Fort Pickens WWII Radar Site (2)
Fort Pickens WWII Radar Site (2) (1943-1946) - A World War II U.S. Army Radar Site established in 1943. Used to provide fire control information to large caliber (6" and above) coastal gun batteries in the Harbor Defense of Pensacola against enemy warships. Located at Fort Pickens on Santa Rosa Island across from Pensacola in Escambia County, Florida. Closed in 1946.
Part of the Harbor Defense of Pensacola.
Constructed and transferred for use on 27 Jul 1943 at Fort Pickens. Construction costs to date of transfer were $ 12,700. The physical plant consisted of a transmitter building, two powerhouses each with a 1000 gallon fuel tank, a 100' steel tower and an antenna housing disguised as a water tank atop the tower. The three buildings and the tower were prefabricated steel units furnished by the Signal Corps. The buildings and the tower were placed on concrete pads and footings installed by the Corps of Engineers who erected all of the structures. Access to the antenna on top of the tower was by a small hoist operated by an electric motor.
In operation, the SCR-582 search radar provided an overview of all potential targets within its range. Once enemy targets were identified and plotted at the harbor HECP/HDCP command posts, target assignments were passed by telephone to the appropriate SCR-296 tracking radar site, citing the approximate range and azimuth of the target. Each gun battery 6" or larger had an associated SCR-296 radar site to track specific targets. The SCR-296 radar operators would then find the assigned target and pass the precise range and azimuth to the plotting room at the gun battery by phone. The radar operators would continue to track the target and update the plotting room as the range and azimuth changed.
The Radar track data was provided by telephone to support Battery Langdon as the primary battery and to secondary batteries including Battery 234 also on Fort Pickens and Battery 233 on Fort McRee. Battery Langdon was a casemated 12" gun battery located 400 yards southeast of the radar site.
Closed in 1946. The SCR-296-A Radar equipment was declared obsolete by AG letter on 17 Jan 1946. The Tower and radar equipment were to be disposed of while the buildings were to be retained.
The foundations of all three buildings remain as well as all four of the concrete antenna support piers. This site is easily reached from the Battery Langdon parking lot by traveling northwest on the unpaved road in back of Battery Langdon. The site is not marked so you must rely on the GPS coordinates to get you to the right spot. Warning, there are a number of tower foundations along this road and other building foundations so do not jump to any conclusions unless the site is at the listed coordinates and the building patterns match the drawing above.
Visited: 6 Jan 2018