Site Search Resources:
This is a difficult site to
navigate. Not all Cellular sites need to be licensed so only certain
sites are listed, PCS sites are not listed. The best way to start your
search is to click on Market Search, then choose Market
Type: "CMA - Cellular Market Area", scroll to your market,
then Radio Service Code: "CL - Cellular". Click
"Search" and you'll be offered a list of cellular carriers. Click on a
Call Sign, then the Locations tab. Another FCC
resource is the Antenna Structure Registration
which involves large databases and a Search that requires knowledge of
the type of structure or licensee you're seeking.
- PEOPLE TO ASK
Where to find
people who can direct you to cell sites directly or to those
- ANTENNA SEARCH
non-cellular sites but very easy to use and
includes new cell sites that might go online. However, some sites are
basic list of cellular towers with very little specific information.
A convenient presentation, although
less-inclusive, of the FCC records, which are not a complete list.
- CELL SITE HUNTING CLUB
forum is part of Wireless Advisor and is populated
by cellular users who have tracked down cell sites in their areas and
posted the results, some with maps and pictures. You can also throw out
a question to the group for cell site finding assistance.
- CELL SITES IN NATIONAL PARKS
of cell sites located within the boundaries of US National Parks and
- GOOGLE EARTH/FCCINFO.COM
application overlays FCC files with Google Earth to provide a visual
locator for cellular and other RF sites. It's limited to locations that
are on record with the FCC.
map with lots of cell sites. The more you zoom in, the more
detail is available. Not all sites are shown, but a large
number are...based on your choice of carriers.
- YOUR LOCAL CITY OR
COUNTY WEB SITE
jurisdictions have a list showing applications for building permits.
Others have minutes of the Planning Commission, Board of Adjustment or
City Council meetings that address applications for cell sites. Look
for "CMRS", Commercial Mobile Radio Service, entries.
- YOUR LOCAL NEWSPAPER
Search on your local newspaper's web site for stories about cell sites.
A new site is a big story in a smaller paper. This also may shed light
on local challenges in establishing new cell sites.
- Your Phone:
If you want something more useful than the "bars"
that appear on your phone, try to enter into your phone's programming
menu and look for the Signal Strength Readout or RSSI and see a
bouncing number that indicates the strength of the signal arriving at
your phone. Far easier would be to download an app that shows
nearby cell site information such as carrier, SID, location and signal
Keep in mind
most signal indicators show strength measured below a certain base
level. A -100db level would be weak and a -70db level could
be very strong. Also, if you're looking for a cell site on a
network other than your own, you'll need to use a phone that can access
that other network.
Nearest Cellular Store:
These employees are best approached in person. They should
know nearby cell site locations, but often don't. If you visit a
corporate-owned store, seek out the "geek", maybe the guy who fixes
phones, and ask. Better are independent cellular stores who have a
broader knowledge of each carrier's facilities.
City or County:
These people can normally be reached by phone and there should be
several people who should know site locations. The task is to find the
right person. Virtually all cell sites require a building permit so the
Building Department should know them all. However, these are busy
people so you may need to ask around to find someone willing to help.
Most cell sites need 'special consideration' so often a "Community
Development" or "Facilities Coordinator" gets involved. Don't limit
your search to public 'officials', normally the 'coordinator', clerk or
even a secretary knows more than the boss.
Facilities and Districts:
These are the
semi-public organizations that have significant real estate, building
or infrastructure holdings. Check your state department of highways,
local housing authority, school board, park district and the like.
You may see
or suspect a cell site located on the rooftop of a nearby building.
Call the building's manager. Some buildings have a receptionist who may
have spoken to the cellular installers and repair persons and know
which carrier they are working with.
sites can be found on water towers, power poles and other
infrastructure. These organizations are often large and it may be
difficult to find the right person to help you. Being nice helps your
Cellular carriers normally notify your HOA about nearby cell site
installation and some actually rent space in your common areas. If you
haven't contacted your HOA before, this is a great reason to look them
They could be as close as your yellow pages. These could be very small
and you might end up ringing the owner's cell phone. Make a friend
here, though, and you'll be golden. A 6-pack (or flowers) might help
the exchange of information.
- Your Local Wireless Carrier:
If you have a small, local cellular carrier nearby, not only might they
know where their nearest cell site is, but they may also know the
cell sites for the competing carriers.