Mt. St. Helena Adventure

On June 1, KBBF volunteers Alan and Andre met with contractors Adam and Bob to drive up the mountain to the antenna site to do some repairs and maintenance. The adventure started about half way up the unpaved access road when a tire on the welder/generator trailer went flat. By the time the trailer was dragged to the top of the mountain the tire was completely shredded. Adam had to leave it there overnight and come back the next morning with a replacement wheel.

But the adventure was not over, see below.

The main purpose of the trip was to repair cracks/splits that had developed at the bottom of two of the tower legs due to water getting inside and freezing. Adam, a licensed welder, magnafluxed and prepared the splits and then welded sleeves over them to strengthen the tower legs. Then he climbed the tower and installed some custom-made plates and gaskets over the tops of the three legs to prevent rainwater from getting in again. We also noticed that the main antenna had got pushed sideways by a windstorm, so he fixed that while he was up there.

While Adam and Bob were doing that, Alan and Andre did some other maintenance: installing a light switch in the transmitter vault, fixing a broken exhaust pipe on the generator, testing the generator, adjusting the modulation level on the main transmitter, and a couple other minor items.

Adam and Bob left first, and when Alan and Andre came back down the mountain, they found that the combination they had been using on the lock at the access gate had been changed . They were locked inside! And there was no cell coverage at the gate. Alan had to hike part way back up the access road to make calls. To make a very long story very short, Adam was finally contacted and he drove back from the other side of the county to let the volunteers out of stir. By then it was 7 pm – fortunately there was a bag of bagels in the car since they hadn’t brought lunch.

Next time we’ll double-check the combination on the way up!