How to Locate a Cell Tower
The proximity of a cell tower is crucial to the signal strength of cellular networks in specific places. Towers, with their antennas and electronic equipment, serve as base stations for the networks using them. Locating a cell tower for your network allows you to estimate how strong phone coverage will be in your area.
Search for websites with information about cell-tower locations. Use keywords like "how to locate a cell tower" on search engines like Google, Yahoo and MSN. Some of the popular ones offering free information about cell-tower locations include AntennaSearch.com and CallReception.com.
Enter your address, or sometimes just the city and state or zip code in the form provided by the website. While the exact steps and terms used vary from one website to another, the general concept of providing your location in order to check its proximity to specific cell towers is always the same.
Select or press "Go," "OK," "Enter" or any other button provided for the search. Sometimes, websites also have ready links where you can select the city you want to search from a list. Depending on the website, you may be asked to click additional buttons to get you through the location map.
On the map that appears, check the markers indicating the locations of cell towers in your selected area. Use the zoom and arrow keys to work your way around the map and see more clearly where specific wireless carriers have strong signal. Generally, you can click each cell tower icon to see details such as the mobile network using it and its owner.
Browse around and check the other features or services the website offers. You can usually customize search parameters to filter and isolate towers from one or more network providers at a time. Features such color-coded circles may indicate the wireless carrier's signal strength.
Tips & Warnings
- In theory, the closer you are to a single network provider's tower and the more towers covering your area, the better your network reception will be. You may also search more specific types of towers like existing towers (registered and non-registered structures) or future towers (newly filed or pending applications for the construction of new towers in confirmed locations).
- There is another way to dig through the list of cell tower locations. You can do a comprehensive search around the FCC's website where you can look up the location of every FCC-registered cell tower in the country. Although it's a more tedious option, you can check an accurate list. From there, you can map out those that are closest to your area.
- It is possible that even if you live or work in an area with many cell towers, you may still get signal drops due to electrical and interference, weak antennas or physical obstructions such as trees and buildings. In such cases, a website like SignalMap.com becomes another useful source of information for you to check areas with dead spots on particular phone carriers around the country.