October 30, 2013

Russian Aerial Observation Flights Over Canada (July 17-19 2013)

Russian Tupolev Tu-154M-ON at Ottawa International Airport
Original: http://www.flickr.com/photos/53158134@N02/9783788494

Scrounging through dusty Cold War stories, I'm used to tales of Soviet-American tension, the Cuban missile crisis, heightened states of alert, drill upon drill of American and Soviet bombers; each playing a dangerous game of chicken.  I thought most of those tensions disappeared with the end of the Cold War, with the end of the Soviet state, and with the fall of the Berlin Wall.  Maybe some of them, but world military superpowers still exist, there are still treaties on nuclear disarmament, non-proliferation, chemical weapons, and all sorts of other agreements.  Adherence needs to be verified, by all signatory parties.  

I guess somewhere in the back of my mind I knew there would need to be arms inspectors ensuring everyone was playing by the rules, but I certainly didn't think Russian planes would be flying in Canadian airspace, decked out with sensors; optical, IR, radar, etc. looking down on Canadian soil, ensuring we were playing by the rules.  I don't mean that Canada is above the law, I mean I thought that was all done by Satellite by now - after all, if I can tell the type and model of a car in a parking lot using Google Maps, or Bing Maps - surely the Russian military must have better imagery, no?  That was why I was surprised to see this press release, quite after the fact;

Russian observation aircraft takes to Canadian skies under international treaty
NR-13.229 - July 13, 2013

OTTAWA – A Russian Federation aircraft will conduct aerial observation flights over Canada under the Treaty on Open Skies during the period July 17 to 19, 2013.

The unarmed Tupolev TU-154M aircraft, which arrived at 8 Wing Trenton today, will be accorded Russia’s legal right of unimpeded observation overflight of Canadian territory, in fulfilment of Canada’s obligations as a State Party to the Treaty on Open Skies. Using an array of onboard sensors, the aircraft can observe and verify objects of interest or concern, such as military sites, industrial centres, communications facilities and transportation hubs... -Canada News Center
The Treaty on Open Skies?
"...a program of unarmed aerial surveillance flights over the entire territory of its participants. The treaty is designed to enhance mutual understanding and confidence by giving all participants, regardless of size, a direct role in gathering information about military forces and activities of concern to them. Open Skies is one of the most wide-ranging international efforts to date promoting openness and transparency of military forces and activities. The concept of "mutual aerial observation" was initially proposed to Soviet Premier Nikolai Bulganin at the Geneva Conference of 1955 by President Dwight D. Eisenhower; however, the Soviets promptly rejected the concept and it lay dormant for several years. The treaty was eventually signed as an initiative of US president (and former Director of Central Intelligence) George H. W. Bush in 1989. Negotiated by the then-members of NATO and the Warsaw Pact, the agreement was signed in Helsinki, Finland, on March 24, 1992." -Wikipedia
Okay, now I know that Russians fly over Canadian airspace, spying on us, with our consent - and conversely, all of the other signatory parties do the same; Canadians over Russia, Russians over the United States, etc.. Here is a list of all the flights conducted in 2012 published May 21st 2013 (link).  

After such overflights, the imagery is then shared with all the participants in the treaty, including the host state who's land was photographed.  From another fantastic open source document I learned the imagery is supposed to be up to 0.3M in resolution, better than Google Satellite imagery (link).

So how does this interest me?  Well, the Russians are overflying and photographing "military sites, industrial centres, communications facilities and transportation hubs" many of which line up with my Cold War interests, since many bases or stations which have not been abandoned or sold off have a Cold War connection; CFB Borden, CFB Goose Bay, CFB Comox, CFB North Bay, etc... I make an effort to NOT show up at active Canadian Forces bases or stations with a camera in hand, not because I'm not interested, but because I don’t want to be accused of espionage for the Russians.  However, if the Russians are giving the Canadian Government pictures of Canadian bases - why wouldn’t that imagery be public?  I also don't know the flight paths of the Russian planes, so I don’t know if they're overflying anywhere else of interest (like Ramore, Chibougamau, old GATR sites, etc..)  Are those flight paths classified?  Again, I wonder why - as the Russians are filing their flight plan more than 72hrs in advance of their flight to ensure Canadian Forces agreement and proper notification.  If they know, and we know; what's the big secret?

