1. Background

We were recently approached by Bolton Technical to assist with a repeater installation at a Harmony Gold Mine. Harmony Gold Mponeng is the world’s deepest level shaft in the world, with a depth of 3 891 metres below datum and 2 062 metres below sea level. The mine, which began producing in 1986, is near the town of Carletonville, some 90km south-west of Johannesburg.

Harmony Gold Mponeng is the world’s deepest level shaft in the world,

2. The Challenge

Their main problem was above ground as there was inadequate cellphone coverage in and around the mine management and administrative hub. It is crucial that personnel in this region have good cellphone signal as they are overseeing and coordinating various facets of the mining activities. With no signal in the area, it was impossible to make or receive calls on any of the cellular networks.

Bolton Technical, the sole distributors for Wilson Electronics Cell Phone Signal Boosters in Southern Africa, approached us to assist with this outdoor installation. Gino Scaglia, Project Manager at Inteto Connect in Cape Town has extensive experience in the installation of outdoor cellular repeaters in challenging environments.

Planning the outdoor repeater installation at Harmony Gold Mponeng

3. The Solution

We needed to cover an area of about a 400 m radius in a 180-degree area of the mine site to ensure that the management and administrative hub is covered. We made use of signal analysers to ensure the best position for our installation, measuring incoming and outgoing signal strengths.

We decided on the 4 sector antennas as the horizontal beamwidth of each antenna is roughly 65 degrees. Due to the sector antennas being mounted at a height of just over 100m we needed to make sure we would be able to cover the requested areas.

We had to ensure that we do not over-shoot the coverage area, as our installation site might be too close to the main office. The direction in which we were broadcasting the signal also meant possibly running into the problem of isolation (broadcasting our signal back at the donor cell-tower). Lastly, we had to consider poor incoming donor signal from the cell-tower.

Everything worked out perfectly and we managed to avoid all concerning factors that could have hindered the maximum outcome of the solution.

The following equipment was used in the solution:

  • 4 Wilson A-1000 repeaters that is the perfect solution to boost 4G LTE and 3G signals for any up to 1,000m2 each.
  • 4 Outdoor Sector Antennas.
  • 2 Custom made combiners and
  • Poynting Power Splitter with specialised cables for each antenna.

Gino Scaglia, Project Manager at Inteto Connect, at the repeater installation at Harmony Gold Mponeng.

Gino was flown to the site to manage the installation and setup of the different units. After going live with the solution, the CEO tested the installation and was getting 3 to 4 bars signal on his phone and was able to make and receive crystal clear calls. We want to thank Martin Teichmann (Operations Director), Steyn Volschenk as well the Bolton install team for the opportunity to work with them. It was a great experience as always and we look forward to many interesting and challenging projects in the future.

Do you have a site with bad or no cellphone reception? Get in touch with us at info@intetoconnect.co.za – we love a challenge!

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