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No permits for illegal microwave towers/antennas on the Palomar Inn

For five years, microwave towers/antennas have operated on top of the Palomar Inn without permits. MIcrowave radiation has been documented to cause many serious health hazards.
Oppose approval of illegal and hazardous microwave towers/antennas on the residential Palomar Inn!

On Tuesday February 8, at 7 p.m. (at City Council Chambers on 809 Center St.), the Santa Cruz City Council will discuss whether or not to approve the continued operation of the illegal microwave towers on top of the Palomar Inn (1344 Pacific Ave.)

According to notice # 00-014 from the City of Santa Cruz Planning Department sent February 9, 2000 to Palomar owners Mr. and Mrs Baumelgruen,

“ The installation of visible communication equipment requires a Use Permit, Design Permit and a Building Permit. A review of our files by the Current Planning Dept. indicates that no building or planning permits were obtained for the communication equipment.
“To abate the violation you may do the following;
1. Apply for a Use Permit, Design permit and Building Permit to legalize the equipment. Once you have obtained all permits, pursue completion of conditions in a timely manner.
Please be advised that the application does not guarantee approval.
OR
2. Remove all communication equipment that was installed without permits.?


Five years of non-compliance
•In a memo from Jacob Rodriquez almost a year later (January 17, 2001) the Baumelgruens continued to flagrantly ignore the City’s legal requirement for Use, Design and Building Permits.

•Yet another notice of Municipal Code Violations sent by Certified Mail on January 29, 2001 to the Baumelgruens requested compliance by February 28, 2001.

• As you read this, the Baumelgruens have still not complied and the communication towers continue to be operated illegally without permits nearly five years later!

In addition to brazenly flouting the legal permitting requirements of the City of Santa Cruz, the microwaves emitted by these ILLEGAL towers/antennas pose serious health hazards, according to many respected scientists both from the U.S. and around the world.

According to a 5/13/ 2003 letter from Planner Mary Alsip to Sage Associates, (independent consultants) no analysis was ever done to verify the safety of the towers/antennas atop the Palomar Inn because the applicants “are unprepared to pay for an entirely new report.?


Documented Health Hazards
from Microwave Radiation


• Sleep disorders and insomnia, decrease in REM sleep
• Slowed motor skills and reaction time in school children
• Altered white blood cell activity
• Decreased sperm count and reduced insulin production
• Headaches, tinnitus (ringing in the ears), and spatial disorentation
• Blood-brain barrier changes and altered brain activity
• Increased heart rate and blood pressure
• Loss of concentration and “fuzzy thinking?
• Decreased immune function
• DNA damage in human white blood cells.
Source: C. Sage/Sage Associates and “Cell Towers: Wireless Convenience or Environmental Hazard ?? Edited by B. Blake Levitt

“A repeated insult or irritation to a particular biological area, such as a small region of the brain, can lead to irreparable damage.?
Source: “Cellular Telephone Russian Roulette? by Robert C. Kane

“I have seen a lot of effects. One is DNA damage which is a concern because it can lead to degenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s, and DNA mutation is a cause of cancer.?
Source: Dr. Henry Lai, professor of bioengineering, University of Washington, Seattle

“ The U.S. Food and Drug Administration does not have enough money to monitor the health impacts of cell phones and other radiation-emitting devices.?
— David Feigal, Director of Center for Devices and Radiological Health, and the FDA.


What You Can Do

1. Attend the City Council meeting Tuesday February 8, at 7 p.m (City Council Chambers 809 Center St). Urge the Council to oppose permitting the illegally placed communication towers on the Palomar Inn.

2. If unable to attend, please write, phone, email (citycouncil (at) ci.santa-cruz.ca.us) or fax (831-420-5031) the City Council. Voice your opposition against these illegally placed communication towers which continue endangering human health.

Mayor Mike Rotkin
809 Center St.. Rm.10
Santa Cruz, CA 95060

Vice Mayor Cynthia Mathews
316 Walnut Ave.
Santa Cruz, CA 95060

Tim Fitzmaurice
809 Center St.. Rm. 10
Santa Cruz, CA 95060

Tony Madrigal
809 Center St.. Rm. 10
Santa Cruz, CA 95060

Ed Porter
809 Center St. Rm. 10
Santa Cruz, CA 95060

Ryan Coonarty
321 Broadway D-3
Santa Cruz ,CA 95060

Emily Reilly
809 Canter St. Rm 19
Santa Cruz, CA 95060

Sample Letter

To: Members of the Santa Cruz City Council:

For five years the City has been aware of illegally placed antennas and pagers atop the Palomar Inn at 1344 Pacific Ave. We request the immediate removal of these unsightly antennas/towers. If not, we want to be informed of the the specific city code that exempts the Baumelgruens and not afforded to anyone else. Others are red-tagged for failure to obtain proper permits.
The pager towers on the Palomar Inn are emitting a level of microwave radiation that has been found unsafe by scores of scientific studies. They endanger residents of the Inn and others in the area, including tourists.
Memory loss, headache, fatigue, nausea, brain cancer and brain hemorrhage have all been linked to chronic exposure to radio-frequency pollution.
Thank you for your prompt attention to this matter.
 
