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Re: Alabama/Florida observations

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  • Dave Emery
    ... To the best of my knowlage virtually all AT&T analog routes, both L coax and microwave, carried mixtures of civilian and defense circuits, private line
    Message 1 of 11 , May 3, 1999
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      On Mon, May 03, 1999 at 09:22:40PM -0400, Albert LaFrance wrote:
      > From: Albert LaFrance <ALaFrance@...>
      >
      > I don't know whether the L-carrier routes were exclusively for
      > national-security traffic, or whether they carried civilian calls as well.
      > Perhaps someone with more expertise on the co-ax network can answer that.
      >

      To the best of my knowlage virtually all AT&T analog routes,
      both L coax and microwave, carried mixtures of civilian and defense
      circuits, private line traffic and trunking for the PSTN, Autovon and
      various private lines. Much of this was granular on the group (12
      channels) or supergroup (60 channels) levels, but military/defense
      related traffic was sometimes routed on channel groups between
      particular central offices because those slots in the multiplex were
      assigned for traffic between those pairs of places rather than because
      it was military and thus intermixed with civilian circuits of various
      sorts on a voice channel by voice channel basis.

      And certainly some chunks of spectrum (specific groups,
      supergroups, mastergroups etc) got routed on L coax for part of their
      journey and microwave for another part. There were not separate
      systems, but highly interconnected ones with a common signal format in
      both mediums. Radio routes would often back up coax routes, and
      under failure conditions on the coax traffic would get switched to
      radio and sometimes visa versa. And circuits would get to their
      ultimate destinations on radio links, and link up to one of the major
      coax routes for the long haul part as there was much less coax than
      radio...

      In the mid to late 70s there was some active attempt made to
      route sensitive traffic, much of which was defense related, on L coax in
      certain geographical areas to make it less visible to the Russians who
      were known to intercept microwave links near their various diplomatic
      installations. This may have resulted in a substantial tilt toward
      defense related stuff on L coax in those areas, but I don't think there
      ever was anything close to a serious separation of traffic, and certainly
      not an exclusive use of coax by defense circuits. Some specific coax
      links may have been primarily military because they serviced major
      military facilities, but the military desire for redundancy meant that
      at least some circuits were provisioned by other routes.



      --
      Dave Emery N1PRE, die@... DIE Consulting, Weston, Mass.
      PGP fingerprint = 2047/4D7B08D1 DE 6E E1 CC 1F 1D 96 E2 5D 27 BD B0 24 88 C3 18
    • Mark Foster
      ... An interesting question. At first I though they carried both. Why not, we were paying for it in our telephone bill. All the engineers at Western
      Message 2 of 11 , May 3, 1999
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        >I don't know whether the L-carrier routes were exclusively for
        >national-security traffic, or whether they carried civilian calls as well.
        >Perhaps someone with more expertise on the co-ax network can answer that.

        An interesting question. At first I though they carried both. Why not, we
        were
        paying for it in our telephone bill. All the engineers at Western Electric
        I talked
        to though most L carrier equipment was for civilian use only. Later as I
        looked further
        there seemed to be a pattern.

        I think the answer is it depends who it connected. Much the same as asking
        does an overhead cable going to a military base only carry military traffic?
        Some of the original L1 cables carried 99% commercial. Some later L3/L4
        cables (like the ones to Lamar) carried 99% military.

        Which brings up another interesting point about L carrier cables. Some routes
        are well defined, have wide clear cut routes and conspicuously marked for
        aerial inspection while other routes have the traditional Bell system
        markers but are not so
        pronounced. Here in New England the key paths between main stations are
        the former while
        the "side legs" are the latter. I have a suspicion that the routes with
        "national security" implications
        with the former and "civilian" routes were the latter.
      • John Warne
        Sometimes you found residential, business, and government communications flowing through different cables in the same underground facility. In residential and
        Message 3 of 11 , May 4, 1999
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          Sometimes you found residential, business, and government communications
          flowing through different cables in the same underground facility.

          In residential and urban areas, manholes are interconnected by what telco
          people call ducts (I call 'em "pipes"). These multiple ducts are then
          filled with copper cables or sheaths called innerducts into which fiber is
          placed. Many times the manholes served as splice points for cale runs (and,
          in Florida, many times the manholes were filled with water. You'd pump one
          out, and it would refill from adjacent manholes via the ducts!)

          A couple ex-telco types told me there were/are situations where dedicated
          copper cables were used for national defense communications. These cables
          always had the splice casings painted a bright red. The local technicians
          were forbidden to open one of those splice closures, under penalty of
          termination of employment and federal prosecution!

