List of White Alice Communications System sites

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The former Northeast Cape Air Force Station on St. Lawrence Island. The remains of the station were demolished in 2003.

This is a list of White Alice Communications System sites. The White Alice Communications System (WACS) was a United States Air Force telecommunication link system constructed in Alaska during the Cold War. It featured tropospheric scatter links and line-of-sight microwave radio links.

Original White Alice installations[edit]

These sites were part of the initial White Alice system and connected Aircraft Control and Warning (AC&W) sites with central command and control facilities. The Boswell Bay to Neklasson Lake link was both the first and last operational link in the White Alice system, serving from 1956 to 1985.

Tropospheric scatter sites[edit]

Location Operational Collocated with Coordinates Notes
Aniak, Alaska 1958–1979 N/A 61°34′58″N 159°35′33″W / 61.58278°N 159.59250°W / 61.58278; -159.59250 In flight path for Aniak Airport and antennas were painted with a red and white checkerboard pattern.
Anvil Mountain, Alaska 1958–1978 N/A 64°33′52″N 165°22′25″W / 64.56444°N 165.37361°W / 64.56444; -165.37361 7½ km (4.7 mi.) north of Nome, Alaska
Bear Creek, Alaska 1958?-1979? N/A 65°10′49″N 152°13′22″W / 65.18028°N 152.22278°W / 65.18028; -152.22278 Stand-alone site with a 5,200 sq ft (480 m2) dormitory and a 7,200 sq ft (670 m2) equipment and power building approximately six miles northeast of Tanana, Alaska
Bethel, Alaska 1958–1979 AC&W site 60°44′36″N 161°39′58″W / 60.74333°N 161.66611°W / 60.74333; -161.66611 Originally six antennas. Last antenna demolished in August 2011.
Big Mountain, Alaska 1957–1979 N/A 59°23′25″N 155°13′39″W / 59.39028°N 155.22750°W / 59.39028; -155.22750 Demolished 2003–2005[1]
Boswell Bay, Alaska 1956–1985 N/A 60°25′01″N 146°09′12″W / 60.41694°N 146.15333°W / 60.41694; -146.15333 Demolished 1987 after extensive historical documentation.
Fort Yukon, Alaska 1958-UKN 709th AC&W Est.66°34′10″N 145°14′26″W / 66.56944°N 145.24056°W / 66.56944; -145.24056 120 ft antennas added in 1962 to Barter Island. Demolished Summer of 1999.
Granite Mountain, Alaska 1957–1976 N/A 65°25′42″N 161°13′54″W / 65.42833°N 161.23167°W / 65.42833; -161.23167 Lease to Alascom 1976. 4x60 ft, 2x 30 ft (9.1 m) dishes
Indian Mountain, Alaska AC&W / Long Range RADAR 66°04′07″N 153°41′23″W / 66.06861°N 153.68972°W / 66.06861; -153.68972 Top camp was around 4,200 ft (1,300 m) and 10 miles (16 km) away from bottom camp, which contained airfield and Geodesic dome support buildings.
Kalakaket Creek, Alaska 1957- N/A 64°25′48″N 156°50′19″W / 64.43000°N 156.83861°W / 64.43000; -156.83861 Originally Tropo only, TD-2 microwave link added later.
King Salmon, Alaska 1957–1979 King Salmon Air Force Base 58°42′19″N 156°40′08″W / 58.70528°N 156.66889°W / 58.70528; -156.66889
Kotzebue, Alaska 1957–1979 AC&W station / FAA 66°50′34″N 162°36′13″W / 66.84278°N 162.60361°W / 66.84278; -162.60361 3 miles south of Kotzebue
Cape Lisburne, Alaska 1957–1979 AC&W / Long range radar site 68°52′11″N 166°08′56″W / 68.86972°N 166.14889°W / 68.86972; -166.14889 Northern-most and only seasonal WACS, closed during winter. A $6.5 million composite building was constructed in 1970.
Middleton Island, Alaska 1956–1985 AC&W station / FAA 59°27′36″N 146°18′21″W / 59.46000°N 146.30583°W / 59.46000; -146.30583 30 ft parabolic dish
Cape Newenham, Alaska 1958–1979 Originally AC&W, now Long Range RADAR Est.58°38′46″N 162°01′48″W / 58.64611°N 162.03000°W / 58.64611; -162.03000 Revamped in 1974 for $6 Million. Demolished by 1987.
North River, Alaska 1958–1978 Near an AC&W site 63°53′00″N 160°31′50″W / 63.88333°N 160.53056°W / 63.88333; -160.53056 Demolished 1993–1995
Northeast Cape, Alaska 1958- AC&W 63°17′34″N 168°42′05″W / 63.29278°N 168.70139°W / 63.29278; -168.70139 A very remote site, demolished in 2003 for $10.5 million. The While Alice site was located about 1/2 mile from the USAF AC&W site.
Pillar Mountain, Kodiak, Alaska 1957–1979 N/A Est.57°47′19″N 152°26′12″W / 57.78861°N 152.43667°W / 57.78861; -152.43667 Dismantled in 1997
Cape Romanzof, Alaska 1958–1979 AC&W / Minimally attended RADAR 61°46′53″N 165°57′04″W / 61.78139°N 165.95111°W / 61.78139; -165.95111 Upper camp was accessible via tramway and by road. The AC&W site was located in the crater of an extinct volcano. The While Alice site was perched on, I believe, the west rim of the crater.
Sparrevohn, Alaska 1957–1979 AC&W 61°06′22″N 155°36′36″W / 61.10611°N 155.61000°W / 61.10611; -155.61000 Demolished prior to 1987. Very costly construction, dangerous runway. Long Range RADAR still at site.
Tatalina, Alaska 1957–1979 AC&W site 62°55′41″N 156°01′30″W / 62.92806°N 156.02500°W / 62.92806; -156.02500 Tram and road used to reach top camp. WACS located east of RADARs in Top camp.
Tin City, Alaska 1958–1975 AC&W/Long range radar 65°34′58″N 167°56′25″W / 65.58278°N 167.94028°W / 65.58278; -167.94028 Located on Cape Mountain. Tram used to reach top camp. WACS located on a 600 foot plateau 2 miles east of the peak and radar.

