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Old 2009-08-30, 11:07 PM   #1
99gecko
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Default Calif. fire to reach TV transmitters, Mount Wilson Observatory

Not looking good for OTA in Los Angeles County at the moment.
source
Quote:
LOS ANGELES — Authorities say flames from a major wildfire north of Los Angeles are about to reach Mount Wilson, home to a historic observatory and transmitters for every major television and radio station in the area.

Los Angeles County Fire Capt. Mark Savage tells KABC-TV Sunday that "it's not a matter of if it impacts Mount Wilson, it's a matter of when," and estimated that the flames could leap to the top of the mountain within a few hours.

<deletia>

Television stations say if the antennas burn, broadcast signals will be affected...
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Old 2009-08-31, 12:08 AM   #2
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Ouch.. that's too bad.. not good news at all.

Found some info on Wikipedia here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mount_W...8California%29

Including some pictures before the fire.

Says the tallest tower is over 900 ft tall. What a shame. Hoping for little damage but doesn't sound promising from the article.
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Old 2009-08-31, 04:05 AM   #3
holl_ands
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In 2007 fires, Mt San Miguel in San Diego was overrun by wild fires taking out a small building
and the power line feeding four of our DTVs, Analogs & several FMs. After a short outage for
personnel evacuations, most stations returned on-air using fall-back power generators.

Fuel truck brigade was active for quite a while as the high voltage lines were reconstructed.

In L.A. 86% of households subscribe to cable and/or Sat which are fed via direct connections,
so only those TVs not connected to cable/Sat would be affected in those households....
[Although there may be some cable headends that use OTA....soon to be revealed....]
However most of the other 15% have no fallback....except bite the bullet and subscribe....

Two San Diego stations (not on San Miguel) can be received in S-W parts of L.A. and there is a
PBS station in Riverside (E end of L.A. smog basin), plus a few scattered Low Power stations.
But if Mt Wilson is off the air for any significant period of time, people will be stringing
backup systems on top of tall buildings downtown.....another advantage for implementing
Distributed DTV Systems....BTW: there are actually TWO antenna farms on Mt Wilson...
the other one, a few miles away, is called Mt Harvard.

One network is simulcasting an English subchannel on their non-colocated Spanish language
station....many of them on Mt Harvard...

Mt Wilson Solar Observatory TowerCam:
http://www.astro.ucla.edu/~obs/towercam.htm
Keep trying....it's overloaded...
Here's a recent picture....there are NO FLAMES in this photo...just lights....
http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/attac...5&d=1251699446
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Old 2009-08-31, 08:04 AM   #4
HDTV101
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Here's all about the transmitters up there.... too bad it looks like it's all about to be a page in history!

Part 1
http://www.fybush.com/sites/2005/site-051216.html

Part 2
http://www.fybush.com/sites/2005/site-051223.html

oh wait... there is more!

http://www.fybush.com/sites/2004/site-041217.html

http://www.fybush.com/sites/2004/site-041224.html
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Old 2009-08-31, 10:06 AM   #5
mr weather
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And it's not just OTA towers but most of the public safety departments (police, fire, ems) use that area for their main communications towers. I'm sure they have backup facilities but having their equipment overrun by fire will affect them at least temporarily.
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Old 2009-08-31, 10:18 AM   #6
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Thanks for the webcam link. Found that last night but it wouldn't load.. loads now today, I was expecting it not to work and the towers to be burned..

Wondering if they stand a chance or not.. Will keep looking as long as the site works.

Great links HDTV101.. Fybush is a great site, didn't know they had pics of this site.
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Old 2009-08-31, 10:33 AM   #7
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According to this article http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la...,6711216.story

Quote:
Los Angeles police and fire departments do not use the tower, and neither does the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department.
Also says that cell phone service would be disrupted. I can't see how it would be too bad for phones unless there is some type of large site there for the phones. Otherwise wouldn't they just lose the coverage provided from this location? Couldn't be that bad..
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Old 2009-08-31, 10:41 AM   #8
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Default more articles/pics

At ~6:26 am local time, you can see the heavy smoke approaching:


This one has a picture, but no indication of where it is taken (it may be stock, taken during a different fire), and includes a link to an interactive map on page 2 (Mt Wilson is one of the "volcano icons":
http://www.whotv.com/ktla-angeles-fi...6.story?page=1

holl ands and HDTV101, thanks for those great links. It will be a real shame if the observatory is lost.

