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Re: Germantown, MD - Mt. Weather link

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  • ozob99
    ... only ... actually ... this ... tower ... not ... radio ... ago. ... degrees), which ... route ... at ... a ... been routed ... the only ... almost a ...
    Message 1 of 15 , Jun 1, 2003
      --- In coldwarcomms@yahoogroups.com, "Albert LaFrance"
      <lafrance@w...> wrote:
      > ----- Original Message -----
      > From: "ozob99" <ozob99@y...>
      > To: <coldwarcomms@yahoogroups.com>
      > Sent: Friday, May 30, 2003 10:16 PM
      > Subject: [coldwarcomms] Re: Germantown, MD - Mt. Weather link
      >
      >
      > > My sources so far tell me what i have always been told: there was
      only
      > > one MW path into Wash 4,from Omps.
      > >
      > > R units are normally radio channels between terminals and/or main
      > > stations,therefore one would conclude an R unit Hamilton- Wash 4
      > > would be a direct shot;but i think in this case the R unit
      actually
      > > went from Hamilton to Lewistown to Clear Spring to Omps(normally
      this
      > > would show an R unit to Lewistown & then another to Omps).
      > >
      > > I'm also told the paths from East,South & West would require a
      tower
      > > at Wash 4,and i'm assuming that the one path was sufficient,and
      not
      > > having a tower to attract attention superceded having a diverse
      radio
      > > route;and there was the N CXR route.
      >
      > I just checked my notes from a visit to Hamilton about four years
      ago.
      > There was a pair of horns oriented west-southwest (about 250
      degrees), which
      > is roughly the bearing of Mt. Weather from that site. None of the
      route
      > maps or FCC records I've seen show Hamilton having any destinations
      at
      > longitudes west of the site, which makes me think the horns went to
      a
      > classified location.
      >
      > I agree that an R unit (or MUR?) Hamilton-Wash4 could well have
      been routed
      > Hamilton-Lewistown-Clear Spring-Omps-Wash4. In fact, if Omps was
      the only
      > radio path into Mt. Weather, that would be the most practical route.
      >
      > But it's also a very long (about 119 mi.) and roundabout route -
      almost a
      > complete circle with Wash4 at the six o'clock position - while a
      direct
      > Hamilton-Wash4 shot is only about 15 mi. There's precedent for a
      microwave
      > tower on the east side of the mountain: an American Satellite
      microwave
      > route went from there (the station name was Paris East) to an
      apparent
      > junction at Elmer, MD. From Elmer, a route went to the Site E
      tower at
      > Tysons Corner, and I suspect another went to Site R.
      >
      > There's an AT&T 1970 DC-area route map at
      > http://longlines.addr.com/places-routes/DC1970.html in case anyone
      wants to
      > locate the sites under discussion.
      >
      > Albert

      There might have been a direct shot then;the 2 guys i talked to just
      did'nt recall it;and if so maybe a tower was'nt needed and a dish in
      a hillside was viable.

      What was the date on the tower you mentioned?..i suspect it was not
      there in the early years,but after the site was not so secret anymore.
    • Albert LaFrance
      ... From: ozob99 To: Sent: Sunday, June 01, 2003 11:53 AM Subject: [coldwarcomms] Re: Germantown, MD - Mt.
      Message 2 of 15 , Jun 1, 2003
        ----- Original Message -----
        From: "ozob99" <ozob99@...>
        To: <coldwarcomms@yahoogroups.com>
        Sent: Sunday, June 01, 2003 11:53 AM
        Subject: [coldwarcomms] Re: Germantown, MD - Mt. Weather link


        > There might have been a direct shot then;the 2 guys i talked to just
        > did'nt recall it;and if so maybe a tower was'nt needed and a dish in
        > a hillside was viable.
        >
        > What was the date on the tower you mentioned?..i suspect it was not
        > there in the early years,but after the site was not so secret anymore.

        The only date I'm sure of regarding the tower on the east side of Mt.
        Weather is March 1998 - the date of the FCC microwave license database which
        contains the data. In that entry records, the callsign (WLM574) is shown as
        canceled, so it's possible the tower had been removed by then. I think -
        but am not sure - that it was also listed in a 1996 database.

        The tower's coordinates are N39-03-40, W77-53-09, elevation 1565 ft,
        structure height 113 ft. That location would be about 1/4 mi. SE of the
        facility's main entrance, with the base of the tower roughly 170 ft. below
        the entrance's elevation.