I'm going to make some inquiries about the imagery, it would be very interesting to review these recent and high resolution air photos for locations which are along the lines of my interests, especially if they're already georeferenced and importable into Google Earth.

October 18, 2013

The High Arctic Data Communication Systems (HADCS) of Ellesmere Island

"The HADCS is a secure data communication system between CFS Alert and Ottawa. The system is, in part, composed of a chain of six, line-of-sight microwave repeaters between CFS Alert to Eureka with a satellite link between Eureka and Ottawa." -Canadian Forces
In 1981-1982 the The High Arctic Data Communication Systems (HADCS) was built and turned on to connect CFS Alert with a communications Satellite to facilitate voice and data network communication with the rest of the Department of Defence, as well as the rest of the world.  UHF (~900Mhz) repeaters were set up across Ellesmere Island to bounce the signal from the top of the world, where no satellite was in view due to the curvature of the earth, to Eureka, the closest suitable spot where a satellite dish can "see" a geosynchronously orbiting satellite.  Interestingly, I found reference that the signal from the Satellite link terminates at the Sir Leonard Tilley building, not CFS Leitrim as I expected.

Reportedly, when the HADCS I system was upgraded to HADCS II in ~1998, the system's speed was upgraded to 6.312 Mbps (T2), and the frequencies were changed to true "Microwave", 1900~2100Mhz.

Satellite images of Ellesmere Island are scarce, but The Atlas of Canada's Topographic maps are available for further inspection.  From poking around with all available open source maps, below is a Google Map using the best guess I have for where the microwave relays are located.  Of the pictures I could find, I assume the solar panel is facing South, therefore I can guess which general direction the microwave repeaters are "repeating". 

I still haven't found out where Whiskey is located, but from the Jerry Proc Web Pages, they cite
"The repeaters are generally located on mountain tops that have a clear view to the neighbouring repeater. The separations between pairs of repeaters vary from 18 km (Black Top to Skull) to 121 km (Grant to Ida). The highest repeater site is Grant at 1256 m (4120 ft.) above sea level."
So, if you go NE from Yankee, or SW of Victor (a distance between them of ~130Km, you should find Whiskey less than 121km away at a height of less than 1256 m.   Perhaps on the Agassiz Ice Cap?

"The HADCS microwave link spans the northern half of Ellesmere Island. The repeaters are generally located on mountain tops that have a clear view to the neighbouring repeater. The separations between pairs of repeaters vary from 18 km (Black Top to Skull) to 121 km (Grant to Ida). The highest repeater site is Grant at 1256 m (4120 ft.) above sea level.  The system consists of repeaters named as follows: Grant, Ida, Victor, Whiskey, Yankee, and Black Top. Skull Point is the location of the Eureka satellite dishes. (Graphic source unknown at this time)"
Courtosey of The Web Pages Of Jerry Proc

From Skull Point to Alert, here is what the repeaters look like

No Picture Available 
SGT Skull Point
( 80.0081066,-86.3879192 )

HADCS Site Black Top (Facing SE)
( ~80.0031463,-85.4310326 )

HADCS Site Victor (Facing SE)
( ~81.3399842,-74.769984 )

HADCS Site Yankee (Facing WSW)
( ~80.7067817,-81.0173826 )

HADCS Site Ida (Facing NW)
( ~81.5777492,-69.3846524 )

View of site IDA, on Ellesmere Island, Nunavut, on 10 June, during Operation NEVUS 2013.
Photo: Captain Ray Connelly, 438 Tactical Helicopter Squadron
Source: Flickr - Joint Task Force North

HADCS Site Whiskey (Facing SE)
(Coordinates Unknown)

A CH-146 Griffon helicopter slings a battery over the site WHISKEY on Ellesmere Island, Nunavut during Operation NEVUS 2013.
Photo credit: Captain Eli Squires, Joint Task Force (North)
Source: http://www.cfna.forces.ca/articles/2013/07/08-eng.asp

HADCS Site Whiskey (Facing NW)
(Coordinates Unknown)

A CH-146 Griffon helicopter lands at Site WHISKEY on Ellesmere Island, Nunavut, on 9 June, during Operation NEVUS 2013.
Photo: Captain Ray Connelly, 438 Tactical Helicopter Squadron
Source: Flickr - Joint Task Force North

HADCS Site (Facing NE)
(Unknown Location - Maybe Grant?)