Quote:
Found that last night but it wouldn't load.. loads now today
I think at this time of day (6:44 AM), there would be a lot of LA'ers still in bed
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Old 2009-08-31, 10:44 AM   #9
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It stopped working for me but it's back.. I'll try to save some images incase the feed stops working, so we might have a "last" picture.. looks like the sun is rising currently.
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Old 2009-08-31, 01:27 PM   #10
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Just read another article which says they've dropped fire retardant around the location and the flames were currently 800m from the site.
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Old 2009-08-31, 01:47 PM   #11
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The GOOD news: Mt Wilson is UPWIND from the fire, which makes it slow moving and easier to fight.
More GOOD news: Fire crews worked yesterday and through the night laying down fire retardant chemicals,
cutting brush and SETTING BACKFIRES.
Even better GOOD news: Fire fighting aircraft are being reinforced TODAY for a total of TWO DC-10s
and (now THREE!!!) CL-415 SuperScoopers:
http://www.wildfiretoday.com/news/20...tion-fire.html
http://www.aerospace-technology.com/...ombardier_415/
Better late than never.....

Apparently the humongous 747 was being shown to prospective customers in Alaska earlier this month:
http://www.examiner.com/x-11680-Wild...on-Alaska-fire
Can we pay by the hour???? Or is it just too big and fast to be integrated into the Fighting Fire Force...

The BAD news: Nothing is going to stop this fire until Hurricane Jimena dumps some rain in the
area...and it won't make landfall near Cabo San Lucas (S top of Baja Calif., over 1000 miles away)
until tomorrow, which means moisture won't hit Mt Wilson until MAYBE the end of the week:
http://www.wunderground.com/wunderma...re=0&ft=0&sl=0

Best, continually updating website w current Station Fire status:
http://www.inciweb.org/incident/1856/
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Old 2009-08-31, 02:05 PM   #12
stampeder
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Too bad they're having trouble with one of the collosal Martin Mars flying boats from Canada. Those things are astounding in action!
Quote:
Originally Posted by holl_ands
what's a CL14?
Must be a misprint since Canadair/Bombardier "CL" water bombers aren't numbered like that.

I would not be surprised if those planes from Quebec are actually coming from a closer location since the Canadian provinces each contribute their own planes to joint firefighting operations all over Canada and sometimes into the U.S.A., and the people on the ground teams are always travelling like that too. We've occasionally had Australians and New Zealanders up here for the extra manpower and work experience during their off-season, as Canadian and American ground crews go down there too.
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Old 2009-08-31, 04:02 PM   #13
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http://www.signonsandiego.com/news/m...bn16scoop.html

The Los Angeles County Fire Department leases 2 CL-415s from the Province of Quebec for use during the wildfire season, as well as French-Canadian pilots and a spotter plane.
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Old 2009-08-31, 06:31 PM   #14
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San Diego paid for SuperScoopers last year....but this year our budgeteers declined, so L.A.
picked them up instead.....whatever.....all assets eventually are under CALFIRE control and
get deployed where they are most needed, rather than being "tied" to the budget source.

Here's Sunday night's 2-hour video loop off the Towercam:
http://media.skyandtelescope.com/ima...rcam+large.gif
http://www.skyandtelescope.com/news/home/56266907.html

and Mt Wilson Observatory running commentary:
http://www.mtwilson.edu/fire.php
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Old 2009-08-31, 06:37 PM   #15
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I saved some shots from last night when the fire was close... here taken at 3:41 am local time... look at the fire... it's so close!







Taken just a few minutes ago... 2:26 pm local time... looks like Mount Wilson survived!
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