          Seems there was a way that the integrity of the seals on the cables could
          be determined from remote sites.

          Many cables were pressurized to keep water/moisture out, so perhaps loss of
          pressure was used to alert in case of a breach.
        • Matthew Sadler
          ... Many underground cables, both those that are directly buried as well as those in ducts, are pressurized and they can/do monitor the pressure. Helps detect
          Message 4 of 11 , May 4, 1999
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            --- John Warne <warnejw@...> wrote:
            > From: John Warne <warnejw@...>
            >
            > A couple ex-telco types told me there were/are
            > situations where dedicated
            > copper cables were used for national defense
            > communications. These cables
            > always had the splice casings painted a bright red.
            > The local technicians
            > were forbidden to open one of those splice closures,
            > under penalty of
            > termination of employment and federal prosecution!
            >
            > Seems there was a way that the integrity of the
            > seals on the cables could
            > be determined from remote sites.
            >
            > Many cables were pressurized to keep water/moisture
            > out, so perhaps loss of
            > pressure was used to alert in case of a breach.

            Many underground cables, both those that are directly
            buried as well as those in ducts, are pressurized and
            they can/do monitor the pressure. Helps detect leaks,
            especially those caused by construction equipment...

            I'd say that the pressure is the easiest way to make
            sure people are keeping out of your cable.


            ===
            --
            Matthew Sadler, KF4LHP ICQ: 6280641
            kf4lhp@... mws6533@...
            http://www.qsl.net/kf4lhp/

            _________________________________________________________
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          • Albert LaFrance
            I worked during the summer of 1978 in data processing at the State Department, and recall being told that cables for classified un-encrypted ( red ) circuits
            Message 5 of 11 , May 4, 1999
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              I worked during the summer of 1978 in data processing at the State
              Department, and recall being told that cables for classified un-encrypted
              ("red") circuits within the building were carried in red-painted steel
              conduits, with the fittings welded and the pipe pressurized to detect
              intrusion. As I understood the concept, the crypto equipment was
              centralized in one or more secure technical-control rooms, with the lines
              between these rooms and the end users' phones and data terminals being
              protected solely by the conduits.

              I think pressurization for moisture protection was also used with aerial
              phone cables, at least the paper-insulated lead-covered cables which were
              presumably less tolerant of water than are plastic-insulated cables. In
              the 60s and 70s, it was quite common to see a tall gas cylinder (probably
              nitrogen) chained to the base of a telephone pole, with a hose going up the
              pole and attached to the cable. These setups seemed to come and go;
              perhaps the pressurization was only used when circuit problems suggested a
              leak. I also recall seeing technicians using listening devices on long
              poles to "sniff" for leaks along aerial cable runs.

              More recently, I've noticed a few old lead aerial splice cases having a
              small box attached to the case by a short stem. There is a small cable
              coming out of the box and connecting to a nearby junction box, like a
              regular subscriber line. I'm wondering if these boxes are pressure
              sensors.

              ...Albert

              >A couple ex-telco types told me there were/are situations where dedicated
              >copper cables were used for national defense communications. These cables
              >always had the splice casings painted a bright red. The local technicians
              >were forbidden to open one of those splice closures, under penalty of
              >termination of employment and federal prosecution!
              >
              >Seems there was a way that the integrity of the seals on the cables could
              >be determined from remote sites.
              >
              >Many cables were pressurized to keep water/moisture out, so perhaps loss
              of
              >pressure was used to alert in case of a breach.
            • hal
              Gosh Albert, we seem to have worked in the same place. I worked at the Foreign Affairs Data Processing Center at State around the same time. Its where I
              Message 6 of 11 , May 5, 1999
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                Gosh Albert, we seem to have worked in the same place. I "worked" at the
                Foreign Affairs Data Processing Center at State around the
                same time. Its where I gained my immense respect for the State. BTW lets see if
                we can plan a joint trip to Spear Mt.