FA2007-0140 16 March 2008 Ellesmere Island, Nunavut
A CH-146 Griffon helicopter landed on a High Arctic Data Communication Systems site (HADCS).
CF Photo by Sandy Flacht
Source: Flickr RCAF-ARC
No Picture Available
HADCS Site Grant
( 82.4912854,-65.0851054 )


October 15, 2013

CFS Alert

You can file this one under "places that are almost impossible for me to go visit", but I found a few pictures and web sites that do give a good idea of what it would be like, so my curiosity is ever-so-slightly satisfied.

CFS Alert is at the top of the world, and is the Northernmost inhabited place on earth.  It reportedly performs SIGINT, some research, and acts as a weather station. 

Map courtesy of Nasittuq

Unfortunately there is pretty crummy Google satellite imagery of the area, potentially due to the orbit such a satellite would need, which is also the reason normal satellite communication is not possible from CFS Alert.  Communications need to be bounces along microwave relays to Eureka before a communications satellite into view.

It seems someone HAS made very limited imagery of CFS Alert available

View Larger Map

CFS Alert

Because of the lack of satellite imagery I wasn't aware of the layout, size, shape, or anything really, about Alert; and wouldn't want to ask many questions of anyone who's been there, since most of the operations of CFS Alert, while many are performed by non-military members, are hush-hush.  Therefore, I was thrilled to find pictures from the air already on the public internet!

Photo courtesy of Nasittuq (click for larger image)

Photo courtesy of Nasittuq

Map courtesy of Nasittuq

This is the best map of the base I could find; but it doesn’t include the fresh water source or Plessey Pusher CDAA array.
Map courtesy of Nasittuq (click for larger image)

Southwest view along the runway in the direction of the fuel depot seen in the distance
Photo courtesy of Nasittuq
Since I was having a hard time finding the general layout of the antenna arrays, I resorted to making a composite image from several screenshots of atlas.gc.ca 1:15000 imagery.

composite image created with imagery from atlas.gc.ca

I was quite surprised how much about CFS Alert could be found with Google; there isn’t anything "new" above, and my favourite CFS Alert video is below (also, not new).

October 13, 2013

Mid-Canada Line Test Fence - The McGill Fence - Project Spider Web

Picture Curtosey of Dr. James Rennie Whitehead

"One of the double-doppler sites in the Eastern townships.
(Daughter Valerie got into the picture)"
I made a surprising discovery yesterday regarding the locations of the Mid-Canada Line test sites that were built in the Summer of 1953 to test if the radar doppler principle would be able to be used as an effective tripwire-like air defence mechanism.  The chosen technology from these tests would go on to become the Mid-Canada Line.

Frankly, I hadn't paid a lot of attention to the founders of the technology; I was researching the locations where the technology was used - so I was surprised when McGill's Associate Professor Dr. James Rennie Whitehead's name turned up in a Google Search with a significantly enlightening piece of his memoirs.

...It was obvious that flight trials of a test double Doppler system would be essential. We decided to locate a test line along the Ottawa Valley from Ottawa to North Bay. RCA built enough equipments to enable seven or eight stations to be erected and Ross Warren designed a most ingenious antenna which was not going to be too costly.
I should say a word about the double-Doppler principle at this stage. When you receive broadcast TV and an aircraft flies across the line between the TV transmitter and your receiver, the signal fades in and out in a regular way. This is due to the waves reflected from the moving aircraft having a slightly different frequency from those that go directly, because of the Doppler effect. At the receiver the waves reflected from the aircraft interfere with the direct waves to produce the pulsation that you see.
The McGill fence used a refined version of this phenomenon in which the circuits were designed to enhance this effect rather than the transmitted data. Conventional Doppler radars have the transmitter and receiver in the same location. Ours was called “double” because the transmitter and receiver were at opposite ends of each link. With 50’ towers for the antenna, links as long as 30 miles over normal terrain were possible. We planned to have seven in the Ottawa Valley test line.

