Tuesday, 10 April 2012 02:30
By caribarena news
Antigua St John's - Caribarena’s pressures on the Ministry of Information to release the cell tower report have finally paid off. After 200 days of waiting, the government has finally made the Cell Tower report available.
On March 29, the government placed a link to the report, completed by George Skvarca, on its official website. Caribarena has been demanding the release of this report since August 2011. Yet, no official press release or notification was sent to Caribarena regarding the release of this report.
The report is composed of four introductory pages, with three additional pages of measurement data. The introductory pages give a general overview of the history of health concerns related to RF transmission. The measurement data pages then show the measurements completed by Skvarca, with a comparison to the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP) limits. However, Caribarena has found several fundamental problems with the report, the equipment, and the study as a whole.
The first, and perhaps most troubling issue, is the nature of the equipment used by Skvarca to conduct RF field measurements and gauge the strength of cell phone base Stations. The device used by Skvarca is called a TES-92 electrosmog meter. This is designed to display the strength of all electromagnetic energy in the air between the frequencies of 50 MHz and 3 GHz.
Industry Canada, the government department with responsibility for regional economic development, investment, and innovation/research and development, said that the TES-92 is unreliable and should not be used for compliance testing.
It said, “To Industry Canada's best knowledge, this device is not individually calibrated to a traceable standard, and the Department does not use it for compliance measurements.”
In the report, Skvarca states, “Up today we performed measurements at 71 sites taking several readings at each one.”
However, in the three measurement pages of the report, there are only 56 readings.
Where are the missing 15 readings, and why are they excluded from the report?
In addition to this, Skvarca said that several readings were done at each site, meaning there should be even more than 71 readings. Again, where are the missing readings?
The quality of this report becomes even less certain when the Observations column is examined. This column, according to the report, is supposed to contain the frequency range for each measurement, which would be useful in identifying the company that operates the tower.
In no measurement is the frequency range revealed. In some of the measurements, there is no information at all in the observations column. In others, a description of the tower (school, plantation, town, hospital, etc) is given. And in other towers, a certain measurement is given in meters. However, it is not clear to what this refers.
A measurement for a tower at Jolly Beach is marked in the observations field as being “500 m”. This appears to indicate that the tower is 500 meters tall.
Consider the fact that the world’s tallest tower is 628 meters, and that 500 meters is over half a mile. There are no towers in Antigua or Barbuda that reach this height.
And if Skvarca intended that this height is measured from sea level, why is it that the Boggy Peak tower is marked as “10 to 20 m” in the report?
So what does this 500 m represent?
Also interesting is the fact that the observations field for the Jolly Beach tower has no description, just “500 m”. So why do some measurements have a description, some have the meters (not clear if this represents height or distance), and other measurements have no information at all in the observations column? And why is the frequency range never provided?
However, this is not the only problem with the observations column or the measurements. In one measurement at the Golden Grove School, it simply states “no measurement”. The Friar’s Hill FM station is marked as being “10 to 20 m,” with no further indication as to what this represents.
The Heritage Quay measurement has no data in the observations column at all. This lack of information also exists in the measurements for towers in Freetown, Newfield, Glanvilles, Willikies, Long Bay, and Dow Hill.
There is also a measurement for “Antigua Plum,” which seems to indicate the tower at Antigua Plumbing and Hardware. In the observation column of this measurement the words “school – 50 m*” are recorded, with the asterisk serving to indicate a remark. According to Skvarca, this tower should be built 15 meters higher.
A measurement in Gray’s Hill has “10 m” in the observations column. Why shouldn’t this tower also be built higher?
This report does not provide enough information to understand and evaluate the reasoning behind this remark.
Additionally, this remark is important because the height of the tower is critical. Taller towers will provide signal to a larger area, while the electromagnetic field around the tower is weaker, and as such, less likely to negatively impact human health.
Previous articles on Caribarena have mentioned the fact that many towers in Antigua are extremely low, and in highly populated areas, much like the Antigua Plumbing base station mentioned above.
Finally, and in light of the above stated issues, Caribarena would like to ask the Ministry one question; why is it that it took 200 days, more than half a year, for this report to be released?
The report itself is dated August 19, 2011. For whom or what did the Ministry delay the release by 200 days? Were any changes or edits made during this time period that would warrant such a delay?
Caribarena will continue to provide updates on the cell tower issue.
See related stories:
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Are We Living in a Microwave - Part II
No Answers So Far On Antenna Issue
Digicel Responds To Antenna Concerns
Who Will Switch The Microwave Off
Microwave Silence Continues
Browne Speaks Out On Tower Issue
LIME Squeezes Into Cell Tower Debate
Govt Meets With Tower Users Over Potential Dangers
Ministry Expecting Frequency Expert
New Inquiry Says Cell Towers Not A Risk
APUA Accused of Erecting Towers Illegally
Antigua Final Cell Tower Report MIA
Cell Tower Study Presents Controversial Findings
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