Microwave sites[edit]

Location Operational Collocated with Coordinates Notes
Clam Gulch, Alaska 1957- N/A Est.60°12′51″N 151°24′52.4″W / 60.21417°N 151.414556°W / 60.21417; -151.414556 TD-2 Microwave, Acquired by Alascom operating in 1987
Naptowne, Alaska N/A
Rabbit Creek, Alaska N/A
R1-N aka Anchorage 1956- Located on Elmendorf Air Force Base Est.61°15′00″N 149°48′00″W / 61.25000°N 149.80000°W / 61.25000; -149.80000 Unattended TD-2 microwave link
Soldotna, Alaska N/A
Starisky, Alaska N/A

Dual Tropo/Micro[edit]

Location Operational Collocated with Coordinates Notes
Neklasson Lake, Alaska 1956–1985 N/A Est.61°37′43″N 149°16′09″W / 61.62861°N 149.26917°W / 61.62861; -149.26917 Boswell Bay to Neklasson Lake was the last operational link[2]
Diamond Ridge, Alaska 1957- FAA?/Homer, Alaska 59°40′14.6″N 151°34′07″W / 59.670722°N 151.56861°W / 59.670722; -151.56861 Acquired by Alascom, Micro in use / Tropo removed as of 1987
Pedro Dome, Alaska 1958-? N/A 65°02′2.5″N 147°30′07″W / 65.034028°N 147.50194°W / 65.034028; -147.50194 Tropo was demolished prior to 1986. Micro still operated by AT&T.

Note: There were Tropo Billboards at Soldotna (co-located with the TD2) and at Fire Island, as well. Also, There was a TD-2 site at what is now the Civil Air Patrol Wing Headquarters on Elmendorf AFB—it was called R2N. And, there is a TD-2 site at Rabbit Creek, that was originally, and briefly, called R1S, which linked into the TD-2 site at Naptowne.