 


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Comments

Will you PLEASE start taking your meds again!

Hey!

The usage directions on the side of your bottle of Risperdol say you're supposed to take one every day.

How long has it been?
 

Re: No permits for illegal microwave towers/antennas on the Palomar Inn

Har de har har. You're so funny you should be on TV. Thank goodness microwaves cause sperm damage and male infertility.
 

Re: No permits for illegal microwave towers/antennas on the Palomar Inn

Thanks for posting this. It is good to have the information.

While I think that low power, long wave radio signals are harmless, the proliferation of other types of radiowaves such as microwaves does concern me.

My physics teacher demonstrated to me the power of microwaves when I was in high school. He placed a Hershey bar, intact in wrapper, on top of a microwave while he boiled a cup of water inside. After the water had boiled, he checked the Hershey bar. Though the exterior of the microwave was cool to the touch, the Hershey bar was melted when opened.

Kind of eerie when you think that our brain is comprised primarily of fat, just like the Hershey bar.

It is an easy experiement to try at home yourself if you doubt the results.
 

Re: No permits for illegal microwave towers/antennas on the Palomar Inn

The Palomar Inn is located at 1344 Pacific Ave. in Santa Cruz.
 

Don't Fall Victim to Pseudo-Scientific JibberJabber.

Wow, that Hershey bar story sure convinced me!

The next time I'm made of chocolate, I'll definitely avoid sitting directly against a poorly shielded, home-use microwave oven.

I wonder if a microwave transmitter works just a slight bit differently than a conventionalo microwave oven? You think so? Maybe?

Do you realize that you are being literally bombarded with a particular spectrum of radiation right this very moment as you read this text?

Scary, huh?

Oh, wait... that spectrum of radiation is commonly known as LIGHT.

Look, maybe these microwave towers DO have some risk to them. Are they different from other microwave towers that are present ALL OVER THE PLACE? Have they been improperly installed, misaligned, or damaged? Do you actually have some reason to believe that "these" towers are of particular concern?
----------

"A habit of basing convictions upon evidence, and of giving to them only that degree of certainty which the evidence warrants, would, if it became general, cure most of the ills from which the world is suffering."
~Bertrand Russell
 

Re: No permits for illegal microwave towers/antennas on the Palomar Inn

Using cloud chambers you can see that you are being bombarded by cosmic radiation from stars around the universe right now, even inside your home. Cloud Chambers (WikiPedia)

And these rays are serious radiation like electrons and protons at beta, alpha, and gamma rays. Much more dangerous than elctro-magnetic fields. But is is true that RF especially at certain frequencies like 2.4Ghz can make water molecules vibrate. This is how your microwave oven works, and if the water got hot enough it could denature some DNA and potentially cause cancer if your immune system didn't catch it and it deformed into a living form of some type.

Really strong magnets can actually drag the iron in blood through living cells causing damage. So, magnet therapy is a potentially bad idea.

 

Risperdol... please take your Risperdol!

The tin foil hats make the effects of the magnets much more intense, so make sure to take off your tin foil hat whenever you might be close to a magnet.

Otherwise, you should always wear your tin foil hat in order to ward off telepathic mind control.
...

Either that, or take your Risperdol on a daily basis.
--------

Colorless green ideas sleep furiously.

--------
 

pseudo-science, class prejudice, and liberal hypocrisy

"The pager towers on the Palomar Inn are emitting a level of microwave radiation that has been found unsafe by scores of scientific studies."

Okay, what is the EM field strength that you measured, where and when did you measure it, and using what make and model of meter?

On what frequencies have you confirmed (via frequency counter, oscilliscope, spectrum analyzer, or other suitable device) active broadcast from the Palomar? And at what wattage levels? Again, please cite date, time, and location of reading, and make and model of device.

You don't know, do you?

I believe you're lying. You have no idea what the EM levels are from that rooftop. For all you know, they could be in receive-only mode, or not even plugged in!

So microwave is dangerous but pirate radio stations are safe, because microwave is higher frequency? What frequency is light? Much higher! Pretty dangerous, all that light out there, huh?

So low frequency pirate radio is safer? Tell that to all the cancer cluster children growing up under 60hz power lines.

So lower power pirate radio is safer because "it's no more power than a 60 watt light bulb"? A light bulb is not a radio transmitter. A laser is not a radio transmitter either, but a 60W laser will slowly cut through sheet metal.

"Studies have shown that microwave energy can be dangerous"? Studies, including some of your very won, have also shown that microwave energy below a given threshold is NOT dangerous.

What's the level of the Palomar? Oh that's right, you don't know.

"Unsightly"? That building is some 12 stories tall, you can't even see them from most locations, without trying real hard. By contrast, the FRSC antenna is a terrible blight upon that neighborhood. Imagine a 30ft whip antenna on a 2nd story rooftop right outside your living room, kitchen, or bedroom window? Why don't you care about that?

