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back to article Orange dismantles Bristol Tower of Doom

Orange has agreed to remove a mobile-phone base station from the top of a block which has become known as the "Tower of Doom", thanks to the high incidence of cancer amongst the elderly residents. So far, seven people in Berkeley House in Staple Hill, Bristol, have contracted cancer, with three dying. Never ones to let …

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Anonymous Coward

What about other radiation sources?

We had people bellyaching about cell repeaters on street lights. On the one hand you've got maybe a watt of lowish frequency (i.e. energy) radiation coming from the repeater, on the other you've got 10 or 100 watts of much higher energy radiation from the streetlamp itself. Guess which one they complain about?

Access points are the same. You've got a very low power emitter parked on the ceiling next to a large flourscent fitting. Obviously the problems the invisible 'radiation' coming from the access point.

I suspect the problem in England isn't technical, its something to do with it being a lot easier to get an 'A' level in journalism than it is in Physics.

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Anonymous Coward

Bristol, Town of doom

Yes, that's right.

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Frequency of Idiots

Wavelength and power has a lot to do with how something radiated affects the body. Most of the comments posted here are just as ignorant of the facts about this and that as the locals in Bristol.

At Citizens Band Radio Frequencies if you touch the antenna with your finger you can get a slight burning feeling.

At Microwave Cooker frequencies it will cook your finger.

Early mobile Phones would warm your ear if you talked for long enough.

I’m not saying the antenna has caused cancer but you people that mock those that are; need to read up on your chosen subjects before spouting off.

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Anonymous Coward

Speed cameras

I'm sure speed cameras are the real cause of cancer in most of these cases. Clearly they should be removed.

Pass it on...

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Trick of Stats

tower block in Staple Hill, Bristol is statistically much more likely to concentrate a demographic displaying a 'heavy-tailed' distribution of people who are old, poor, fat, lacking in exercise, lacking in education, are smokers, or who are likely at some point in their lives to have worked in some of the more dangerous factories in Bristol at a time when health and safety/dangerous substances exposure controls simply didn't exist. These are all huge risk factors for cancer. It shouldn't be a suprise that these clusters occur, they were known about well before the mobile 'phone revolution.

Add into the mix the fact the residents of said tower blocks will quite probably be unemployed or retired, and of the surly, snotty, weasel-eyed stock that has a latent mistrust of any large commercial concern, they will probably be much more willing to really make a noise.

How many telco cancer clusters do you hear reported around masts sited in nice, well behaved villages in the 'shires with a village pond and pretty thatched cottages?

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to the point!

Try taking a quality navigating compass to work; if it's a question of realising the amount of various forms of electromagnetic radiation we're exposed to, introduce your compass to the office photocopier (along with the smell of toner!); the kettle; your PC screen; the CCTV monitors, all manner of stuff. Also, isn't radiation used for the treatment of cancer? Discuss.

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Anonymous Coward

So many ... resonances here for me. :)

Oh dear, a telecom engineer in an HV electricity industry, and a Pagan to boot. I feel triply blessed by this story! LOL

Inverse square law, structural absorption and the rest tends to make me think living in tower blocks (lived in Bristol for thirty years; never heard of the Tower of Doom...) influences ill health far more than mobile antenna.

Blight, and economic factors of course mean I'm not a fan either, mind you.

/|\ bish

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So

No one has a response to my earlier comment then?

Try losing £30k off the price of your house when T-mobile plonk a 15m mast at the bottom of your garden and there's no way to reclaim costs? Anyone? No?

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Get the Carlops Witches to Take the Masts down

http://farshores.org/witchmas.htm

In Carlops some witches dismantled the cell phone masts over health concerns. Maybe they simply need to ask them nicely?

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Re: So

Try peeing on the mast, maybe it'll just crumble from your radioactive urine.

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RE: Frequency of Idiots

"I’m not saying the antenna has caused cancer but you people that mock those that are; need to read up on your chosen subjects before spouting off."

Reading through the comments it seems to me that alot of the people do know what they are talking about. They certanly know more that I do, but the what do I know. I only spent one term of my degree studying Radio and Optical Telecoms.

