COMMENT 15 July 2006
What follows is the personal view of
your webmaster. I have a Ph.D. and B.Sc. in electronics subjects based on frequency hopping radar which is an R.F.
technology not dissimilar to cellular telephony.
We have all received leaflets
protesting about the Orange mobile mast application. Written by well meaning
but in my opinion poorly informed local residents who are making some
statements which are not based on scientific fact but are in many cases lifted from
I live with my family and two children
less than 200 Metres from the proposed Orange mast and sleep there every
night (unlike some villagers ;-). In fact we will be the second closest property
if the mast is built. I am not in the slightest bit worried by the
application! I urge you to read my views and then not worry either. If we
protest at every technological intervention then we stand a good chance of a
site being imposed on the village, a site which is dangerous!
I am not being paid by anyone to
publish my views here, but have always thought that the scaremongering
associated with cellular phone development to be overstressed. I always said
that if a mast were planned near my home I would examine its possible
effects and then do my best to set the
record straight, one way or the other. This I am trying to do here.
Please note, I said CELLULAR
development. My comments must not in any way be associated with the
development of the new civil police and fire brigade TETRA masts which are a
different matter entirely. If a new TETRA mast were planned for the area I
would be at the top of the list of objectors! Fortunately (or not) Horsted
Keynes is already well covered by an existing TETRA mast at West Hoathly as
well as the masts in Haywards Heath so development in that direction
is highly unlikely. The TETRA scheme is in my opinion very
poorly thought out and its masts are in many cases downright dangerous. They operate
with a modulation that directly affects mammalian brain tissue! So I am
commenting here of cellular masts only!
I am also only really addressing the
main technical issues; whether an Orange mast is a thing of beauty or a blot
on the landscape I will leave to others better qualified than I to decide.
I also accept that once Orange get
“their foot in the door” and build a mast it is possible that other cellular
operators will try to put up masts too. I’m afraid that this is how Britain
is developing and if you follow my reasoning about transmission powers near
to the brain I hope that you might welcome (or at least accept) this. The
“not in my back yard” excuse is not going to work in the New Labour Britain
So why do I think that cellular masts
are not dangerous per se, and why do I think that in the correct place they
should be encouraged? I will list my points in my order of relevance for you
to wade through with the most important at the end. If however you only have
time to scan please at the very least read my final point
before moving on, I think that you will be astounded when you do!
When you use a mobile phone you hold it
to your ear, which is by definition close to your brain. Cellular phones
differ from all other forms of personal communication in that they self
adjust their output power depending on how far they are from the nearest
base station. Let’s take an example of a child making an Orange call today
outside the Post Office in Horsted Keynes. Their phone will have to transmit
at a power that can reach the nearest Orange mast which is at present on top
of the old Co-Op building in Haywards Heath. To get a signal this far the
phone will transmit at its absolute flat out maximum power. The signal is
transmitted equally in all directions remember so that while some will reach
Haywards Heath some will be absorbed by the child's brain, and the rest
lost “in the ether” adding to general electromagnetic pollution. In fact their brain will warm
up by a measurable amount during the call! That is why the Government
recommend that children don’t make long mobile calls. I agree, in fact I recommend that
nobody makes long calls when far away from a transmitter!
On the other hand if Orange had
activated the mast near the village then that same child’s call would have
been adjusted by the phone to less than 100th of, and possibly
1000th of the power of the Haywards Heath call. Less energy into
the environment and far less energy into your child’s head! That is the main
reason why the more masts there are the better as far as I am concerned. In
fact one proponent of cellular technology suggested that the ideal place for
mobile masts should be on top of schools! Yes, it takes a bit of getting
your head round but as children will use mobiles whatever we do to stop them
it is best that as little power as possible is used for each call - think
about it! Remember cellular masts only transmit on most of the channels when
a call is actually in progress so just because a mast is there does not
mean that it is being used. In fact most "cells" are idle for much of the
Next to some of the points made in the
objectors leaflets. First that there is nothing in the area that is 20
metres high. (I know I said above that visual impact wasn’t my area of
expertise but I can still hold a view!) What about trees? There are plenty
of trees that exceed 20 metres, some in the same field! There is also
mention of a “humming noise”. Well if you were to hold your ear up to the cabinet I
suppose you would hear something but it will be impossible to get near
enough anyway as there has to be a fence in the way. Have you been near a wind farm? They are truly
dreadful and can be heard miles away, but we are talking here of cooling fans
like on your computer at home not a huge generator plant. I suppose what I am trying
to say is throwing such minor objections into the pot isn’t going to sway
the planning committee and might well distract from more serious
Choice of site. The objectors say that
no other sites have been considered. Oh yes they have! They are clearly
shown on the original planning application together with the reasons for
their dismissal. From memory there are half a dozen rejected sites on the
plan each explained in detail. In fact the real reason for Orange wanting to
use the particular hill that is proposed is that the mast isn't really to cover the village of Horsted
Keynes at all! If you look at a topographic map of the area you will see
that part of the main London to Brighton rail line is in direct line of
sight from that hill. That is where the customers are, that is where the
money is, that is where the main signal will be pointing! That is why the
mast will have three "aerials" so that the engineers can aim much of the
signal away from the village!
