Radio tower lights not working

west-pac

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Would IPSC be the appropriate agency to contact for a state-owned radio tower where the tower lights do not work? I contacted the ISP PIO Facebook acct in early June, but as of yesterday the tower lights still did not work.
 

milf

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Yes, contact IPSC as that is a flight navigational hazard issue and could get them in serious hot water with the FAA.

General inquiries: 317.234.1541
Network Operations Center: 317.234.1540
Radio Shop (Greenwood): 317.899.8571


Mailing Address:
100 N. Senate Avenue, N825
Indianapolis, IN 46204
 

N5XPM

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Would IPSC be the appropriate agency to contact for a state-owned radio tower where the tower lights do not work? I contacted the ISP PIO Facebook acct in early June, but as of yesterday the tower lights still did not work.
The FAA has primary regulatory oversight.

If the outage is reported to the FAA, they will likely issue a NOTAM and inform the registered owner to fix the problem.
For more information, try this:


Obtaining an ASR number, GPS coordinates, etc. Will help the conversation.
 

milf

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Just be aware it IS a holiday so your call might not get immediate attention.
 

west-pac

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Just be aware it IS a holiday so your call might not get immediate attention.
In June that ISP Facebook acct replied and said they would contact the proper facilities maintenance personnel. Either they did, or they didn't; regardless 3 months later the issue still isn't corrected. I looked for a general email address for IPSC, but all I found were individual's email addresses. I sent them a message from their Facebook page. I guess I'll see if I get any response back this week.
 

west-pac

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The tower sits along I-69 between Fort Wayne and Indy, houses a SAFE-T site, and is near a flight path commonly used by air medical helicopters flying between Fort Wayne and Indy. Years ago ISP troopers use to tell their dispatch over the radio the tower lights were on, but I haven't heard that in several years. I've never heard that for any other tower, so I wonder if they have had problems in the past with that tower. According to the SAFE-T license the tower is 419.9 feet tall, and given its location, where Troopers, other public safety officials, ATC for FWA, etc... drive past it everyday, I'm really surprised it hasn't been fixed yet. I'm hoping it's a backordered equipment issue, and not a breakdown of communication between ISP and IPSC from my June communication attempt, which would be ironic. This tower sits across the interstate from a weigh station as well. There has to be something more to it than IPSC just not knowing about it.
 

milf

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Use the direct contact info I posted.
IPSC:

General inquiries: 317.234.1541
Network Operations Center: 317.234.1540
Radio Shop (Greenwood): 317.899.8571


Mailing Address:
100 N. Senate Avenue, N825
Indianapolis, IN 46204

Here in D 52, they do still do tower light checks regularly. I have also heard D 51, and D 53 doing them. Maybe due to Indy being a flight congested area with the KIND, and like three other airports, and Heliport downtown (Which may soon be moving over to occupy the former Diamond Chain facility), as well as multiple helipads at the TV stations and hospitals etc?
 

west-pac

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Use the direct contact info I posted.
IPSC:

General inquiries: 317.234.1541
Network Operations Center: 317.234.1540
Radio Shop (Greenwood): 317.899.8571


Mailing Address:
100 N. Senate Avenue, N825
Indianapolis, IN 46204

Here in D 52, they do still do tower light checks regularly. I have also heard D 51, and D 53 doing them. Maybe due to Indy being a flight congested area with the KIND, and like three other airports, and Heliport downtown (Which may soon be moving over to occupy the former Diamond Chain facility), as well as multiple helipads at the TV stations and hospitals etc?
IPSC has contacted me via FB. They'll have a tech look into it.
 

AK9R

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Also keep in mind that some SAFE-T towers are not owned or maintained by IPSC. I know of SAFE-T towers in central Indiana that were put up by ERS and they have their equipment along with SAFE-T equipment on the tower. One tower, in particular, has since been sold by ERS to a company out of state. I assume that IPSC has a lease agreement with the tower owner.

In other cases, not the one @west-pac describes, where a county has funded additional towers in a simulcast arrangement, the county may own the tower or may have a contract with another company for space on a tower.

My point being, just because it's a SAFE-T site, don't assume IPSC is responsible for the tower.
 

