Low-cost, open-source, collapsible, air-transportable, field-manufacturable telecommunications tower

Gregory Stevens, David Ilba, Stuart Wildy, Paul Gardner-Stephen, Matthew Lloyd

    Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review

    2 Citations (Scopus)


    Temporary telecommunications systems are often deployed in humanitarian situations. Such systems typically require or operate more effectively with the antennae elevated above surrounding structures, maximizing line-of-sight coverage. Achieving this elevation for all deployments is problematic for several reasons. First, chartered or scheduled commercials airlines continue to play a prominent role in delivering relief personnel and equipment during the acute phase of many disasters and related events. This places limits on the size and weight of equipment that can be delivered during this critical period. Second, any repairs or modification to equipment must rely on limited local resources, and thus it is desirable for equipment to be constructed of common building materials. Third, weather conditions are often poor, requiring structures to be sufficiently strong. This stands in tension with the desire that the equipment be as low-cost as possible to maximize the number of units that can be deployed. In this paper we describe a low-cost, portable, airline luggage compliant, collapsible telecommunications tower designed as a student project that meets various Australian standards, can be easily erected in seven minutes and costs less than US$600 in small quantities, and for which all custom parts can be 3D printed in the field. A prototype of this tower weighs just 19kg, and survived a 30-day deployment, including winds up to 22m/s (80km/hour), and is rated to survive much stronger winds. The designs for this tower have been open-sourced for replication and use by any party.

    Original languageEnglish
    Number of pages8
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2014
    Event2014 IEEE Global Humanitarian Technology Conference -
    Duration: 10 Oct 2014 → …


    Conference2014 IEEE Global Humanitarian Technology Conference
    Period10/10/14 → …


    • disaster relief
    • humanitarian
    • serval project
    • telecommunications


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