        Investigative reporter Ted Gup's 1991 Time Magazine article about Mt.
        Weather, titled "Doomsday Hideaway", is quoted on various web sites as
        saying "Aboveground, scattered across manicured lawns, are about a dozen
        buildings bristling with antennas and microwave relay systems." But on a
        visit a few years ago to part of the unclassified, higher-elevation area of
        the compound, near the main gate, I saw only two towers and no microwave
        antennas. Both towers were fairly short self-supported types. One held
        only a big HF log-periodic (as seen at many other government sites), and the
        other was a "stub tower" supporting UHF/VHF antennas. Also, one of the
        older buildings had some antennas of the latter type. But given the steep
        slope of the mountainside and large number of trees, it's difficult to see
        anything further down either side of the mountain.

        Albert
      • Albert LaFrance
        I found another Circuit Order Preamble card which relates to a possible Hamilton-Washington 4 (Mt. Weather) link; this one is to discontine a route between
        Message 3 of 15 , Jun 2, 2003
          I found another Circuit Order Preamble card which relates to a possible
          Hamilton-Washington 4 (Mt. Weather) link; this one is to discontine a route
          between Washington 4 and Blue Ridge Summit No. 2 ( Site) R via Hamilton and
          Lewistown:
          http://longlines.addr.com/places-routes/BRS2PA-Wash4VA/E01606.html

          Albert
        • ozob99
          ... possible ... a route ... Hamilton and ... That seems to confirm a direct path, i don t think there was a tower there in the late 1960 s, so if hardened it
          Message 4 of 15 , Jun 3, 2003
            --- In coldwarcomms@yahoogroups.com, "Albert LaFrance" <lafrance@w...>
            wrote:
            > I found another Circuit Order Preamble card which relates to a
            possible
            > Hamilton-Washington 4 (Mt. Weather) link; this one is to discontine
            a route
            > between Washington 4 and Blue Ridge Summit No. 2 ( Site) R via
            Hamilton and
            > Lewistown:
            > http://longlines.addr.com/places-routes/BRS2PA-Wash4VA/E01606.html
            >
            > Albert

            That seems to confirm a direct path, i don't think there was a tower
            there in the late 1960's, so if hardened it must have been
            ground embedded like the other hardened dishes; or maybe a dish on a
            building.
          • Mark Foster
            ... The question is why they are being discontinued. If Mt WX has a phone system anything like CMC, which is well documented in Bell System s literature, it
            Message 5 of 15 , Jun 4, 2003
              At 12:10 AM 6/3/2003 -0400, you wrote:
              >I found another Circuit Order Preamble card which relates to a possible
              >Hamilton-Washington 4 (Mt. Weather) link; this one is to discontine a route
              >between Washington 4 and Blue Ridge Summit No. 2 ( Site) R via Hamilton and
              >Lewistown:
              >http://longlines.addr.com/places-routes/BRS2PA-Wash4VA/E01606.html
              >
              >Albert
              >

              The question is why they are being discontinued.

              If Mt WX has a phone system anything like CMC, which is well documented
              in Bell System's literature, it would have two microwave shots and two
              cable routes
              all four of which feed into a special switch which instantly replaced a bad or
              damaged circuit with a good circuit. This would account for some of the
              redundant
              connections among the outlying stations.

              The four? routes would be an east and west microwave and a north and
              south?(east?) cable.

              Given the time frame of the removal it wasn't because they were being
              replaced by fiber.
              Maybe hard times (lack of funding) for the agency?
            • Doug Humphrey
              ... Change of mission is another possibility - it is likely that Mt. Weather is a multi-mission facility (I know that it is today, it is likely it was back
              Message 6 of 15 , Jun 4, 2003
                >
                >Message: 7
                > Date: Wed, 04 Jun 2003 04:36:39 -0400
                > From: Mark Foster <mfoster@...>
                >Subject: Re: Re: Germantown, MD - Mt. Weather link
                >
                >At 12:10 AM 6/3/2003 -0400, you wrote:
                > >I found another Circuit Order Preamble card which relates to a possible
                > >Hamilton-Washington 4 (Mt. Weather) link; this one is to discontine a route
                > >between Washington 4 and Blue Ridge Summit No. 2 ( Site) R via Hamilton and
                > >Lewistown:
                > >http://longlines.addr.com/places-routes/BRS2PA-Wash4VA/E01606.html
                > >
                > >Albert
                > >
                >
                >The question is why they are being discontinued.
                >
                >If Mt WX has a phone system anything like CMC, which is well documented
                >in Bell System's literature, it would have two microwave shots and two
                >cable routes
                >all four of which feed into a special switch which instantly replaced a bad or
                >damaged circuit with a good circuit. This would account for some of the
                >redundant
                >connections among the outlying stations.
                >
                >The four? routes would be an east and west microwave and a north and
                >south?(east?) cable.
                >
                >Given the time frame of the removal it wasn't because they were being
                >replaced by fiber.
                >Maybe hard times (lack of funding) for the agency?


