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Project 572 & VE8GY William Barrie VE3AAS February, 2008.

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Presentation on theme: "Project 572 & VE8GY William Barrie VE3AAS February, 2008."— Presentation transcript:

1 Project 572 & VE8GY William Barrie VE3AAS February, 2008


3 Doomsdqy Clock Doomsday Clock

4 Doomsday Clock Chart Created by atomic scientists to indicate the minutes before we incur catastrophic destruction (midnight”) - At 2 minutes to “midnight” in 1953 through 1960.

5 The Threat Russian long range bombers had been flying over northern Canada at will

6 The 1952 Summer Study A Summer Study group was assembled at Lincoln Labs of MIT to consider measures required for a defense against the Soviet bomber threat. The existing Pine Tree Line could not provide the six hour warning needed to launch air defensive forces.

7 Project 572 ATT, Western Electric and the Bell System were assigned the task. Project work began in 1952. (At that time, Bell System included Bell Telephone Company of Canada and Northern Electric) This led to the largest and most difficult construction project in history – what became known later as the Distant Early Warning Line The DEW Line would supplement the existing Pine Tree Line, and the planned Mid-Canada Line

8 The Radar Lines as of 1953 DEW Line (Lat 70 N) very early in planning – would grow to 43 stations Mid Canada Line (Lat 55 N) early in planning – would grow to 98 stations Pine Tree Line (Lat 50 N) partially completed - would grow to 50 stations


10 Project 572 Objectives  Construct an accessible prototype site at Streator, Ill for equipment evaluation / training.  Construct three Arctic radar sites - at Pt. Barrow, Barter Island and Komakuk to form a 200 mile prototype “Test Line” section of the future DEW Line.  As part of the ongoing development process, evaluate the Search Radar, Doppler Radar, lateral and rearward VHF and UHF communication systems for future DEW Line deployment.  Evaluate the Sno Shu tracked vehicle and Otter amphibious vehicle for future DEW line use  Assess staff selection, level and training problems.

11 The “Test Line” Arctic Sites Pt Barrow Barter Island Komakuk

12 VE3AAS in 1953  I had spent World War II studying, teaching, and working on Radar in the UK and the Far East  By 1953 I had graduated from UWO in Radio Physics and was working with Northern Electric in Belleville under Bud Punchard VE3UD.  Though I was working for a Bell System company, I was unaware of the highly secure Project 572 activities at top levels in the Bell System and Western Electric.

13 Come Into My Office Please Wow!

14 Canadian Project 572 Contingent  Several engineers chosen from Northern Electric  Several engineers chosen from various Canadian telephone companies  Some would not survive the rigorous evaluation and training ahead

15 My “Briefing” More an interview to determine the capability of the “volunteer” to survive a year of Arctic isolation. The interviewer did not reveal much about the project since security level high.

16 Major Project 572 Challenges Harsh environment Remote locations Staffing Radar Rear and lateral communications Cost Security These only became apparent to me over time as the training program progressed.

17 Psychological Evaluation Shrink team from Northwest University - Chicago Aptitude tests, ink blots Ability to survive alone Political - follow on from McCarthy era Some curiosity about Canadians Several initial candidates did not make it through this evaluation process and training

18 Diesel Power Plant Training  Key place of the electric power  Maintenance and repair  Fuel supply lines in frigid weather  Synchronization switching of main to standby generator

19 Firefighting Training  Practice sessions at Western Electric Hawthorne plant, Chicago.  Remember, an Arctic building fire leaves you completely without shelter.  Use of extinguishers and other equipment.

20 First Aid Training  First Aid as per American Red Cross  No doctors or nurses at hand so --- How to remove an appendix !!  Frost bite treatment.  Extreme care.

