RF Shorts – Sept. 22, 2011

Last 'White Alice' Troposcatter Antenna Dismantled
I found an interesting story by Tommie Baker, 611th Civil Engineer Squadron – Cold War era White Alice Communication System antenna felled for a clean and safe dismantling describing the demolition of the last "White Alice" communication system antenna at the former Bethel Radio Relay Station. The antenna, which was 60 feet tall and 60 feet wide, was constructed in 1957 and activated in 1958. For 21 years it served as a signal relay station for Aniak, Cape Romanzof and Cape Newenham RRS. It was deactivated and abandoned in 1979. The article has more history on the system.

Another website, www.whitealice.com provides photos and technical details on the system. The system used high-powered transmitters, with outputs of up to 50 kW, and large billboard antennas to achieve long range communications via troposcatter. It is well worth the read if you are interested in how long range wireless communications were conducted before satellites replaced these terrestrial systems.

Labor Strike Could Delay SES-2 Launch
Stephen Clark reported on Spaceflightnow.com that Labor strike forces delay of Ariane rocket launch, stating, "The rocket was healthy, the satellites were configured and the weather was picturesque, but an unexpected labor strike stood in the way of liftoff of an Ariane 5 launcher Tuesday with two payloads to serve the United States and the Middle East."

Jean-Yves Le Gall, chairman and CEO of Arianespace, said the strike involved workers who operate the radar trackers that follow the Ariane 5 rocket's ascent into space. The rocket was scheduled to launch SES 2 and Arabsat 5C. SES 2 is to be located at 87 degrees west longitude. Arabsat 5C will be positioned at 20 degrees east longitude, replacing Arabsat 2B, which was launched in Nov. 1996.

Doug Lung

Doug Lung is one of America's foremost authorities on broadcast RF technology. He has been with NBC since 1985 and is currently vice president of broadcast technology for NBC/Telemundo stations.