RDOS making sure new radio tower will minimize impact on nearby observatory | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

Would you like to subscribe to our newsletter?

Current Conditions Light Rainshower  15.8°C

Penticton News

RDOS making sure new radio tower will minimize impact on nearby observatory

The back of the John Galt Telescope.

There’s a South Okanagan community that needs its fire dispatch services upgraded, but their neighbours are studying the cosmos, so a new radio repeater tower will have to be built with extra considerations.

The Willowbrook Fire Department needs an upgrade "due to increased call volumes, mutual aid, and an expanded response boundary," according to an administrative report that was presented at the Regional District of Okanagan Similkameen regular meeting on June 1. The new tower will function solely for the fire department and serve no public function, 

But expanding infrastructure in that area comes with extra challenges because of its close proximity to the Dominion Radio Astrophysical Observatory in Kaleden.

“Please turn off all electronic devices when visiting the site,” the observatory asks of anyone travelling nearby. “Signals from your electronics can damage our sensitive equipment.”

To minimize impact on operations at Dominion, the RDOS is working in collaboration with the observatory and National Research Council of Canada, Erick Thompson, RDOS communications supervisor said in an email.

READ MORE: Okanagan telescope a 'game-changer' in finding repeating signals from deep space

A radio repeater system is already in place to serve the Willowbrook Fire Department, but since it was installed in 2017, there has been an expansion in services that reach beyond the system installed six years ago.

“The equipment used in the new radio tower will emit the same output as the current repeater system installed in 2017,” Thompson said. “Since (Dominion) is a sensitive facility that emits and receives radio frequencies, the focus of the RDOS is to minimize interference to the site as much as possible.”

Other locations were explored to serve as the repeater site, but all of which are enclosed in the White Lake Grasslands Protected Area or reserved by the National Research Council.

“Currently, no roads on private land exist with access to suitable locations for repeaters; as such, any new repeater site will have to be helicopter access only,” Thompson said. “For this reason, the Willowbrook Fire Department site was chosen as the best suitable location for a radio tower.”

To contact a reporter for this story, email Dan Walton or call 250-488-3065 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

We welcome your comments and opinions on our stories but play nice. We won't censor or delete comments unless they contain off-topic statements or links, unnecessary vulgarity, false facts, spam or obviously fake profiles. If you have any concerns about what you see in comments, email the editor in the link above. 

News from © iNFOnews, 2023

  • Popular kamloops News
View Site in: Desktop | Mobile