15 Steps to Precise RET Antenna Installation
Editor’s Note: This is the fifth installment for our “Meet the RF Experts” series in which contributors to the Understanding the RF Path e-book elaborate on subjects in their areas of expertise.
As a long-time employee of Andrew Systems, Inc., CommScope’s program management and field installation services organization for North American wireless customers, I have a healthy amount of experience in cell site development and construction.
When I was asked to contribute a chapter to the Understanding the RF Path e-book, I was happy to share some of that experience with the readers. One of the most important areas that I cover in the book is how to properly set and troubleshoot remote electrical tilt (RET) antennas.When RET antennas started appearing at cell sites, they were among the more sophisticated pieces of equipment being deployed on towers. RET antennas require precise and accurate installation and adjustment in order to get the intended and best results. Installers need to understand the software involved as much as the hardware they are mounting. Let me re-cap my checklist from the RF path book of the 15 steps to take when installing RET antennas:
- Install the software first and record the serial #’s of antennas and actuators (a sheet is provided when RET software is downloaded)
- Check for program updates and program the actuators prior to installation
- Understand the naming conventions because if antennas are not labeled properly, additional time will be required during installation to sort them out
- Test before installing
- Match antennas and tilts
- Keep a spare cable on hand
- Check before tilting
- Double-check your work
- Don’t weatherproof AISG cables and connectors
- Protect against lightning
- Don’t splice in a ground lead
- Go right to the source for cable
- Make the right connections
- Cycle the actuators when you’re done
- Check for cable stress
There are more details in the book about each of these steps for those who are interested. I also give some suggestions for choosing the right service companies and installing transmission lines trouble-free. I hope readers will find the information useful and practical. If you have questions about these or other installation matters, leave a comment below and I will respond.
About the Author
Larry provides telecommunications installation solutions for CommScope’s customers, supporting products and systems such as antennas and transmission lines, power amplifiers, remote radio heads and PIM/Sweep testing procedures. He also focuses on civil site work, helping establish the physical foundations of wireless communication as well as its technological foundations. Larry brings more than 36 years of financial and operations management experience to bear for CommScope’s customers, and is a key player in making certain that every CommScope solution the right solution. Larry holds a B.S. in Accounting from Marquette University in Milwaukee, Wisconsin and is an active member of AICPA.
6 comments for "15 Steps to Precise RET Antenna Installation"
Larry Seper says:
The cables I was referring to are the AISG cables, not the RF cables. The AISG cables are not to be weather proofed, though it’s a very common misconception. I’ll add “AISG” into point 9 to make that more clear. Thanks for asking!
You state under point 9:
9.Don’t weatherproof cables and connectors
Are you sure?
Wat is the RF software name and were can one download it?
What is the best software to download to capture the RET screen? We are starting some AT&T LTE sites and was told that we needed to capture the RET screen shot. When we asked the CM about the details, he had no clue. Can you help me understand how we do that. Meaning, what software and type of connection (serial port or data cable or USB)
Larry Seper says:
Thank you for your interest Samuel. The CommScope software is located on our Company website : CommScope.com
The path is found under Products - Wireless Solutions - Antennas - Teletilt RF System - Downloads.
Larry Seper says:
Good afternoon Scott, thank you for your interest! The screen capture can be accomplished through various programs. No specific program or equipment is required. Our field crews utilizes “Printkey 2000”. This allows for a simple action to press the “Print Screen” button on the keyboard. Under MS Windows this will take a screenshot of what is displayed on the monitor. Save the file and submit. Hope this answers your question.