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Re: [coldwarcomms] Re: Thule Greenland base power plant

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  • Rod Lannon
    There is a huge machine shop and power generator building at the far end of J-Site. When given the royal tour, we had to wear earplugs AND muffs. Still, it was
    Message 1 of 9 , Aug 17, 2009
      There is a huge machine shop and power generator building at the far
      end of J-Site. When given the royal tour, we had to wear earplugs AND
      muffs. Still, it was horribly noisy and hot! I had never seen generators
      like
      that. Of course, it was necessary as each of the radar were 5 megawatt
      transmitters.

      I worked in building 2. It housed admin, MIP (missile impact predictor),
      which was run by 2 IBM 7094 computers. One was always online, the
      other was the backup and used for simulations and programming work.
      The printers were very large and were tractor fed. We used to run a program
      to mess with some of the operators. It would spit out random insults,
      specific
      to the guys on duty. To my knowledge no one ever found the deck of IBM
      cards we had sabotaged.

      Also in Bldg. 2 was TOR, where the radar data was examined before a decision
      was made to notify NORAD that WW3 had begun. Adjacent to that was CSMAR,
      which was the control room for all site wide operations. And my little
      comm center.
      One or 2 of us 24/7. We ran DSTE, AS500's. The rest of the floor was
      taken up
      by the mini chow hall, offices, and the gigantic buffers for the
      computers downstairs.

      Also downstairs was RCS, PMEL, and the phone switch for J-Site. And the
      tiny switchboard
      was also in RCS, otherwise known as Tech Control or a NOC today. RCS was
      responsible for ALL coomunications leaving BMEWS, which was by way of
      microwave
      over to P-Mountain, where the tropo was and the brand new SATCOM.

      There was also the steerable radar in building 9. Don't remember ts
      exact size,
      but went over there with Mr. Z. one day and stood there with my mouth
      open. We were inside the dome! They dropped a command and it began moving.
      It was amazing, but prepared for later assignmnts. Not sure if it remains
      or not today. It was being used the for Space Track program, which
      cataloged junk
      in Earth orbit.

      Data leaving was "encrypted" but not by any NSA equipment. There really
      was no need, anyway. A white and green box called "Kodex" (I have tried
      to track this down, but Motorala which now owns the company denies its
      existence.) Apparently it also was called Codex.

      There was, at one time sub cable, but the damn Soviets cut it every year.

      Security was tight. Somewhat relaxed from the 60's paranoia when we arrived,
      but stringent nonetheless. Sorry cannot detail this further, as BMEWS is
      still
      an operating facility.

      Telephone communication to Thule Main was via cable LAID ON THE GROUND.
      Not buried. Not even protected. In the late Spring and early Summer,
      when the
      thaw came, water would get in the cables and we had a hell of of time.
      Oh, you
      should have seen all the cock roaches! We had a "RED DYNAMO" across the
      site,
      which meant we were offline. COMPLETELY. Turned out to have been a fuse
      panel.
      When we opened it up there were thousands of roaches. Cold war comm
      story, indeed.

      Those of us in "leadership" roles carried useless 2 ways. As soon as you
      got 5 miles
      off base, going up the hill, you were out of range. You would call your
      vehicle number
      off in front of hangar 9, and report in when you hit the WARNING signs
      at BMEWS,
      before the radar cut you off.

      There were many back channel ops at Thule. It was one hell of an
      experience for
      me, that I can tell you.

      Any details you need, email me offline. Be happy to tell what is
      permissible.

      Pics up in a few days. Have to re-scan.