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Anonymous Coward

A little bit of knowledge is a bad thing

So much crap being spouted here. To many people with a little bit of knowledge that is rolled out to support their prejudices. Cellular base station RF transmission and its effects are complex, comparing to nuclear power plants or CB radios or microwaves or Radar is totally misguided. Those who mention statistics and demographics are right on the money.

The bottom line of all this is that there is no proven link between masts and heath risks. It is *impossible* to prove that there is *no* risk. The handset is orders of magnitude more relevant in terms of incident radiation compared to a mast. It is a personal choice to use a handset...

I have been designing base station equipment for 15 years and would have absolutely no problems with living underneath one or for my kids to do so. I do limit their use of cordless telephones and cellular handsets. Cordless handsets you use at home are far worse than cellular by the way...

Oh and Lloyd, you have my sympathy, the problem isn't the mast its the morons who worry about it. Now get over it...

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Try losing £30k off the price of your house......

Lloyd.... desperate for a reply?

Tried a hacksaw?

Now if only every house had a mobile phone transmitter in the garden, then housing would become much more affordable.

Seriously though, if you have genuinly lost £30k in the value of your home due to them putting up a mast, and I assume that you objected to it before it was installed and then ignored you, then sue them.

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Anonymous Coward

Good for Vodafone

I am glad that Vodafone are leaving their mast there, because I think it is a complete pile of twaddle, I live in a house full of wireless equipment, that is supposed to fry my brain, and I went to University in Bristol, and I am alive (for now), so the residents should stop complaining, and start using their free texts and minutes.

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Anonymous Coward

The cheese did it!

All the elderly residents ate cheese, so ban cheese, it's giving us all cancer!!!!

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RADAR

"why are high powered Airport Microwave Radar Transmitters are deliberately angled above the surrounding horizon on high towers with the absolute minimum power lobes sweeping ground level, and all terminal buildings and near by tall buildings where possible)."

That would be because they want to track things IN THE AIR, rather than things on the ground.

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Mast

Yep, objected to it, got up a petition, was invited to a council meeting to put our pov across, they ignored it, I've never seen 30 pensioners form a lynchmob before but the guy from T-mobile couldn't get out of there into his beemer quick enough. I can't sue them, I'd have to sue the council for letting them put the mast up, ther'e only been 1 case of that sort ever brought against a local authority and quelle suprise it was thrown out by the judge. So, as a last resort I may contemplate the "unofficial" route of removing it via the dark of night.

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House value

>>"Try losing £30k off the price of your house when T-mobile plonk a 15m mast at the bottom of your garden and there's no way to reclaim costs? Anyone? No?"

You could lose a slice of the price of your house when someone builds a factory next to it, or your house ends up downwind of a turkey farm, or new road is built or an airport extended just far enough away that you don't get compensation.

All *kinds* of things can suck.

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RF Engineering was a dangerous occupation

Not so long ago transmitters had plenty of asbestos, cadmium plating, other heavy metals, toxic paints and weedkiller etc

RF engineers were exposed to beryllium, solder and flux, arklone and many other known toxic chemicals. They also smoked and drank far to much, living on junk food. It's a miracle that there are any left.

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@So (Lloyd) and your 30k quid housing squid

So if Orange stuck a mast in your garden, lots of ingorant RF-fearing luddites would want to pay less for your house. Maybe it's because radio masts are big and ugly*? Maybe it's because people have a fear of the unkown, exacerbated by rampant disinformation from tin-foil hat wearing brigades?

And this has what, exactly, to do with the issue of an existing mast being taken off a building because some tumerous wrinklies are tilting at windmills?

But Orange would probably pay you several thousand pounds per year to have the mast there, so that'll make up for your lower sale-price.

* PS there's a South African mobile phone mast manufacturer that's genius at disguising them as trees. You can choose from portly pine tree or perky palm. See www.envirocom.co.za

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muppet.

