Inside My Big Stick

This is a close-up of the construction of the elements of the DB910CE-M 1900mhz antenna. As you can see, it is complex and hand-crafted.
This is a close-up of the construction of the elements of the DB910CE-M 1900mhz antenna. As you can see, it is complex and hand-crafted.
The antenna with its radome removed
The antenna with its radome removed

Most of the intelligent people in the world spend much of their time thinking curiously. Whether we are curious about the nature of the universe or the nature of the minds of those around us, curiosity is at the core of human progress.

Last month I acquired a DB910CE-M 1900mhz antenna for only the cost of removing it from the top of a building. I still have yet to find a use for it, but I did take it apart out of sheer curiosity. I’d never seen the insides of one of these rather expensive cellular telephone repeater antennas, and I wanted to know, among other things, why they are so expensive.

The answer is like a lot of answers, complex. The antenna is built very tough, so it will withstand years of hot and cold, rain and ice, and wind, on a rooftop. The elements are made of thick copper and brass. And finally, it appears to have been painstakingly assembled by hand.

Due to its build quality, it was quite difficult to disassemble.

This type of antenna is called a collinear array, meaning that it is a number (in this case, 26) of resonant elements stacked end-to-end using some form of electrical matching. It’s an omnidirectional antenna, meaning it radiates equally in all directions. As a result, this antenna isn’t used much in cellular systems any more, since directional antennas, in the form of the panel antennas commonly seen on today’s cellular towers, allow cellular phone and data frequencies to be efficiently reused.

It’s a shame I don’t yet have a use for it; it is a powerful antenna. I might mount it on the roof and run a feed line into the house, even if I don’t use it. Antennas are an art form for people like me, and it’s possible that in the future, I might be able to use it.

Disassembling the DB910CE-M was no easy task, requiring removal of the glued-on rubber boot from the hardline connector, removing the hardline, removing four screws (shown), breaking a thick glue seal at the base of the 7/16-inch DIN Female connector, then unscrewing the entire array and sliding it out of the radome.
Disassembling the DB910CE-M was no easy task, requiring removal of the glued-on rubber boot from the hardline connector, removing the hardline, removing four screws (shown), breaking a thick glue seal at the base of the 7/16-inch DIN Female connector, then unscrewing the entire array and sliding it out of the radome.
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