Another casualty of the storm has been air-wave service, as the transmission and repeater towers at Gibraltar Peak are out of commission, affecting a zone that runs from Carpinteria to Goleta.
Two power poles were knocked out along Gibraltar Road, said operator John Franklin, who had to walk to the installation because of the boulders and mud blocking the road. A slide had blocked the driveway, too, he said, and it took him nearly an hour to wade through the brush and mud.
The Gibraltar towers handle cell phone communications, two-way radio calls, and television, radio, and microwave signals. Commercial stations are affected, but Kelly Hubbard, head of the county’s emergency office, said first responder communications were unaffected.
Cell service is affected for AT&T and T-Mobile from Gibraltar Peak. As well, the towers serve three television stations, NPR and PBS stations, some religious broadcasters, and a couple independents, Franklin said. Radio station KCLU, normally heard at 102.3 FM, suggested tuning to their AM frequency at 1340. Their website would also produce the broadcast, KCLU said, as did KCRW.
A helicopter is the only way to bring more diesel fuel to run the backup generators, Franklin said, and he was arranging for one. “It’ll be today, if we’re lucky,” he said, “but it might take as long as a week.”