Steve Weatherly Email 28 Oct 2017

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Some comments on the FortWiki write up for Mt Hebo AFS, OR

The present comm buildings on the top of Mt Hebo include the former Lincoln Tillamook Telephone Company Bldg. This facility included the telephone and data links to the outside world including connectivity to the SAGE Direction Center, and to SAGE/BUIC AUTOVON. In your text, you incorrectly refer to it as Bldg #201 and the last USAF Bldg.

It is now used by the Oregon Coast Repeater Group ( Bldg #201 is over by the Med/Dental/Security Bldg The MARS station was by this building complex and closer to the road into the radar/ops area.

The Ops/T-2 Bldg down by the radar towers also included the Communication Center and Telephone Switch. When the manual telephone system was in use through 1965 there was also a room for outside telephone plant telephone maintenance. When the automated phone system was installed in 1966, this room was used for storage and the Lincoln Tillamook Telephone Company did the maintenance.

The third FPS-24 radome was also a rigid design but was a different type (CW-798), The radome panels in #3 were fastened to a rigid space frame. These panels were translucent unlike those in radomes #1 and #2 which were opaque. The panels in radome #3 also would flutter in the wind unlike the panels in Radomes #1 and #2. You could actually hear the panels flutter on the ground (at least 85 feet to 181 feet below). To reduce the flutter, which was causing the panel fiberglass material to break away from the rigid space frame, the manufacturer (ESSCO) installed a pressurization system inside the radome. All 3 FPS-24 radomes had to be installed on a Radome Support Structure (RSS0 that was installed around the entire perimeter of the radar tower from the ground to the top. The RSS was needed because the base of the radomes was bigger around that the 64' x 64' space at the top of the radar tower. These radomes were also heavy and the roof which carried the 85.5-ton antenna could not support the added weight. After radome #3 collapsed the RSS was not removed. Both the Mt Hebo and Cottonwood AFS, ID FPS-24 radars had radomes and the RSS. The only Cottonwood radome installed remained in use until the station was closed. Presently (2017) the FPS-24 radar tower, less the RSS, remains at Cottonwood.

The FPS-24 radar (electronics and not the radar tower) was replaced by the surplus FPS-27 radar from Miles City, MT. The replacement was installed in the existing FPS-24 radar tower. A much smaller rigid radome was installed for the FPS-27 antenna and it lasted until the radar station was closed. I would not conclude that the FPS-27 was less capable than the FPS-24. Indeed, the FPS-27 was used in many more locations in both the US and Canada than the FPS-24.

The GATR site was located several miles to the west of the main radar station near a location on the east side of Mt Hebo. The GATR side was connected to the main station for both communications and power. Water had to be trucked to the GATR site. A septic system was used. The GATR building and antenna field were removed when the station closed. In the winter, a Snow Cat was used when the road was covered with snow. The GATR crew had no living facilities. If they were stranded by bad weather, emergency food and clothing was available for a 72 hour period. Presently the remains of the covered cableway, that went between the station and GATR site alongside the road, is all that can still be seen.

Cheers - Steve Weatherly, 689th, Radar Maintenance/Comm Officer, 65-67

Email from Steve Weatherly 28 Oct 2017. permission to publish by Email 7 Nov 2017

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