Meeting Jan. 24 on Altadena's Cell Phone Coverage

The Altadena Coalition of Neighborhood Associations (ACONA) will meet on Jan. 24 to discuss getting better cell phone coverage in Altadena.

The Altadena Coalition of Neighborhood Associations' (ACONA) January meeting will be focused on discussing how to improve Altadena's cell phone coverage.

The featured speaker will be Ted Tsagris, the Senior Manager of Development Construction for T-Mobile, and other speakers may be announced prior to the meeting, according to Holly Rundberg, a co-organizer of ACONA.

The meeting will be from 7 to 8:30 p.m. at the on Tuesday, Jan. 24.


Nico January 17, 2012 at 12:48 AM
Did that tower on Loma Alta ever get put up?
Brian January 17, 2012 at 05:47 AM
In the 1980's and 1990 we did a lot of RF circuitboard and antenna design work in analog and digital radio. We found during some of our design research that using a handheld 1 watt analog tranceiver in the 144-148 MHz (2 Meter) band we could talk back and forth to Long Beach, Ca easily without noise, interference & static. One of the reasons this worked so well is that Altadena is perched high in the Foothills approximately 1300 ft. and allows a line-of-sight transmission to a place like Long Beach. Conversely, the modern handheld digital cellular telephone utilizes up to 600 milliwatts (6/10th of a watt) of RF power in the 900-1300 MHz frequency range to connect and maintain transmission with the local cell tower nearby. Altadena being perched high on the Foothills, it makes no sense why we should not have superior cellular communication to any number downtown Pasadena cellular towers (forgetting for a moment the hidden local Altadena cellular towers). Also, when positioned exactly at halfway point in the San Pedro Channel between Catalina and San Pedro/Long Beach (13 miles out) we get excellent, clear cellular phone coverage. -CONT. -
Brian January 17, 2012 at 05:50 AM
- CONT. - There are no obstructions (trees, homes, etc) to attenuate the path of the RF cellular signal to either Catalina's cell towers or to San Pedro's, and so the phones work very well in the bay - 13 mile line-of-sight. On the other hand, the cell towers we see located around the heavily wooded areas along Altadena Dr. and other areas ARE TOO LOW FOR EFFICIENT cellular transmission in these microwave frequencies. One tower in particular located at Maringo and Altadena Dr. on the Southwest corner is a perfect example of why the cellular coverage in Altadena is spotty at best. If that tower was raised up 35 feet higher, users would immediately see an improvement – the same is true with the rest of the towers in Altadena. They were incorrectly positioned too low in order to be hidden from view, appeasing the aesthetic concerns of some local residents while at the same time ineffectively transmitting / receiving signals. The big problem is, cellular telephone frequencies in the 900-1300 MHz range are attenuated / absorbed quite effectively by trees and the signals are also easily reflected off metallic object on homes, roofs etc, etc. My advice to Altadenans and the Cellular company providers is to RAISE UP the towers about 25 to 35 feet to solve this problem once and for all. Some towers could be retrofited to resemble palm trees or evergreen trees to appease the residents who might complain about the looks.
Lori Paul January 17, 2012 at 07:07 PM
With respect, rather than plastering the community with unsightly individual towers scattered in close proximity to residences, why doesn't AT&T follow the example of towers placed in other rugged terrain and mount their cell antennas on the big power towers? SCE is planning the large Tehachapi Project to replace the tall transmission towers above Altadena and La Canada Flintridge on the San Gabriel Mountains above us. We can all look up and see the existing towers. Soon, they will be even taller 500kV towers. All the cell companies (T-Mobile, Verizon & AT&T) could mount their cell equipment up on those towers that are in line of sight to all of Altadena, and we'd all have great cell service. Mounting cell service on those transmission towers makes sense. Why has AT&T not proposed this? Is it because they would have to jump through USFS hoops to install in Angeles Nat'l Forest on the existing, or planned, transmission towers? Or, is there some other reason? I think we need to find out why this option has not been promoted. The "mono-pine" designs AT&T has tried to impose on Altadena neighborhoods are unaesthetic, look like hideous fake Christmas trees, and age poorly. The fake palms look a bit better, but are still undesirable. More importantly, there is increasing evidence that close proximity to cell towers does involve increased health risks, regardless of what Federal standards (influenced by industry) allow.
Brian January 18, 2012 at 02:54 AM
A cellular phone will transmit quite a long distance (>13 miles in San Pedro bay to shore) and so therefore, no need at all for "plastering the community" with unsightly transmission towers. Rather, we RAISE UP the EXISTING towers to solve this problem for everybody. At some point Altadenans have to learn to get out of their own way for progress.
P Goeders January 18, 2012 at 04:47 PM
Raising up the current towers by much - if at all - is not an option. There was a change in the County rules last year vis a vis height of such structures in residential areas. The proposed Loma Alta tower application was grandfathered in under the old rules based on when they got the application in, however, one of the reasons that Antonovich and the LACBOS unanimously rejected it at the appeal was because they agreed that placing something nearly 3 times the local height restriction in a residential area was inappropriate (though, that was not their only concern - anyone interested in the details can see the hearing or the written ruling on the LACBOS website). Since the rule change about all towers in unincorporated areas, any new tower of such height in Altadena (nor any such change to an existing one) would never make it past the initial planning dept screening because it's now illegal. I'm with Lori - I really want more information from the cell companies about why placement on the transmission towers has been ruled out.
P Goeders January 18, 2012 at 05:01 PM
...and there's also an issue with tower height in residential areas at the Federal level and for insurance reasons. Any home within the "fall zone" of a tower (or even closeby) can be rejected for HUD loans and can pose problems for getting homeowners insurance. This was another one of the problems with the Loma Alta project - too tall, too close to homes (including one that was clearly in the fall zone).
Gary Edwards January 18, 2012 at 06:23 PM
rather have a cell tower disguised as a palm or pine tree than the incredibly unsightly SCE power poles ALL over town.
Lori Paul January 18, 2012 at 07:54 PM
Gary, there would be no "unsightly SCE power poles all over town." If a cell antenna (or array of them from different service providers like T-Mobile, Verizon & AT&T) were to be mounted on an SCE transmission tower, you'd need only one, perhaps two, sites way up on the mountainside to cover all of Altadena and/or La Canada Flintridge. Look up on the San Gabriel mountain slopes above Altadena and you'll see the big towers in question. They are line of sight to this community and located on the existing SCE easement in the Angeles Forest (on USFS land). They'd be near no one's residence up there. You'd probably not notice the hardware on any of those towers. Admittedly, the power towers up there are unsightly, but they've been there for decades and are about to be replaced by even taller towers. Why not limit the visual blight to one location while also vastly improving cell service for everyone? If you drive down to San Diego on Interstate 15, I think you can see cell antennas on some of the big towers near Castaic Lake. This is done all the time in rugged terrain.
Gary Edwards January 18, 2012 at 08:36 PM
to clarify, ALL of the CURRENT SCE power poles in town are unsightly. if they wanna add a cell booster to them, have at it. just sayin that power poles are in general unsightly.
arianna jane calderon July 29, 2012 at 03:55 PM
Hi there! Can somebody post a link of the meeting you were having? I'd really appreciate it. Big thanks. http://www.cpr-altamonte.com


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