So the Palomar doesn't have permits. I thought you all were against government restrictions? You're just jealous. Be happy for the Palomar that they are able to enjoy the freedom you are denied.

You should fight against city hall for that same freedom for everyone else, not fight alongside city hall against the public.

Free Speech TV pays bribes (called FCC licensing) for their freedom too, just like the Palomar is probably bribing city hall in some way. Meanwhile, you're denied the freedom to broadcast.

Is that FSTV's fault? No. Then how is it the Palomar's fault?

This isn't about radiation levels, city permits, or visual clutter. It's about you hating someone for having vastly more money than you and your friends. It's about class prejudice.

ne@nderthal
 

Impersonating a ne@nderthal is a low-brow tactic!

I AM NOT THE AUTHOR OF THE ABOVE POST WHICH IS ATTRIBUTED TO ME.

I WOULD APPRECIATE ITS REMOVAL.
 

RE: Impersonating a ne@nderthal

Sorry about that, ne@nderthal.

I didn't feel comfortable hiding the spoofed post, but you'll notice that I've made an appropriate correction to that post's "author" field.
 

Re: No permits for illegal microwave towers/antennas on the Palomar Inn

To "Nut Butter"
First a new idea is ridiculed, then it is attacke and then it is accepted. It took 50 years to convince people that cigarette smoke and even second hand smoke causes cancer.

Convincing people that microwaves are hazardous is even more difficult since they cant be seen and only give a few people headaches.
 

"microwaves... only give a few people headaches."

"microwaves... only give a few people headaches."

Probably true, more or less, but I think that's not what you meant to say, right?


"First a new idea is ridiculed, then it is attacke and then it is accepted."

Unless it is Untrue, in which case it's likely that it never passes much beyond the "make fun of it" stage.

I'm not saying that it IS untrue, only that should be based upon serious science, with studies about the precise issue we're interested in, not Hype and Generalizations. M'kay?
 

Re: No permits for illegal microwave towers/antennas on the Palomar Inn

Evidences of cancer from microwave radiation are well known. Just ignore the TROLL! He's the real liar.
 

Re: No permits for illegal microwave towers/antennas on the Palomar Inn

Don't worry, you can trust corporate America and the U.S. government. Nobody is lying to you. Everything is safe. You are getting sleepy now. When I snap my fingers you will go out and spend money.

There once was a time when you could go to the mall and put parts of your body in an x-ray machine for a nickel exposing yourself to large and unneeded doses of radiation just for the fun of it as many times as you wanted.

A friend who died of cancer, and was not informed of the risks, used to go look at his bones through that machine all the time.

The hazards of microwave radiation are well established and include brain damage and brain tumors.
 

Re: No permits for illegal microwave towers/antennas on the Palomar Inn

The fact that no permits were obtained for the installation of the antennas on top of the Palomar Inn speaks volumes. The last time this type of issue was raised at city council was when the permit for a motel in Beach Flats to install cell tower equipment was being appealed. In that instance, specific information was available that confirmed that the radiation levels for the occupants of the top floor of the motel were within the FCC regulated limits (but this was not the case if you were on the roof directly under the antenna). The radiation level at the sidewalk directly in front of the motel would have been much lower (measured in milliwattts per square cm). People who are not opposed to cell towers are correct when they state that the radiation on the sidewalk in front of the motel would be much less than that given off by a cell phone. HOWEVER, it is not so much less as to make a comparison imppossible. The radiation in front of the motel for 24 hrs per day 7 days a week would be roughly comparable to using a cell phone held up to your ear for a couple of minutes to a few minutes per day. So those people who are sensitive to cell phone radiation may be affected by such levels of radiation.

In the case of the Palomar, probably no studies have been done, since the installation of the antennas was done illegally without a permit. So I would not be suprised if one inquires to city hall and finds that no specific information is available about the radiation levels. But if one were to make a simple anology between the case of the motel and the case of the Palomar, one could make the rough guess that the radiation levels at the sidewalk in front of the Palomar are comparable to the estimates for the same location in front of the motel in Beach Flats. (More than 4 times as many antennas placed twice as far from the sidewalk) Note also, that even if one assumes that the inverse sqauare law applies (which is not gauranteed) the intensity of the radiation would still be significant even a block or more away from the hotel, since it is so tall to start with.

I would challenge the owners to prove that the radiation levels are even within the relatively lax FCC limits for the residents of the top floor of the Palomar Inn. Otherwise, they should be denied permits and be required to remove the antennas.

---- John Thielking BA Physics
 

Re: No permits for illegal microwave towers/antennas on the Palomar Inn

So it may not be healthy for certain people to stand 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, in front of the Palomar?

Sounds like a non-issue to me.

Even if radiation levels are high in the top floor of the building, appropriate solutions would be to add a little EM shielding to the roof, adjust the antenna to focus the energy more outward, reduce the power level slightly, or just post a warning sign on the top floor stairway and elevator entrances. We already have this for "chemicals known to the state of California to cause cancer".

Why jump to extreme measures, except out of hostility?

