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Re: [coldwarcomms] Unusual AT&T microwave station

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  • Patton Turner
    ... I talked to a MCI crew a while back that removed a bunch of the KS style horns. They told me it was the most profitable job they have ever done as they do
    Message 1 of 4 , Apr 4, 2000
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      At 08:34 PM 4/4/00 -0600, you wrote:

      >Incidentially, I'm hearing more and more stories about the horns being
      >taken off of the AT&T towers. A man from Long Island sent me a note the
      >other day about the ones around him losing their horns. Sounds like some
      >AMT techs are working overtime.

      I talked to a MCI crew a while back that removed a bunch of the KS style
      horns. They told me it was the most profitable job they have ever done as
      they do to keep all of the copper in the circular waveguide.

      >
      >> Patton Turner Telecom Engineer- FAA Telecommunications
      >
      >So...I see FAA sites around here, often right to the side of AT&T Long
      >Lines
      >sites. Is FAA still using MW relays? If so, care to tell us some
      >interesting
      >stories?

      Yep, we have uwave through 46 of the lower 48 states. Started out with
      Collins RML stuff, then in the late 80s upgraded everything to AT&T FR8
      with karkar (since removed), grainger DTL mux, and Fairchild T1 modems.
      Washington required that the system be able to support broadband (video)
      radar. Until recentally we still had some RML stuff still in use for point
      to point. We also have a hundred or so hops of digital microwave (alcatel
      MDR5000 and 6000). We may try changing some of the backbone stuff over to
      digital microwave, or it may get turned down. We just finished turning 4
      hops here in atlanta from analog to digital by running both systems in
      parallel, until the traffic could be cutover.

      Lets see, we also had some 2 Ghz Motorola Starlan in Puerto Rico and the
      carribean that we shared with the FBI, but it is all gone, or will be in a
      few weeks.

      He in the southeast, we also had two dozen video microwave shots for radar
      video to remote towers when I came to work, now we are done to 1 FAA owned
      system, and 4 or 5 DOD units.

      It's kind of sad to see the microwave go, I enjoy working on it. Same can
      be said for HF emergency stuff. While we havent turned much of it down (in
      fact we have just upgraded to ALE), it has become a backup to the SATCOM
      systems.

      Pat


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    • Albert LaFrance
      Pat, Do you know if the FAA is using any former Western Union microwave towers? I was recently in Gambrill State Park in MD, looking for a WU station which was
      Message 2 of 4 , Apr 4, 2000
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        Pat,

        Do you know if the FAA is using any former Western Union microwave towers?
        I was recently in Gambrill State Park in MD, looking for a WU station which
        was part of the company's original Washington-Pittsburgh-New York "radio
        triangle". I was expecting to see one of WU's distinctive towers -
        actually two tall guyed towers connected by a crossbar at the top.

        I didn't see one, so I assumed the WU site had been demolished. But I did
        note an FAA microwave site nearby, consisting of a four-legged,
        self-supporting tower with a stairway, much like a fire tower. Later, I
        learned that WU used this type of tower on their earliest microwave links,
        so I'm wondering if the FAA might have bought the tower from WU, or
        contracted with WU in the past for communications services.

        ...Albert
      • Patton Turner
        ... I don t know of any WU towers being reused, but it s possable. I will ask a contact at AT&T. Generally all of our RML (RADAR microwave link- a collins
        Message 3 of 4 , Apr 5, 2000
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          At 02:34 AM 4/5/00 -0400, you wrote:
          >Pat,
          >
          >Do you know if the FAA is using any former Western Union microwave towers?
          >I was recently in Gambrill State Park in MD, looking for a WU station which
          >was part of the company's original Washington-Pittsburgh-New York "radio
          >triangle". I was expecting to see one of WU's distinctive towers -
          >actually two tall guyed towers connected by a crossbar at the top.
          >
          >I didn't see one, so I assumed the WU site had been demolished. But I did
          >note an FAA microwave site nearby, consisting of a four-legged,
          >self-supporting tower with a stairway, much like a fire tower. Later, I
          >learned that WU used this type of tower on their earliest microwave links,
          >so I'm wondering if the FAA might have bought the tower from WU, or
          >contracted with WU in the past for communications services.

          I don't know of any WU towers being reused, but it's possable. I will ask
          a contact at AT&T. Generally all of our RML (RADAR microwave link- a
          collins system) towers, built in the late 50's/early 60's, are ours. They
          were built when multichannel analog microwave was the only way to move
          radar any significant distance, and the FAA first implemented enroute
          coverage. Most if not all used periscope antennas. They existed solely to
          transpost long range radar and terminated at the enroute centers. Later in
          the late 80s, they were upgraded to AT&T FR8 radios, and began carrying
          analog data, and serving remote transmitter sites and some air traffic
          control towers. At this point we started adding links to increase
          conectivity to other centers or radars. Here in the Southeast, we bought a
          lot of Sprint sites, so it wouid have been possable to have bought a WU
          site, but it would have required more repair work to bring it up to shape.
          I've never seen a tower like you describe in the system, and it sounds like
          one that was bought. The original RML towers were guyed, some of the 80's
          buildout towers are self-supporters. Most of our towers, if not all, are
          equipped with ladders, most with safety rails, but I've never seen one with
          stairs.

          Some of the AT&T people who provided engineering are still arround, and I
          will ask about the MD site- Can you identify the site by it's distance and
          heading to a major city?

          Pat
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