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Q&A

What is this metal panel under power lines?

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I was hiking around the Berkshires in western Massachusetts yesterday, and came across this metal panel where some power lines were crossing a ridge:

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The panel is a few meters wide, and appears to have no electrical connection to it. It cost someone some money to put up there, so there must be a real (profitable) purpose.

A flat metal panel like that would reflect microwaves. I notice it is facing slightly down. Is it possible that it is aligned just right to bounce a microwave signal from some tower I couldn't see down to something in the valley below? I think the physics would work, but I've never heard of such a thing, and never seen anything like this before.

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It is a passive microwave/radio repeater. They were used as an economic way of getting around line of sight obstacles. I came across the information on these researching a way of passively linking an above-ground radio network with another one underground (we went with passive yagi-coax-yagi). My general impression from internet research indicated they have gone out of favor with the advances made in other wireless communication technologies.

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