How do you know safety tests weren't performed by the owner and/or installer? Just because you are unable to find anything on record.

Go down to the Palomar with an EM field strength meter and prove something, or shut your hole Chicken Little.
 

Some actual measurements are inconclusive

Ok I played with my microwave oven and went to the 5th floor of the Palomar (sneaking a ride with a resident in the security locked elevator) and asked someone if I could make a call on their cell phone. All of this was done while holding my Real Goods tri-field meter that measures down to 0.01 mw/cm^2 of microwave radiation. The maximum reading on the tri-field meter is 1 mw/cm^2. This is expected to be a very crude device, not expected to give a reading that actually corresponds closely to the numbers printed on the meter, but it can be used at a specific frequency once a source of known intensity is obtained, such as a cell phone.

What I found was this:

My 1200W microwave oven reads 0.5-1+ mw/cm^2 within 1 foot of the closed door while it is operating. I put a chocolate candy in a cup to see if it would "melt my brain" just outside of the microwave oven. No such luck. After 3 minutes on full power, the chocolate, and presumably also my brain, did not melt.

I went to the 5th floor of the Palomar and looked around just outside of the elevator. The tri-field meter read zero. Note that this is an area where the radiation from the antennas is expected to be 10X stronger than at the sidewalk, assuming there is no attenuation of the radiation due to the walls of the building.

I then borrowed someone's cell phone to see what it would make the tri-field meter do when I made a call. The tri-field meter registered 0.01-0.05mw/cm^2. The person claimed that theirs was not a digital phone (which emits less radiation than an analog phone) but it looked like a modern phone. So it may have been digital.

It is not suprising then that the tri-field meter did not read anything on the 5th floor of the Palomar. It would have to be a factor of 72 times more sensitive before it would pick up the radiation comming from the antennas, even measuring from the 5th floor, if my crude calibrations are accurrate. Also the antennas may not really emit much radiation if no one in the area is making a call. This test was done at 9AM on a Sunday.

Marilyn Garret has a much more sensitive device for measuring microwave radiation. It goes off all the time whenever she is anywhere in the downtown area. She does not own a computer (for obvious reasons) so she is not privy to this discusson.

As for "hostility" I would suggest that words such as "hole" and "Chicken Little" are hostile enough. I did not attack anyone with my post. I simply asked that the owners be asked to follow the local and federal laws, lax as they are. If they have the studies to back up the safety of their installation then they should present them at the next city council meeting. We will see.

Also, from what I have read it seems that the blood brain barrier is grossly affected by as little as 2 hours of exposure to an analog cell phone. It is not unreasonable to expect some residents of a place such as the Palomar to develop headaches over a considerable period of time (a few days or weeks say).
 

Re: No permits for illegal microwave towers/antennas on the Palomar Inn

John,

First, thank you for your effort.

You attempt to invalidate your own lack of findings by virtue of the relative insensitivity of your detector. Certainly one can spend as much money as necessary until they pick up some shred of a signal. But to what purpose?

I mean, what is the level of EM radiation in mw/cm^2 above which you believe health may become an issue, and what is your source for this number?

Perhaps your own meter is perfectly adequate for health purposes, and anything below it's detection threshold is harmless?

After all, the entire universe is awash with background radiation. It's just too weak to matter to our bodies.

Agreed that your results are inconclusive, but I believe they are still compelling. I am glad to hear that the first real attempt at verifying a health risk to the Palomar residents and nearby citizenry, suggests there is no threat at all.

I encourage others who continue to harbor such suspicions, to do as you have done and attempt factual verification of this risk. Also to publish their results without partisan self-censorship, as John has admirably done.

I also encourage you and others to inspect Free Radio Santa Cruz likewise. Though lower in power, their antenna is in a residential area and mounted at residential rooftop height.

Given that terrestrial broadcast antennae are typically tuned to radiate the majority of their energy in the horizontal plane, you have cause for concern for the health and safety of residents of that neighborhood. Particularly if any of those bedroom windows belong to infants or children, with an horizontal line-of-sight directly and at close range to that transmitter.

The Palomar industrial rooftop may have been heavily shielded to protect residents, but the residential homes around FRSC will not be so built.

Further, the FRSC broadcasters and their unsuspecting guests may be at even greater risk inside that studio, directly beneath the transmitter.

Lastly, if your only concern is that "the owners be asked to follow the local and federal laws" even in the face of a complete lack of evidence for any health risks in the specific Palomar case, and now with your own evidence supporting the lack of risk, I must ask you:

When did you join law enforcement, John?

If there is no evidence of harm, and now even some evidence of no possibility of harm, why your interest in the unquestioning obedience to our so-called authorities?

Even allowing that your motivation is merely the Roman principal of uniform obedience to law, where then is your concern for Free Radio Santa Cruz and their lack of permits?

They too violate city, state, and federal law. In some ways worse than the Palomar (residential locale, physically lower transmitter).

Why is your interest in law enforcement so selective? Could it be political partisanship, in that classic liberals-vs-big-money vein?

And if you truly do have an interest in public health and have simply backtracked from that position in the Palomar's case in light of your own evidence, what about public health issues for FRSC's neighbors?

