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Useful TETRA links: Find where masts are


 Back to Links introduction

 See below for reasons why Airwave sites are a matter of national security. Not.

 Ofcom’s sitefinder website.

Use Sitefinder to home in on where masts are reported to be. Note that TETRA will often be co-located with existing mmO2 masts, and may not imediately be labelled TETRA. The database is supposedly renewed every 3 months. (Repeater masts are not shown at all.)

Sitefinder is not known for its great accuracy: heights, powers, even the type of a transmitter, can vary from time to time, even though nothing has changed. We suspect that it must be the weight of antennae causing subsidence, that makes masts actually get shorter on successive updates to Sitefinder! Maybe this is a public health and safety issue!

 TETRA in Europe. You can contribute to the whole picture.

 2000 masts in the Netherlands. Shared community information in the absence of public information.

May 2007: Phone mast locations kept from public. Ofcom is facing a Freedom of Information action to get it to disclose nationwide information in the site on request. As a result, it says: ‘The mobile network operators have decided not to provide any further information to Ofcom about sites they build or change.’ Pique? Ofcom is proving ineffectual again. Why does it matter? See below. It might be appallingly inaccurate, but as a means for avoidance it can be invaluable.

Example: October 2004. Was it an error? TETRA was removed from the Sitefinder website/database for a month. We wrote and complained and were reassured that it was just an update error. By Ofcom professional webmasters? By O2 data technicians in a hi-tech company? With no backup or roll-back facilities? Well ... maybe. November 3, TETRA was restored.

So how else do you find TETRA? Anyone with a scanner can find a transmitter operating between 380-400MHz, and anyone with anything more sophisticated can pinpoint them.

How else do you find TETRA? Ask anyone who has become electro-sensitive to them. They’ll tell you!

Why this is important. Knowing where TETRA is can make life bearable for some people who are sensitive: who cannot sleep, or who have constant headaches etc. Finding TETRA and living somewhere clear of it can mean restoration to some normality of life. Being unable to locate TETRA can result in moving house at great personal expense, only to find it somewhere else.

According to the Telecommunications Masts (Registration) Bill (2004), Paragraph 30:

  1. Paragraph 30 operators must informó
    1. Ofcom, and
    2. the planning authority in which any telecommunications masts and associated apparatus is located, of the location of such telecommunications masts and associated apparatus.
  2. The information required under subparagraph (2) must be providedó
    1. in the case of existing telecommunications masts and associated apparatus, within one month of Telecommunications Masts (Registration) Act 2004 coming into force, and
    2. in the case of telecommunications masts and associated apparatus erected after this date, within one month of their erection.
  3. Ofcom shall publish the information that it receives under this paragraph on its website within one month of receiving it.
  4. Each planning authority shall publish each year on its website a report relating to the telecommunications masts and associated apparatus which are located in its area.

Having been told by mmO2 that TETRA mast details will not be submitted to Sitefinder ‘until the network is complete’, as directed by the Home Office, we found (02 July 2004) that the updates had mostly been done, six months and more after installation. TETRA was added to Sitefinder at the start of the Airwave project, and earlier installations were registered. But what ‘completion’ means at any time will be up to the Home Office or mmO2, and if because of the data failings of Airwave this means twice as many masts and developments until it works, this could be years away. So much for open government and freedom of information.

Please note: O2 Airwave appear to be acting secretively, despite the very obvious appearance of TETRA masts, labelled ‘O2 Airwave’. Therefore they do not submit information to Sitefinder very promptly. So your local masts may not appear on Sitefinder some months and more after construction and operation.

Nor do O2 Airwave like their contractors talking to observers (residents etc.!), especially not if it involves admitting it is TETRA.

Why TETRA masts are secret and a matter of national security

Where are TETRA masts? Is this a matter of national security? Try asking your police authority. Here are 8 examples of how location confidentiality is a matter of national security:

  1. every mast has had to go through the public planning process, so its location will have been published, and
  2. remains as a matter of public record with each planning authority: and they can tell you. And,
  3. since it is a private commercial network, it does not belong to the police anyway: it’s only rented for use.
  4. If you know what a TETRA looks like, the I guess that stops it being a secret too, and the pictures on Tetrawatch are quite typical.
  5. Still not sure? Well you can always read the notice by each mast, and those that say ‘O2 Airwave’ are, well ... O2 Airwave.
  6. Fed up of walking? You can always go to www.sitefinder.ofcom.org.uk where by trawling around you can locate the identity of every mobile mast in the land — including TETRA.
  7. There you will find the frequency of each mast, so with a simple meter you can trace and track the TETRAs from the mobile phones etc. You won’t hear voices, so it’s not like listening in, but a directional antenna will point the way.
  8. Still unconvinced of how secret these masts are? Well, if you ask someone who is electro-sensitive, perhaps who has been made electro-sensitive by TETRA, we just feel them. They’re quite distinctive, and we have found a number of masts just by feeling them. And you can’t keep that a secret!

Does that make them vulnerable? You bet. Funny how we never used to notice the old police VHF/UHF aerials...

  Pictures of masts to help identify them.

Sitefinder can be very busy Sitefinder shows all masts, eventually. TETRA will all be on there one day. And as you can see, some places have rather a lot of microwave base stations, marked by the blue triangles.

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