It was in the summer of 1953 that we set up the test line along the Ottawa Valley from Ottawa to Mattawa, on behalf of the Defence Research Board. There were stations at Ottawa, Arnprior, Haley Station, Meath (near Pembroke), Deep River, Bisset Creek and Mattawa. Each station consisted of a small wooden hut which enclosed a transmitter-receiver unit. A 50-foot scaffolding tower carried a large rectangular antenna, with the reflecting surface made of wire netting. My headquarters for the test line were in a wooden hut on the site of the old prisoner-of-war camp in Deep River. The project carried the code name “Spider Web”...


...They agreed to have their K-flight ferry me to an airfield in Killaloe – the nearest suitable airstrip to Deep River – whenever we needed flying. I would be met by station wagon at Killaloe and the aircraft would stooge around until I arrived at the HQ to conduct the tests. Then it would fly back and forth across the line at various heights while we took the observations. ...

Copyright © 1995, J. Rennie Whitehead

This provides several revelations, and poses several problems, for my previous research.

This is one of the few mentions of the Cold War-era airstrip at Killaloe that I've found documented, so I'm pleased to see it mentioned.

Dr. Whitehead confirms that there were 7 radar sites in the test fence.  However; the sites don't all match my previous info.

Dr. Whitehead lists
  1. Ottawa
  2. Arnprior
  3. Haley Station
  4. Meath (near Pembroke)
  5. Deep River
  6. Bisset Creek
  7. Mattawa.

In order, I had listed
  1. South Gloucester (Source: Larry Wilson's MCL web site)
  2. Fitzroy Harbour
    (Source: Larry Wilson's MCL web site)
  3. Haley Station
    (Source: Larry Wilson's MCL web site)
  4. Alice
    (Source: Larry Wilson's MCL web site)
  5. Unknown
  6. Unknown
  7. Mattawa
    (Source: Wikipedia)
Let's review point by point

  1. "Ottawa" could have meant "South Gloucester".  The tower still stands in South Gloucester today, so I do have physical proof that it is the right site, and the radar dishes point NW, toward Arnprior or Fitzroy Harbour.
  2. Arnprior and Fitzroy Harbour are close, relatively, to each other... but they aren't close enough that I'd consider Fitzroy Harbour to be a suburb.  Perhaps Dr Whitehead generalized or figured Arnprior was the closest known landmark?  Doubtful, as he mentioned Bisset Creek and Meath, which are pretty obscure. 
    South Gloucester to Fitzroy Harbour; ~32 Miles
    South Gloucester to Arnprior; ~40 Miles.
  3. Haley Station; at least that lines up. 
    Fitzroy Harbour to Haley Station; 30 Miles
    Arnprior to Haley Station; 22 Miles
  4. Meath is right off HWY17, Alice is 9Km West of the highway.  Alice is 28 Miles from Haley Station, while Meath is 15 Miles from Haley Station.  Optimally the radar sites could be 30 Miles apart; why would one be almost half of that?  This was proof of concept stuff; so maybe varying the distance between the locations was the whole point.
  5. Deep River; as the 5th site I had no idea where this would be, so I can't say that Deep River contradicts my expectation.  Also, Dr Whitehead mentioned he was at the old POW Camp in the middle of Deep River - that's a pretty firm memory and positive location identification.  However; Meath to Deep River is ~35 Miles, past the range of the radar.  Unless Meath wasn't exactly Meath, and it was closer to Deep River along HWY17 - or was at Alice.  Alice to Deep River is ~25 Miles.
  6. Bissett Creek; again, I had no idea where this would be.  There is a large ridge immediately West of Bissett Creek, so I would think the site would be up on the top of that.  To the center of Bissett Creek is 28 Miles from Deep River's POW Camp.  A little West on the ridge?  Maybe ~30 Miles.
  7. Mattawa was the last site in the test fence.  Central Bissett Creek to Central Mattawa is ~32 Miles; if Bissett Creek was really on the ridge, it would be closer to 30 Miles away.
I'd like to ask for clarification, but unfortunately Dr. Whitehead passed away last year after a brief illness at the age of 94.  I hope the national archives have some of the information I'm looking for.

In the meantime, I've integrated those points into my MCL Site Map on Google Maps

View Mid-Canada Line (MCL) Sites in a larger map

October 12, 2013

Canadian North Warning System Locations

The North Warning System is the current ground based radar system, watching Canada's and Alaska's Northern border.  Wikipedia has a very complete entry for the NWS, but I have tried to keep the number of sites on the map below limited to those which are active currently and on Canadian soil.

