You may recall from the article titled Mountain Top Madness, that the PAPA site at Toro Peak suffered multiple equipment failures due to a lighting storm in late 2019. One of the causalities was our network router which is a mission critical piece of equipment as it connects both the analog and DMR repeaters at Toro Peak to the outside network. Depending on the site, the router also connects D-STAR, and/or IRLP to the PAPA System.
At some sites, network connectivity is provided to PAPA through a third-party, while at others, PAPA maintains it’s own private microwave network to connect to the Internet. At Toro Peak we have a tower mounted microwave antenna pointed at Edom Hill to bridge Internet to the site. At all PAPA sites, the outside VHF and UHF antennas have lighting protection on every feedline to protect the radio equipment inside the shelter. After the lesson learned from the lighting storm damage at Toro Peak, all PAPA site where we have external microwave dish antennas are being retrofitted for lighting/surge protection on the CAT5 cable that connects between the outside dish antenna and the inside router.
Over the past month, the microwave cabling at Toro Peak and Palomar Mtn. have received lighting protection devices. Today, the TECHTEAM went to Mt. Woodson to install protection on the antennas there. Both Palomar Mtn. and Mt. Woodson have two dish antennas that receive and re-transmit data across the network. Surge protection was installed in the rack and connected to the same ground buss as the antenna protection devices.
In the San Diego region, the sites at Mt. Otay and San Marcos Peak are on the schedule for CAT5 protection. The TECHTEAM plans to move northward through the system to install CAT5 surge protection as soon as possible. Below is a picture of the CAT5 protection panel installed today at Mt. Woodson along with the outdoor microwave antennas.