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Tower strobe light

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#1 Shadowalker

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Posted 09 December 2009 - 11:15 AM

Less than a mile from my dark site home there's a cell tower that's lit at night with a strobe. If they'd use the flashing red it wouldn't be so obnoxious. I know the FAA and FCC allow red lights at night, but this owner chose to use the strobe.

What's the best way of persuading the owner to change to flashing red?

#2 DeanS

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Posted 09 December 2009 - 11:57 AM

I thought they all went to red after dark, and only stayed white if the red bulb stopped working?

The guys at the Chiefland Astronomy Village has had to deal with this before, perhaps you could contact someone there and see if they could offer adviced based on their experience.

Dean

#3 Shadowalker

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Posted 09 December 2009 - 12:33 PM

That was my understanding too. But this one flashes away all night. really lights up the sky.

Thanks for the suggestion. I've emailed Joe at Chiefland.

#4 DeanS

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Posted 09 December 2009 - 04:37 PM

Let us know what you come up with on this.

Dean

#5 Shadowalker

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Posted 10 December 2009 - 08:30 AM

Let us know what you come up with on this.

Dean


Joe wrote back with a very detailed writeup full of good advice. I've asked his permission to post it here. Too much to write a synopsis.

#6 Shadowalker

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Posted 10 December 2009 - 11:34 AM

Joe graciously granted permission to post his reply. He stresses to always be courteous when dealing with the tower owner.

The reply was to me specifically and he identified a few other methods to persuade tower owners to cooperate (farm animals in my case), but I'm leaving that in because those might be applicable to others as well.

Here it is:

Yes Tom, we have three towers visible in our neighborhood. The Verizon tower is only 0.6miles away from our observing field. With all our T-Storms in the Summer we often have one or more of them switch from red pulsing lights to white strobes. I either call the contact point or eMail them identifying the Tower#, its location and problem. I even notify them if any light is out too. I 'always' write thanking them for their Service.

Each tower is supposed to have an identification sign posted with the Tower# and phone number among other things. These signs are often missing or illegible. Using your Tower# number you can access the FCC Database at this link. http://wireless2.fcc...ationSearch.jsp

That URL will get you into the FCC page where you can perform Searches on CELL Towers ID's with complete descriptions and Contact points. If the Tower ID sign is missing you can Search the tower's location by entering the required information on the right side of the page.

When you have a Tower# enter that into the top left box under "By Registration Number", click Submit. Another page will be displayed, at the left in the middle of this page is the Tower ID# you entered which is now a Blue URL Link. This will take you to that Tower's specific information with Links to pertinent documents.

The contacts listed more than likely will not be local, our Verizon tower's contact is in Georgia. When our tower/s turn white I'll either call or eMail them with full Tower# and specific street address and the problem. They will dispatch someone local to fix the problem, usually less than a week unless there's major damage caused by a direct lightening strike.

Here's your problem;
If your tower does not have a red light already installed, or the tower only has a high intensity daytime strobe and low intensity white strobe at night like our privately owned forestry tower, it will be expensive for them to install a red light. Those Tower Monkey's get >$100 p/hr, then there's the equipment expense. Our forestry tower is ~3miles away, luckily a short one, but occasionally it doesn't switch from daylight high intensity white strobe to low intensity white strobe. When that happens there's a light pulse in the sky over there.

Carefully read all the tower's data and documents. But that doesn't mean what is in the database is correct. Our Verizon tower is not indicated as having a red light. However we were lucky, our astronomy village established in 1985 was in existence before they installed then tower. When they were erecting the tower we went over and talked to them, they installed a red light, or turned on the feature to turn it to red pluses at sunset. Sometimes Moonlight is so intense the light will not change over until later than usual, a couple times after midnight. Don't become a pest by calling at every little glitch. Wait a few days then call if the problem persists.

Be very careful talking to these people, you want them on 'your' side. They want to keep their Customers and neighbors happy, so don't offend. Instead come 'to' them, not 'at' them. Get them to help you asking them what they can do to help you. Try asking what they can do to 'fix' the tower so the red pulsing light is turned on at night.

Do Not mention "Astronomy". If you do you'll identify yourself as a very minor minority.

If you were already in resident at your location 'before' they installed the tower mention that and all the problems you and your neighbors are experiencing with sleeping. You might get your neighbors together and petition for a red light because the white strobe makes it impossible to sleep. I have metal Venetian Blinds, when our Verizon tower turns to white strobe even those blinds can't block the intense light. My bedroom pulses every 10sec or so.

I just reviewed your web site. You might have other weapons you might not have thought about. Your livestock's sleep period is interrupted by the strobe light flashes too, and your NASA career might come in handy too. I spent 15yrs at KSC myself in the VAB Shuttle Data Processing Data Center for the Shuttles myself. I've often seen Goshawks flying at late at night in the lit-up VAB's lights running into the sides of the VAB because they were blinded. Use Light Pollution facts at,,,, damn I can't thimk of their name now. Sheesh! Another Brain Fart. :p Anywho, you know who I'm talking about, the people who promote anti-light pollution and promote proper outdoor nighttime lighting. Who knows how these things might lend some weight to your quest.

G'Luck, and if I can be of any more assistance Plz ask...joe :)


"May You Go Among The Imperishable Stars"
Joe Mize www.cav-sfo.com
Chiefland Astronomy Village, Fla



#7 richard7

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Posted 16 December 2009 - 06:58 PM

Thanks Tom for that FCC link. I just bookmarked it.
BTW. Was he thinking of the IDSA?

#8 Shadowalker

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Posted 16 December 2009 - 07:06 PM

Thanks Tom for that FCC link. I just bookmarked it.
BTW. Was he thinking of the IDSA?


I've had no follow up correspondence with Joe, but I assumed he was talking about the International Dark-Sky Association.

#9 Mister T.

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Posted 05 January 2010 - 01:19 AM

I thought they all went to red after dark, and only stayed white if the red bulb stopped working?


In my work I have to deal with tower strobes constantly. There aren't a whole lot of strobe makers out there, and the products are all pretty much alike.

The truth is that strobes actually have two WHITE bulbs (actually, flash tubes).

The red night time mode is produced by an electromechanical device that uses a solenoid to drop a red glass filter around the flash tube chamber.

In my experience these gizmos aren't real reliable; the mechanism is always hanging up in one position or the other. With a whole statewide radio and TV network fitted with the damned things, at any given time we have 2 or 3 NOTAMs (NOtices To AirMen) open with the FAA because of hung up light mechanisms... even tho they're still blinking usually, the FAA has to be notified of any failure.

Likewise... at any given time we have a few beacons and obstruction lighting strobes back at the factory for overhaul, repair and parts replacement to make 'em activate properly. That expense is accompanied by the cost of sending tower climbers up to remove and replace 'em.

These strobes aren't that old; a couple of years, in most cases.

Stations changed to strobes because management reasoned it was a cheaper way to go than to have tower riggers go up 4 times a year to routinely replace incandescent bulbs.

Wrong.

The only REAL expense saving grace is that a tower that's strobed doesn't have to be painted with "aviation orange" and white bands; towers lit with incandescents do. Don't ask me WHY the distinction; I don't know, and haven't been able to get a straight answer from the Feds.

Hope that gives you a little bit more insight into the strobe light thing.


Mr. T.






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