The geographic locations of the tropo stations is one of the interesting
aspects of that network. The two northern sites make sense due to their
proximity to Washington, Site R, Camp David, and Mt. Weather. But the
existence and nature of the relationship (if any) between the tropo stations
and the other government sites is open to speculation.
A Dec. 1988 route map does show a cable connection (which could be coax,
fiber, or wire-pair carrier) between Hagerstown 2 and Blue Ridge Summit
(Site R), and today I spoke with a knowledgable person who confirmed that a
cable (N-carrier) did exist. And there's the reported cable between
Hagerstown 2 and the Cannonball PEF relay station. Also, the AT&T microwave
station named Omps, near Whitacre, VA, has a radio license linking three
destinations: Hagerstown 2, Leesburg 5, and Washington 4 - which is Mt.
The city of Charlottesville is reported to have hosted a black activity of
some FEMA predecessor agency. And I recall seeing mention on a FEMA web
site, a couple of years ago, of a "Software Engineering Division" in
Charlottesville. But it should be noted that the actual location of the
tropo station is about 13 mi. NE of that city.
Others have suggested that Chatham may have some relation to Ft. Bragg or
Pope AFB. Those installations are about 40-50 mi. south of the station - a
reasonable distance for a cable link, though I'm not aware of one.
The existence of the Buckingham relay station suggests to me that, whatever
the purpose of the Charlottesville and Chatham sites, there's some reason
they had to be in those particular locations. If the intent of the network
designers was simply to have a chain of stations, without regard to their
proximity to other things, they could have positioned the stations so that a
relay wouldn't be needed.
----- Original Message -----
From: "Rick C." <rickchem@...>
Sent: Sunday, February 17, 2002 10:12 PM
Subject: Re: [coldwarcomms] Status of Cannonball?
> Tim and others brought up the placement of Cannonball relative to
> Hearthstone, i.e. placing a grey project next to a truly black one. It
> brings up the question - why place the Hearthstone site there at all? In
> other words, what is the point of a 5 station tropo link to North
> and why not start the tropo at Site R? From the maps, I don't see a
> microwave link to any military sites, just Omps and the like. . .
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