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Vandalized Tower Incident Has Silver Lining


After vandals toppled the tower supporting the Mount Diablo Amateur Radio Club’s APRS digipeater, the club decided to move its gear from Rocky Ridge, in the hills above Danville and San Ramon, California, to the North Peak of Mount Diablo. After recovering the digipeater hardware from Rocky Ridge on August 2, a team of five members of the MDARC Tech Committee the next day climbed the North Peak of Mount Diablo in a 4×4 truck re-installed the APRS digipeater and installed an amateur TV station.

“The digipeater, now 1000 feet higher in elevation, helps to cover an area with a radius as much as 150 miles,” says MDARC President Jim Siemons, AF6PU. “According to, the region had virtually no APRS coverage since the collapse of the Rocky Ridge Tower. Now, a much larger area has superior coverage, and [this] may actually lead to APRS devices becoming more popular among ham operators.”

Authorities suspect that vandals in late July cut several guy wires supporting the Rocky Ridge radio tower in the hills of the Las Trampas Regional Wilderness, causing the 200 foot structure to topple. Police are still investigating. — Thanks to Jim Siemons, AF6PU




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