Phone masts: You can't have one without the other

SIR - Its always interesting to read of people's fears about having a mobile phone masts erected near their property. The fact that the very same people are quite happy to press a box of the same high frequency radiating waves against their head, and as

SIR - Its always interesting to read of people's fears about having a mobile phone masts erected near their property. The fact that the very same people are quite happy to press a box of the same high frequency radiating waves against their head, and as close to the brain that they could possibly get, does not enter into it! I refer of course to the users of mobile phones, who often see the masts as the source of the problem, and not the solution.The problem is simple: Both are sources of radiation and both the phone and the mast need each other. Without one, you would not be able to have a conversation on a mobile phone. With fewer masts, two problems occur:The first is that there would be fewer lines and, therefore, you get fewer connections at any one time, as they will always be full to capacity.The second is the radiation level that each mast has to put out. Each mast serves a defined geographical area, or Cell as it is known. Generally the bigger the Cell area, the greater the power needs to be. More masts means more Cells, but each mast will need less power to serve a given area. This makes each mast actually much safer, as lower power is always preferred to high power when RF (Radio Frequency) radiation is involved.If the mast needs less power, then so do the users' handsets. Unlike old analogue types that put out full power all the time, modern digital types are 'smart'. They automatically adjust the handset power to suit the Cell conditions, so if a mast is nearby, the hand set power is automatically reduced, making it safer for the user as a result. Another benefit is that the battery life will also be extended.In some respects, it's the public's lack of knowledge that leads to a fear of masts, and ignorance that separates the mast from the bigger danger: the handset itself. If we want to really improve safety, micro cells are the answer, where small areas are served by a very low power transmitters. This is nothing new of course and is already done in most large town and city centres.I appreciate that nobody really wants to look out onto a mast, but these can easily be incorporated into street lights, filling station signs, and many other 'disguises'. Hopefully your readers will be able to understand the basic technical aspects a little better, and be able to make an informed choice based on real facts and not hearsay.P. Rogers, Bideford (via email).


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