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Extremely freaked out. Climbed some sort of antenna.

  1. Jun 12, 2010 #1
    Hey guys,

    Last night around 12 midnight, I decided it would be a good idea to climb a nearby antenna next to my house. It is about 143 meters high, and I went all the way to the top.

    However, I have been googling around, and I think I might have climbed an AM tower antenna, and I am REALLY freaked out that I might have received some sort of harmful radiation.


    Those are some pictures. I had to climb up the inside of the tower. There were no dishes on it or anything. And at the top, as you can see in the picture, it is just flat.

    I have tried to find information on the tower, and I sent some people emails but they aren't registered anymore.

    Twr 1 - 900 E Ledbetter (Lat: 32.944722 Lon: -96.940278), Type: 4ta1, Structure height: 143.3 m, Overall height: 145 m, , Licensee ID: L00012983
    Registrant: Krbe Co Dba , 140 E Market St, York, PA 17401, Phone: (717) 848-5500,

    That is one of the towers in the area that I might have climbed. There were about 3 of them and I just randomly chose one. I don't know how to look up anything based on that Licensee ID either.

    Can anyone help me out? I am really concerned. I took my cell phone with me and it is fine, and I never heard any buzzing of any sort or got shocked. And there were no warning signs that were actually legible, they have all been faded.

    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 13, 2010
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 12, 2010 #2


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    I'm thinking that had there been a transmitting antenna, you would not be making this post. You are very lucky.

    My advice... Stay away from them.
  4. Jun 12, 2010 #3
    Here is a picture of all of them together.


    I realize that this was a stupid thing to do. I am glad that I didn't get electrocuted, but now I'm just concerned about radiation.
  5. Jun 12, 2010 #4


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    I'm not sure but it's possible that this is AM radio beam antenna. And it could have been transmitting. It's hard to see if there is a feed to one of them. Is there anything that looks like http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Base_feed.spliced.jpg" [Broken]?

    Again, you were lucky. As to any radiation damage you may of suffered, I have no idea.

    Last edited by a moderator: May 4, 2017
  6. Jun 12, 2010 #5
    Yes, there was a large box right by the tower. I'm pretty sure it is an AM tower because I managed to find some info on the licensee and it said those towers are an AM array.

    There was no hum from the box, and everything around it look old. There was no heat or anything from the tower all the way up. And I directly touched the tower while I was still standing on the ground, no shock.

    Hopefully if it was going to do some damage, I would have at least felt some heat or have been burned. I feel perfectly fine, I just have scars from the barbed wire fence.

    Again, very stupid idea. Thanks for the info about the forum rules, I accidentally disregarded that in my frantic state. And thanks for the help so far!
    Last edited: Jun 12, 2010
  7. Jun 12, 2010 #6
    I was once in an AM radio station, and the shack where the host had a studio was like 30 ft away from the first antenna array, which looked almost the same as in your pics. They said it was completely safe.
  8. Jun 12, 2010 #7


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    A little different than being on the antenna. I bet "his" station wasn't transmitting.
  9. Jun 12, 2010 #8
    Well thanks guys. I feel a lot better about it now.

    I think I escaped any acute damage. I really doubt I'll have any long term damage since I bet the thing wasn't even on.

    I'll sleep a lot better tonight!
  10. Jun 12, 2010 #9
    Here is a link to the license which has been canceled.


    This is the only license I can find for this location so it looks like the tower is no longer being used.

    It was not an AM station but operating on 957.95 MHz at 3800 watts. Had you gotten in front of that antenna when it was operating, it could have been a lot worse than had it been an AM station.
  11. Jun 12, 2010 #10
    You would not have survived close proximity to a 50,000 watt am or fm transmitting antenna. It's not ionizing radiation so you won't die days later like with a nuclear reactor. It's a high electric field which would have disoriented you and you would have fallen to your death.
  12. Jun 12, 2010 #11


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    Where can I read about these dangers? I tried Googling 'AM transmission tower dangers' but get little in the way of useful hits.
  13. Jun 13, 2010 #12
    Here is an online RF safety calculator. Just plug in the variables and the program will tell you the RF power density and whether it meets FCC safety standards.

  14. Jun 13, 2010 #13
    Thanks Skeptic and others.

    I was browsing a lot of BASE jumping forums, where there was a huge outcry to stay away from AM towers. No one could explain why either, they just said it was bad.

    The area around the tower was pretty much trashed. I think the red lights are the only thing that is operating on it.

    There is a lot of fear of RF radiation from antenna climbers and BASE jumpers. I don't think it is quite warranted now.

    I was driving home from work around 12 midnight and for some reason I decided I needed to climb that antenna. It was a 100% impulsive decision. I'll write back in 20 years or so if my kids have 4 arms or 2 heads.
  15. Jun 13, 2010 #14
    I remember reading somewhere that it is the mobile phone towers that are extremely harmful for the living, but it does depend upon the frequencies, doesnt it ? !

    AM towers have lower frequency I think
  16. Jun 13, 2010 #15
    Just this past week I was talking to a guy who used to replace lights on towers while they were transmitting. He did mention all his kids turned out normal.

    Don't believe everything you read. There have been many, many studies on the safety of cellular towers and none of the reputable ones have indicated any danger. This is why the FCC does not allow that reason to be used in hearings about erection of cellular towers.

    Instead of just repeating dubious conclusions from unreliable sources, why don't you educate yourself by researching the issue for yourself. You could start by going to the FCC's site and finding out what they have to say about RF safety. Then you could plug the values for cell base stations into the link in post #12 and see for yourself in cell towers are dangerous. (Hint: when I was designing cellular base station transmitters we were putting out about 20 watts at 900 MHz.)
    Last edited: Jun 13, 2010
  17. Jun 13, 2010 #16


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    That doesn't tell me anything about the dangers.
  18. Jun 13, 2010 #17


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    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 25, 2017
  19. Jun 13, 2010 #18


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    I happen to know someone who went up an AM transmitting tower operating at 1520 kHz while it was transmitting. I believe the transmitter was putting out around 1500 watts. This power range is very common for AM. I believe the antenna (tower itself) was shunt fed with a wire that angled up from probably 30 feet away to a height of 30 to 40 feet. This is quite a while ago so I'm not completely sure of the distance/height. I am not certain of the reason he went up but I suspect to inspect the point where the feed wire attaches to the tower. I also recall him saying that he fixed some broken wires (radials) buried around the antenna that formed a ground plane. He claimed that as he reconnected them he noticed arcing between the ends. As far as I know he still works in the broadcast field. (Probably literally)
  20. Jun 13, 2010 #19


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    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 25, 2017
  21. Jun 13, 2010 #20


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    Sorry. That's the best I could find.
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