Tuesday, February 15, 2011

The Repeater Site

Today I was on top of a mountain at a repeater site.  You can talk to anyone in the world from up there, I was told.  I was asking questions not about the repeaters but about the other equipment that was up there, unattended and not well secured.  Why are there three 1000 gallon propane tanks that are all between 75-90% filled?  They are to run the generator inside the building.  That amount of fuel would run the generator for an extended period of time, I was told.  It certainly would!  We opened the locked gate on the chain link fence and went into the building and saw the generator.  Our department had the generator locked in the building.  It's being kept under lock and key but it's a very common key...everyone that works for us or has ever worked for us has this key. 
Next to the generator building was the building with all the computer and phone line equipment for the repeaters.  I saw a stack of batteries in the corner.  They were all linked together and looked like a set of batteries that could be used for a very large solar operation.  I know there's no solar operation here.  I asked if the generator charged the batteries and then the equipment ran off the batteries in case the electricity went out.  The people with me didn't know.  I didn't have time to look around any further and I wasn't sure if they were appreciating my line of questions.
Another generator, this one for ATT, was outside and attached to a separate 500 gallon tank.  Other than the four bolts keeping  the generator in place on the cement pad, it had no security measures to keep it from being stolen.  I saw another building down the hill a bit that was surrounded by brush.  It had solar panels on top.  It's not our building and I didn't check it out any further. 
I asked about security - cameras, alarms.  There isn't any.  I asked why not?  I was told that it's because people don't know that generators and propane can be found near repeater sites (both for cellular services and emergency services).  I told him he was wrong.  Many people do know.  Just at this point in time people are being honest and not stealing it.  But, at the time when it's most needed it will be most vulnerable. 

And no, I do not see myself stealing the propane or generators.  Nor do I see myself leaving valuable items unsecured for the masses to see and steal.

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