Cummington FAA Radar Site
Cummington FAA Radar Site (1976-Active) - A Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Long Range Radar (LRR) site first established in 1976 on Bryant Mountain near Cummington, Hampshire County, Massachusetts. The site is used to identify and track military and civilian aircraft movements within a 200-mile radius and to provide air-ground radio communication with those aircraft. Assigned an FAA ID of QHA. Active FAA Radar Site.
This site became an FAA radar site in 1976, furnishing radar track data to the FAA ARTCCs and to USAF Direction Centers. The initial FAA ARSR-60 search radar remained in operation until it was modified to become a CARSR radar with a 1561 Antenna.
In October 1972 the FAA announced the selection of the site on Bryant Mountain but local opposition to the selection delayed the start of construction until May 1975. By December 1975 the building and the tower were complete but the equipment was not yet installed. In September of 1976 testing was underway and on 2 Oct 1976, an open house was conducted to signal the start of operations. In July 1996 a new radome was installed.
The 1-acre site includes a one-story concrete building and steel tower built under a $580,000 contract with Betnr Engineering and Construction Corp of Dalton. Bendix Corp. installed the fiber-glass dome and antenna in January 1976 under a $325,000 contract that included some electronic equipment. The site is surrounded by an 8-foot high chain-link fence. The total cost of the site including additional electronic equipment and the access road was estimated at $2.5 million.
The site probably began operation using an FPS-67B radar and a FYQ-47 Common Digitizer. By 1990 the site was listed with a Common Digitizer CD-2C and a FPS-67B radar. The Cummington CD-2 was scheduled to receive an upgrade kit to implement three level weather data processing in September 1992. A conflicting list of FAA radar sites from the same period shows the Cummington site as one of four having an ARSR-60 radar (the ARSR-60 was a modified FPS-20/66/67 series set). The 2016 list of legacy FAA radars indicate that the Cummington site legacy radar was an FPS-67A and the Radomes website shows it with an FPS-66B so there is some conflict over exactly what the configuration was.
The nationwide replacement program converting FAA legacy radar systems to the CARSR radar configuration was completed by 17 Aug 2015 and Cummington FAA Radar Site was a part of that program. Legacy FAA radars underwent a Service Life Extension Program (SLEP) that replaced key components in the vintage ARSR-1, ARSR-2, FPS-20, FPS-66 and FPS-67 radars. The CARSR program replaced legacy klystron radar transmitters with a solid-state transmitter as well as renovating the radar receiver and signal processor. The CARSR modification also included common digitizer functionality making a separate common digitizer unnecessary. The Cummington FAA Radar Site is now operating with the CARSR radar. The Radomes website indicates that the CARSR radar was commissioned on 19 Nov 2012.
The radar site data is now available to the USAF/NORAD Battle Control System-Fixed (BCS-F) operations centers (EADS & WADS) as well as the FAA Boston ARTCC (ZBW) and adjacent ARTCCs. Other federal agencies have access to the data under the Homeland Security umbrella.