On September 14, 2004, the SPS radio site staff upgraded the bottom solar array, shown in the image above, from 200 watts to 330 watts. This upgrade was a result of partnering with Pierce County Emergency Management in a effort to provide a more reliable source of power for the County's Puyallup Ridge 900 MHz Lahar repeater. The Lahar repeater relays information from stations located along the Puyallup River in the valley east of Puyallup Ridge. In the past, the Lahar repeater used alkaline batteries that required periodic replacement. Currently, the DNR 200 watt array and the DNR 330 watt array each charge separate battery banks. One of the battery banks consists of batteries utilizing current gel cell technology while the other bank utilizes older lead-acid design. Future plans are to phase out the lead-acid units, combine the output of the two arrays and double the capacity of the gel cell batteries. Olympia Radio Operations also utilizes the Puyallup Ridge site for research and development in conjunction with the ongoing Project 25 analog narrowband/digital capable statewide radio system replacement.
Site crew: Larry Gruber, Rob Lee, Andy Osborn - Image: Rob Lee 09-14-04