Coast Guard continues quest for Tahoe communications tower |

Coast Guard continues quest for Tahoe communications tower

TAHOE CITY, Calif. and#8212; The U.S. Coast Guard continues to look for a location to maintain a communications tower on Lake Tahoeand#8217;s West Shore.

The USCG in June surveyed three West Shore sites after negative community response initially caused the military branch to reconsider a previously-identified site in Tahoma.

While the Tahoma site isnand#8217;t ruled out, Cmdr. Sid Osgood said the three other options are promising, including one which may potentially end up on Tahoe City Public Utility District land near Homewood.

Osgood said thatand#8217;s where a communications company is thinking of positioning a cell phone tower, one the Coast Guard could also use for the Rescue 21 radio communications it hopes to employ in the basin.

and#8220;Weand#8217;re hoping to co-locate,and#8221; Osgood said. and#8220;We very rarely like to build our own towers and thereand#8217;s a variety of reasons of that and#8212; we donand#8217;t own the tower and donand#8217;t have to pay additional maintenance cost … throughout the program we co-locate on about 80-90 percent of the towers.and#8221;

The Rescue 21 system is a high-tech marine communications system the Coast Guard is intent on employing nationally to improve reception between boats and rescuers.

Osgood said in a previous interview the current communications towers on Lake Tahoe are both dated and inadequate. The current system leaves gaps where rescuers cannot contact distressed boaters by radio, making it hard to pinpoint their position.

The Coast Guard finished surveying the potential sites in mid-June.

Osgood said the other two sites were near water tanks on the West Shore and would require the Coast Guard to build its own tower.

The project is currently in a holding pattern as the Coast Guard waits to hear if it can co-locate on the un-built communications tower.

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