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Re: [coldwarcomms] Unusual AT&T microwave station

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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 1 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 2 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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