Maybe the Palomar, as you suggest, only broadcasts intermittently thus reducing overall exposure and causing your one test for radiation to faill. But we know FRSC broadcasts 24/7.
 

Re: No permits for illegal microwave towers/antennas on the Palomar Inn

I don't know where FRSC is being retransmitted from. They no longer broadcast from the Zami collective. I live near KSCO which is much higher power than FRSC. They broadcast right across from an apartment building on Portola. In an ideal world, all radio transmitters would be located far from residential areas and the airwaves would belong to the public, not to big corporations. But of course this is not an ideal world. Even some commercial radio transmitters near residential areas do not conform to the lax FCC standards. Just because my detector can't find a signal does not eliminate cause for concern. It does not register the signal from KSCO at my house for instance. Would you trust a doctor who looked at your blood with a magnifying glass and told you that you don't have AIDS because he could not see anything wrong with your blood? That is the conclusion you are drawing from my earlier statement. I don't have the resources to go out and get an RF "microscope" to find out if there is a real problem with the Palomar, or FRSC for that matter. But maybe the Palomar reports, if any, will shed some light on the issue. I could search for those at city hall on Monday, as R Norse on his radio show pointed out that there have been many appeals of the permits so there must be a report in there somewhere. I would have to look up the beach flats report again too, since it has been awhile since I looked at that.

Really these discussions tend to degenerate into debates about what to do with stone knives and bearskins (as a frustrated Mr Spock said on one of those famous Star Trek episodes), for I just don't have the equipment needed to make a measurement and the medical knowledge is not being developed since the studies to check for harmfull effects are often just not being done, at least not by anyone that the cell phone companies would listen to. The federal regulations specificly exempt broadcasters from civil liability in the case of EMF proving to be harmful. That part at least will not be a repeat of the ciggarette smoking issue.
 

Re: No permits for illegal microwave towers/antennas on the Palomar Inn

If cell phone and communication towers are so safe, why did the US govt write a law making it impossible to veto the placement of these towers due to health concerns—but they can be vetoed due to aesthetics?

Possibly because the govt knows the towers ARE harmful and so in order to not break the law, the companies that own these towers must disguise them as trees or hide them in church steeples etc.

Its sort of like selling cigarettes and making in illegal to sue the company if you get cancer.
 

Re: No permits for illegal microwave towers/antennas on the Palomar Inn

>Marilyn Garret has a much more
>sensitive device for measuring
>microwave radiation.

John, is there any chance you could borrow her device and then repeat your experiment?

Your initial findings seem to tell us only that the levels are not outrageously high. But they are not able to tell us whether some lower, but perhaps still problematic, levels may be present.

Thank you for your scientific efforts. I'm very impressed by your care and diligence in this matter.
 

Re: No permits for illegal microwave towers/antennas on the Palomar Inn

For the record... When FRSC was at my house on Chestnut St. Marilyn Garrett brought her device to the station. She put it RIGHT NEXT TO OUR X-MITTER. It made, not a peep! Then she put it up near the fluorescent light that was in the studio... Guess what happened? Yep, the thing went OFF! BEEP BEEP BEEP!!! draw your own conclusions....
 

Re: No permits for illegal microwave towers/antennas on the Palomar Inn

I conclude that Ms. Garrett had set her detector to ignore anything below 2Ghz, because she only cares about the picowave range (giga, billion, pico).

101.1FM is 101.1Mhz or 101,100,000 million cycles per second. 101 micro-waves per second. Any FM radio transmitter that is powered, emits microwave energy.

Also, did she sample the EM field strength from adjacent rooftops and windows? Anyone who knows anything about radio transmission antennas knows that the field around a transmitter can be shaped via tuning and near-field geographic attenuators (trees, other buildings) so that it does not radiate equal energy in all directions.

This means that even if no significant radiation were present in the studio beside the transmitter directly underneath the antenna, the 2nd story bedroom window of the house next door may be getting blasted.

Were neighbors ever advised of the FRSC transmitter, and the potential health risks of living near an electro magnetic radiator, particular the risks to infants, the sick, and the elderly? Were they given any choice?

High-power radio waves (such as are present near radio transmitters) are invisible, yet dangerous. This is why regulatory standards exist, to protect public health from the mistakes of competent amateurs with just enough knowledge to be dangerous.

The Palomar Hotel and FRSC should be held to equal standards.
 

Re: No permits for illegal microwave towers/antennas on the Palomar Inn

To all those interested listeners:

The debate at city council about the pager antennas on the Palomar roof has been postponed due to the fact that notices were not posted on the Palomar premises.