21 Arctic Survival Training  Kit of blanket, shotgun (miniature), water tablets, hardtack  Beware weather, wind, blackout, ice  Eskimo guide  Never alone

22 Getting There Yukon Alaska Tundra

23 Alaska Mountains

24 Welcome to Arctic Alaska  Flew commercial into Fairbanks  Flew charter into Barter Island, the more advanced of the three “Test Line” sites as it had sea-lift access and supplies went out from there.  Lots of contractor people still building that site  Joined a dozen or so on the electrical team - two of us to focus on the Search Radar, others to focus on VHF, UHF and Doppler  Spent two months at Barter Island before going on to Komakuk, Yukon to start over again there.

25 Our Objectives  The radar and telecommunications equipment, antennas and towers had been unpacked and installed by contractor people before our arrival, under factory supervision.  To calibrate and evaluate the equipment features and suitability for future DEW Line deployment  To use and report observations on other equipment in use at our sites, including diesel power plant, Sno Shu and Otter vehicles.

26 Site Functions

27 Reporting and Decisions  Instead of formal reports there were daily TTY exchanges in the form of questions from Western Electric at West Street, NYC and our answers  Often questions came from Bell Labs and the Western Electric Company plants

28 Environment 10 Months+ Winter Very bitter cold Drifting snow Violent wind 2 Months Summer Clouds of mosquitoes

29 Temporary Shelter Sleeping Wannigan

30 Engineer Drowns at Komakuk That tragic drowning left me alone on Search Radar for the duration.

31 L Band Search Radar  AN/TPS-1D (Tipsy One Dog)  Built by Western Electric  1220 – 1350 MHz, 500 KW, 4 o H, 12 o V  Used selected 5J26 magnetrons  Movable automatic alarm range rings.  Frequent Minimum Discernable Signal tests  Frequent VSWR tests  Frequent frost problems on feedlines

32 L Band Search Radar

33 VHF Equipment  Lateral – FM 250W  Vertical – 100 KW Ionsospheric Scatter  Air/Ground – HF, VHF, UHF  LF Beacon – for non-precision approaches to runway.


35 UHF & Doppler “Radar”  Air/Ground  AN/FRC-23 Doppler / McGill Fence  “Intruders” detected by doppler shift of received signal (not to be confused with doppler search radar as used for weather)

36 UHF and Doppler

37 Diesel Plant

38 Vehicles SNOW SHU OTTER Sno Shu and Otter

39 Completed Komakuk Site

40 Project 572 Test Results Extensive tests for future DEW Line suitability had been done on the AN/TPS-1D L-Band Search Radar using USAF aircraft High level of security prevented access to my own test results TPS-1D L Band Search Radar: successful; special features performed well Doppler Radar: much false triggering by vehicles, animals, birds and vibration VHF and UHF Telecom: Some fading

41 Project 572 Test Results (cont’d)  Otter Amphibious Vehicle: irrelevant for DEW Line  Snow Shu Vehicle: no suspension meant much rider discomfort and significant vehicle damage  Ongoing improvements on various pieces of radar and telecoms gear would be made throughout the DEW Line operations phase  AN/TPS-1D evolved into AN/FPS-19

42 Amenities We had all the amenities of an isolated US military base, provided by Uncle Sam Hunting equipment Model railroad Heathkits Music library, movie projector, games Photographic darkroom to develop & print Ham radio station

43 Amateur Radio VE8GY Komakuk, Yukon Transmitter: Collins KW-1 Receiver: Hammarlund SP-600 Antennas: Dipoles, V-Beam Bands: 10, 11, 15, 20, 40, 80 Modes: Phone, CW, RTTY


45 VE8GY V-beam directed south

46 DX QSLs

47 Polar Net 14.195 6.30 pm

48 Field Day 1954 - Top Score for VE8 (See QST)

49 Unusual Events Working Ice Island T3 on 80M Prince Phillip on Polar Net in 1954 QSO with Aklavik on broadcast band Herschel Island QSOs The Great Globemaster Incident

50 MIDNIGHT SUN Midnight Sun

51 Guide, Photographer, Weatherman

52 Radio Inspector

53 Haircut

54 Sea Water Bath

55 Home Sweet Home

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