October 22, 2017
Today I decided to go for a stroll up a local mountain to check out some nice views, see some fall foliage and also to visit a Repeater Station. This repeater station is one of hundreds or thousands of small stations setup for Emergency Communications all across the county. This was a very short walk.
After a ten minute walk from the roadside mostly uphill but not even close to moderately steep we come to the base of an old fire tower. These towers were used years ago to spot forest fires in the area, and are now popular attractions for hikers. This tower though looks a little like a transformer, and has been repurposed for radio communications.
Just downhill from this old fire tower is a couple of old shacks that run 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Silently transmitting and receiving any signals that comes it’s way. From the fire tower runs a massive amount of cables directly into these shacks.
It’s hard to see in the picture above but there is a small tower rising from the middle of these two buildings. Also, just down the hill a few yards is another shack with a taller tower.
On the top of a tower is a radio antenna, and inside are the repeaters that transmit and receive emergency traffic when needed.
A few years back the County received $11 million dollars to upgrade its services, and now a much larger tower with cellular service has been installed. County emergency officials have gone all digital and their traffic is now encrypted making it much more difficult to hear any official traffic. However the Amateur bands are still used today, and many times this service goes unnoticed.
I find it really interesting that this particular location once used by watchmen looking to protect the area from forest fires still to this day is used to protect us in different ways.
The views from the tower, which is open to the public are fantastic!
As a hiker, I’m thankful for all of those out there that constantly help protect us in anyway. So being able to see this setup was a lot of fun today. Thanks to all the emergency personnel and Amateur Radio operators out there that monitor these frequencies all over the country and the world!