I did a little digging at the library and on the Internet and tried out Marylin Garrett's beeper. Here is what I found:

First, I looked at the documents from the FCC:

www.fcc.gov/Bureaus/Engineering_Technology/Documents/bulletins/oet65/oet65a.pdf

and

www.fcc.gov/Bureaus/Engineering_Technology/Documents/bulletins/oet65/oet65.pdf

to get a feel for what radio stations are required to comply with. It looks like the frequency range of 88Mhz to 108 MHz is more readily absorbed by the human body than the radiation from AM or cell phone frequencies, so the limits on FM are more stringent.
A 60 watt antenna that is 10 ft tall could produce a field of 162 microwatts per square cm at its base, if one stretches the figures in the FCC documents to cover low power smaller antennas. A 30 ft high antenna would generate 18 microwatts per square cm at its base. The Maximum Permissible Exposure limit for the general public for FM transmitters is 200 microwatts per square cm. Note that this is an exposure that is averaged over a period of 30 minutes. It is not clear if the FCC requires longer exposures to be less intense, but they have an equation which seems to imply as much.

I don't know if the SCRAM/FRSC folks have considered using a portion of the AM band. That may address some of the concern here. A 10,000 watt AM station is FCC compliant
some 6 meters from the base of the antenna. I guess KSCO messes up phone lines effectively, but does not do much tissue heating. KSCO does set off Marylin's detector, if one is right in front of the station. The instructions for the detector say that it is only off by a factor of 2 for frequencies at or below 6 MHz and a factor of 20 for frequencies at or below 1 MHz. KSCO broadcasts at 1MHz. So that means that KSCO could be emitting 20 microwatts per square cm right in front of the station.


The detector:

I got the Microalert detector for just one day. I started by replacing the battery. Then I drove to Davenport (which if I had read the directions was unnecessary. I could have simply cupped the detector inside of my hands to zero it) and “zeroed? the detector. This consisted of adjusting a pot on the side until it just barely stops beeping in a zero RF field. Then I drove to downtown Santa Cruz and walked around in and out of the Palomar. I found that the detector does not beep inside of the Palomar. But as soon as you are away from the front door on the outside, then it starts beeping. On the North side it stops beeping at O'Niels. On the South side it continues beeping until you reach the Del Mar Theater or even 1010 Pacific Avenue. It can beep strongly as far away as in front of the Library on Church st.

The instructions claim that the detector can be adjusted to detect anywhere from 0.1 to 15 microwatts per sq cm. The adjustment pot was some distance from the maximum sensitivity setting at Davenport, so I would guess a field of 0.5 to 1.0 microwatts per square cm was making it beep as observed during these tests. By comparison, an analog cell phone or cordless phone emits about 1000 microwatts per square cm at the antenna, when it is held right up to your head. This is about the same intensity as putting your head against the closed door of a microwave oven while it is operating. These figures square with the earlier guesstimate that I made that the radiation outside of the Palomar was equivalent to using an analog cell phone for a couple of minutes per day. I ran one test at 10PM Monday and another test at 1PM Tuesday, with similar results.

I attempted to double check the beeper against the tri-field meter using a 900 MHz cordless phone and a microwave oven. Neither device gave a reliable enough output to be much use. But it did seem that the beeper could detect radiation from at least twice as far away as the tri-field meter. (14 feet away in the case of the microwave). The cordless phone radiated power seemed to behave as 1/r up to a distance of 40? horizontally from the antenna but then it dropped off too fast after that to get a reliable picture of what it meant to have the beeper go off as far away as 84?. The beeper does go off about 1?-4? from a compact fluorescent light bulb.

Finally, I located the reports on the Palomar antennas at the library on Church st. The secretary at the city council office had to show me exactly where they were since the library clerk could not find them last night. One is in a green binder labeled “City Council Agenda Packet?. This is available at the reference desk or in unbound form on the shelves behind the reference desk where they keep the tapes. Look for the Feb 8th agenda packet. The other binder available from the reference desk is a white binder labeled “ Palomar Hotel Cell Towers.?

The reports go into some detail about what measurements and calculations show concerning the radiation levels from the antennas on the roof of the Palomar. First, it should be pointed out that of the 20 antennas on the roof, 17 of them are pager antennas, which broadcast up to a total of 1900 Watts, while the rest are Satellite TV and GPS antennas that receive but do not broadcast.

Although they were able to measure levels on the roof that were 200% of the Maximum Exposure limit for the general public, they were not able to detect any radiation inside of the hotel. The meters that they were using were only sensitive to 2.5% of the Maximum exposure limit for the general public, or about 25 microwatts per square cm.

The reports do tend to contradict each other a little bit. One report (Antenna Site RF Emissions Evaluation Report by Richard A. Tell, Jan 3, 2005) calculated that the Maximum theoretical exposure from all of the antennas on the roof operating simultaneously was a factor of 4 times less than what was actually measured in the other report. Tell's report also stated that the maximum possible exposure on the top floor of the hotel would be about 2% of the maximum exposure limit for the general public. The same report stated that the maximum possible exposure on the sidewalk 50 ft from the hotel would be about 2% of the maximum exposure limit for the general public (20 microwatts per square cm). Another source, Peter Gruchawka, stated in a letter that he thought the reinforced concrete roof would attenuate the radiation by a factor of 100 for the people on the top floor.

