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Tech Tips: Tower Light Reminder

Items like tower lights and their maintenance may not rate as daily concerns but don’t forget them

This notification appeared in Alabama Engineering Academy’s weekly newsletter, Monday Morning Coffee and Technical Notes,” To subscribe, contact Larry Wilkins at [email protected].

All broadcast engineers understand that the FCC is serious about tower lighting, monitoring, and record keeping to demonstrate that monitoring has been done properly.

The FCC rules 17.47 inspection of antenna structure lights and associated control equipment.

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The owner of any antenna structure which is registered with the commission and has been assigned lighting specifications referenced in this part:

(a)(1) Shall make an observation of the antenna structure’s lights at least once each 24 hours either visually or by observing an automatic properly maintained, indicator designed to register any failure of such lights, to ensure that all such lights are functioning properly as required, or alternatively

(2) Shall provide and properly maintain an automatic alarm system designed to detect any failure of such lights and to provide indication of such failure to the owner.

(b) Shall inspect at intervals not to exceed three months all automatic or mechanical control devices, indicators, and alarm systems associated with the antenna structure lighting to ensure that such apparatus is functioning properly.

The commission also requires the maintenance of a log of the daily inspection by a chief operator or a log generated by the monitoring system weekly. It is also a good reminder that due diligence in an acquisition must include tower lighting monitoring records.

Most importantly, should the daily observation indicate an extinguishment or improper functioning of any top steady burning light or any flashing obstruction light, regardless of its position on the antenna structure, and not corrected within 30 minutes you must report it to the FAA (1-877- 487- 6867).

Click here for a tower outage form.

Larry Wilkins, CPBE, is director of engineering services for the Alabama Broadcasters Association.

RW welcomes your Tech Tips, email us at [email protected].