  • Est. indicates location unclear from USGS topo

The BMEWS Network[edit]

The second segment of White Alice was a pair of TD-2 microwave radio links that supported the Ballistic Missile Early Warning System (BMEWS) at Clear Air Force Station. This section provided two routes from Alaska to NORAD in Colorado, for this reason it was also known as the Rearward Communications System.[3] The A Route went down the southeast coast of Alaska to a submarine cable and the B Route went east into Canada. Some of the systems were collocated with previous sites.

A Route[edit]

Aurora, Black Rapids, Boswell Bay, Cape Yakataga, Clear, Donnelly Dome, Duncan Canal, Glennallen, Harding Lake, Hoonah, McCallum, Murphy Dome, Neklasson Lake, Ocean Cape, Paxson, Pedro Dome, Sawmill, Sheep Mountain, Smuggler Cove, Tahneta Pass, Tolsona

B Route[edit]

Beaver Creek, Canyon Creek, Cathedral, Delta Junction, Gerstle River, Gold King Creek, Knob Ridge, Tok Junction

Project Stretchout sites[edit]

Project Stretchout began in 1959 and finished in the mid-1960s. It was the extension of White Alice to the Alaska Peninsula including the Aleutian DEW Line system.

Location Operational Collocated with Coordinates Notes
Cold Bay, Alaska DEW Line Est.55°15′49″N 162°53′08″W / 55.26361°N 162.88556°W / 55.26361; -162.88556 About $8 million combined cost for Cold Bay and Cape Sarichef
Driftwood Bay, Alaska DEW Line Est.53°58′12″N 166°52′46″W / 53.97000°N 166.87944°W / 53.97000; -166.87944
Nikolski, Alaska DEW Line, Navy, FAA Est.52°58′12″N 168°51′20″W / 52.97000°N 168.85556°W / 52.97000; -168.85556[1]
Port Heiden, Alaska DEW Line Est.56°58′38″N 158°39′09″W / 56.97722°N 158.65250°W / 56.97722; -158.65250 $3.5 million
Port Moller, Alaska DEW Line Est.55°58′41″N 160°30′01″W / 55.97806°N 160.50028°W / 55.97806; -160.50028 $4.4 million to construct.
Cape Sarichef, Alaska late 1950s to the mid-1970s DEW line / LORAN station / Airfield Est.54°35′37″N 164°55′06″W / 54.59361°N 164.91833°W / 54.59361; -164.91833 Built atop a levelled cinder cone

Project Bluegrass sites[edit]

Extension of the White Alice system from Nikolski to Shemya near the end of the Aleutian Islands. Both shots were over 340 miles (550 km), requiring large 120 ft (37 m) antennas and 50 kW transmitters. Both sites were demolished before 1987. In addition to the Aleutian Island extension, Project Bluegrass also included a 50 kW shot from Fort Yukon to Barter Island to connect the northern DEW line to the White Alice system.

Location Operational Collocated with Coordinates Notes
Shemya island, Alaska Late-60s to late-70s AC&W / FAA 52°43′25″N 174°08′21″E / 52.72361°N 174.13917°E / 52.72361; 174.13917 Shemya to Adak shot was 393 miles (632 km)
Adak, Alaska Late-60s to late-70s Navy and others Est.51°54′25″N 176°38′26″W / 51.90694°N 176.64056°W / 51.90694; -176.64056 Adak to Nikolski shot was 341 miles (549 km).

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b United States Air Force. Big Mountain Radio Relay Station Building Demolition. All Around Alaska. December 2004. Accessed February 14, 2006.
  2. ^ S. Reid (June 1985). "Earth Stations Bring an End to White Alice". Communications News. Retrieved 2006-02-14. 
  3. ^ HAER. "Rabbit Creek White Alice Site, Anchorage Alaska, Anchorage, Anchorage District, AK". Library of Congress. Retrieved 2006-02-14.