The map (previously posted) of the Mid-Canada Line was in some ways easier to post.  There was so little information, there was no duplication.  The North Warning System locations, on the other hand, are a little more fuzzy on the map, and the information is hard to validate from multiple competing sources.  Some of the current NWS sites were DEW Line stations, and some DEW stations were decommissioned and never reactivated.

According to Nasittuq, the contractor which takes care of running and resupplying the radar stations, 11 AN/FPS-117 Long Range Radars and 36 AN/FPS-124 Short Range Radars make up the current perimeter.


Photo courtesy of Nasittuq
(No idea which site this is; Similar to CAM-3
Shepherd Bay)
Year Fielded: 1980
Manufacturer: General Electric
T/R Modules: 292 modules 
Exact Frequency: 1215 – 1400 MHz
 IEEE Band: L Band 
NATO Band: D Band 
Maximum Range: 200 to 250 nautical miles 
MTBF: 1,076 hour specification (original) 
Peak Power: 29 kW (with 100 W Peak Power T/R Modules) 
Average Power: 5.2 kW (with 100 W Peak Power T/R Modules) 
Scan Rate: 5 rpmDuty Cycle: 18% 
Pulse Width: 51.2 / 409.6 μS 
PRF (PPS): 241
 Antenna Gain: 38.6 dBi
Notes: Unmanned 3-D Phased Array Azimuth, Range, and height finding radar that replaced the DEW Line in conjunction with the AN/FPS-124. It can select between 18 randomly selected channels within its frequency band to counter jamming.http://www.alternatewars.com/BBOW/Radar/FPS_Series.htm


Photo courtesy of Nasittuq
(FOX-4 Cape Hooper?)
IEEE Band: L Band
NATO Band: D Band (1215 – 1400 MHz)  
Minimum Range: 2 miles 
Maximum Range: 70 miles 
Maximum Altitude: 15,000 ft
Notes: Unmanned doppler radar that replaced the DEW Line in conjunction with the AN/FPS-117.http://www.alternatewars.com/BBOW/Radar/FPS_Series.htm


The map is a work in progress and I will likely update it as better imagery becomes available.

View North Warning System Sites in a larger map

Extracted from a PDF, converted to PS, then saved as a PNG, this is the best map I could find of the NWS locations. 
Thank you Nasittuq!

Photo courtesy of Nasittuq
(Pretty sure that's LAB-2 Saglek)


October 09, 2013

The Nuclear Power Demonstration Reactor (or NPD)

Straying a little from the Cold War; The NPD reactor near Rolphton, Ontario was operational from 1962-1987, and was a prototype and test facility for technology that would help the Canadian nuclear program.

From Wikipedia...

"Nuclear Power Demonstration (or NPD) was the first Canadian nuclear power reactor, and the prototype for the CANDU reactor design. Built by Canadian General Electric (now GE Canada), in partnership with Atomic Energy of Canada Limited (AECL) and Ontario Hydro (now Ontario Power Generation), it consisted of a single 22 MWe pressurized heavy water reactor (PHWR) unit located in Rolphton, Ontario, not far from AECL's Chalk River Laboratories. NPD was owned by AECL and operated by Ontario Hydro.
The NPD was the prototype and proving ground for research and development that led to commercial application of the CANDU system for generating electric power from a nuclear plant using natural uranium fuel, heavy water moderator and coolant in a pressure tube configuration with on-power refuelling."
-Wikipedia, Nuclear Power Demonstration

For some reason the government didn't think anyone would notice the large paved driveway, the facility viewable from space, or the Ottawa river - so it's hard to find mention from anywhere official of where exactly the NPD reactor was... unless you look at Google Maps, Bing, or any other map - or perhaps look at Wikipedia.  As it's pretty hard to hide that much concrete; I think they should embrace it and provide tours of the facility.  After all, it's totally safe, RIGHT? 

You will notice from the pictures that a new perimeter fence has been erected, new lighting, a manned guard post (the guards' cars are parked outside) and I would guess video surveillance. Supposedly the site is being used for low yield nuclear waste, and radiated nuclear equipment.  AECL expects to use the site for nuclear storage for decades.

Considering the Chalk River facility's property is well known to have on-site leaking radioactive waste, and it was built AFTER the NPD facility; I can only imagine what kind of nuclear waste has been dumped and forgotten about in the forest around the NPD reactor.

