THE BMEWS NETWORK
Gold King Creek
From this list, it is obvious that there is some overlap with the original system. This is because many sites had more than one function, or began with one specific function and added others. Such added functions are called "overbuilds" and denote an addition of certain communications capabilities, rather than a change in site configuration.
Project Stretchout, the next phase, was begun In 1959 and finished in the mid-1960’s. This project extended the DEW line system down through the Alaska Peninsula and the Aleutian Chain. WACS capabilities were added on to the installations listed below, in Table 3.PROJECT STRETCHOUT
Additionally, King Salmon WACS was overbuilt to include DEW-line capabilities. The Cold Bay facility functioned as the hub for this segment of the WACS. The last major buildup was project Bluegrass which provided an extension to Adak and Shemya. Also added at this time were Alaska Telephone Switching Station (ATSS-4A) capabilities to Big Mountain, Kalakaket Creek, Pedro Dome and Neklasson Lake. These four installations were hubs for the entire network because their circuitry was diversified--if one facility malfunctioned, the other three could communicate. These four facilities varied in layout and function. "Nek" Lake and Pedro Dome combined tropo and microwave functions. "Kal" Creek, while basically tropo, initially had a microwave link to Campion. Big Mt. was strictly tropo. Operation Bluegrass also added a 50 kw tropo shot from Fort Yukon to Barter Island, thus tying the north coast DEW-line into the main WACS system. Fort Yukon, as well as Adak, Nikolski, and Shemya WACS were the four installations to have 120 foot billboard antennas. This was because of the difficult terrain and long distances, or "hops," to be traveled along the Aleutian Chain and from the Interior, over the Brooks Range, to the north coast.
WACS microwave capabilities were added at pre-existing locations in the mid 60’s. These were on the active Air Force bases of Campion, Eielson, Elmendorf and Galena. These consisted of WACS rented office space in existing buildings on Air Force installations. They received signals from other microwave and tropo stations and provided telephone service to the base.
There were two other facilities, at Cape Chiniak and Sitklnak, both in the Kodiak archipelago. These installations were intended for use as WACS facilities, although Cape Chiniak was previously designed as an AC&W site. Technology was developing so rapidly during the 1950’s that these two installations were rendered obsolete by project Stretchout even before they opened. Thus, Sitkinak was never finished and Cape Chiniak later became a Pacific Range Tracking Site.
Documentation on the White Alice system is voluminous. Below are descriptions of two representative WACS sites Similar documentation is available for most, but not all, of the 71 facilities. Included throughout this report are representative as-built drawings and photographs of both the tropo and the TD-2 type stations. An example of a large WACS facility with both tropo and microwave antennas is Pedro Dome:
"The station consists of a 15,024 sf communication center, auto maintenance shop, a water fire pump station, a small warehouse, and diesel and mo-gas storage tanks. The communication center was built In 1957, and most of the other improvements were also built in 1957.
"The Communications Center and Attached Power Plant Room together with the dormitory wing contains a total floor area of 15,024 sf. The building is "T" shaped, with the top of the "T" containing the power and equipment room that measures 40’ x 256’, m/l (measured length), and the base of the "T" being the dormitory, kitchen area and dining room measuring 35’ x 134’, m/l. In addition there is a 20’ x 35’ warehouse addition and a 6’ x 20’ addition off the kitchen. The building has a concrete foundation with a concrete slab floor, frame insulated walls with asbestos shingle siding, and a fiat, built-up, hot tar roof with aluminum flashing and galvanized sheet metal scuppers. The building is heated with American Standard, oil-fired, hot water boilers, 346 MBH, that provides forced air heat to the building.
"The dormitory wing has a dining room, kitchen, walk-in cooler and freezer, storage room, laundry room, community bathroom, boiler room and ten dormitory rooms.
"The dining room has asbestos tile floor, sheetrock walls with hardboard wainscot, acoustical tile ceiling, incandescent lights, and double hung metal windows with storm sash.
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