Frequently Asked Questions
Where will the emergency communications tower be located?
The preferred location right now is Peter Funk’s property on top of Heroux Hill. There is a large bedrock escarpment that pops up out of the hill. We also looked at Dave Corasanti’s hill behind the Ole Barn and the town owned portion of Fern Mountain coming out of Fern Park. Mr Funk’s property already has an improved road, 48kv electric service and is the closest to the Fiber Network.
Where is the money coming from?
Supervisor John Frey has been trying to work with Hamilton County to get some of the emergency FEMA money that the county has and First Net money through AT&T. We cannot count on any state or federal funds until we build the tower. Right now the money is coming from our crowdsourcing campaign. We will attempt to apply for any grant that we qualify for and can afford to apply.
Herkimer County has pledged to assist the project by providing the radio equipment needed.
Will the tower need line of sight?
No, not for emergency communication purposes on VHF radio frequencies, but it will be line of sight for much of Fourth Lake and to Raquette Lake.
Isn’t Old Forge building a new tower, why do we need one in Inlet?
Inlet has been working on securing a tower for many years. It has long been an important project for Inlet.
The Tower in Old Forge is for Herkimer County Emergency services only. Inlet’s tower will house Herkimer County resources, along with building enough space for Hamilton County or other agencies that might need coverage beyond Old Forge and possibly one or more Cellular companies.
What is a Simulcast System?
It involves transmitting the same audio using the same modulation on the same frequency with multiple transmitters, all transmitting at exactly the same time. A simulcast network is designed so that all the repeaters synchronize their transmissions in time, making them appear as an extremely large single super repeater with a super large coverage area. This coordination of transmission is challenging, but for users operating a simulcast network, it produces a great result. The radios can move from one location to another without the user touching the radio or modifying its settings or changing channels, because they operate on a single frequency. The radios work the same way everywhere the combination of towers cover.
How will the Simulcast work for my area?
The radio will select the strongest signal from which tower is best. When a portable radio transmits, the tower will analyze the signal and only transmit the strongest signal with no static.
Have any of the cell phone companies expressed interest in renting space on this tower?
Yes, they have all expressed interest. They’ve had interest in Inlet for 15 years. Cell companies have a reduced interest in building, owning and managing towers. If a Cell company or companies sign on early enough in the project, we will include them in the build plan.
Will the tower be visible?
Yes, because it will be on the pinnacle of Heroux Hill. The nub and the top of the tower is already visible from some locations. The base of the tower and the equipment shed will be completely shielded from view by the perimeter of the trees.
What is a balloon test?
One of the first things the APA will do to show the other board members what it looks like. They will take pictures from 6thLake, 7thLake, 4thLake, the roads. The balloon will usually be at 3 different heights on it anywhere from 150/160 to 120 to 90 feet. They study the terrain from the different heights.
Are you going to have to build a road up there?
The road is there and there is power there. We will have to put the fiber in.
How tall will the tower be?
90 feet would be the minimum for just emergency communications, 120 feet would work for adding cell tower. We would probably need 160 feet if we were to connect to the microwave system.
When will the communication tower be up and running? How long will it take to do this?
Our goal is to have the tower up and running by the fall of 2019.
What will be the cost of the tower?
The tower will likely cost somewhere between $250,000 to $440,000 depending on the final height and design of the tower.
What happens if there are donations left over after the tower is in place?
Any excess money will be donated to area fire and rescue departments.
Where did the $25,000 that the Town of Inlet gave come from? Will this make our taxes go up?
Yes, your taxes did go up, about ¾ to 1% per $1,000 line. There is a line in the budget now. It may be offset in the future if there is a cell company or other reoccurring revenue is generated from the tower.
Where did the $25,000 that IVES donated to the cell tower fund come from?
IVES is a separate corporation from the town and money comes in from multiple sources – IVES does fund raising throughout the year which includes the golf tournament, clam bake, and the July 4th money drop. The Town of Inlet pays fire protection and EMS contracts. The Ambulance receives payments for certain transports and treatments.
Does the tower in Old Forge help here? The two towers will work together and will give us the best coverage. The current tower in Old Forge does not cover the entire area, there are many weak or dead spots. We are trying to fill in the holes. If one tower is offline the other tower can operate on its own and provide a fallback for both towns.
Will there be a light on the top for planes?
Likely no, a light is not usually required below 199 feet, but aviators will need to make an adjustment in their charts.
Will this be good for the Plains?
Our coverage plots say we will gain significant coverage in the Moose River Plains
Would 7thLake Mountain be better?
Yes, but it would be cost prohibitive and it located on State Land which does not support this use.
Are there any grants for this?
Yes, but competition is tough. We have recently applied for to the Northern Borders Commission which gives money for infrastructure. We’ve applied for federal and state money and will continue to apply whenever we can. Most of the cell and communication money goes to the counties. We have been told there is county money, but we cannot plan on it. There are very few grants coming through CAP 21 that we can apply for. The county was able to get federal dollars by creating a microwave loop. For Inlet to do that we would need a 160-foot tower to connect to Blue Mountain Lake. That might drive up the cost.
If this tower goes up will it be strong enough to hold microwaves links?
Yes, we will be built it for that, but might not happen.
Will this tower increase our cell phone coverages?
Possibly. We are going to appeal to the APA for extra height on the communication tower if we can get one of the cell phone companies to write a letter of intent which is a soft pledge for future colocation.
Where will the tower provide coverage?
We have run our coverage plots for VHF frequencies and it shows coverage from Old Forge to Raquette Lake on Rt 28, most of South Shore Road, Big Moose Rd to Big Moose Station, much of Big Moose Lake, Limekiln Rd to Limekiln Lake. Moose River plains at a different angle then McCauley Mountain site. When you combine the two towers it will be provide super coverage.