The reports also contain some reference materials put out by the anti-cell towers crowd, detailing the biological effects of microwaves. Some studies only show effects on the blood brain barrier when the brains are actually heated to 40-43 degrees C. While other studies show effects at much lower levels, such as SAR's of 2.5 and lower (cell phones are supposed to have SAR's of 1.6 W/kg or less). Digital phones are hypothesized to be more dangerous per unit of power than analog phones, based on what the studies have found for pulsed RF.
 

Re: No permits for illegal microwave towers/antennas on the Palomar Inn

To all those interested listeners:

The debate at city council about the pager antennas on the Palomar roof has been postponed due to the fact that notices were not posted on the Palomar premises.

I did a little digging at the library and on the Internet and tried out Marylin Garrett's beeper. Here is what I found:

First, I looked at the documents from the FCC:

www.fcc.gov/Bureaus/Engineering_Technology/Documents/bulletins/oet65/oet65a.pdf

and

www.fcc.gov/Bureaus/Engineering_Technology/Documents/bulletins/oet65/oet65.pdf

to get a feel for what radio stations are required to comply with. It looks like the frequency range of 88Mhz to 108 MHz is more readily absorbed by the human body than the radiation from AM or cell phone frequencies, so the limits on FM are more stringent.
A 60 watt antenna that is 10 ft tall could produce a field of 162 microwatts per square cm at its base, if one stretches the figures in the FCC documents to cover low power smaller antennas. A 30 ft high antenna would generate 18 microwatts per square cm at its base. The Maximum Permissible Exposure limit for the general public for FM transmitters is 200 microwatts per square cm. Note that this is an exposure that is averaged over a period of 30 minutes. It is not clear if the FCC requires longer exposures to be less intense, but they have an equation which seems to imply as much.

I don't know if the SCRAM/FRSC folks have considered using a portion of the AM band. That may address some of the concern here. A 10,000 watt AM station is FCC compliant
some 6 meters from the base of the antenna. I guess KSCO messes up phone lines effectively, but does not do much tissue heating. KSCO does set off Marylin's detector, if one is right in front of the station. The instructions for the detector say that it is only off by a factor of 2 for frequencies at or below 6 MHz and a factor of 20 for frequencies at or below 1 MHz. KSCO broadcasts at 1MHz. So that means that KSCO could be emitting 20 microwatts per square cm right in front of the station.


The detector:

I got the Microalert detector for just one day. I started by replacing the battery. Then I drove to Davenport (which if I had read the directions was unnecessary. I could have simply cupped the detector inside of my hands to zero it) and “zeroed? the detector. This consisted of adjusting a pot on the side until it just barely stops beeping in a zero RF field. Then I drove to downtown Santa Cruz and walked around in and out of the Palomar. I found that the detector does not beep inside of the Palomar. But as soon as you are away from the front door on the outside, then it starts beeping. On the North side it stops beeping at O'Niels. On the South side it continues beeping until you reach the Del Mar Theater or even 1010 Pacific Avenue. It can beep strongly as far away as in front of the Library on Church st.

The instructions claim that the detector can be adjusted to detect anywhere from 0.1 to 15 microwatts per sq cm. The adjustment pot was some distance from the maximum sensitivity setting at Davenport, so I would guess a field of 0.5 to 1.0 microwatts per square cm was making it beep as observed during these tests. By comparison, an analog cell phone or cordless phone emits about 1000 microwatts per square cm at the antenna, when it is held right up to your head. This is about the same intensity as putting your head against the closed door of a microwave oven while it is operating. These figures square with the earlier guesstimate that I made that the radiation outside of the Palomar was equivalent to using an analog cell phone for a couple of minutes per day. I ran one test at 10PM Monday and another test at 1PM Tuesday, with similar results.

I attempted to double check the beeper against the tri-field meter using a 900 MHz cordless phone and a microwave oven. Neither device gave a reliable enough output to be much use. But it did seem that the beeper could detect radiation from at least twice as far away as the tri-field meter. (14 feet away in the case of the microwave). The cordless phone radiated power seemed to behave as 1/r up to a distance of 40? horizontally from the antenna but then it dropped off too fast after that to get a reliable picture of what it meant to have the beeper go off as far away as 84?. The beeper does go off about 1?-4? from a compact fluorescent light bulb.

Finally, I located the reports on the Palomar antennas at the library on Church st. The secretary at the city council office had to show me exactly where they were since the library clerk could not find them last night. One is in a green binder labeled “City Council Agenda Packet?. This is available at the reference desk or in unbound form on the shelves behind the reference desk where they keep the tapes. Look for the Feb 8th agenda packet. The other binder available from the reference desk is a white binder labeled “ Palomar Hotel Cell Towers.?

The reports go into some detail about what measurements and calculations show concerning the radiation levels from the antennas on the roof of the Palomar. First, it should be pointed out that of the 20 antennas on the roof, 17 of them are pager antennas, which broadcast up to a total of 1900 Watts, while the rest are Satellite TV and GPS antennas that receive but do not broadcast.