      Rod






      ozob99 wrote:
      > --- In coldwarcomms@yahoogroups.com, Rod Lannon <biggrod@...> wrote:
      >
      >> That is correct. The ship sat in North Bay Harbor,
      >> with lines ran to J-Site. Got the pictures of it too!
      >>
      >> One of the massive ship's anchor from that ship sits
      >> in front of building 2, to this day.
      >>
      >> Any other questions on BMEWS? I'd be glad to field them.
      >> Was at Thule in the mid 70's.
      >>
      >> Rod
      >>
      >
      >
      > Thanks for that info; i'm currently searching on how the BMEWS data was transmitted to NORAD, e.g. what type of modem(DDT/DDR like SAGE?), and routes; I'm assuming it was a tropo channel from Thule(& Fylindale)to Canada & thence to NORAD via TD2/L cxr channels; also any alternate/redundant routes?
      >
      > Here is a Thule URL apparently not previously posted, with photos of the supersized waveguide, & an account of the infamous "moon bounce" false alarm.
      >
      > http://www.bwcinet.com/thule/4techdr.htm
      >
      > BTW I'd like to see the power ship photo's.
      >
      >
      >
      > ------------------------------------
      >
      > Yahoo! Groups Links
      >
      >
      >
      > ------------------------------------------------------------------------
      >
      >
      > No virus found in this incoming message.
      > Checked by AVG - www.avg.com
      > Version: 8.5.392 / Virus Database: 270.13.59/2310 - Release Date: 08/17/09 18:04:00
      >
      >
    • David I. Emery
      ... Given the destruction that goes on of the institutional memory of many companies by simply willy nilly tossing out old documentation, files, memos,
      Message 2 of 9 , Aug 17, 2009
        On Tue, Aug 18, 2009 at 01:57:37AM -0400, Rod Lannon wrote:
        >
        > Data leaving was "encrypted" but not by any NSA equipment. There really
        > was no need, anyway. A white and green box called "Kodex" (I have tried
        > to track this down, but Motorala which now owns the company denies its
        > existence.) Apparently it also was called Codex.

        Given the destruction that goes on of the institutional memory
        of many companies by simply willy nilly tossing out old documentation,
        files, memos, production data, drawings and schematics, tapes and
        listings of software, programmable device masters and the files that
        generate them, manuals, engineering notebooks and so forth it is a
        wonder that anyone can retrieve anything useful about projects even
        only 5 or 10 years old let alone something developed in 1965-66.
        Quite likely the person at Motorola you spoke to wasn't even alive
        back in 1965 or was in diapers...

        Codex itself nearly went under a year or two after this (as I
        remember it) when the founder and CEO died suddenly of a heart
        attack... and the CTO (the guy who played me the tapes) left to found
        another company... so it isn't clear how much if anything from that
        early startup era survived in any form.

        I have no direct personal knowledge of whether the hardware we
        built was ever actually installed or used, but I presume it was. Nor
        do I know what was in use for BMEWS in the mid 1970s... or whether or
        how much it had been updated since 1966. I, of course, went back to
        school and on to other jobs after that summer and did not have anything
        more to do with Codex, though my banker dad did continue to follow the
        company for a while.



        --
        Dave Emery N1PRE/AE, die@... DIE Consulting, Weston, Mass 02493
        "An empty zombie mind with a forlorn barely readable weatherbeaten
        'For Rent' sign still vainly flapping outside on the weed encrusted pole - in
        celebration of what could have been, but wasn't and is not to be now either."
      • ozob99
        ... Thanks for the memories ... anecdotes & photos like this will be a valuable part of history when we are gone;otherwise all that would be left are
        Message 3 of 9 , Aug 18, 2009
          --- In coldwarcomms@yahoogroups.com, Rod Lannon <biggrod@...> wrote:
          >
          > There is a huge machine shop and power generator building at the far
          > end of J-Site. When given the royal tour, we had to wear earplugs AND
          > muffs. Still, it was horribly noisy and hot! I had never seen generators
          > like
          > that. Of course, it was necessary as each of the radar were 5 megawatt
          > transmitters.
          >
          > I worked in building 2. It housed admin, MIP (missile impact predictor),
          > which was run by 2 IBM 7094 computers. One was always online, the
          > other was the backup and used for simulations and programming work.
          > The printers were very large and were tractor fed. We used to run a program
          > to mess with some of the operators. It would spit out random insults,
          > specific
          > to the guys on duty. To my knowledge no one ever found the deck of IBM
          > cards we had sabotaged.
          >
          > Also in Bldg. 2 was TOR, where the radar data was examined before a decision
          > was made to notify NORAD that WW3 had begun. Adjacent to that was CSMAR,
          > which was the control room for all site wide operations. And my little
          > comm center.
          > One or 2 of us 24/7. We ran DSTE, AS500's. The rest of the floor was
          > taken up
          > by the mini chow hall, offices, and the gigantic buffers for the
          > computers downstairs.
          >
          > Also downstairs was RCS, PMEL, and the phone switch for J-Site. And the
          > tiny switchboard
          > was also in RCS, otherwise known as Tech Control or a NOC today. RCS was
          > responsible for ALL coomunications leaving BMEWS, which was by way of
          > microwave
          > over to P-Mountain, where the tropo was and the brand new SATCOM.
          >
          > There was also the steerable radar in building 9. Don't remember ts
          > exact size,
          > but went over there with Mr. Z. one day and stood there with my mouth
          > open. We were inside the dome! They dropped a command and it began moving.
          > It was amazing, but prepared for later assignmnts. Not sure if it remains
          > or not today. It was being used the for Space Track program, which
          > cataloged junk
          > in Earth orbit.
          >
          > Data leaving was "encrypted" but not by any NSA equipment. There really
          > was no need, anyway. A white and green box called "Kodex" (I have tried
          > to track this down, but Motorala which now owns the company denies its
          > existence.) Apparently it also was called Codex.
          >
          > There was, at one time sub cable, but the damn Soviets cut it every year.
          >
          > Security was tight. Somewhat relaxed from the 60's paranoia when we arrived,
          > but stringent nonetheless. Sorry cannot detail this further, as BMEWS is
          > still
          > an operating facility.
          >
          > Telephone communication to Thule Main was via cable LAID ON THE GROUND.
          > Not buried. Not even protected. In the late Spring and early Summer,
          > when the
          > thaw came, water would get in the cables and we had a hell of of time.
          > Oh, you
          > should have seen all the cock roaches! We had a "RED DYNAMO" across the
          > site,
          > which meant we were offline. COMPLETELY. Turned out to have been a fuse
          > panel.
          > When we opened it up there were thousands of roaches. Cold war comm
          > story, indeed.
          >
          > Those of us in "leadership" roles carried useless 2 ways. As soon as you
          > got 5 miles
          > off base, going up the hill, you were out of range. You would call your
          > vehicle number
          > off in front of hangar 9, and report in when you hit the WARNING signs
          > at BMEWS,
          > before the radar cut you off.
          >
          > There were many back channel ops at Thule. It was one hell of an
          > experience for
          > me, that I can tell you.
          >
          > Any details you need, email me offline. Be happy to tell what is
          > permissible.
          >

