The Siren Board

Discussion of Outdoor Warning Systems
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 24, 2020 7:23 pm 
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Joined: Sat Mar 30, 2013 3:50 am
Posts: 1370
Real Name: Dennis Seldon
YouTube Username: DJ2226
Location: Columbus, Georgia
Back in November I made another trip to Alabama to record. We managed to get four videos in one day. Achievement unlocked. :lol: This was also my first time using my new Canon SX540 HS. I actually forgot to set the camera to 60 FPS, but even at 30 it is an improvement over my older SX510 HS which does shoot at 1080P but captures at 24 FPS. The mic sounds about the same, but the image quality seems better. It can also zoom in closer to objects in the distance.

First up is a leaky but otherwise healthy Thunderbolt 1000AT in Millbrook. This is the one on the north end of town at the fire department. They have a second one, a 1000A, next to the police station and a few 2001's here and there. I was under the impression that this one was single tone, but I got a nice surprise when it wound up. Thunderbolts are a dying breed in this state, so to see functional units here is pretty sweet. I speculate that this siren and the others in the county along with the Thunderbeam may have come from Montgomery's old system, since, at least from what I heard, they had 1000's and 1000T's mixed in with their Thunderbeams. The installation of these particular sirens look kind of similar to the ones still standing in the city.

The second video I got is of this Thunderbeam in downtown Prattville. I've been wanting to record one of these sirens for a while to gauge how effective they were. I've always had a negative opinion of Thunderbeams because of their rather rudimentary design as far as the reflector disk goes. It was actually pretty punchy to my surprise and fairly directional, although it isn't quite as loud as other sirens in this class I've heard. A Thunderbolt or 2001 seem to pack more of a punch. Unfortunately my camera ran out of memory. I was recording with the SX510 HS as a backup, but My grandmother got spooked at the idea of recording in the area so I decided to stop it before the test begun. I replaced the lost footage with some snippets from my phone. It cycles with a 6/6 timing in attack, so this is one of the sirens in the county that has an ASC RTU driving it. Like Thunderbolts these too are a dying breed in this state considering that the ones in Pelham and Montgomery are out of commission or gone. Besides the two in this county you'd have to go way up to Huntsville, way down to Mobile, or way east to Georgia and go to Macon to hear one.

This third video is of an ATI HPSS16 on Maxwell AFB. Last month when I attempted to record another siren on the base they didn't test. I found a Facebook post to too long after that where the base notified the community that they were testing their system, so I'm thinking that whatever they did caused them not to go off that day. Unlike the one I recorded with my grandfather in Ft. Rucker this one was painfully wimpy. It also wasn't original... it uses the same prerecorded message and tone as the system at Tyndall AFB.

I want to include some info on this system, because it's kind of ridiculous. This siren along with about 18 others replaced a single Whelen WPS-2806A (type II cabinet with 6 amps) that used to cover almost the entire base. After hearing the ATI I almost consider the replacement a downgrade if the others are as weak. The Whelen apparently was installed by Montgomery County around the time they got their original 4004's. While it was active it more than likely had an analog ESC-864 logic board driving it. Obviously when the base installed their system in the mid-2000's with the intent of using it for all warnings including weather related ones the city shut their 2806A off. The Whelen itself either replaced or supplemented a system of ACA Screamers. Some of them are still standing. They have a S-2 and a couple of S-5's/7.5's. I couldn't get too close to the S-2, but with how new it looked compared to the others plus the fact that it was gray instead of yellow leads me to think it's an early ASC OM series siren. They also had at least two other sirens that appear to have been S-2's and another S-5/7.5. The base must have wanted to burn money, because these replaced a system of Federal sirens with the S-2 still replacing possibly a Model 5(Model 3) judging by the platform it was mounted to. This particular siren's platform seemed to be the home of so other siren, maybe some remnants of the Federal system. Whatever it was ended up being removed off of the platform by the ATI dealership when they stuck their rather dinky siren to it. Between this base, Gunter Annex, and the Air National Guard systems there are at least 30 ATI's consisting of mostly HPSS16's with a few HPSS12's and at least two HPSS8's. It could have installed HPSS32's and cut that number by about half. For the small amount of land they cover it's pretty ridiculous. You can see three from one spot on the Maxwell side. I can kind of understand have a large number of sirens near the air field itself, but the system is overkill. You can quite literally see four sirens from one spot if you position yourself in the right area of the base.

The final video I got was of this 4004. Not much to say about it. It is one of the older 4004s in the system. Unfortunately like most of the other older ones it has had its logic board swapped for a digital ESC-864. This siren was installed to fill in gaps with the old CD system before it got 4004'ed out of existence, mostly anyway. Montgomery still has at least three Thundebeams and two Thunderbolts left but not in use. I used both cameras and walked up underneath the siren while it was running. These rotating sirens kind of remind me of their omnidirectional ones. They are not too terribly loud from underneath, although it's not something I'd want to experience three minutes of if I were working on the controller.

Proud owner of a Model 1.
DJ2226's YouTube Page

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