I miss Mount Wilson. I miss seeing its snow-capped peaks in winter. I miss the scenic drive to the 5,700-foot summit, camping in the summer when the kids were little. And I miss the benefits of the jungle of TV and radio towers that transmit Radio Frequency (RF) waves to the residents of the Los Angeles basin.


The first antenna was installed on Mount Wilson in 1948 but now the RF jungle includes radio, television and microwave relay facilities. Before we moved to the High Desert seven years ago, it was the RF jungle of antennae at Red Box, Video Road and Post Office Hill that radiated TV signals to our home.


In those days reception from KCET Ch. 28, KCOP Ch. 13, KTTV Ch. 11, KCAL Ch. 9, KTLA Ch. 5, KNBC Ch. 4, and KCBS Ch. 2 came through free of charge and free from the electronic snow that disrupts signals that are out of range. And with only a twist of the rabbit ears KABC Ch. 7 could be viewed making the reception of all the Los Angeles local channels viewable with only minor wiggling.


Coaxial cable or satellite TV was needed only for those who wanted a larger selection of channels. I'll admit that we were among those who opted for cable, and later satellite reception, as this technology became available. So, it wasn't difficult to adapt to the fact that on the High Desert we have several options for TV reception but none of these is to receive the free metro-media relay broadcasting from Mount Wilson.


We signed up for satellite service for the newest TV, adding the L.A. local channels to the package. The old TV with the DVD player, we brought with us, is in the guest room for visitors who had the choice of watching a movie or putting up with the snowy reception on the one L.A. channel we could receive with assistance from an upgraded, state-of-the-art Hi-Def digital receiver with a dial option. But that was before the national movement to Hi Definition Digital Technology. We signed up for one of those digital black converter boxes for the old TV and now we don't even get snow on that TV.


Meantime, down the hill, it is still possible to get the free local channels from Mount Wilson and channel 7 is still the one with the snowy reception. But things have changed in the L.A. basin since the move to digital too. Now they get additional channels.


Channels 4 and 5 each have two more news channels: 4-2 NSTP, 4-4 USN, 5 -2 Antenna, 5-3 MPAAR. KCET KF on channel 28-2 is for kids programming. Sports are available on 20-3 CEN, cooking at 58-1 and 58-3 on KLCS, painting on KLCS 58-4. There are two movie channels on KDOC at 56-1 and 56-3, Daystar religious programming is at 50-3, more Public Broadcasting on 50-1 and 50-2, and my personal favorite 50-4 World shows documentaries of global interest.


Spanish language channels are at 20-1 KNLA, 28-4 KCET, 44-9 TV-G, and a religious Spanish language station at 56-2 ESNE. Korean language programs are at 44-3 KTN and 44-5 ARIRANG, Japanese at 44-7 NTD, Chinese at 44-4 LSTV and 48-8 ICN, and one channel 44-6 IAVC that advertises as a foreign language station without restricting itself to one of the above.


There's more. Also available for free are channels 20-2 HSN, 20-4 AMG Zion, 30-1 ION, 30-2 QUBO, 30-3 ION-Life, 44-1 KXLA, 44-2 V-TV, and 44-10 KUMO, all of which have general interest programming.


While service is getting better for those living within the relay transmitters on Mount Wilson, no one is even talking about the possibility that something on the model of the Mount Wilson EF forest could be developed to serve those of us living here. The San Bernardino Mountain range has nine peaks higher than 10,500 feet. Surely one of them would be suitable for the erection of transmission towers to provide free TV for the residents of the Inland Empire and the Victor Valley. Our mountains are a beautiful gift of nature but I'd enjoy them a lot more if they could help me cut my monthly TV bill.