                Hal

                Albert Lawrence wrote:

                > From: Albert LaFrance <ALaFrance@...>
                >
                > I worked during the summer of 1978 in data processing at the State
                > Department, and recall being told that cables for classified un-encrypted
                > ("red") circuits within the building were carried in red-painted steel
                > conduits, with the fittings welded and the pipe pressurized to detect
                > intrusion. As I understood the concept, the crypto equipment was
                > centralized in one or more secure technical-control rooms, with the lines
                > between these rooms and the end users' phones and data terminals being
                > protected solely by the conduits.
                >
                > I think pressurization for moisture protection was also used with aerial
                > phone cables, at least the paper-insulated lead-covered cables which were
                > presumably less tolerant of water than are plastic-insulated cables. In
                > the 60s and 70s, it was quite common to see a tall gas cylinder (probably
                > nitrogen) chained to the base of a telephone pole, with a hose going up the
                > pole and attached to the cable. These setups seemed to come and go;
                > perhaps the pressurization was only used when circuit problems suggested a
                > leak. I also recall seeing technicians using listening devices on long
                > poles to "sniff" for leaks along aerial cable runs.
                >
                > More recently, I've noticed a few old lead aerial splice cases having a
                > small box attached to the case by a short stem. There is a small cable
                > coming out of the box and connecting to a nearby junction box, like a
                > regular subscriber line. I'm wondering if these boxes are pressure
                > sensors.
                >
                > ...Albert
                >
                > >A couple ex-telco types told me there were/are situations where dedicated
                > >copper cables were used for national defense communications. These cables
                > >always had the splice casings painted a bright red. The local technicians
                > >were forbidden to open one of those splice closures, under penalty of
                > >termination of employment and federal prosecution!
                > >
                > >Seems there was a way that the integrity of the seals on the cables could
                > >be determined from remote sites.
                > >
                > >Many cables were pressurized to keep water/moisture out, so perhaps loss
                > of
                > >pressure was used to alert in case of a breach.
                >
                > ------------------------------------------------------------------------
                > Wanting to get back in touch with old friends?
                > http://www.onelist.com
                > Reunite through a ONElist community.
              • hal
                Sorry about that. Should not have gone to the list. Please ignore it. Thanks
                Message 7 of 11 , May 6, 1999
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                  Sorry about that. Should not have gone to the list. Please ignore it. Thanks

                  hal wrote:

                  > From: hal <halfei@...>
                  >
                  > Gosh Albert, we seem to have worked in the same place. I "worked" at the
                  > Foreign Affairs Data Processing Center at State around the
                  > same time. Its where I gained my immense respect for the State. BTW lets see if
                  > we can plan a joint trip to Spear Mt.
                  >
                  > Hal
                  >
                  > Albert Lawrence wrote:
                  >
                  > > From: Albert LaFrance <ALaFrance@...>
                  > >
                  > > I worked during the summer of 1978 in data processing at the State
                  > > Department, and recall being told that cables for classified un-encrypted
                  > > ("red") circuits within the building were carried in red-painted steel
                  > > conduits, with the fittings welded and the pipe pressurized to detect
                  > > intrusion. As I understood the concept, the crypto equipment was
                  > > centralized in one or more secure technical-control rooms, with the lines
                  > > between these rooms and the end users' phones and data terminals being
                  > > protected solely by the conduits.
                  > >
                  > > I think pressurization for moisture protection was also used with aerial
                  > > phone cables, at least the paper-insulated lead-covered cables which were
                  > > presumably less tolerant of water than are plastic-insulated cables. In
                  > > the 60s and 70s, it was quite common to see a tall gas cylinder (probably
                  > > nitrogen) chained to the base of a telephone pole, with a hose going up the
                  > > pole and attached to the cable. These setups seemed to come and go;
                  > > perhaps the pressurization was only used when circuit problems suggested a
                  > > leak. I also recall seeing technicians using listening devices on long
                  > > poles to "sniff" for leaks along aerial cable runs.
                  > >
                  > > More recently, I've noticed a few old lead aerial splice cases having a
                  > > small box attached to the case by a short stem. There is a small cable
                  > > coming out of the box and connecting to a nearby junction box, like a
                  > > regular subscriber line. I'm wondering if these boxes are pressure
                  > > sensors.
                  > >
                  > > ...Albert
                  > >
                  > > >A couple ex-telco types told me there were/are situations where dedicated
                  > > >copper cables were used for national defense communications. These cables
                  > > >always had the splice casings painted a bright red. The local technicians
                  > > >were forbidden to open one of those splice closures, under penalty of
                  > > >termination of employment and federal prosecution!
                  > > >
                  > > >Seems there was a way that the integrity of the seals on the cables could
                  > > >be determined from remote sites.
                  > > >
                  > > >Many cables were pressurized to keep water/moisture out, so perhaps loss
                  > > of
                  > > >pressure was used to alert in case of a breach.
                  > >
                  > > ------------------------------------------------------------------------
                  > > Wanting to get back in touch with old friends?
                  > > http://www.onelist.com
                  > > Reunite through a ONElist community.
                  >
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