you hear a tone). I am concerned for her and our unborn baby.

    My question is can anyone identify this device? What is it? Is it safe to be so close to it for extended periods?

    Any input is greatly appreciated.

    Thank you,
    Rob
     
  2. beenthere

    Retired Moderator

    Apr 20, 2004
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    Never seen anything like it. The form implies no obvious function.

    One tool you can use is a field strength meter (FSM), which you can probably find at Radio Shack. If you get an indication of some level of RF (radio frequency) emission that varies with distance from the object, then someone in the city government should be able to tell you why it is there and how you can pursue getting it removed.

    If it's not emitting RF, you may have a hard time establishing that it's doing harm. The city is likely to say that it wouldn't place a harmful device in proximity to people. That is why being able to show that it is radiating will be helpful.
     
  3. IrradiateResident

    Thread Starter New Member

    Nov 16, 2008
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    Thank you. Is there a particular device you could recommend? I would like to take measurements and report back.
     
  4. beenthere

    Retired Moderator

    Apr 20, 2004
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    Well, it appears that Radio Shack has even less test equipment than before. Here is a link to a good, but slightly pricey FSM - http://www.testequipmentdepot.com/fbase.php?item=103.

    If you have a store that sells radio equipment of any sort, it should also carry FSM's. As with all things, the more you spend, the more accurate the result. But you are mostly interested in establishing the actual presence of RF radiation. The indication you are looking for is a level on the meter that is clearly higher as you come closer to the device. The FSM will have a manual that explains how it works and how to use it to localize RF sources.

    If you detect it and relate signal strength to the odd-looking device, then you may want a better meter. But wait until the city has not responded to requests to remove it. You may also have legal representation by then.
     
  5. Wendy

    Moderator

    Mar 24, 2008
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    I see simplier versions of the same thing all over my town. I've asked about it, without getting any clear answers. Little boxes over the lamps with straightforward antennas sticking out of them.
     
  6. Audioguru

    New Member

    Dec 20, 2007
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    A short lamppost is a stupid location for a transmitting antenna. It should be on top of the highest building. Maybe it measures air pollution? Temperature? Noise?
     
  7. Wendy

    Moderator

    Mar 24, 2008
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    My theory is energy conservation, remote on/off. Like I said, no clear answers forthcoming.
     
  8. KL7AJ

    AAC Fanatic!

    Nov 4, 2008
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    The SawzAll is your friend. :)
     
  9. Ratch

    New Member

    Mar 20, 2007
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  10. beenthere

    Retired Moderator

    Apr 20, 2004
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    The Time device was extant for the 1930's. The second device could be hard to detect with an FSM, as 63 GHz is well above their frequency range.
     
  11. ke5qjx

    New Member

    Nov 17, 2008
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    If I had to guess it is for wifi becuase of the panel arrangement it does not make any scense to transmit in every direction if all it does is talk to the next lamp post in a chain to deside when to come on and off this is most likely some type of wifi and if they are running enough power it can cause nausea and lightheadedness for some people. Something simple you could try is take a laptop and a wireless card download netstumbler to see if it see any wireless that is not broadcasting a ssid. That to me would be the easy to check and the cheapest.
     
  12. IrradiateResident

    Thread Starter New Member

    Nov 16, 2008
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    Thank you all for your responses. I have contacted a number of city officials and telecommunications companies and determined the device to be this DAS unit found at the following link:

    http://www.sbasite.com/tower_awn_das.asp

    I have not yet conducted my own testing. I will let you know what I find.

    Rob
     
  13. ad8bc

    New Member

    Oct 30, 2008
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    I haven't seen any of these around Dallas, maybe I need to be more observant... I have seen, in other areas, RF control of street lighting, the base station at the master light has a photo-sensor and the remote (slave) lights have an RF adapter to turn the lights on and off with the master.

    Up in Plano it seems that they have a whole-town RF mesh that encompasses everything from traffic signal control and coordination and civil defense sirens, to school crossing and streetlight control.

    But I have seen nothing like the antennas in the OP's pictures.
     
  14. davebee

    Well-Known Member

    Oct 22, 2008
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    A company named Richochet used to mount wireless internet access points to lampposts. But they didn't look like that, and I don't think they're still in business.

    Maybe you and your wife have picked up a simple head cold that's giving you those symptoms.
     
  15. IrradiateResident

    Thread Starter New Member

    Nov 16, 2008
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    Here is a letter I just received from SBA Communications. Can anyone translate from engineer to English?

    Thank you,
    Rob
     
  16. beenthere

    Retired Moderator

    Apr 20, 2004
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    It is telling you that if you consider the allowable exposure to RF as 100%, their device is only subjecting you to 6% of that amount.
     
  17. jpanhalt

    AAC Fanatic!

    Jan 18, 2008
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    He seems to be telling you that the power being radiated is less than the Massachusetts and Federal limits. Therefore, it will be more productive to pound sand than to expect them to do anything about it. Dr. Valberg is also a principal in the company, so he is conflicted.

    You might be able to use it as an excuse to break your lease, should you decide to move. That approach might depend on when the tower went up relative to your lease and who owns the land the tower is on. Be sure to get advice before breaking your lease, if you decide to go that direction.

    On maybe a brighter note, most studies dealing with effects from radio or sound energy focus on measurable changes in physiology and cell growth (e.g., cancer). Psychological effects are very difficult to evaluate.

    In the case of low-frequency sound, for example, physiological effects don't occur at low power levels, but there is a lot of literature on the psychological effects that are just as real. Some people are bothered by such sounds and others are not. The fact that it affects only some and not others does not make the effect any less real, but does make it much more difficult to regulate.

    It is like a pimple on your nose. You may not be able to ignore it, and your only practical recourse may be to move.

    Good luck. John
     
  18. IrradiateResident

    Thread Starter New Member

    Nov 16, 2008
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    A friend of mine from MIT thought of something that may be germane. He noted that the decorative siding all around our building is tin. Additionally, he noted that our windows also appear to be tin. He commented:

    “2) The exterior surround of your bedroom windows is, I believe, tin plate as is most if not all of the tan decorative exterior of your building. I wonder whether this might effectively focus or concentrate the RF energy, as would for example putting a piece of aluminum foil in your microwave oven (DON'T DO IT!). Metal objects do affect electromagnetic propagation. Whether this is a factor in your situation is beyond my expertise, but a real RF engineer could probably tell us.”


    Is this possible?
     
  19. Von

    Active Member

    Oct 29, 2008
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    Not really sure what you mean by concentration but typically 3 things happen when radio waves encounter an object: relflection, absorbtion, and transmission (pass thru).

    "Concentration" would require collection and then some sort of focused redirection.
     
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