Pete, you muppet:

"Try taking a quality navigating compass to work; if it's a question of realising the amount of various forms of electromagnetic radiation we're exposed to, introduce your compass to the office photocopier (along with the smell of toner!); the kettle; your PC screen; the CCTV monitors, all manner of stuff. Also, isn't radiation used for the treatment of cancer? Discuss.

"

Your pocket compass would be affected my NEAR FIELDS, not RADIATED ENERGY. ELECTROMAGNETIC RADIATION IS NOT THE SAME AS AN ELECTROMAGNETIC FIELD.

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Anonymous Coward

More Mast-debation

"Put it this way - would YOU be happy to have YOUR 1yr old daughter grow up to 18 living under such a mast? Are you THAT sure its safe? Thought not."

Better under it than opposite.

Anyway, GSM/UMTS will be proved to be a hoax, and as such won't last 17 years.

Gimme a couple of beancans and a piece of string. Better to be a Living Luddite than a Dead Ignoramus, I suuppose.

I thought only intelligent, well-informed folks read this site???

-Andy (GSM Specialist for the last 13 years)

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Anonymous Coward

@Lloyd

Sympathy, Lloyd.

BUT

Do you know how much that ½" antenna cable costs per metre?

(LOTS!)

And how they'd have to replace ALL of them (I'm assuming it's a 3+3+3 i.e. maybe 9 cables) from the BTS to the antenna if they're damaged?

(20m?)

And how much damage a small knife nick in the plastic sheath would cause in a couple of weeks of inclement weather?

(Enough)

And how much electrical danger one would risk from cutting said insulation

(None whatsoever - 50W/47dBm @2.2GHz - max - aint gonna do anything but tickle. I know...I play with it daily)

And how pissed they'd be doing it every few weeks...

Get batteries for yer torch, Lloyd. Have a nice evening ;-)

(Not suggesting anything, of course...That'd be illegal)

(BOFM - Bastard.Operator.From.Mobile)

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Anonymous Coward

Cause & effect

The mobile phones don't get cancer.

The masts don't get cancer.

The people do get cancer.

Ergo, the people are the problem.

So, ban the people.

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Yep you can

"You could lose a slice of the price of your house when someone builds a factory next to it, or your house ends up downwind of a turkey farm, or new road is built or an airport extended just far enough away that you don't get compensation."

I'm not debating that. The difference is that current government legislation means that you can only object if the mast is in your primary view (they're not an eyesore if they're round the side or out the back apparently). The case with a factory, turkey farm, etc, is that you have the right to object as they require planning permission, mobile masts under 15m don't need planning permission.

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Anonymous Coward

UMTS Macrocells

What concerns me is the deployment of UMTS Macrocells in residential areas. We have one less than 100m from our home which is running at present 27.9dBW and is licensed to run at up to 32dBW. I'd be surprised if you'd get 3dB losses in the transmission line. Given the expense of transmission equipment an running costs of the bases, I'd expect the operatiors to minimise feeder losses, but I have no experience at these frequencies, so can't be sure of this figure. Gain figures for base UMTS antennas seem to be of the region of 17dBi - the base station close to us currently has six, so I'd estimate a maximum gain for the array to be 32dBi, (3dB increase in gain per antenna). Assuming a 3dB loss in the feeder and 3dB for the phasing arrays; lets say an input of 26dBW to the antennas with an overall antenna system gain of 32dBi , I'd estimate the Effective Radiated Power to be close on 384kW. If we reduce the feeder losses to 3dB, then the ERP is getting close to 770kW at 2.1GHz. Given that the antennas are 20m above ground level, there will be very little shading effect at the distance that we are away from the antennas; especially given that the site is on top of a hill and the arrays are angled to give a low angle of radiation to service the locl motorway.

The site was and is operating as a GSM800 macrocell which I checked, understood and had no issue with when we bought the house, but services running at these power levels at 2.1GHz does cause me some concern.

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UMTS macrocells

I'm afraid the poster has got his power sums completely wrong. I'm assuming he is getting his 27.9dBW figure from Ofcom's Sitefinder. This quotes power outputs in EIRPs (effective isotropic radiated powers), so is the figure AFTER all the antenna gains and cable losses. So the actual effective power in the main lobe is 617 Watts not 770 kilowatts.

