Falls City FAA Radar Site
Falls City FAA Radar Site (1959-Active) - A Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Long-Range Radar (LLR) site was first established in 1959 near Falls City, Polk County, Oregon. 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 a SAGE System ID of Z-345, a JSS ID of J-81 and an FAA ID of QFL. Active JSS Radar Site. Also known as Salem FAA Radar Site until changed in 2012.
This site was constructed in 1958-1959 and became an operational FAA radar site in 1959, furnishing radar track data to the FAA ARTCCs and to USAF Direction Centers. The initial FAA ARSR-1 search radar was replaced with an ARSR-4 radar in the mid-1990s. An FPS-90 height-finder radar was supplied from Keno Air Force Station circa 1979 and was later modified to become an FPS-116 which was removed circa 1988.
This radar site was placed halfway between Mount Hebo Air Force Station and North Bend Air Force Station and could back up either one with manual inputs initially and automated inputs by the 1970s. It is no coincidence that Mount Hebo AFS officially closed the same day that this site became an operational JSS site, 1 May 1979. North Bend AFS closed shortly thereafter on 11 Feb 1980 leaving this site to guard the entire Oregon coast.
A FYQ-47 Common Digitizer was probably placed in service by February 1973 when the USAF/FAA FST-2 to FYQ-47 replacement program was completed. By 1990 the site was equipped with an ARSR-1E search radar and a CD-2A Common Digitizer. The Falls City CD-2A was scheduled to receive an upgrade kit to implement three-level weather data processing in May 1992.
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 Seattle ARTCC (ZSE) and adjacent ARTCCs. Other federal agencies have access to the data under the Homeland Security umbrella. Communications to and from the site were provided by a microwave link. This was the first JSS site in the 25th NORAD Region. Operational on 1 May 1979, as OL AJ/25th ADS.
The Falls City radar site is located on a 40-acre parcel owned by Weyerhaeuser Company (formerly Willamette Industries) atop Laurel Mountain and is known as the "wettest spot in America". Property not utilized by the Falls City radar site is part of large-scale timber tracts.
The site was initially constructed with two power generators located on-site as the prime power source. Two 15,000-gallon diesel above ground storage tanks (ASTs) and three 5,000 gallon diesel underground storage tanks (USTs) provided fuel to operate the generators 24/7. When commercial power became available to the site in 1975 or 1976, the ASTs were taken out of service. The three USTs were removed in 1989 and replaced by a single 2,500-gallon UST that fueled a single emergency backup generator set. In 1998 the 2,500 gallon UST was removed and replaced with a 2,000 gallon AST.
Active FAA JSS facility near Falls City in Polk County, Oregon.