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What Are All These Stations at Tahoe?

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Dave_D

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Hi all,

While mapping NV tower locations, I stumbled across something unexpected. According to FCC license data contained in the RR DB, there is a swarm of low-power (12 watts) stations all over Lake Tahoe's eastern shore, all transmitting on 857.4625. The stations appear regularly along Rte 28, Rte 431 (Mount Rose Highway), and Rte 50 to Carson.

An RR DB frequency search suggests that the frequency is employed solely within the Nevada Shared Radio System. But then, the nearest NSRS site sharing this frequency is over 30 miles away.

Is this really part of the NSRS? Or, have I discovered something sinister? Aliens? Army of robot monkeys? Californians? [I mean, why are we targeted, and not them?]

Seriously, any enlightenment is appreciated.

Dave
 

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Dave_D

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firefighterbiddle said:
NDOT stations?
By this, do you mean roadside emergency call boxes? I didn't think of that.

Easy enough to verify....

Dave
 

SCPD

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Not call boxes but weather stations. These stations record temperature, wind, and might have humidity, sunlight, and any other climatic factor that would lead to ice, flooding, or visibility problems on the roadway. Highway deparments all over the country are trying to use these stations to reduce the amount of roadway patrol they do and at the same time improve their response to problems which can cause accidents to occur when roadway conditions change quickly. Nevada seems to be adding quite a few of these remote weather observation stations.

Try looking at this link:

http://www.nevadadot.com/traveler/rwis/

I didn't have time to look at the map on NDOT's website and match it with your map. Since you are interested in this and have done a good deal of research already, maybe you can see if the FCC license data matches with NDOT's information about their observation sites. Then you can get back to us and we can all know for sure what these "mystery" licenses are for.

EDIT: I see that "joking" beat me to the punch on this one.
 

SCPD

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Higway departments are not the only agencies adding weather observation stations. The wildland fire agenices have been building "Remote Automatic Weather Stations" (RAWS) for 15-20 years now and are adding more all the time. It used to be that only lookouts, fire stations, and ranger stations had weather observation stations and the information was recorded at 2 p.m. and called in to dispatchers on the radio. This took up a lot of air time and had the disadvantage of just having a 24 hour high and low temperature, a single relative humidity reading (unless a paper drum recording method was employed there), a single wind direction and speed reading (unless a drum was used), and one fuel stick measurement (both fuel moisture and fuel temperature). Precipitation was collected the way it has been collected for a very long time and that was via a standard precip bucket and special ruler. When information about an area was needed that was located away from a regularly staffed location, engine crews or patrols had to go by and collect the readings each day. For precip, humidity, wind, and fuels, a single reading did not show when the max and minimums were reached or what the daily trend was. Now this is done automatically and charted by the hour.

There is access to the RAWS stations and to many highway department remote stations on the Internet. I like to check them when I'm headed outdoors backpacking, day hiking, cross country skiing, car camping, and the like. You can do a Google search on RAWS or look up the snow survey sites of the NRCS (National Resource Conservation Service - formerly the SCS or Soil Conservation Service), or for California, the DWR or Department of Water Resources snow survey sites. Most, if not all, of the NRCS and DWR sites employ satellite links using data burst, but there may be some cases where UHF or VHF is used. They are all data burst transmissions anyway, which is what NDOT is probably using.

The DWR in Calif. has someone visit each snow survey site monthly, usually starting in January or February, manually measure the snow, and thus calibrate the actual readings with those done by the "snow pillow" at each site. This manual reading is done by DWR personnel or U.S. Forest Service, National Park Service, or other agencies such as the LA Department of Water and Power, depending on the location. DWR pays the Forest Service and Park Service for doing this, and may pay other agenices as well. From the radio standpoint this is interesting in that monthly snow survey activity is often heard on USFS, NPS, and other agencies radio sytems each winter.
 

Dave_D

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Thank you, all, for the terrific info!

Hmmm.... The NDOT map matches up to maybe 50% of my plotted FCC locations. That's certainly promising. However, there's no easy way to explain away the difference, being that both maps contain data points missing from the other and that the FCC license data is five years old; more than enough time to be reflected on a web site; even NDOT's web site.

Seems like we're in the right place though. Any other ideas?

Dave
 

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sigint1

Was: joking
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Use both the Tahoe Basin and the Northwest nevada map from the RWIS link I posted - I think you will probably find more matches - Joe
 

Dave_D

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Oh, I see the problem. For whatever reason, the NDOT weather station map is incomplete, but the data table beneath it is not. A brief inspection of the table seems to validate all of my plot points.

We're good! Thanks guys!!!

Dave
 
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