Radio Communications Sites

Communications sites are located throughout Okanogan County.  Traditionally Communications sites are positioned near a summit or ridge to provide coverage to an area below.  The Communications site typically consists of:
  • Equipment Shelter/Building with heat and cooling
  • Antenna Structure (wood pole or metal tower)
  • Backup Power Generator
  • Security Fence
During the winter the facilities should be robust enough to withstand snow and wind loads as snow and ice accumulate on the structures, climate controlled to maintain reasonable operating temperatures and backup power for when ice or falling trees cause power outages.

During the summer the facilities should be fire hardened to withstand wildfire, backup power generators for when wildfire or falling trees cause power outages and cooling capacity for climate control to maintain reasonable operating temperatures.

Site improvements have been made and more site improvements are required to ensure emergency radio communications are operational during daily operations and remain operational during disaster events.

Two examples of the improvements that have been made can be found at Pitcher Mountain and McClure Mountain.

Pitcher Mountain Site Improvements
In 2016 the Pitcher Mountain site was a cinder block building with exposed wood rafters, no generator, fire fuels touching the building, wood pole supporting antennas.

Pitcher Mtn-2016_2061

In 2017 Okanogan County used grant funds to replace the above cinder block building and wood pole with a concrete building, metal tower and backup power generator to maintain operations during a power failure (circled in red). Two buildings and wood pole antenna structure not owned by Okanogan County, that were not concrete or metal structures, were destroyed in the 2020 Spring Coulee wildfire.  Okanogan Counties concrete structure and metal tower suffered no damage and no interruption to services.
Pitcher Mtn after 2020 Sping Coulee Fire -0017

McClure Mountain Site Improvements

The McClure Mountain facility is key to Methow Valley agencies.  The site was plagued by a lack of climate control, leaky roof and electronic noise from decades of old equipment not being properly maintained nor removed once no longer in use.

McClure-2016 - Copy

In 2016 Okanogan County was able to use grant funds at McClure Mountain to install a fire hardened concrete shelter, re-use the generator and replace the wood pole with a metal tower to establish a secure facility to house and operate the emergency radio communications system.