The site is on my list of places I'd love to visit, briefly.

source: http://media.cns-snc.ca/history/npd/npd.html
Source: http://media.cns-snc.ca/history/npd/npd.html


View Larger Map

October 07, 2013

RCAF Station Val D'Or / CFS Val D'Or

Credit: CanadianWings.com
In October of 2012 I visted the former site of CFS Val D'Or, which is now a completely civilian airport, to try and figure out where some of the original buildings had been located.  In hindsight, more time at the Air Photo Library would have been beneficial before the trip. CFS Val D'Or was operational in a military capacity from 1949 to 1976.  In the beginning RCAF Station Val D'Or / CFS Val D'Or operated as a detachment of CFS Senneterre, but in the 1960s became a Station under it's own command.

During the Cold War, CF-101 Voodoos from 425 Squadron Bagotville were stationed on alert 24/7 in Quick Reaction Alert hangers built specifically for the Voodoos at the south end of the runway.  They would sleep, eat, and try and entertain themselves while waiting in a constant state of readiness.  Crews would be on rotation from Bagotville, since CFS Val D'Or did not have it's own fighter squadron.  Val D'Or was a forward staging location, intended to facilitate the interception of Soviet bombers making a run over the North pole, at the American North-East, Montreal or Toronto.

Canada never *owned* any nuclear weapons, of course... we just invited the USAF to bring their boys to maintain and guard them on Canadian soil.  If we needed them, we'd borrow them and load them on our planes.  Very convenient both politically and cost wise, I expect.

Two unidentified airmen from Senneterre watching DEW Line aircraft FBJ and IQQ at Val d'Or airport - 30 June 1956.
Courtesy Russ McCrory.
The CF-101 Voodoos primary interception weapon to tackle the Soviet bomber threat was the AIR-2 Genie, a 1.8KT nuclear air-to-air rocket intended to incinerate Soviet bombers and their nuclear payload without detonating the Soviet nuclear bombs.

From what I gather, the preferred way to ship nuclear warheads between countries is by air.  When the Americans shipped Canada their BOMARC missiles to La Macaza (or at least the warheads) it was by heavy air transport, so an airstrip at such a base would need to accommodate large transport planes, not just fighter jets which need shorter runways; Val D'Or has that, a 10,000ft paved runway.

Before the Americans would ship the "Special Weapons", safe storage was needed on site.  These storage locations were built at every air base where CF-101 Voodoos were stationed; Val D'Or was no different.  Before visiting Val D'Or I had scrutinized the recent satellite photos and convinced myself that the best location for such an ammo storage facility would be in the woods, east of the runway.  I was incorrect; what was in the woods was the remains of a sewage processing facility of some sort dating from ~1940-1950s.

After visiting Val D'Or I discovered, thanks to John Clearwater's book Canadian Nuclear Weapons: The Untold Story of Canada's Cold War Arsenal, on page 206, he has diagrams from the National Archives (I think) showing where the Quick Reaction Alert (QRA) hangers were as well as the Special Ammunition Storage (SAS).  I did notice the hanger, which I now know to have been the QRA, because it looked to be the right vintage, and had some rusty barbed wire along the top.  

Below are pictures of the QRA hangers.  Only one double hanger (as shown below) is still standing, the other has been demolished along with the living and kitchen facilities which were attached.

I didn't see or find anything that looked like a SAS partially because I didn't know what it would look like, and now I know it was demolished, I don't feel so bad about not finding it either.

In the picture below you can faintly make out the area of the shelters and the entrance from the road.
When visiting Val D'Or we drove right by it, and didn't know what we were looking at.

Location of the Val D'Or SAS:

Location of the Val D'Or SAS:

Previous Location of the Val D'Or SAS:

Unfortunately, as the more recent Bing imagery above shows, the SAS area is *inside* the wire at the Airport, and a hanger has been installed over top of where some of the buildings were.  I presume there is nothing left of anything SAS related in that area.

After looking at vintage aerial photos from the National Air Photo Library I discovered that the bulk of hanger operations (that were not QRA related) happened at the North-West end of the runway, by the small square apron back in the day.  From driving around I can tell you many of the vintage buildings have since been demolished, but a few do remain.  There are several open lots and streets that criss-cross that don't seem to go to anywhere; clearly buildings used to be on those lots.