Although they were able to measure levels on the roof that were 200% of the Maximum Exposure limit for the general public, they were not able to detect any radiation inside of the hotel. The meters that they were using were only sensitive to 2.5% of the Maximum exposure limit for the general public, or about 25 microwatts per square cm.

The reports do tend to contradict each other a little bit. One report (Antenna Site RF Emissions Evaluation Report by Richard A. Tell, Jan 3, 2005) calculated that the Maximum theoretical exposure from all of the antennas on the roof operating simultaneously was a factor of 4 times less than what was actually measured in the other report. Tell's report also stated that the maximum possible exposure on the top floor of the hotel would be about 2% of the maximum exposure limit for the general public. The same report stated that the maximum possible exposure on the sidewalk 50 ft from the hotel would be about 2% of the maximum exposure limit for the general public (20 microwatts per square cm). Another source, Peter Gruchawka, stated in a letter that he thought the reinforced concrete roof would attenuate the radiation by a factor of 100 for the people on the top floor.

The reports also contain some reference materials put out by the anti-cell towers crowd, detailing the biological effects of microwaves. Some studies only show effects on the blood brain barrier when the brains are actually heated to 40-43 degrees C. While other studies show effects at much lower levels, such as SAR's of 2.5 and lower (cell phones are supposed to have SAR's of 1.6 W/kg or less). Digital phones are hypothesized to be more dangerous per unit of power than analog phones, based on what the studies have found for pulsed RF.
 

Re: No permits for illegal microwave towers/antennas on the Palomar Inn

Editor: Please remove one of my duplicate posts. I think I hit refresh after I posted my last comment.
 

Re: No permits for illegal microwave towers/antennas on the Palomar Inn

I just gave the detector back to Marylin Garrett at the city council meeting. She loaned me a brand new detector with lots more bells and whistles. It measures in dBm and looks much more sensitive than the other detectors so far. I might be able to get some real numbers out of this one.

She mentioned that she had been inside both the ballroom and on the 6th floor of the Palomar with her Microalert beeper. The beeper went off in both places. She also said that being in the ballroom gave her a headache. Sometimes microwaves can come in through the windows, according to the reports I read.
 

JohnThielking's Experiments

You are a science teacher's dream come true! You've done some impressive investigative work.

Sorry the chocolate bar experiment didn't work for you. Be sure it is only in a *loose* wrapper (not in a cup which could act as a shield) and use only milk chocolate or truffles. Dark chocolate's fat content is too low.

If you repeat the experiment using the aforementioned suggestions and you still don't get any melting, I'd feel reassured about the safety of the microwave you're using.

Anyone for S'mores?? They go great with Nut Butter.
 

Butter melts on top of the microwave because it is warm

I repeated the chocolate experiment using a Trader Joe's UFO Giradelli Chocolate wafer placed on top of a napkin and covered (over the top only) with a piece of aluminum foil. 2.5 minutes of microwaving did nothing to the chocolate.

Then I took a pat of butter and did the exact same thing. After 2.5 minutes it looked a little glossy. After another 2.5 minutes it looked a little bit melted. Another 2.5 minutes and the butter was liquid around the edges.

Then it was time for the "differential measurement" to see if the melting was due to microwaves or heat. (The top of the microwave was warm by that point.) I put a fresh pat of butter of the same size through the same drill only this time the microwave was off. After 7.5 minutes all in one shot on top of the microwave the butter looked somewhat melted. After another 2.5 minutes it was more melted than the first pat of butter. So this test may show a slight difference, but it is not clear.

So I went for a hopefully more exact test: I cut two pieces of butter exactly the same size, by splitting a single slice down the middle. I left one slice on top of a napkin on the counter about 3 ft from the microwave. I put the other slice on top of a napkin and on top of the microwave under a piece of tin foil. Then I set the microwave for 7.5 minutes. 1.5 minutes into the test, I added a piece of chocolate to the napkin on top of the microwave so it got exposed for 6 minutes. After 7.5 minutes of microwaving, the butter was a little bit liquid around the edges, but less so than in the first test. The chocolate was a little bit melted too, leaving fingerprints in the chocolate when I picked it up.

Then I repeated the exact same sequence on top of the now warm microwave with the pat of butter that had been sitting on the counter for 8-9 minutes and a fresh piece of chocolate. The chocolate was placed on the napkin 1.5 minutes into the 7.5 minute test, the same as before. This time the microwave was off. The butter melted almost completely. The chocolate behaved the same as the other piece that was tested for 6 minutes.

Conclusion: The effects of heat overwhelm and confuse any attempt to measure the effects of microwaves on either the chocolate or the butter. Maybe I should try some lard like they use in french fryers. It is solid for long periods of time at room temperautre, thus the test would not be confounded by how long the butter was outside of the refrigerator.
 

Re: No permits for illegal microwave towers/antennas on the Palomar Inn

Damn, you are thorough!!
 

Re: No permits for illegal microwave towers/antennas on the Palomar Inn

You can make a rough estimate as to FCC RF emissions compliance at:
n5xu.ae.utexas.edu/rfsafety/

A 100W FM station with a di-pole antennae is legal as long as people are 14 feet away from it.
 

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