Camp Six (Solar)

Serving Gasquet and the western half of Crescent City at 89.1 MHz

Location: five miles east of Gasquet (geographic coordinates and map).

Pictures were taken in April 2008.

Transmitting Antenna Array

Both HDCA-10 antennas on the left are directed to Crescent City. The two antennas on the right originally had the same orientation.

Technical minutiae:

It appears that the two antennas on the right have been reoriented to provide a signal directly to the Brookings translator. This reduces the broadcast power to Crescent City by about 3 dB, which is insignificant on the logarithmic scale of receiver performance. As was our standard practice, the signal path to the Crescent City translator was designed with a 20 dB fade margin. On a theoretical basis, with the loss of 3 dB by rotating two antennas, and the loss of 6 dB with the replacement of the quad receiving array at Crescent City, the signal strength still 11 dB to the good on that path. In practice, the Camp Six signal is remarkably strong in downtown Crescent City.

Based on the FCC's method of calculation, the original array had a theoretical gain of 15.5 dBd. Figuring 1.0 dB loss for 40 feet of RG-11 coaxial cable and its fittings, the one-watt translator was broadcasting to Crescent City with 28 watts of effective radiated power (ERP). An isotropic reference for antenna performance is more realistic: with an gain of 17.6 dBi and a coax loss of 1.0 dB, the array was actually broadcasting with 46 watts ERP.

Solar Power

The translator was a TTC XL1-FM, optimized for solar operation. Although unseen, a concrete box at the base of the towers was identical to the one at Grizzly Peak.

After a few winters, we discovered that the solar panels could not keep the batteries charged at this site either. The translator went dead. Of course, this affected the Crescent City and Brookings translators as well.

After the Grants Pass translator at Fielder Mountain was decommissioned, the T-99FM was no longer in use. In spite of its many inadequacies, it did operate with only a small amount of electric power. It was the perfect candidate for Camp Six. The nearest FM radio station was 17 miles distant in Crescent City, so it was easy to provide the radiofrequency filtering it needed.

Solar Regulator

The solar-optimized version of the XL-FM translator had its own built-in regulator for the batteries, but the T-99FM, of course, did not. The external regulator from Fielder Mountain was placed in service. It could not be left under ground in the vault because it would at times produce a considerable amount of heat. When mounted outside, the heat-dissipating fins had to be protected from falling ice.

Documents from the FCC Database

FCC Authorization 2008

Relative Field Polar Plot 2008

Earliest Recorded License Grant 1983

Major Modification to a Licensed Facility 1983

Application Search Results 2008

FCC Database

From the Application Search Results (just above), the entries for May 2 and July 6, 1983 appear inconsistent:

January 29, 1980: Original Construction Permit.

September 16, 1982: Major Modification to a Construction Permit.

May 2, 1983: Major Modification to a Licensed Facility.

July 6, 1983: License to Cover.

January 16, 1990: Renewal.

Topographic Map
Gasquet and Hurdygurdy Butte Quadrangles, U. S. Geological Survey


Geographic Coordinates from the GPS: 41 49' 51"N, 123 52' 33"W (NAD27)
Antenna Height Above Mean Sea Level: 1,134 meters (3,722 feet)

The Lookout Tower has been removed.

We enjoyed taking our evening meals while relaxing on the catwalk of the lookout. There was a clear view of Crescent City and the Pacific Ocean in the distance. The sunsets were spectacular. We camped nearby during the translator installation.

The second night, we decided to sleep in the lookout. We awoke to a strong wind that was making the old structure sway back and forth alarmingly. Frankly, it scared the hell out of us! We retreated to our tent and were content to sleep there for the rest of our stay.

The Camp Six Lookout was constructed by the CCC [Civilian Conservation Corps] in 1934 on Upper Coon Mountain. In the l950s the site was compromised with a number of electronic facilities and the lookout decommissioned. Restoration of the Camp Six began in 1991, but vandals soon damaged the lookout further, causing the Forest Service to remove, rebuild, and relocate it at the Bear Basin Butte site.

Sources for the Camp Six Lookout picture and history:
The "Lure of the Lookout" poster, The Forest Fire Lookout Association website:
The National Historic Lookout Register website:
November 13, 2008