Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Floor by Floor Description of the Cannonball Tower Facility


Ninth Floor/Antenna Deck:  There were two levels that needed to be accessed.  The lower external area was accessed through a single blast door a ladder then allowed assent to a catwalk which circled the tower. Internal access to the upper antenna area and the roof was accomplished by climbing a ladder first to a catwalk circling the interior wall then a ladder to the pressure hatch in the roof.  Three eight foot parabolic reflectors (dishes) were mounted either on the upper or lower levels pointing towards Cactus, Cowpuncher, or Corkscrew and each dish was connected to the associated systems via waveguide to the eighth floor. There were three foot dishes stored inside to be used for emergency replacement, should there be any damage to the permanently installed six foot dishes.

The two antenna decks on the ninth floor
Internal access to the upper antenna area and the roof was accomplished by climbing a ladder first to a catwalk circling the interior wall then a ladder to the pressure hatch in the roof to access all of the FM base station antennas (folded dipoles) and a 32' whip HF antenna, as well as the EMF and flash detectors.  

HF antenna on roof (32’ vertical)       
Eighth Floor:  Eight systems of microwave equipment were installed on this floor. Three systems went to Cactus, three systems went to Cowpuncher and two systems went to Corkscrew.  The lineup to Cactus was configured with three transmitters, the video patch panels, the order wire, a multi burst generator to test video and three receivers. On the other side of the room was an identical lineup that went to Cowpuncher.  At the end of the Cactus and Cowpuncher lineups were the two systems to Corkscrew.  This line up consisted of only two transmitters, the ladder going to the ninth floor, two Receivers, and the video patch panel.

A typical microwave lineup on the eighth floor (Raytheon KT R-1000A)                   
All maintenance spares for the radio equipment was stored on this floor.  The facilities main power panel, for the emergency generator, air conditioning and lighting systems.  All of the equipment in this room was mounted on a shock proof floor which was suspended from the ceiling by heavy steel springs.

Seventh Floor:  This floor contained the dining area, the kitchen(Stove, Refrigerator and sink) with a pantry full of C rations, and a rest room with shower. Typically two microwave repairmen would spend a week confined to the facility. Since the tower was manned 7/24 this was the most used area in the facility.

Sixth Floor:  Contained bunks and bedding for up to twelve people.

Fifth Floor:  All of the voice multiplexing equipment for the microwave routes terminated here on voice patch panels. Since Cannonball was a relay, there were two channels that were drop and insert, which were used for communications to Cactus and Crystal.  

Typical Motorola FM base station installation 
The FM mobile base stations and UHF air to ground terminal were also located on this floor. Able frequency was installed and used for internal WHCA communications and Baker/Charlie was installed for USSS use. The UHF system was used to communicate with Marine One and Army One as needed for landings and departures. All of the radios were remoted to the elevator so site personnel would have access regardless of their location within the tower.

SSB Radio Console
TMC SBT-1K Transmitter
The Single Sideband (SSB) console was equipped with two R390-A receivers, two CV-157 SSB converters with audio patch panel for all upper sideband (USB) voice traffic with phone patch capabilities and lower sideband (LSB) TTY traffic. The TMC-SBT-1K transmitter and was installed in all of the towers and used primarily for support on overseas trips.

ASR-33 100wpm TTY Terminal 
All TTY circuits had associated frequency shift keying (FSK) equipment with a DC patch panel and interfaced with various TTY terminals like the ASR 33. 

                   KWM-2A SSB system 

The Collins KWM-2 was also a 1 KW transmitter but because of its size and portability was sent overseas with the support teams. Later the URT 23-A replaced the KWM-2 and became part of the overseas trip packages.

URT23-A with R390-A receiver
A four channel RF multi-coupler interfaced with a 32 ft. telescoping whip on the roof, a 40 ft. supported tower with a  rotating  three element beam, a 60 ft. supported tower with  a rotating three element beam and a 60 ft. self-supporting steel lattice tower supporting a rotating log-periodic antenna.  The primary use of this system was to provide presidential communications with worldwide communications as well as for any emergency situation..  All of the equipment in this room was mounted on a shock proof floor which was suspended from the ceiling by heavy steel springs.

Fourth Floor: Was a secure Cryptographic Comm. Center. The entrance from the elevator was a steel door with a combination lock and the area around the floor hatches and ladder was enclosed by a steel wall and door.  All lines coming into the comm. center were filtered from Radio Frequency Interference (RFI). 
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KW-7 Secure Cryptographic TTY Terminal
There were two equipment racks of KW-7 and were two equipment racks of KW-26 encrypted TTY systems with associated printers/keyboards. These terminals could be routed over the microwave circuits or patched to the lower sideband (LSB) of the SSB equipment on the fifth floor. With this equipment we could provide secure TTY to any WHCA support team worldwide.


KW- 26 Secure Cryptographic TTY Terminal 
All of the equipment in this room was mounted on a shock proof floor which was suspended from the ceiling by heavy steel springs.

Third Floor:  The administrative office area contained work stations for four people.  All necessary supplies were stored on this floor. This area would provide administrative support for the Comm. Center as needed.

Second Floor:  This floor was the facility workshop; it was stocked with spare parts for all of the mechanical equipment. Tools necessary to complete any repair activity was also available for use.

First Floor and Entrance:   The entrance was a 12 inch thick steel blast door that opened by using a hydraulic system.

Decontamination changing station 
The first floor also had a radiation decontamination station which consisted of a dressing room and a shower. There were supplies such as gas masks and other equipment necessary to detect or combat any Chemical, Biological or Nuclear contaminants.

 (Otis) elevator shaft, Note all of the misc. water pipes, power, and air ducts.           
There was also a hot water tank located on this floor which serviced the seventh floor shower as well as the decon shower and the first floor latrine.

Basement:  All of the facilities mechanical equipment was located here. The HVAC power panel, the air purification system, the elevator control panel, the water system pump and water chiller for the air handling units located on each floor.  All of the telephone cables from external sources including a 100 pr. underground cable from the AT&T site at Hearthstone Mt. entered the building and terminated on the main distribution frame (MDF). The sites telephone key system was also located in the basement.

Buildings and grounds:  The site had a fully functional helicopter pad, an emergency generator and garage, and an old two room cabin used to store equipment. The site had a 5 ton dump truck with snow plow and salt spreader to keep the access road passable in the winter.  There was also a 1000gallon 2.5 ton water tanker to keep the water supply at capacity.

Three element beam mounted on the garage 
A 40 ft., TV tower with a three element rotating beam antenna was attached to the rear of the garage  and a 60 ft. TV tower with a three element rotating beam antenna was attached to the front of the garage.

LP tower stood just beyond the trees   
 In the clearing between the tower and helicopter pad was a 60 ft. self-supporting, steel lattice, rotating, and log-periodic antenna.  This antenna could be lowered to the ground as required maintenance dictated.

The  base of the LP tower
Cross Section View of Tower



2 comments:

  1. AbandonedInfrastructureLoverNovember 17, 2012 at 2:13 AM

    Why were living quarters placed near the top of tower? What sort of overpressure and weapons yield were these towers designed to withstand? Thanks!

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  2. The living quarters were located near the equipment floors! All Microwave equipment, Antennas and the Power/Generator control panel was one floor above and the Multiplexing and radio equipment was one floor below. Should an alarm sound access was available by the elevator or by scrambling up the ladder mounted inside on every floor!

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