© 2004 Updated: 9/24/04

ANTENNA TOWER - SPECIAL REPORT

Squaw Mountain Tower Site Best Alternative to Lookout

Perpetuating misinformation about alternative sites has been a part of the Denver broadcaster’s strategy to continue polluting residential Lookout Mountain at 7200 altitude, 2000 feet above the “Mile High City.” Squaw Mountain Communications (SMC) provided Jefferson County Commissioners with documented clarification of “rumors” on August 13, 2001.


SMC is a privately-owned, 30+ acre tower site, at 10,890 altitude, below and east of the SM national forest summit (11,488 altitude) in Clear Creek County. The property is surrounded on two sides by national forest. There are 12 home sites below and east of the site that are not effected by electromagnetic radiation. There are over 1000 homes above the tower base on Lookout Mountain.

Squaw Mountain is comparable to the Mount Wilson tower site in the Angeles National Forest, above Pasadena, California. The towers are more than 5500 feet above Los Angeles and cover the area from Santa Barbara to San Diego.

The SMC cover letter, addressed to JeffCo planner and Squaw Mountain resident Russell Clark, deals with broadcast radio frequency (RF) coverage problems. Denver broadcasters claim there is too much shadowing and multipathing from towers on Squaw Mountain and Eldorado Mountain.

The multi-billion-dollar industry enjoy the convenience of residential Lookout, 20 minutes away from Denver studios. Engineers have apparently convinced JeffCo planners like Clark that RF repeater devices, positioned to pick up signals from non-populated higher elevations, cannot cover shadowed areas from SMC.

Shadowing is problem from all tower sites in mountainous terrain. Signals sent from the relatively low tower-base altitude of 7200 feet on Lookout Mountain’s east summit are blocked by mountains. A minimum of 100,000 viewers within the shadows east of the Table Mountains, south and east of Green Mountain and in the Evergreen area (blocked by Genesee Mountain) don’t receive clear signals from Lookout Mountain towers.

Repeater, booster and translator devices can be used to fill shadowed areas from higher altitudes. The devices are proven to be effective by non-profit Advanced Television Technology Center (www.attc.org). The SMC letter states, “Repeater solutions are not guesswork. The fact that some people are suggesting that repeaters are not a viable solution indicates that those individuals are not informed with current state-of-the-art technology.”

Multipathing is also a common mountainous terrain problem. Golden receives double and triple (ghosting) television images from signals bouncing back and forth from Lookout and Mt. Zion to the Table Mountains.

SMC enclosed a copy of a letter by Tim Cutforth, a 30-year, registered engineer consultant, well know by Colorado broadcasters. Cutforth states, “All present and proposed FM, TV, and DTV facilities for the Denver market could well be accommodated on two (of three) Squaw Mountain Communications tower sites… even powerlines were sized to accommodate the high power UHF TV transmitters… SMC provides excellent and even superior performance for users presently on the site… (where) historically multipathing has not been a problem.”

The engineer’s letter continues, “SMC towers do not and will not require lighting and painting and they do not and will not stick up above a ridge line on the horizon… the SMC towers will not impact the skyline from the Denver Metro area and will not degrade the beautiful mountain (area)… the SMC access road is second only to the suburban subdivision roads on Lookout Mountain. No other sites even come close… It is my professional opinion that Squaw Mountain is a proven site that is fully suitable for all FM (radio), TV (analog), DTV and Land Mobile Communications uses.”

The SMC letter states that the tower site owner recently met with Clear Creek County Commissioners and planning managers. “The Commissioners again proclaimed their support of SMC’s Official Development Plan… applauded Tom Baran for his upfront pro-active approach… confirmed that SMC is in full compliance and has no violations or complaints.”

A four-color book was enclosed with the letters. It provides projected population growth of the Denver Metro area, RF signal coverage maps from Squaw and Lookout, projected effective radiated power and field intensity data, and photos of SMC from Bergen Park (Evergreen), I-70 and as close as one mile away from highway 103 in national forest. There is no visual impact.

The letter states that the SMC site does not impact the foothills Mountain Backdrop, posses no health concerns and does not effect recreation areas. It does not have to compensate for Boulder’s Quiet Zone, is a legal ODP and can provide technical solutions for multipathing and shadowing. SMC claims the site is a win-win solution for Jefferson County:

• broadcasters meet DTV deadline
• no more delays and politics
• end JeffCo staff time and hassle
• end consultant and attorney fees
• no more hearings
• constituents are happy

At right: View of Squaw Mountain
from King Soopers at Bergen Park.

Rural Squaw Mountain Tower Site Description