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FAQ City: Just Who Are Those Cell Tower Trees Fooling?

There's something awfully suspicious about that pine tree off the side of Interstate 485. You know, the one with the perfectly smooth trunk and the oddly sparse branches. Seems strange that it would grow so much taller than the other trees. Oh, and the giant panels on the top are interesting. Perhaps they're a type of fruit?

Right.

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Amy Reader Lalor

Let's get real. That's no tree! That's a cell phone tower, and Charlotte resident Amy Reader Lalor wants to know why someone would go to such lengths to camouflage it. 

"It would be less eye-catching to have just left it a cell phone tower as opposed to put all of the tree things on it," she says, "So why go to all the extra effort?"

On this episode of the FAQ City podcast, we set off on a mission to find out, and get some insight from a man on the inside — that is, he works for a company that specializes in disguising cell towers.

He'll clue us in on how his company began making cell towers look like trees, and talk about other things they've made cell towers look like (everything from flagpoles, to cacti, to giant Ticonderoga No. 2 pencils).

Special thanks to Sean McLernon with Stealth Concealment Solutions (recently acquired by Raycap Inc.) for sharing his expertise with us on this episode. Thanks also to Amy Reader Lalor for her question.

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Credit Nick de la Canal / WFAE
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A pair of cell tower trees keep company above Carmel Road Neighborhood Park in south Charlotte.

If you have a question about Charlotte that you'd like us to look into, find the submission box below and fire away! We may include your question in an upcoming voting round, and it may get answered on an upcoming episode.

Keep up with future episodes by subscribing to the podcast on Apple Podcasts, NPR One, or Google Play.

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Nick de la Canal is a reporter for WFAE covering breaking news, arts and culture, and general assignment stories. He work frequently appears on air and online. Periodically, he tweets: @nickdelacanal