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Antenna System Provides Clean/Lean Solution for AMR/RF Equipment

Wed, 02/23/2011 - 6:22am
The Monroe County Water District (MCWD) in Paris, Missouri recently prepared to install antenna systems on eight key water towers to accommodate the rural areas’ radio frequency (RF) conversion to automatic meter reading (AMR). During this process, concern arose over potential EPA issues arising from the potential risk of damage to the existing tanks protective surfaces, limited handrail mounting options, and the required capacity range that would be required to link the entire area for the county’s automatic utility (water, gas, electric) use billing system.

The ensuing AMR system would save local utility providers the expense of periodic manual trips to each physical location to read meters–a task that could take meter-readers a month or more to complete in the rural county. The timely information, coupled with analysis, would ultimately help utility providers and consumers alike with better control of the use and production of utility consumption.

Given these exacting goals and AMR equipment issues, the MCWD consulted with their preferred AMR equipment installer Xact Communications, LLC (Royce City, Texas) to provide an efficient solution. Xact’s Operations Manager David Hutchinson, quickly identified a patented, non-invasive, high-capacity magnetic solution they had used on a number of challenging installations throughout the Midwest and South called the Magnemount Antenna System developed by Metal & Cable Corp., Inc. (Twinsburg, OH).

The Magnemount system (Patent No.7,624,957) is engineered with a series of permanent magnets combined with an independently suspended mounting system to provide a non-invasive solution to adhering to the steel surfaces with varying curvatures of water towers. The mounting system is entirely magnetic thus, requires no invasive welding or epoxy coating which could adversely affect a water tank’s protective surface coatings and bladder seals.

This allowed the MCWD to avoid the risk of potential EPA issues and significant expenditures incurred from draining the tank and recoating its interior/exterior steel surfaces due to welding. Xact’s Hutchinson noted an additional ‘green’ advantage stating, “Since there is no recoating required there is no need to isolate the area around the tower from potential fumes or contamination with protective curtains when prepping a surface.”

The high-capacity mounting system is available in 5 basic designs, which can be modified to accommodate specific needs, and features a lifetime warranty on the magnets. The MCWD project utilized the adjustable MA model for its installations which features an un-guyed, adjustable upper mast that allowed them to aim an antenna to any orientation in the hemisphere above the plane of the mounting plate. This was pivotal to maximize RF coverage for the rural region on the eight water towers which had severe curved configurations including traditional five-legged and standpipe designs.

Standard Magnemount MA model features include:

* 100 MPH wind speed capacity–5.5 ft2 wind surface area

* 24" x 24” square footprint / Uses up to 120 magnets

* 300 grade stainless steel and anodized aluminum construction

* Maximum 1. mast deflection

* Mast Size: 2”OD x .375”W x 36”L (or: 3”OD x .375”W x 36”L).

Key to the systems’ cost efficient profile is its quick, clean installation; which requires no welders, painters, or special tools. After a swift hoist up the water tower with bearing and rope, installers simply pick a desired surface location and place the base plate. The magnets are then loosened-up to automatically orient themselves to their maximum capacity. The lock-nuts on each magnet need only one turn with a hand wrench to secure the mount in place. Once secured, the antenna is mounted and the installation is completed–typically within about 15 minutes.

For additional information go to: www.metal-cable.com

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