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Cellphones Communications Science

Quiet Cellular Antenna Tech To Boost S. African SKA Bid 38

slash-sa writes "Two South Africans have given their home country a boost with its Square Kilometre Array (SKA) bid by inventing cellular antenna technology which reduces 'noisy' emissions from cellular base stations in the area. They reduced emissions by using an antenna based on phased-array principles, providing omnidirectional coverage but also blocking the RF transmissions along a single direction (that would correspond with the bearing of the SKA core site). The antenna has been tested and performs extremely well. Trialling measurements have shown that the RF signal levels at the proposed SKA core site can be reduced significantly, while at the same time, much of the original GSM coverage can be retained."
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Quiet Cellular Antenna Tech To Boost S. African SKA Bid

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  • by sirlark ( 1676276 ) on Saturday October 29, 2011 @06:19AM (#37877502)
    Apparently one of the big advantages the Australians have in the bid is that their site already has significantly less RF interference because of it's relative remoteness and much lower surrounding population density. However, that remoteness is a downside too, as it makes construction and supply costs much more expensive. This technology could really improve South Africa's chances, because apart from RF interference, they seem to have a stronger bid. The Karoo, being less remote, reduces costs for building, communication infrastructure, supply etc. Also, South African labour costs are cheaper. If this technology can reduce RF interference to comparable level with the Australian site, it'll be great. Sure the Australians could use it, but my understanding is that there's so little RF interference at their site as to already be barely above the detectable threshold of the proposed SKA equipment. (Citation, drunken conversation two weeks ago with one of the people working on the S.A. bid)
  • by nroets ( 1463881 ) on Saturday October 29, 2011 @07:13AM (#37877602)

    Getting the antenna deployed is another matter. For example ICASA has serious corporate governance problems [].

    I live in South Africa and I regularly pick up high power WLANs in my neighbourhood. And I suspect many of them are used to carry CCTV signals or to bypass the expensive telecoms operators. The public is sympathetic to these cause. So compliance with government regulations will not be very high.

  • by thegarbz ( 1787294 ) on Saturday October 29, 2011 @08:57AM (#37877998)

    However, that remoteness is a downside too, as it makes construction and supply costs much more expensive.

    This is actually one of the real forte's of Australia's construction force. Our many remote mining and gas projects which create a local town to sustain the business have basically trained a contract workforce and vendor supply chain easily capable of building massive projects in the middle of no where.

    Though this is a double edged sword. The last gas plant I worked in recently had massive troubles finding qualified welders to work during their maintenance shutdown due to the amount of work going on around the country sucking up local resources.

Nothing is easier than to denounce the evildoer; nothing is more difficult than to understand him. - Fyodor Dostoevski