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Communications Station Kodiak Navy and USCG
This page will present miscellaneous radio and telephone related history of Kodiak. Subjects for inclusion are callsigns of past radio or TV stations, where and when and by whom they were established, who worked there. You know, stuff like that...
Armed Forces Radio and TV
Kodiak is credited with being the first armed forces radio station. This is correct if you qualify it by saying that it was the first to go on the air and STAY on the air. There were also significant pioneering efforts in Sitka, Alaska, in Panama, Hawaii, and the Philipines. Noteworty also was KGEI in San Francisco Bay which was instrumental in direct short-wave broadcasts to the Philipines where Americans re-broadcast the signal locally.
In the 60's and 70's Kodiak also had Armed Forces TV on Channel 8 which covered the base and town. Just after the 1964 Tsunami, the TV station was very helpful getting information out to the public.
Armed Forces Television Channel 8 in Kodiak The studio is through the windows at the right of the photo. The film chain was behind the monitors. As I said earlier, that consisted of two 16mm sound movie projectors and a slide projector. There were four monitors: Two for the studio cameras, one for the film chain and one "on the air" monitor. The grey video control board was a switcher/fader and the audio control board sat on top of that. The cartridge machine is next to that and the turntable is at the bottom right of the photo.
Harry's photo album
The label shown here is from a sixteen-inch diameter 33 1/3 RPM record that was the format frequently used to distribute radio programs. A similar disk is on display in our museum.
In October 1941 Captain William H. Adams, a former radio man from San Francisco, also the Army base finance officer, Sgt. Bill Merritt, Sgt. Rule Bright, and about a dozen other men from Ft. Greely organized a radio station for Kodiak.
The first quarter-hour variety show aired live over wired loudspeakers on October 28 1941 from the lounge of the officer's quarters. Everybody immediately showed enthusiasm for local Kodiak radio. The contractors and their general superintendent, J.C. Henry, held loteries and raised money for a fifteen-watt transmitter and other equipment to be purchased in Seattle. The equipment arrived in early December. The guys assembled the stuff in the base ordnance building and made some test broadcasts for a few hours each day. The signals were heard in the town of Kodiak.
It was apparent that facilities would be needed. Henry came through with an empty piece of land near Lake Louise where studios were constructed. Volunteers completed a broadcast station building before the end of December 1941. It consisted of a control room, a studio for small performing groups and individual performers, offices, and a 100-seat auditorium.
This building (A-130) was probably in the athletic field behind the present-day Nemetz Convenience store. This 2035 square foot building was on the list of structures approved for disposal dated 27 Jan 1960 revised to 1/13/65.
The staff named it KODK and began full-time broadcasts on January 10, 1942. They were on the air from 7 am to 10 pm daily and could be heard everywhere around Kodiak on 1300 Kc/s.
The early programs consisted of recorded music and newscasts with a volunteer staff. General Charles Corlett addressed the troops over KODK complimenting the harmony of the civilians, the Army, and the Navy working together.
In March 1942, Joe E. Brown appeared live on the station during his 33-day tour of Alaska. He said it was the only station on the air he found on his travels. After he got back to Hollywood, Brown had his friends in the entertainment business send transcriptions of their radio broadcasts to KODK.
In November 1942, KODK moved to temporary quarters in the old post library building while it's building underwent improvements. On December 5, 1942, they returned to a renovated building and an official FCC license. Several documents seem to have the callsign wrong. The callsign is reported to be WVCX in a manuscript titled "Chapter2. AFRN Antecedents" in the Rod O'Connor collection, and WCVQ in correspondence between Rod O'Connor and Lawrence Suid, the author of an official history of AFRTS. Another official Ft. Greely history says the callsign was WVCQ. Since callsigns were sometimes assigned in a series, it it possible that WVCX (maybe on 1220 KC/s.) was assigned to Sitka at the same time as WVCQ was assigned to Kodiak. One web page has slim mention of WCVQ. The KODIAK BEAR newspaper published at Ft. Greely, Kodiak, during 1943 mentions the station several times as WVCQ therefore that seems to be the correct callsign. A story in the July 22, 1942, issue of Kodiak Bear reports receiving their official callsign of WVCQ. For more interesting radio history see Jeff Miller's Broadcasting History Pages.
The Kodiak radio station was certainly among the first. What it probably accomplished was demonstrating to the command that such an effort was indeed valuable. Other soldiers also started with phono oscillators, like Sitka, and a number of independent efforts sprang up throughout the world. Some of the soldiers wrote to syndicators of radio programs asking for material. A syndicator called the War Department to get permission. Heck, the War Department had never heard of the station. Some Pentagon brass showed up in Kodiak and Sitka to find out just what was going on. One of the brass was Tom Lewis. He was to preside over the birth of AFRN.
