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Winds push Muklung antenna askew, knocking out Nushagak Cooperative internet for days

 A helicopter at the Muklung tower site on Jan. 29, 2022.
Courtesy of Nushagak Cooperative
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A helicopter at the Muklung tower site on Jan. 29, 2022.

The internet was down for days last week around the Nushagak Cooperative service area. The cooperative said it was restored on Saturday.

Like other recent outages, this, too, was weather-related. It began on Wednesday afternoon. Telecom General Manager Director Trung Vo said high winds at the Muklung tower blew the antenna pointing at Levelock out of alignment.

“The antenna that blew off-peak is actually 12-foot in diameter, so it’s a pretty good sail, and sitting on the top of an 80-foot tower on the top of Muklung [Mountain],” he said.

Technicians tried to reattach the antenna. But the antenna adjustment froze up, and they were unable to get it back online before they had to fly home.

“With it being cold, and ice and stuff built up, it kind of jammed in place. That’s why it was off for an extra day,” he said.

It was too windy for the technicians to fly back to finish repairs at the Muklung site on Thursday. On Friday, the cooperative said they were able to reach the site, but the winds were still too strong for them to climb the tower to fix the antenna. They were able to temporarily restore the internet for Friday night. On Saturday, they made final repairs.

Vo said the cooperative hired Anchorage-based STG construction to provide additional maintenance to the Muklung tower, as well as the tower in Levelock and the two antennas in Dillingham.

As for people whose internet is still down, the cooperative suggests they unplug the modem for a couple minutes and plug it back in.

Contact the author at izzy@kdlg.org or 907-842-2200.

Copyright 2022 KDLG 670AM. To see more, visit KDLG 670AM.

Isabelle Ross