Naval Communications Unit Midway Islands - NQM

Photos and info thanks to Roger Perkins

Receiver Site, Eastern Island
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Eastern Island
mid-EasternIS.jpg (85568 bytes)

Another photo of Receiver Site showing microwave links back to Control on Sand Island

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patch-midway-2007.jpg (494867 bytes) patch-midway-1704.jpg (494325 bytes)
Roger Perkins writes "Eastern Island, the smaller of the two Midway Islands inside the beautiful Atoll.  The RX site on Eastern was located approx bottom center, just below the runways that were abandoned after WWII was over.   If you look carefully, there are signs of HF antennas, the tropo scatter arrays (operated then by PAGE, a private contractor).  The tropo sites used huge collinear arrays held up by many 350 foot towers.   They ran a lot of power generated just below 50 Mhz, using a ring of 3cx2500A3 tubes, and of course the result bounced off of meteor trails on the way to (I think) Johnston Island/or was it Guam?   Iíll never forget the 6 foot tall pile of exhausted 3cx2500A3 tubes tossed out the back of the scatter building!

Eastern Island RX site (Not related to NSGAís site in any way) consisted of mostly R-390 and SRR-13 era radios and complimentary RTTY converters which we would keep tuned on HF;  8 and 12 Mhz, (16 channel mux) frequencies were commonly used between SF, Hawaii, Japan, Adak, Guam and Midway.   We had four bi directional, rhombics fixed N/S and E/W to accomplish paths.  Also had a few sleeves and conical monopoles.  The Rhombics were supported by 120 foot phone poles and had separate feed point baluns on each end.   Needless to say, the antennas and location were fantastic for hearing (and sometimes working) DX."

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Transmitter & Control Site, Sand Island
1963 Article on NAVCOMMUNIT Midway mid-RogNavy1.jpg (74169 bytes)
Roger wearing NQM patch

Photos from Charles Kinzer ETN2 at Midway 1966-68

LF NQM beacon transmitters
Please send email if you can identify these
Midway-Xmtrs-01.jpg (2339623 bytes)
Midway FRT-15 - LoRes.JPG (110719 bytes)
AN/FRT-24 and AN/FRT-15
Midway FRT-24 adn FRT-15 - LoRes.JPG (123688 bytes)
AN/FRT-24 and AN/FRT-39
Midway FRT-24 and FRT-39 - LoRes.JPG (132827 bytes)
Midway FRT-39 - LoRes.JPG (141089 bytes)
AN/FRT-39 rear
Midway FRT-39 rear - LoRes.JPG (98570 bytes)
Midway FRT-39 Xmtrs - LoRes.JPG (154699 bytes)
AN/FRT-24 and AN/FRT-39
Midway rows FRT-24 and FRT-39 - LoRes.JPG (113875 bytes)
Screen room with AN/URR-50
Midway screen room with URR-50 - LoRes.JPG (129899 bytes)
Midway TAB-7 - LoRes.JPG (120731 bytes)
LF transmitters and AN/FRT-39
Midway VLF Xmtrs and FRT-39 - LoRes.JPG (127585 bytes)
Gates 250 for KMTH AM radio
Midway Gates 250 KMTH AM radio - LoRes.JPG (94893 bytes)
RLPA - Rotatable Log Periodic Antenna
Midway 1 of 3 RLPAs - LoRes.JPG (82323 bytes)
RLPA - Rotatable Log Periodic Antenna
Midway 1 of 3 RLPAs closeup - LoRes.JPG (78967 bytes)
Antenna farm - pressurized nitrogen-filled feedline
Midway Antenna Farm Nitrogen Filled Coax - LoRes.JPG (114146 bytes)
RLPA - Rotatable Log Periodic Antenna at the old transmitter building
Midway Old Transmitter site and RLPA - LoRes.JPG (79893 bytes)
Transmitter site with microwave link dishes
Midway Transmitter Site building - LoRes.JPG (94706 bytes)
Microwave link dishes
Midway Microwave Link dishes - LoRes.JPG (103573 bytes)
Microwave link equipment
Midway Microwave Link photo 1 - LoRes.JPG (144887 bytes)
Microwave link equipment
Midway Microwave Link photo 3 - LoRes.JPG (117598 bytes)
Microwave link equipment
Midway Microwave Link photo 2 - LoRes.JPG (125078 bytes)
Microwave link equipment
Midway Microwave Link photo 4 - LoRes.JPG (132909 bytes)
Microwave link equipment
Midway Microwave Link photo 5 - LoRes.JPG (154913 bytes)
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Transmitter Site Tech Control
Midway Transmitter Site nerve center - receivers - LoRes.JPG (141061 bytes)
Transmitter Site Tech Control

Midway_Transmitter_Site_never_center_TTY_and_patch_panel_-_LoRes.JPG (118793 bytes)

Transmitter Site Office
Midway Transmitter Site Office - LoRes.JPG (111647 bytes)
Comments from Charles Kinzer: "The VERY large Quonset hut building was the original transmitter site. It just had a bunch of old equipment stored in it. Fun to prowl around in. It helps show the height of one of the three rotating log periodic antennas that were there. I was told, at the time, they cost a quarter million per antenna to get those installed. Hard to believe.

A word about the ITT Kellogg microwave link equipment: "Midway Island" is really a misnomer and it is really the "Midway Islands" or "Midway Atoll". There are two islands, Sand and Eastern. Transmitters, and the radio control building and most things were on Sand Island. Receivers on Eastern Island. Two 101 pair undersea cables connected the islands. One was the Navyís and the other owned by the telephone company. A ship had passed between the islands dragging an anchor and tore out one of them. I forget which, but I think it was the Navyís cable and we were now using the telephone company cable. The microwave link was a backup and had 101 multiplexed/demultiplexed channels. The large silver colored knobs you see are monster rotary switches that switch all 101 signals from cable to microwave link. This equipment was in its own room in a corner of the building, usually quite cool in temperature, lights out, and was highly reliable although not perfect.

There was also a scatter site on Eastern Island which had become obsolete when I was there (1966-1968) and they had an exercise where UDT guys arrived via a submarine, swam to shore, set charges, and blew up the really tall towers for it. Then the UDT guys hung around awhile and one of them had gotten into BIG trouble by having a little American flag tattooed on his shoulder. They didnít want anything on them to identify them as American. That sort of reminded me that they were in a dangerous line of work. 

Finally, even though the large concrete "radio control" building nearby on Sand Island was in charge of everything, all of the audio for patching went to and from the transmitter site, not them. (The 101 pair cable from Eastern Island came to us as well as the backup microwave link.) The transmitter site was the center of all that. Even the Ham Radio club located in the big Air Force hanger had audio to us and, yes, occasionally (but very rarely) we would put them up on an AN/FRT-39 and connect it to an RLPA aimed where they asked us. "

Transmitter Building today


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Radio Control Building today

midway-control-2012.jpg (628568 bytes)