I took a look at the "old" aerial photos in google earth, and it looks like it has been there a while, however it is hard to tell. The new photos are SO much more detailed than the old ones were.
It looks a lot bigger than the radio repeater up on Squaw Mountain. It almost looks like there is something buried across the road from that complex as well. Maybe it is a bunch of those "preppers" that have created a bunker on the top of Whalehead!
Found some info on Whale Head, Tumala Mtn doesn't show up though.
WHALE HEAD: Type: Tower, Overall height: 34 m, Call Sign: WPXA420
Assigned Frequencies: 467.237 MHz
Grant Date: 01/26/2013, Expiration Date: 02/20/2023,
Registrant: Forest Industries Telecommunication
Interesting. Wondering who "FIT" was, I googled the name and address and came up with this:
FIT stands for Forest Industries Telecommunication, so I'm guessing it is someone that the forest service must contract with. Either that, or private companies use it as well.
Once the snow melts, that will be on my list of places to visit.
Was in the area, so I decided to head to the top of Whale Head yesterday to see how far I could get. Predictably we got stopped by snow about a mile short of the tower.
The reason im even posting this is the view. It is superb! One can see the valley, Portland and beyond to the coast range. The view rivals Goat Mtn.
This thread intrigued me last spring when I saw the facilities on top of Whale Head on Google Maps. I tried pretty much every weekend in May to get up there and finally made it on June 2. The structures are indeed transmitters for the logging industry. They were in remarkably great shape. The road in was covered with brush for the 1st quarter mile, but then cleared after that. The views were fantastic - great shots of Hood, Jefferson, Ripplebrook, and Frog Lake. There was lots of fresh bear & cougar scat up there. We spooked something (actually 2 somethings) on our way out. We heard a loud grunt from the thick brush near the road and then the cracking of the brush as whatever they were ran the opposite direction. It scared the crap out of us! I've attempted to post some pictures from the excursion.
I went up there today and it is quite different now. They have completely brushed out the 5411 road and are installing utility vaults along the road - they are running PGE power up to the end of that road and will be installing a new Verizon cell tower up there. I ran into a couple of work crews this morning when I went up there who told me what was happening. The guy who told me about the Verizon tower also told me they were going to put up on 4.5 miles up Memaloose road as well. So cell service should greatly improve in the Clackamas drainage soon if you are on Verizon. I'm guessing it might be next year before they can complete it due to snow, but maybe they will go faster than I think.
I also walked to the end of the road and there is another antenna complex (it looks exactly like the one on Squaw Mountain). Looking at the Google aerial photos, it looks like they moved it to make way for the new cell tower. They still have a lot of work to do but they have done a lot already.
The tower like the one on Squaw Mountain:
What looks to be the foundations of the new cell tower:
This is the conduit that is getting buried along the 5411 road:
There are several spools of this conduit along the road, waiting to be installed - you can see the machine they are using to bury the conduit behind it:
And several spots where they have staged these utility vaults:
Here is one of the spools of conduit next to the road:
Nice post, Rob. That's a serious project! One thing about Whale head, you can see it from just about everywhere in the portland metro area. Once you know what it is, I think you can see it as much as hood in many areas. Very prominent, meaning it has a significant line of sight area. I don't know much about how the cell tower transmission thing works, but judging how serious of a job that is, and the size of the foundation, that tower is gonna be visible from a long ways away. I'd guess it'll be more than just a local cell service tower.
I know some old heads won't agree with me on this, but having expanded cell service up the Clackamas is gonna be very welcome (to me, a verizon customer). Anytime I'm out exploring up there, having access to data in real time can make the day more successful at times, along with anyone in trouble needing an S.O.S.
Looking into the tower up Memaloose, I wonder about the 4.5 miles they were referencing, road miles or ridge miles. I did a quick check with Google Earth on where 4.5 miles up the road ended up at, and its kinda no man's land. I originally thought of Wanderers Peak, but its no where near that. The hordes of people up on LaDee Flat will enjoy the new cell service. It also appears the 4.5 mile road spot lines up decently well with North Fork reservoir and the highway corridor on both sides.
The views from on top of Whalehead are pretty spectacular so yes, I can see why they chose it - especially since there is already a road up there. It should have pretty good coverage from up there I would think.
I thought the one up Memaloose seemed kind of close to the one on Whalehead, but I'm sure they have done their research on optimal coverage areas. I was thinking Wanderers Peak, too, but that is much farther up the road. It will be interesting to see what this does to coverage.
I was also thinking this wouldn't be done this year, but then I wondered if they might end up plowing 5411 if they needed to in order to continue to access the job site until it is complete. Don't know how long it will take to complete - it seems like quite a project. I saw stakes for a foundation (to house all the electronics and backup generator I'm assuming) as well as fencing around the entire area. There was also one that said something like "veg clear limits" so I'm wondering if they are going to enlarge the area up there as well.
I think having better coverage ANYWHERE is a good thing for everyone in general. Communication is such an important thing. We've progressed from #9 phone line, to radios with repeaters and now to modern cell coverage.
Both actually. The pictures that PStroebel posted were from the first one and the pictures I posted were of the one at the end of the road (where the cell tower is going to be). It also has another radio repeater - that is the one that looks almost identical to the one on Squaw Mountain. It also looks like they moved it in preparation for the cell tower.
It will be interesting to see once they get it all done.
According to USFS reports at https://www.fs.usda.gov/project/?project=53749 these projects appear to be part of an emergency radio communication system. There's no mention of Verizon or cell phone service other than to say cell service was considered as an alternative but was rejected. So I wonder if the worker who told Rob it was a Verizon project might have been mistaken.
Wow - that is interesting. It also says in addition to Memaloose and Whalehead they are putting one up on Oak Grove Butte (there is already a passive repeater up there).
It did kind of read like the same project. That is quite a project though - there was a table in there saying they are doing about 16 miles of electric conduit for the Whalehead tower 5 miles for the Memaloose tower and about 7.5 miles for the Oak Grove Butte tower. It is interesting to me that they need city power to power those things - the other towers (like are on Squaw mountain and the existing one on Whalehead) appear to be powered by solar. It sure looks like an expensive project.
Will be interested to see what it looks like when it is done. I wonder if it will get done this year or not.
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