Green - Sewage Facility | Pink - Original hangers | Red - SAS | Blue - QRA

October 05, 2013

So what else was going on at CFS Carp anyway?

I received a comment regarding CFS Carp on a previous post which got me thinking...

CFS Carp, now the Diefenbunker Museum, is known to have been a nuclear shelter for the government in case of nuclear war.  However, I'm sure it had more than one hat over it's career, and there were multiple facilities that shared its name and were in close proximity to it.  Back in the day, messages by would be sent to CFS Carp using the following routing identifiers, and then those messages would be delivered to the appropriate parties at the designated locations.  But what were these locations?  Here are he routing identifiers and corresponding locations; I've made a stab at several acronyms with some help from people in the industry :)


LCO Canada - Launch Control Officer for Canada?
MIC - Multinational Interoperability Council ? (The Multinational Interoperability Council was founded in '96, after CFS Carp closed)
NICS TCF - NATO Integrated Communications System Technical Control Facility
NICS CC - NATO Integrated Communications System Communication Centre? Command Centre?
SGT F8 - Satellite Ground Terminal F8

NATO Satellite Ground Terminal Carp (F8)

The dome SW of CFS Carp was not really part of CFS Carp, it was a Satellite Ground Terminal (SGT) for NATO SATCOM (NATO IV constellation, I think), but the facility was shut down in the 1990s.  Was this directly related to the CFS Carp shutdown and the CFS Carp detachment shutdown?  I have not found a "proper" name for the facility other than a designator of "F8", in one document it is referenced as "SGT F8 CARP".  Another document references that "we have recently closed F8 at CARP in Canada, We now intend to have only 4 fixed ground terminals for UHF instead of 11 but as I have already mentioned we have now over 200 UHF mobile terminals in use which were not foreseen."
So, does this mean the SGT Carp (F8) was a SATCOM UHF repeater of some sort?

NATO SGT F18 at Folly Lake stayed open while NATO SGT F8 Carp closed; I'm not sure about Folly Lake's purpose either.

2013.10.14 - Former NATO SGT F8 Carp

View Larger Map

NATO SGT F18 Folly Lake

View Larger Map

The communications subsystem may simultaneously employ full Earth coverage, area coverage, and narrow coverage modes for transmission and reception. Using the MBAs, the capability exists to provide narrow coverage, area coverage, or selectively shaped area coverage by combining multiple, simultaneous narrow coverage patterns. A high gain, narrow transmit coverage capability is provided by the GDA.
The receive MBA capability includes the ability to eliminate or reduce the effect of jammers by putting them in a null between sidelobes of an NC beam or by forming nulls in a broad area (up to full Earth coverage) antenna pattern. The receive and transmit MBAs have the ability to simultaneously cover multiple areas, thereby maximizing link gain between terminals in the illuminated areas and reducing the effect of off beam jamming signals. This capability is not normally used during naval operations, but may be employed as directed for contingencies.
Each transponder channel is capable of relaying, with minimal performance degradation, time-division multiplexer (TDM)/ FDMA, CDMA, and time-division multiple access (TDMA) signals. When relaying FDMA signals, the transponder HPA must operate in an essentially linear mode. CDMA and TDMA signals permit operation in a near-saturated mode. The gain of the transponder is controlled prior to the TWTA/ HESSA to ensure the desired degree of TWT saturation for varying input levels. Input variations depend on the number of uplink signals and the EIRP of the Earth terminals.
204. NATO/ ALLIED SATELLITE SYSTEMS A. NATO Satellite System. The NATO Satellite System consists of an active communications satellite, 27 satellite ground terminals (SGT), 2 control centers, and the NATO school segment at Latina, Italy (see table 2-9). To communicate with NATO SGTs, Navy ships serving NATO support roles must shift to the NATO satellite and join the NATO spread spectrum network. NATO SGTs may provide naval support upon request. However, Navy circuits must be extended to NCTAMS Europe/ Central (EURCENT) or Atlantic (LANT), or NCTAMS EURCENT Detachment London for baseband support.
B. NATO IV-A Satellite Description. The NATO IV-A satellite became operational in 1991. It is a three-axis stabilized vehicle with a total weight (at lift off) of 1,452 pounds (660 kilograms). Two solar array panels generating 1200 watts of electricity provide power for the spacecraft and its payload. NiCd batteries provide power during solar eclipse. The TT& C subsystem operates in the 8-GHz band and employs spread spectrum protection with encryption. The altitude and orbit control subsystem uses infrared Earth sensors to maintain position. The design life of the satellite is 7 years.
The NATO IV-A satellite provides communications in the SHF and UHF bands. The SHF transponder provides four channels. The UHF transponder provides two channels. The frequencies, antennas, EIRP, and channel bandwidths are reflected in table 2-10. Spacecraft control is maintained by the Royal Air Force (RAF) with assets at Oakhanger, UK. Operation control is maintained by the 32