                Change of mission is another possibility - it is likely that
                Mt. Weather is a multi-mission facility (I know that it is
                today, it is likely it was back then too) where there are multiple
                tenant agencies doing multiple missions. Communications facilities
                can be tied to the facility, or the agency/activity at the facility,
                or to a project within the agency/activity. If these circuits were
                for anything other than the facility as a whole, then they could
                have reached the end of the activity or project, it might have moved
                to another site (for example, an activity or project that was at Mt.
                Weather for a while, but then got its own bunker somewhere else and
                moved, so the commo followed it) or it got discontinued entirely
                and the commo simply ceased to exist.

                If you look at some of the records, it is clear that Mt. Weather serves
                many different customers, and is not monolithic, so you would expect
                to have more circuits provisioned in and out, and more change in the
                configurations over time.

                Doug
              • ozob99
                ... possible ... discontine a route ... Hamilton and ... documented ... two ... replaced a bad or ... of the ... and ... Mt. Weather did nt have,at least in
                Message 7 of 15 , Jun 4, 2003
                  --- In coldwarcomms@yahoogroups.com, Mark Foster <mfoster@c...> wrote:
                  > At 12:10 AM 6/3/2003 -0400, you wrote:
                  > >I found another Circuit Order Preamble card which relates to a
                  possible
                  > >Hamilton-Washington 4 (Mt. Weather) link; this one is to
                  discontine a route
                  > >between Washington 4 and Blue Ridge Summit No. 2 ( Site) R via
                  Hamilton and
                  > >Lewistown:
                  > >http://longlines.addr.com/places-routes/BRS2PA-Wash4VA/E01606.html
                  > >
                  > >Albert
                  > >
                  >
                  > The question is why they are being discontinued.
                  >
                  > If Mt WX has a phone system anything like CMC, which is well
                  documented
                  > in Bell System's literature, it would have two microwave shots and
                  two
                  > cable routes
                  > all four of which feed into a special switch which instantly
                  replaced a bad or
                  > damaged circuit with a good circuit. This would account for some
                  of the
                  > redundant
                  > connections among the outlying stations.
                  >
                  > The four? routes would be an east and west microwave and a north
                  and
                  > south?(east?) cable.


                  Mt. Weather did'nt have,at least in the early years,the sophisticated
                  ring routing,steel cable conduit,4 routes,etc that CMC had.



                  >
                  > Given the time frame of the removal it wasn't because they were
                  being
                  > replaced by fiber.
                  > Maybe hard times (lack of funding) for the agency?

                  In addition to the previous post statement re: agency missions
                  change,agencies change;some of these MG's were not fully loaded,maybe
                  only 2-3 SG's were in service, and in this time frame 50KB wide band
                  analog groups could be replaced by a DDS channel or T channel/line,or
                  some of the services could have gone to satellite; thus freeing up
                  bandwidth so circuit rearrangements would allow some multiplex
                  sections to be discontinued.....and the radio routes were'nt being
                  discontinued,only one of the radio channels out of 6 or 12 in each
                  route was disc.
                • Albert LaFrance
                  I found a Randallstown project file which confirms wideband data equipment at Germantown; it s from 1971, and specifies the removal of a LWM-6 modem, WLR-5
                  Message 8 of 15 , Jul 5, 2003
                    I found a Randallstown project file which confirms wideband data equipment
                    at Germantown; it's from 1971, and specifies the removal of a LWM-6 modem,
                    WLR-5 wideband loop repeater, and miscellaneous plug-in equipment.

                    Ref: Randallstown folder titled "834034 / Germantown / DC203 / Remove
                    Wideband"

                    Albert

                    ----- Original Message -----
                    From: "ozob99" <ozob99@...>
                    To: <coldwarcomms@yahoogroups.com>
                    Sent: Sunday, May 25, 2003 10:20 PM
                    Subject: [coldwarcomms] Re: Germantown, MD - Mt. Weather link


                    > Apparently Germantown early on was primarily for air-ground/mobile
                    > comms;concurrently or later it may have also fed some video, wideband
                    > data,& other services to the AEC/DOE, established there in
                    > 1957.Special Services to that area were normally fed out STC's like
                    > Silver Spring,Monrovia, Baltimore and possibly Washington 1;so
                    > anything directly out of Germantown(unattended) would be special or
                    > supplemental.
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