N5XPM

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Also, it has been awhile since I have worked with the FAA folks, but I always found them reasonable, approachable and fair to work with for obstruction lights, 7460 studies and interference problems. The general impression I always walked away with was they were very much safety-first (which is issuing the Notice to Airmen (NOTAM) part) and getting the safety issue resolved. They never were annoyed I called and always professional when they contacted me.
 

milf

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Yeah FAA is extreme safety first, as they would rather take a trip to check out malfunctioning tower clearance lighting, than investigate an aircraft into that tower.
 

a417

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I'm hoping it's a backordered equipment issue, and not a breakdown of communication between ISP and IPSC from my June communication attempt, which would be ironic.
Probably not back-ordered, TBH...when those guys climb towers they solve the problem usually that day - or they have a trove of ideas on how to solve the problem very quickly. Anything that is so rare that is backordered months would probably be phased out (by them) so they can get up & down and fixed in as little time as possible. Couple of times we worked with them they had a spare for everything, a plan for if the spare didn't work, and a contingency fix if the plan didn't work, as well as a plan B C & D.
 

milf

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Probably not back-ordered, TBH...when those guys climb towers they solve the problem usually that day - or they have a trove of ideas on how to solve the problem very quickly. Anything that is so rare that is backordered months would probably be phased out (by them) so they can get up & down and fixed in as little time as possible. Couple of times we worked with them they had a spare for everything, a plan for if the spare didn't work, and a contingency fix if the plan didn't work, as well as a plan B C & D.
LOL yeah, system maintenance techs are almost as resourceful as the communications techs and Moto guys. And some of them do both.
 

n5ims

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It could also be that the tower initially had obstruction lighting installed but the tower didn't require them by law and after a study was done they discovered that the lights were not required, but were expensive to operate and maintain so after the study they were turned off. This happened as a radio station I did some work on that was sold. The STL tower was lit although it was shorter than the FAA minimum height for lighting and the new owner had them turned off and later disconnected from the power since folks kept turning them back on.
 

west-pac

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It could also be that the tower initially had obstruction lighting installed but the tower didn't require them by law and after a study was done they discovered that the lights were not required, but were expensive to operate and maintain so after the study they were turned off. This happened as a radio station I did some work on that was sold. The STL tower was lit although it was shorter than the FAA minimum height for lighting and the new owner had them turned off and later disconnected from the power since folks kept turning them back on.
The tower has been there, with lights, for several decades. The tower is 419.9 feet tall. Towers over 200 feet require lights.
 

IndyScan

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Little off topic but last time I drove up to Wabash (in 2019) I noticed a lot of the Wind Turbine tower lights weren't working at night (every 3-4 were not lit). Kind of surprised given how the ones on 65 in White County always seems to be working & in sync with each other (super distracting if you're tired and driving back from a weekend in Chicago).

I reported it to the FAA (wasn't sure who else would care). Never heard beck from them.
 

techman210

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Tower lighting requirements should be listed for towers requiring an ASR in the FCC's system. Tower owners are required to remotely monitor lighting systems so they know when there's a failure. When failures happen - usually it's just a burned out bulb, or if it is a failure in the control system, there is usually a "bypass" switch on the controller. Or it's easy enough to re-wire and power the lamps 24/7 until repairs are made. You can tell if an owner has notified the FAA by looking for NOTAMS listed for the nearest airport in the FAA's system.

With more LED systems out there, it becomes more complex, but even with the old incandescent systems, there will be more than one independent light source at the top as well as the sides of the tower.

Power usage for tower lighting is never a concern to the tower owner. Why would they be concerned about burning maybe 200W on the obstruction lighting when they are pulling 10KW or more for HVAC and radio systems in that little box at the bottom of the pole? :)
 

west-pac

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I found a NOTAM issued for this tower. I contacted IPSC on 9/7, this NOTAM was issued on 9/4. Since we're on month number 4, that I know of, I feel like this NOTAM was probably issued, then re-issued.

NOTAM 09/110: Huntington Municipal Airport (KHHG)
!HUF 09/110 HHG OBST TOWER LGT (ASR 1027693) 404441.00N0852428.00W (6.9NM SSE HHG) 1269.7FT (419.9FT AGL) U/S 2009041931-2011042359
CREATED: 04 Sep 2020 19:31:00
SOURCE: KHUFYFYX

EDIT:
NOTAM #: 09/110
Class: Obstruction
Start Date UTC: 09/04/2020 1931
End Date UTC: 11/04/2020 2359
Status: Active
 
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