Anvil Mountain White Alice Communications Site
Anvil Mountain White Alice Communications Site (1958-1978) - A Cold War U.S. Air Force Communications Station, a part of the Alaska White Alice Communications System (WACS). The site system ID was "AVM".
After HF radio systems proved inadequate for command and control communications in Alaska, the Air Force implemented the White Alice Communications System (WACS). This was a system of tropospheric scatter and microwave radio relay sites constructed during the mid-1950s and 1960s to provide reliable communications to Alaska Air Command (AAC) AC&W radar system. The system came to encompass facilities for the Distant Early Warning (DEW) Line and the Ballistic Missile Early Warning System (BMEWS) in Alaska. While some of the WACS microwave sites remain active the WACS tropo sites were closed circa 1979 as communications technology rapidly changed to embrace communications satellites.
This site was built between 1957 and was officially activated on 9 Jan 1958. Original Facilities included a 6,720 square-foot equipment and power building with wood-frame design and asbestos-cement shingles. One POL tank had a capacity of 1,600 barrels of fuel. No dormitory was required because quarters for the operators were available in Nome.
Originally, Anvil Mountain had two sets of 60’ tropo antennas. One set faced Northeast Cape on Saint Lawrence Island (126 miles) and the second set faced Granite Mountain (136 miles). The link to Northeast Cape was discontinued by 1972 after Northeast Cape Air Force Station closed in 1969. A pair of transportable 30’ dish antennas were added to bypass this closed link from Northeast Cape WACS site to Tin City WACS site by establishing a link between Anvil Mountain WACS (AVM) and Tin City WACS (TNC). By 1977 this link was routed via Hill 3870 (OYJ) to Port Clarence WACS (KPC) and then to Tin City WACS (TNC) (see below).
A cable provided access from Anvil Mountain WACS into Nome.
The specific links from Anvil Mountain WACS (AVM) as/of July 1977 were:
Anvil Mountain (AVM) to:
This site was closed in 1978 as the major White Alice terminals were replaced by Alascom satellite terminals.
From the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation, Spill Prevention and Response Database:
Site operated 1944 to 1980. Possible contaminants include PCBs, petroleum products, acids, bases, solvents, inorganic chemicals, heavy metals. 1996 site investigation confirmed DRO, RRO, low levels of PCBs. Suspected area of lead contamination not confirmed. No drinking water near site. No hazard to population or streams adjacent to site. Unknown quantity of PCBs removed from site in 1982. EPA ID #AK7570028616. Unable to substantiate all substances in problem statement by information in file. Former staff assigned R. Cormack and S. Mawson. IRP site. This White Alice site was declared excess in 1979. State has preference rights to property. DSMOA site. Previous file# 400.23.002. (rpltr8). Several IRP sites exist at Anvil Mountain: Containment ditch - IRP site SS006, Ground Storage - SS008, Electronic Equipment Building - SS003, Concrete Tank Saddle - SS004, West Annular Tank Foundation - SS005, Concrete Tank Saddle - SS007, Overall Installation - OT001, Garage - SS002. The containment ditch is assigned a HIGH overall risk on the Air Force Relative Risk Evaluation Worksheet dated 9/5/95; all other sites area assigned a LOW overall risk. Exposure pathways are identified on the worksheets as ingestion/inhalation of soil/dust for humans and other mammals and ingestion of soil for birds. The site is a popular tourist spot for visitors to Nome.
The two sets of 60" tropo billboard antennas remain in place and have become a Nome tourist attractions. The remainder of the site has been demolished. This site is private property but public access is allowed if the site direction and warning signs are followed. Site cleanup activities have been completed.