Map showing WVCQ in the high school, upper right of map. During the life of the station in Kodiak, it was located in several places. Documents in the museum include floor plans for building S25 (containing 4,808 square feet) dated 26 March 1956 (Y&D Drawing 612548) and building 52 dated 1968. The 1968 drawing includes radio, TV and The Kodiak Bear newspaper. There are two drawings showing signal coverage maps for the TV transmitter dated 1956. Building S25 was on Nyman Penninsula in what is now the fuel farm. The TV was on the first floor and the radio was on the second floor of both plans. Building S25 is shown on the WWII era maps as building B-63-5. Mike Murray who works at KMXT remembers this station on Nyman Penninsula. Tony Perez of Kodiak reported that it had been in Bells Flats building 444 at one time. The unattended radio transmitter was in building T-1 (commsta) at the end.
During the life of the radio station, it operated with 15 watts in 1942, with 250 watts just prior to 1977, and after 1977 at 50 watts. The TV ran 500 watts on channel 8. The first radio frequency was 1300 KC/s. In the FAA Alaska Supplement 1986 it was listed on 960 KHz with 50 watts carrying programming from studios at Elmendorf. It was one of 20 Alaskan Forces Radio Network stations on the air in 1986. It started under the Army, was maintained by the Navy, and ultimately the Coast Guard was responsible with programming by the Air Force.
The Ft. Greely (Delta Junction) station was converted into an unattended translator in 2001. The last manager was SGT Tom Clementson. See the logo at the top of this article for his contribution to the Kodiak Military History Museum. This logo is about two feet in diameter. It is the centerpiece of a special radio display in the Miller Point Bunker.
According to the civilian Manager Mr. Richard Avare, the move will enable WCVQ to set up en even more elaborate station and at the same time enable the High School to expand.
By press deadline for the KODIAK BEAR, it was not known whether or not WCVQ would be forced to suspend operations for a complete move. If so, it will probably be for one day only, Mr. Avare stated.
WCVQ was originally moved to the station from Fort Greely in 1947. At that time, its old quarters and the present high school were the old Dispensary and the Recreation Hall.
Building A-130, Lake Louise, Ft. Greely. Original KODK studio. Photo March 1984.
From Coleman collection.
Building A-130, Lake Louise, Ft. Greely. Original KODK studio. Photo March 1984.
From Coleman collection.
Building A-130, Lake Louise, Ft. Greely. Original KODK studio. Photo March 1984.
From Coleman collection.
Smokey Mt. Pruitt and his Talkin Blues
From Pace album.
Studio is named for J.C. Henry the contractor.
From Pace collection.
L to R: Pvt. Beamon Frost, Col. Fred Hunt Jr., Howard Bowlin, Floyd Sharpe, Buck Buchanan
From Pace collection.
L to R: Col. Hunt, Beeman Frost, Howard Bowlin, Floyd Sharpe, Buck Buchann, William Pruett, William Jennings.
From Pace collection.
The first reaction when at Kodiak checking in was that there was a tv on and it was kind of amazing since we were too far away for a cable system to pick up something.
TV was Dage equipment, two studio vidicon cameras and a third identical camera one minus the viewifinder on the film chain. All equipment except the Dage sync gen was discrete transistors. Audio was a Gates 'Yard' console. The TV transmitter was a Gates 100W with a 4X250 in the visual final and I think a 5894 in the aural 50W final. The antennas were on a tall wood pole and were separate for the picture and sound. (Most tv stations use a diplexer and one antenna.) The visual antennas were V corner reflectors and sound were 'Andrew' V's like used for FM stations with no reflector, all made by Jampro in Sacramento. About 1970 parts were acquired to modify the antenna feed to a three way power splitter and a third set of antennas was aimed out to the Chiniak tracking station. This was the only solution as bigger receive antennas didn't help much out there, just not much signal until the transmit antenna aimed some out there. You can see the RCA BW-5 sideband analyzer in the rack adjacent to the TX, a sweeper so you can broadband the visual final, above that, an audio limiter. Navy journalists ran the station. A navy corpsman who had been a union set painter at NBC Burbank painted a number of amazing color flats on sheetrock. It's too bad there was no color transmission. Some of the recent sports shows from AFRTS were on some kind of 'electron beam' recording on a 16 mm mylar film that looked white to the eye but projected like film, the rest of the programs were conventional film reruns from all networks. Upon arrival in 1969 the station was in a barracks building, shown elsewhere on this web site. Shortly people were 'volunteered' to help move tv and radio equipment which was done with two techs since one had done maintenance and operation in TV broadcasting prior to active duty time.
