The locals have a saying here: There are two seasons: Winter and July! After visiting in early July, with brisk temperatures (snow still on the ground, 55 degrees and windy!!), I was bracing myself for mid-October! I wasn't disappointed! The weather varied from 8 degrees to 60, all in the span of 5 days, with winds from a dead calm to as high as 50 MPH.
The view, however, is worth everything. How about 140 mile visibility? At least on a clear day, which is about half the time. The photo above is towards Ennis, Montana, and Henry's Lake is visible below. A brisk day, the sun was setting and it was already 17 degrees and getting colder at the time of the photo.
Sawtelle Peak is just under 10,000 feet in height, a full 4500 feet above the valley floor, and it stands out very clearly on a clear day, as above. The FAA long-Range radar dome is just visible in the middle top of the mountain.
I specified an ERI 8 Bay, half wave spaced array, using an ERI lamda design tower, 120 feet in height. When we turned it on and made signal measurements, I knew we had made the right choice.
The antenna is designed to handle the Class C facilities of KWYS-FM, Island Park, Idaho and also KEZQ-FM, West Yellowstone, Montana. Each station broadcasts with an effective radiated power of 46,000 watts towards the horizon, and even 70 miles away in Idaho Falls, we found a 65 to 70 dbu signal. Not bad for being on top of the world! A real flamethrower, it seems.....
Since the sign-on of these two FM stations, visitors to Yellowstone National Park have two reliable radio stations to choose from. Sawtelle Peak holds a commanding view over the entire park, and this tower site provides a very important link to emergency announcements and weather information for park visitors, something which did not exist previously.
As visitors have found over the years, the weather is sometimes quick to change. In 1998, I was in the park on July 1st, trying to find shelter from a snowstorm. Had these stations been on the air at the time, I would have had at least a few hours of warning. So they both provide a valuable public service to residents and visitors alike.
My favorite time, when the conditions are right, is right after sunset. Even without the Northern Lights (which are quite visible from this location), the sunset is the best. Folks still wonder why I love this work. This might give you a clue.....
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© 2001 Broadcast Engineering Services of Bonny Doon