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My Adventure up Black Mountain

Discussion in 'Engineering Dept.' started by n925tv, Aug 17, 2018.

  1. n925tv

    n925tv AM Anchor

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    Good evening everyone, (if this is in the wrong thread please feel free to move)...

    Took a hike up Black Mountain earlier today, located in Northern San Diego County near Rancho Penasquitos for those of you familiar with the area. While I went for the adventure and views, the various microwave towers and satellite dishes up there sparked my interest. As I explored around, I noticed most of the microwave towers (if that's what you call them), were owned by the telecommunications companies, even with former companies such as Cingular there, now taken over by AT&T.

    As for the satellite dishes seen in the photos here, there were no markings whatsoever about who owned them or even if they are used anymore. They are located in large compound on the summit located behind a gate which shows AT&T emergency contact info, but would that company have any use for 5 dishes up there? What kind of use would they be for on such a remote summit? The only other mountain top that I can recall here locally that has dishes on it, is Mt. San Miguel in South County, home of KNSD's transmitter and dishes. I would highly doubt these ones specifically on Black Mountain are for that use.

    More importantly, any locals around here in the SAN area know of any local TV stations using this peak for their services? I'm planning on going back up there again, so if there's any transmitter or receivers to look for, let me know and I'll try to pay more attention to them.

    I've also posted a few random pics of the dishes and whatnot up on the tower, for those of you who enjoy that kind of stuff.
     

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  2. CaptainNews

    CaptainNews Graphics Specialist

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    I want to say it is cell service and transmission for military and emergency services. This mountain is quite similar to that of Santiago Peak in the Cleveland National Forest of Orange and Riverside counties.

    (Feel free to correct me if I’m wrong)
     
  3. PTVNews

    PTVNews AM Anchor

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    If anyone can annotate those images to describe what the various equipment is and what it's used for, I'd love to see. I've always wondered what the various things are.
     
  4. Weeters

    Weeters Director of Operations
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    I can't say for sure, but Black Mountain is an old AT&T Long Lines site (the big tower with square platforms around it) and my guess would be those satellites are old and part of AT&T's satellite communication network. Everything else looks like microwave relay, cellular service, and two-way radio (i.e. the City of San Diego, CHP, and at some point up until 2001, Home Depot). I spy some Ubiquiti AirFiber units in one of the pictures.

    A partial list of other services using the tower can be found here: http://www.radioreference.com/apps/db/?action=fccProx&lat=32.9811953&lon=-117.1165775&r=1 You can see they're mostly emergency services and state/local agencies. If you click around in that Radio Reference link, you can see a lot of the licenses have several locations listed, and my guess would be all those dishes are redundant links to connect them all together.

    I poked around in the FCC database, but couldn't find any records showing that Black Mountain is used for any sort of TV service (even microwave relay.)
     
    #4 Weeters, Aug 18, 2018
    Last edited: Aug 18, 2018
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  5. rkolsen

    rkolsen A Member of Sinclair Broadcast Group
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    I was trying to look but it kept crashing when I search on the FCC site with ASN and Lat/Long.

    Aren’t a lot of TV microwave receivers in domes that are steerable?
     
  6. Weeters

    Weeters Director of Operations
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    If they're for ENG receive, yes. Those antennas usually look like short white cylinders facing upwards. You can see them clearly in this photo of the roof of 30 Rock that I borrowed from Flickr user Anthony Quintano.

    upload_2018-8-18_12-13-13.png

    But a fixed relay between two fixed points would just be a standard microwave antenna similar to those in n925tv's photos and elsewhere in that 30 Rock photo.
     
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  7. Eat News

    Eat News Station Group CEO

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    The dishes were cable TV "head-end" for Southwestern or Time Warner (COX head-end was on Cowles) cable (way back when)...
    They had receivers for all the LA tv stations, and it made sense to place the C-band HBO and CNN sat dishes up there also. The dishes are abandon, but who wants to pay someone to haul them down the mountain when nobody is complaining.

    ATT has always had bunch of Telco stuff up there like long lines and microwave multiplexers. Local broadcaster had other choices like Mt.Soledad, and Mt. Miguel

    When you mix very high powered broadcast transmitters with telephone and cable -tv stuff you can get major interference problems on the site. it's best to have those high powered items seperated from the local telco system. ATT was happy with Black Mountain because the location was pretty "clean" from problems. Plus ATT was there first. The longlines linked to the ATT building in San Diego (Hillcrest) at 6th st and Robinson.

    Cable TV was welcome on the site because they just needed a good path for the reception of L.A. broadcast TV...because that's what cable TV delivered in the 60's and 1970 to San Diego...more L.A. channels...and that new fangled 'HBO". Nowdays you can place the cable tv head-end anywhere you wish because of satellites, but in the olden days you placed the cable tv stuff on the mountain.

    As far as Two-way radio...
    There is some state and federal microwave ...but the 2-way transmitters are mostly on other peaks for the same reason...interference.
     
    #7 Eat News, Aug 19, 2018
    Last edited: Aug 19, 2018
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