This page updated 2001 August 20

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Kodiak Alaska Military History

Chiniak US Coast Guard 1945

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Foundation of the HF DF (HuffDuff) that Lloyd operated in 1945.
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From a short distance away this DF foundation could be missed. It is surrounded by shallow water. Joe Stevens is the tour guide.
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Low Frequency DF building located about a mile from the HF DF. (H-12 on map below)
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Bob Perone and Joe Ropell circa 1947.
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Quonset Hut #2 circa 1947, located near Chiniak Lagoon, about where the Navy had antenna DW-2. (I-14 on map below)
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February 1947 photo mosaic.
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Curt Law and Lloyd Johnson June 14, 1998. (J-20 on map below)

Lloyd Johnson, veteran of the USCG at Chiniak, Kodiak Island, Alaska
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Lloyd Johnson at the LF DF receiver in 1946.
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Map circa 1960

Fred's Place is where past and present Coast Guard people meet.

As a USCG Radio and HFDF operator, I spent a winter at the Cape from 1945 until May 1946. Although things have changed a lot, I recognized many things in the pictures on your Web Pages. The sleeping quarters and kitchen facilities in the interior of the Main Building was not completed when I was there. We bunked in Quonset huts located on the side of the hill across the "Draw" northeast of the Main Building, and a large barracks building located down the hill in front of the Main Building housed the kitchen facilities, mess hall, and recreation area. The room in the Main Building where the "Power Panels" were located originally housed three "Hill" diesel gererators which explains the three exhaust ports in the wall. These were small units (10 KW) and would not singularly supply the station power requirements. We were never able to successfully parallel them so they would share the load, so we replaced them with two Caterpillar diesel generators (50 KW each) which we installed in the garage of the Main Building. We dragged the Hill Units out and left in the bushes to the right and in front of the Main Building. I'm a Ham Operator (WU9J) and about 1962 or 1963 I hooked up with a Navy Ham Operator at Cape Chiniak on the ham band and he told me that those Hill units were still there where we left them. Well, so much for the Chiniak stories. Any one who served there, I'm sure has a lot of fond memories. I'm really wondering if I will recognize the place if I am able to get out there. Again, I must tell you how thrilled I was to find your Web Pages about Chiniak. Thanks a Million Lloyd L. Johnson, lloydl (at)

June 14, 1998 visit by Lloyd Johnson

The group: Lloyd Johnson WU9J, Helen Johnson, Ed Johnson, Joe Stevens WL7AML, Curt Law AL7LQ, Daryl Lewis.
The place: Cape Chiniak, Kodiak Island, Alaska.
Lloyd and his family were visiting from their home near St. Louis.

lloydl (at)

Lloyd had been stationed at Chiniak with the US Coast Guard from August 1945 until May 1946. He described the facility as a direction finding station. They also operated a CW communications net with other stations in the DF net as well as a few others.

Callsigns in the area and in the HF net in 1945 were:
NNA, the westernmost station in the DF net;
NNB-NNE (the stations west of Kodiak were at Dutch Harbor, Adak, and others)
NNF Cape Chiniak
NNG Middleton Island
NNH Biorka Island, Sitka
NHB Navy Base Kodiak
WXR Army Base Kodiak
NMJ Coast Guard District 17 HQ Ketchikan

Huff Duff or H.F. D.F. (High Frequency Direction Finder)

June 14, 1998 visit by Lloyd Johnson

This foundation was identified on this trip. There was a square concrete pit with a concrete bridge over it. The ground ring was still in place. There were bits of the ground radial wires still attached to the disk. There were porcelain feed-thru insulators in the concrete box for each ground radial wire. There was one straight section of concrete wall foundation suggesting you could have looked under the building from three sides when it was intact. We found no evidence of wood remnants. This pit is just across the roadway (really two tire tracks in the grass) from the newer foundation of another burned building. Lloyd said the other building did not exist in 1946.

The station used a DAB receiver mounted on a rotating arm with two triangular loops. This arm was rotated manually and two horizontal lines on a three inch oscilloscope met in the center of the scope. The left and right half of the lines moving up and down as the antenna was rotated. Slip rings below the floor carried power and ground to the rotating asembly. The building was constructed with mortise and tenon joints using no metalic fasteners. You could look under the building and see a central ground ring with ground radial wires every two or three degrees.

The station had a crew of about 21 people. The winter of 45-46 the snow got to ten feet deep in places. This made it impossible to get to Kodiak for supplies. They used a bulldozer to open enough road to get to a pier where they met a boat from Kodiak. On one occasion a group from a Loran station visited. Lloyd didn't know where the Loran station was located and gussed they had a crew of three. They were visiting during the snow to borrow supplies.

Occasionally a message was received to monitor a certain frequency for a Russian signal. It might take one or two weeks before they would hear the signal. They would then DF it and send their report. They used CW in the clear for their net.

Lloyd said they closed the facility in May 1946 and turned it over to the Navy. In our searches of the area, the one concrete DF foundation was the only evidence that Lloyd could recognize. We searched for the Quonset huts they used as barracks but could only generally locate the vicinity. There were no Quonset remnants found. (Note: The Corps of Engineers did a very thorough "cleanup" of the area a few years ago.) Lloyd said the main operations building was a two-story building that was not complete. This appears to be the same two-story building described and photographed in 1960 by Pete Azzole. There was no evidence whatsoever found of this building.

Low Frequency D.F. Site

June 14, 1998 visit by Lloyd Johnson

Some distance from their HF DF site Lloyd said there was a LF DF. We couldn't find any evidence of this site and Lloyd couldn't provide any location assistance.

HFDF Update

August 15, 2001 by Lloyd Johnson
Joe: In my '98 visit to Kodiak, I gave you a verbal description of the HFDF unit used a Cape Chiniak '45-'46. I am attaching some pictures of the DAB-3 equipment. They are not the greatest but perhaps you can use them. You may find it interesting that the unit contained two receivers, one connected to the diamond shaped loop on one end of the 16 foot boom and the other connected to the loop on the other end with each receiver controlling a horizontal line (trace) on the right and left side respectively of a 3" oscilloscope mounted top-center in the main panel. As the unit was rotated on it's pedestal, the two traces would move up and down and when they became aligned in the center, the bearing was viewed on an azimuth scale under the unit. The two receivers were gang-tuned and the unit contained a total of 57 tubes. Interesting also was the fact that the two receivers were flip-flopped (alternated back and forth) rapidly between the right and left loops and the right and left scope traces to compensate for any differences in the two receivers. The unit operated on the basis of one loop picking up the signal ahead or behind the other loop (timewise) rather than on the difference of signal strength between the two loops. To differentiate between front and back bearings, the unit was always rotated in one direction with the left scope trace moving down the screen to align with the right scope trace which would be moving up. A "back bearing" would be when the left trace moved up the screen to align with the right trace with the unit being rotated in the correct direction. Attached pictures are courtesy Ferman Williams and Dennis Dowling, both veterans of the WW2 USCG Alaska & Aleutian DF Net. I hope to join you for breakfast at King's Diner sometime next year. Lloyd

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