Sparrevohn was the hardest facility to build and one of the most costly. The site was not accessible by land or water. Survey gear was initially parachuted in 1951. Initial construction was accomplished by the 813th Engineer Aviation Battalion, who built the runway on Amchitka Island in World War II. Because the area was so poorly known at the time, survey equipment was dropped on the wrong summit at least once. On another occasion, a D-9 Caterpillar was being lowered from a helicopter by cable. The cable snapped and the Cat hurled into the top of the mountain, instead of coming to rest on top of it. When an airstrip was finally cleared, it was found to have a slope of 12 degrees. A sheer cliff is situated at one end of the airstrip. 1960 modifications to the composite building cost in excess of 1.6 million dollars.
STARISKY CREEK (HOMER R1-N)
Starisky Creek is an unattended main route microwave relay station linking Diamond Ridge, 14 miles south, and Clam Gulch, 26 miles north. It was constructed in 1955 and 1956 and opened on 30 March 1957. It was declared excess in 1979 and acquired by Alascom. It consists of a 1200 sf equipment building, an outhouse, and a 100 barrel POL tank. It performs the same function as it did in 1957 and much of the original equipment is left.
TATALINA (McGRATH, TAKOTNA)
Tatalina, which has been demolished, was a tropo link between Sparrevohn, 127 miles away, and Kalakaket Creek, 107 miles away. Both links used two 30’ dish antennas. It was constructed in 1956 and 1957 and opened on 27 October, 1957. It was deactivated in 1979 but a Minimally Attended Radar (MAR) facility still functions. There is also a microwave link to Galena FAA. The equipment building was 4160 sf and POL storage was accomplished by three tanks with a total of 1325 barrels capacity. Many facilities were available at the neighboring AC&W site. (See note 1)
TIN CITY (WALES)
Tin City communicated with Northeast Cape, on St. Lawrence, 161 miles southwest, with 60’ antennas. Later temporary 30’ circular antennas were added to link Anvil Mountain and Tin City, bypassing Northeast Cape. the facility was constructed in 1957 and opened on 18 February 1958. The composite building was 4960 sf and there were two POL storage tanks totaling 950 barrels capacity Other facilities were available at the AC&W site, 1.5 miles away. A passenger tramway was added In 1963 to transport workers from base camp to top camp (WACS). The cost to construct this and the Cape Lisburne tramway was almost 1.4 million dollars. Repairs in 1967 and 1968 to the composite building were 4.6 million dollars.
THE BMEWS (BALLISTIC MISSILE EARLY WARNING SYSTEM) REARWARD COMMUNICATIONS
Because most of these stations are so similar, the majority of them will not be described separately. Most consisted of a radio relay building, a POL tank, and a TD-2 tower. They were constructed exactly the same as the earlier TD-2’s, such as Naptowne, Soldotna or Rabbit Creek. They were all constructed in 1960 and opened in 1960 or 1961. Some had latrines and auto maintenance shops. In the following list, the station name is listed, whether it belonged to the A or B Route, the stations to which it was linked, and the mileages to the links appear in parentheses.
Station TD-2 Links
AURORA (A) Glennallen (25); Paxson (40)
BEAVER CREEK (B) Tok (41); Mt. Dave, Canada (43)
BLACK RAPIDS (A) Donnelly Dome (19); McCallum (20)
CANYON CREEK (B) Gold King Creek; Delta Junction (35)
CATHEDRAL (B) Knob Ridge (20); Tok (25)
CLEAR (A; BMEWS hub) Murphy Dome; Gold King Creek
DELTA JUNCTION (B) Gerstle River (28); Canyon Creek (35)
DONNELLY DOME (B) Black Rapids (20); Harding Lake (54); Delta Junction (18) (See note 2)
GERSTLE RIVER Delta Junction (27); Knob Ridge (31)
GLENNALLEN (A) Aurora (25); Tolsona (20)
GOLD KING CREEK (B) Clear (60); Canyon Creek
HARDING LAKE (A) Donnelly Dome (54); Pedro Dome (46)
KNOB RIDGE (B) Cathedral (20); Gerstle River (31)
McCALLUM (A) Black Rapids (19); Paxson (20)
MURPHY DOME (A) Pedro Dome; Clear
PAXSON (A) Aurora (40); McCallum (20)
SAWMILL (A) Neklasson Lake (33); Sheep Mountain (22)
SHEEP MOUNTAIN (A) Tahneta Pass (12); Sawmill (22)
TAHNETA PASS (A) Sheep Mountain (12); Tolsona (42)
TOK JUNCTION (B) Beaver Creek (41); Cathedral (25)
TOLSONA (A) Tahneta Pass (42); Glennallen (20)
The microwave link is to McGrath, not Galena.
Delta did not have a WACS shot to Donnelly. Donnelly was on the A route.
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