Further more you will know that a mast
application has recently been blocked in Balcombe. This is the reason for
the extra dish and extra cabinets in the renewed Horsted Keynes application.
All cellular masts rely on others to form a cell which is why the local mast
will now have an extra "satellite dish". Incidentally, to cross
the t's and dot the i's I would point out that the three "satellite dishes"
operate at a different frequency to the rest of the system but these will
transmit and receive in tight "beams" which will by definition point away
from any property as they work on a strictly line of sight basis.
Despite the forgoing, what better place
for a mast than in the corner of a field? It’s not like many other Orange
masts on top of a pole outside of someone’s bedroom window (as in East
Grinstead). Yes Orange have made some serious errors with the siting of some
of their other masts, but the site proposed here is not in my opinion too bad (and to repeat
it’s within sight of, and only a couple of hundred metres away from my and
my families home). I am quite literally standing up for what I believe in!
The whole point that I am trying to
make is that yes there are probably better places for an Orange mast but
this site is far better than it could be. Make such a huge fuss about this
position and you risk some sort of compulsory purchase and the sighting of
the mast in a far, far worse location. A mast will be installed somewhere in
the area sooner or later, we should be grateful for the present site!
Now the final point
that I wish to make, in fact it is THE point that I wish you to remember so
I have left it until last! It's a bit technical but please try to work with
me - you will be astounded if you do!
Many villagers now have small DECT
phones at home. There are the simple wireless home phones that come in pairs
or sets of three or four and plug into the home phone line at a base station with
small hand held phones elsewhere giving you the opportunity to make calls from just
about anywhere in your home and garden. Many people put one of these phones
beside their bed.
Did you know that these DECT phones
operate on the same frequency as Orange phones? Did you know that DECT
phones transmit all the time whether a call is being made or not? Did you
know that DECT phones use precisely the same modulation as Orange masts? And
finally, did you know that the DECT phones in your home put out signals that
are when their closer distance is taken into account at least ten times the
strength of the combined signals that we will all receive from a typical
Let me say that again, lying in bed say
half a metre from your DECT phone you are getting all the time, all night, radio
frequency signals that are the same as but ten times the power of the
signals that we will get from the Orange mast when it is actually carrying a
call! In this case "we" are one of
the nearest houses to the mast - you will get even less radiation from
Orange so for your DECT phone it may well be twenty or thirty times the
"Orange" mast's power!
If cellular masts and in particular
Orange masts are so dangerous, why are you not already suffering from nose
bleeds, headaches, restless sleep, even cancer, which the leaflet says that
the mast will give you? After all many of you
actually leave your DECT phone even closer, perhaps inches from your head
Incidentally if you are astounded by
the above and want proof just look at the plate on your home DECT phone.
Somewhere it will state the frequency which is 1800MHz, sometimes shown as
1.8GHz. That’s precisely the same frequency band as the proposed local Orange
mast. Please think about it!
If you want to ban Orange masts then
you must remove all the DECT phones from your home - NOW!
You will notice that I have
deliberately not quoted from any web site when arguing the above. I could
quote from sites that back up my statements but I have learnt that anyone
can write anything on the internet (indeed as I am writing this ;-). If I quote
from a web site, the opponents of the mast can easily quote from a site
saying the opposite. This argument should be decided on scientific facts, not web
sites! I am also amazed how often web sites "revise" their wording. It's all
semantics of course but one Government sponsored site has recently altered
several paragraphs to make DECT phone appear safer. Perhaps word is getting
Finally, finally! There are signs
around the village saying that one should "Site Masts Safely". What could be
safer than in the corner of a field more than 100 metres from any property
and a quarter mile from the village proper?
Perhaps they should say "Site masts anywhere as long as I can still use my
mobile - but not in my village"!