As part of the ongoing operational initiatives we have reviewed our requirements for the static ground terminals as a result of which we have recently closed F8 at CARP in Canada, We now intend to have only 4 fixed ground terminals for UHF instead of 11 but as I have already mentioned we have now over 200 UHF mobile terminals in use which were not foreseen.
Fantastic German web site about Military SATCOM

NATO Integrated Communications System Technical Control Facility

If TCF refers to a Technical Control Facility, I don’t know if it was co-located at the CFS Carp facility or at the Richardson Detachment, but from the definition I found on an unrelated web site it seems to fit and make sense.

Each NCTAMS and NTCS operates a Technical Control Facility (TCF) which contains the equipment necessary for ensuring fast, reliable, and secure exchange of information and typically includes distribution frames and associated panels, jacks, and switches and monitoring, test, conditioning, and order wire equipment. The TCF allows telecommunications systems control personnel to exercise operational control of communications paths and facilities, make quality analyses of communications and communications channels, monitor operations and maintenance functions, recognize and correct deteriorating conditions, restore disrupted communications, provide requested on-call circuits, and take or direct such actions as may be required and practical to provide effective telecommunications services.
Tech Control also performs basic functions for receiver and transmitter sites remotely. These include tuning, equipment patching, quality monitoring of received or radiated signals, switching or directional control of antennas, primary ship shore circuit operations, and the submission of required reports.
If the CFS Carp facility, and associated facilities, was a communications hub integrating Canadian Forces and NATO HF, VHF, UHF and SATCOM, it makes sense why I cant find very much open source information on it.
However, I'm totally spit-balling.

October 02, 2013

Gore Airport

Gore Airport, like Wiarton, was built in support of the Pinetree Line project by Transport Canada ~1953, at the request of DND.  I'm looking for original buildings on or around the property, but so far have not been able to identify any.

Gore Bay Airprt 1:15000 - atlas.gc.ca

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The Earlton Airport

Earlton? Yes indeed!  Documentation from the time shows the airport in Earlton was built by Transport Canada by the request of the Department of National Defence in the early 1950s to support the Pinetree Line stations, providing sufficient and properly spaced out airports to support operations.  I haven't been by yet, but I am curious to see if any original buildings are still standing.  Hangers perhaps?

At least a couple of mentions of Earlton show up in the National Archives' Pinetree Line files, with reference to fighter intercepts and planes forced to land when low on fuel.  Due to its proximity to CFB Petawawa, it was also previously used by the Canadian Forces for training.

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Wiarton Airport

Wiarton Airport was not just the site of a Tragically Hip concert in 2009, it was built in support of the Pinetree Line, on the request of DND, by Transport Canada in the early ~1953. 

I've looked for people's publically posted photos of the airport and satellite images, but I cannot see any original buildings that date back to the beginning of the airport.

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Wiarton Airport 1:15000 - atlas.gc.ca

Sudbury Airport

In the early 1950s the Department of National Defence requested that Transport Canada upgrade or create several airports in support of the Pinetree Line radar defence network; Sudbury was one of those upgraded.  In August of 2013 I drove by the Sudbury Airport and checked out the hangers that I could see from the road; I didn’t see any that looked particularly old or architecturally fitting for anything from the 1950s.
I did notice from the Satellite images that the North-East section of the airport looks like it may have had additional hangers that have been demolished.  I'll need to reference to National Air Photo Library to tell if those were hangers in the early 1950s.  Considering that section of the airport is on the far side, away from the flow of regular civilian traffic, and not near any through-traffic, it would make a good place for military hangers.

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