Innovative lighting approaches for base-insulated transmitting antenna towers

Period of Performance: 06/30/2011 - 12/30/2011

$80K

Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Quest Integrated, Inc.
19823 58th Place S
Kent, WA 98032
Principal Investigator

Abstract

FAA and international standards require lighting of tall structures in order to warn aircraft of collision hazards. U.S. Navy VLF/LF towers have experienced an unacceptable rate of failure of existing tower lighting systems, resulting in significant maintenance costs and system downtime. QUEST proposes to analyze the problem of tower lighting failures in order to better understand the failure mechanisms at play, and to develop innovative solutions which circumvent or mitigate those failure modes. An RF-environment data collection device will be designed, built, and deployed on a Navy VLF tower to analyze electro-magnetic fields and induction effects. Two innovative solutions are proposed: (1) Hardening of the tower lighting units and improvement or alteration of their circuitry to guard against high RF fields and other environmental effects, in order to increase the survivability of existing equipment, and (2) Development of a novel fiber-optic based lighting system whereby all lights and critical control hardware is located at ground level, and light is transmitted to the top of the tower through fiber-optic cabling. A feasibility study will be performed to determine the relative merit of the two innovative solutions through consideration of cost, benefit, risk and reliability.