          > Pics up in a few days. Have to re-scan.
          >
          > Rod

          "Thanks for the memories"... anecdotes & photos like this will be a valuable part of history when we are gone;otherwise all that
          would be left are technical papers, manuals,etc.

          Personal narratives often tell a different, and more accurate story of what went on than official records.
        • ozob99
          ... A good example of this is Radio Engineering Labs(REL)who made most of the tropo gear during the Cold War(including the AT&T Project Offices); I ve tried
          Message 4 of 9 , Aug 18, 2009
            --- In coldwarcomms@yahoogroups.com, "David I. Emery" <die@...> wrote:
            >
            > On Tue, Aug 18, 2009 at 01:57:37AM -0400, Rod Lannon wrote:
            > >
            > > Data leaving was "encrypted" but not by any NSA equipment. There really
            > > was no need, anyway. A white and green box called "Kodex" (I have tried
            > > to track this down, but Motorala which now owns the company denies its
            > > existence.) Apparently it also was called Codex.
            >
            > Given the destruction that goes on of the institutional memory
            > of many companies by simply willy nilly tossing out old documentation,
            > files, memos, production data, drawings and schematics, tapes and
            > listings of software, programmable device masters and the files that
            > generate them, manuals, engineering notebooks and so forth it is a
            > wonder that anyone can retrieve anything useful about projects even
            > only 5 or 10 years old let alone something developed in 1965-66.
            > Quite likely the person at Motorola you spoke to wasn't even alive
            > back in 1965 or was in diapers...
            >
            > Codex itself nearly went under a year or two after this (as I
            > remember it) when the founder and CEO died suddenly of a heart
            > attack... and the CTO (the guy who played me the tapes) left to found
            > another company... so it isn't clear how much if anything from that
            > early startup era survived in any form.
            >
            > I have no direct personal knowledge of whether the hardware we
            > built was ever actually installed or used, but I presume it was. Nor
            > do I know what was in use for BMEWS in the mid 1970s... or whether or
            > how much it had been updated since 1966. I, of course, went back to
            > school and on to other jobs after that summer and did not have anything
            > more to do with Codex, though my banker dad did continue to follow the
            > company for a while.




            A good example of this is Radio Engineering Labs(REL)who made most of the tropo gear during the Cold War(including the AT&T Project Offices); I've tried finding technical records of their tropo gear online with little success, also the maps they published showing their projects all over the world. It seems they liquidated rather than being bought out intact;hopefully the records may turn up someday.

            Another map I used to have and been looking for was a late 60's or early 70's Continental Electronics brochure with photo's and maps of their VLF projects worlwide.It's probably buried in their archives.
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