Translator

The Lower Red Mountain translator station will need a replacement powerline to get back online.

Electricians have determined that there is no easy fix for the damaged powerline that feeds electricity to Pitkin County’s Lower Red Mountain Translator. 

Officials agree that the entire half-mile-long powerline must be replaced in order to get Lower Red back online, according to a press release sent out by Pitkin County TV/FM Translator Services.

“The powerline is over 40 years old and has years of band-aid fixes that have contributed to its deterioration,” said Pitkin County Communications Manager, Jeff Krueger, in the release. “Multiple shorts have occurred in the wiring and we can’t determine the exact location of all of them. The only way we can restore power to Lower Red is to replace the entire length of powerline.”

Officials anticipate meeting with the U.S. Forest Service to determine requirements for conducting the replacement project on U.S.F.S. property, according to the release. Adjacent homeowners in Starwood must also be consulted.

The outage is impacting TV stations that rely on the translator to rebroadcast “over-the-air” signals in mountainous terrain, including over-the-air network television in the Aspen area and GrassRoots and Community Government television (CGTV) valley-wide. The Aspen Skiing Company’s Power of Four cameras also remain off the air. Cable customers are not affected. 

The solution to restoring over-the-air TV broadcasts is to relocate broadcasts that relied on Lower Red to the Jackrabbit tower above Snowmass Village, according to the release. However, the current tower is unable to support the weight of the TV antennas required to broadcast over-the-air. 

“We have only been able to relocate the KSPN radio broadcast to Jackrabbit for now,” Krueger said in the release. “The Jackrabbit tower is in the process of being redeveloped this summer and should be completed around Labor Day. That means we won’t be able to host GrassRoots and CGTV up there until the Jackrabbit rebuild is completed.” 

Cable television and online radio and television service remain available in the translator outage area.