The Cellular Base Station - Cell Towers and Safety
The Cellular Base Station
Cellular Base Stations, more commonly called Cell Towers, are the structures which connect mobile phones within their range to the regular landline phone system. A celluar base station acts as low power, multi-channel two-way radio, which communicates with individual phones, themselves low power, single channel two-way radios.
As such, the cellular base station and the mobile phone emit radio-frequency (RF) energy, which exposes people in the area to that energy. However, as both the base station and the phones connected to it are low power, they operate at levels well below those at levels considered dangerous, so long as the antenna portion of the station is kept at a safe distance from anyone nearby.
Base stations actually consist of two main portions; the antenna, and the tower or mast which raises the antenna well above the ground. The tower itself emits no RF energy and in fact, the area directly surrounding a cellular base station is exposed to less RF energy than areas further out, as the antenna radiates in a fan or wedge shape outward the source.
Like other radio towers, such as those used in broadcast radio and television, the use and construction of a cellular base station is regulated by the FCC, and the RF energy levels it can produce fall well below levels considered to pose a threat to health. The antennas themselves must be kept inaccessible to the public, and at a safe range. These regulations ensure that properly installed base stations pose no threat to the areas they service.