IR image of the day: cellular phone tower

Now that much of the Western world is dotted with transceiver stations for cellphones, their maintenance is a substantial industry.

Seen here is one such tower, the flat loudpeaker-like antennae arrayed to cover different directions around the metal tower.

The warmest elements are antennae, which warm with the radiofrequency (RF) being applied to them. The tower itself has warmed passively under the overcast sky, which in turn is the coolest part of the picture.

IR imaging can reveal an antenna which is not getting any RF, or which is failing, as it will be colder than others. Closer imaging of the cable runs to the antennae can show where they are damaged, or hot spots where remedial work needs to be undertaken. As usual, IR examination is quick, and conducted from the ground without the need for the elaborate safety precautions when climbing a tower.

The structure of the tower is largely revealed because of the addition of a processed visible light image during MSX processing, and once again gives the detail which might be expected of a camera with much higher resolution.

Image captured using a FLIR One™ IR camera and iPhone 6. Standard ‘Iron’ palette, without further image processing.