In any case, his antenna gains are way out of whack. Firstly are the six antennas all part of the same array or are they covering separate sectors? Secondly are they transmit or receive antennas - receive antennas obviously don't count towards transmit gain? Thirdly, although 2 antennas will give an increase in gain of 3dB, you need to have 4 antennas to get 6dB and 6 would give 8dB - not 15dB.

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Re UMTS macrocells

Yes, I was going from the Sitefinder and assumed that the power figure was from the PA rather than actual radiated power into an isotrope. And I did slip up a little on my antenna gain calculations..Thanks for the correction.

Cheers

Richard

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Anonymous Coward

@Lloyd

Sympathy, Lloyd.

BUT

Do you know how much that ½" antenna cable costs per metre?

(LOTS!)

And how they'd have to replace ALL of them (I'm assuming it's a 3+3+3 i.e. maybe 9 cables) from the BTS to the antenna if they're damaged?

(20m?)

And how much damage a small knife nick in the plastic sheath would cause in a couple of weeks of inclement weather?

(Enough)

And how much electrical danger one would risk from cutting said insulation

(None whatsoever - 50W/47dBm @2.2GHz - max - aint gonna do anything but tickle. I know...I play with it daily)

And how pissed they'd be doing it every few weeks...

Get batteries for yer torch, Lloyd. Have a nice evening ;-)

(Not suggesting anything, of course...That'd be illegal)

(BOFM - Bastard.Operator.From.Mobile)

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To the would-be vandalism inciter

How long do you reckon it'd be before the phone company either started armouring the cables or enclosing them in some ducting, or put up a ***-off ugly fence around the installation, or slapped a camera or two on it?

"There's a surveillance camera at the bottom of my garden" isn't exactly the best way to boost a house's value, I'd guess.

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Anonymous Coward

The actual story

The actual staory has been publisehd on Orange intranet pages as below. Why is it that the mast campaigners only worry about mobile phone masts and not all the other things like taxi aerials, broadcast, police, fire ambulance etc etc all of which are normally higher power than mobile....? What about all that electromagnetic radiation coming from lightbulbs everywhere! Lets go back to semaphore before we all keel over!

21 August 2007

Over the last couple of weeks there have been a number of media reports suggesting the existence of "cancer clusters” surrounding phone masts. The reports refer to two sites, Berkeley House in Bristol and Ash Grove water tower in Gainsborough.

National coverage has focused on Bristol, suggesting Orange has made the decision to relocate the phone mast because of residents' concerns.

Actually what’s happened is that Orange was served a 'notice to quit', a legal notice terminating the lease back in 2004 and, as the site couldn’t be upgraded to 3G, Orange began searching for an alternative site.

An alternative site has now been found that will secure coverage in the medium to long term and give us the opportunity to upgrade to 3G.

There are no plans to move the mast in Gainsborough. The site not only operates within the stringent international safety guidelines but also supports national planning policy which encourages mobile companies to share sites.

So how does Orange keep communities informed about masts and health? Orange has a specialist national team who, in addition to consulting with stakeholders where new or upgraded sites are planned, provide information and work with local communities if there are concerns about a particular site and of course we’re involved in and take guidance from ongoing research.

There have been over 500 independent audits which show that emission levels are typically small fractions of the industry guidelines, as well as over 30 independent expert review reports. The Stewart Report published in 2000 was clear that there was no scientific basis for there to be any kind of exclusion zone around schools and residential areas. This has also been confirmed by the government’s independent health advisors.

Of course this concern isn’t unique to the UK and in 2006 the World Health Organisation published a fact sheet that concluded: “Considering the very low exposure levels and research results collected to date, there is no convincing scientific evidence that the weak FR (radio frequency) [they mean RF] signals from base stations and wireless networks cause adverse health effects.”

More information on base stations and mobile phones can be found in a leaflet, published by the Department of Health, and available in every store or email site.information@orange-ftgroup.com.

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