The radio transmitter when I got there was a fairly old 250 watt Gates with 810's in the final and the modulator and not a great antenna, an inverted L with no real ground system. They had a spare radio TX, a much newer CCA 250W in another building. I got the OK to move the radio transmitter out to the COM STA transmitter site and got a phone pair for the audio. I got the rigger to put a wire nearly vertical from the transmitter building roof up to the top of one of the four towers that surrounded the building, put in an antenna tuner for it and got a shrouded insulator from the Loran-A station to keep ice off of the lower insulator point. With the excellent ground system of that transmitter building site this vertical antenna worked great and the 250W CCA was heard quite a ways out at sea.
I got sent to Ft Greely AK Army base once to fix their TV transmitter and took s few pix there as well which I could also send you. I really appreciated NAVELEX engineer KL7ALJ Al Stewart, formerly Navy Captain of COMSTA at Kodiak, you might have run across him; I understand he passed away some years ago. [Albert H. Stewart passed away 11 March 1995.]
T COMSTA/SUPRTCEN ZNR UUUUU R 231900Z JAN 87 FM AFABS ELEMENDORF AFB AK//CC// TO RUWMBBA/CG SUPRTCEN KODIAK AK//CO// RUWMBBA/CG/COMMSTA KODIAK AK//CO// INFO RUWMDMA/CCGDSEVENTEEN JUNEAU AK//OTM// BT UNCLAS SUBJ: DISESTABLISHMENT OF ARMED FORCES RADIO AND TELEVISION SERVICE (AFRTS) OUTLET REF: A. 17TH CCDG/OTM LTR, 4 AUG, SAB B. DIRECTOR, AMERICAN FORCES INFORMATION SERVICE (DOD) LTR, 8 DEC 86, SAB. 1. REF A ASKED THAT THE AFRTS OUTLET AT KODIAK BE DISESTABLISHED DUE TO AVAILABILITY OF MULTIPLE COMMERCIAL BROADCAST SERVICES ON THE ISLAND. REF B APPROVED THE REQUEST. 2. AFRTS SERVICE TO KODIAK TERMINATED EFFECTIVE 22 JAN 87. 3. REQUEST AFRTS EQUIPMENT AT KODIAK BE RETURNED TO AFABS AS SOON AS POSSIBLE. FOLLOWING ITEMS NEED TO BE RETURNED: A. TWO (2) EACH P&H AM50A TRANSMITTERS. B. ONE (1) EACH AM-80 MODULATION MONITOR. C. ONE (1) EACH HARRIS AM LIMITER. 4. ITEMS SHOULD BE SHIPPED TO: AFABS/BEL, ELMENDORF AFB, AK 99506-5000, ATTN: MSGT DEXHEIMER, PHONE 552-2978. 5. POC IS SMSGT SMITH, AFABS CHIEF OF MAINTENANCE, AV552-4474. 6. APPRECIATE UR ASSISTANCE. BT
|Black Rapids||1550 KHz||50w|
|Cape Lisburne||1400 KHz||50w|
|Cape Newenham||1450 KHz||50w|
|Cape Romanzof||1240 KHz||50w|
|Cold Bay||1450 KHz||50w|
|Ft. Greely||1360 KHz/90.5 MHz||50w|
|Ft. Yukon||1340 KHz||50w|
|Indian Mountain||1240/1490 KHz||50w|
|King Salmon||970 KHz||250w|
|Tin City||1490 KHz||50w|
|Tok Junction||1400 KHz||50w|
History of AFRN Ft. Greely
The ROTARIAN for July 1943 carried an article about KODK/WVCQ Kodiak on page 45.
KVOK is a 1000 watt AM station on 560 KHz that was built in 1974. AFRN was still on the air, and KMXT had signed on in 1976. KVOK went off the air for about a month around August 1977. KVOK returned to the air in September after AFRN reduced power to 50 watts. KVOK is still on the air, but from a different transmitter site, at Buskin Lake, on a rented USCG tower. Originally it was on a 150 foot tower located right behind the Southern Alaska Forwarding warehouse which is behind Mimi's Deli. The original antenna was quite unique. There were about 12 toploading wires extending from the top of the tower almost to the ground. There was another set of 12 wires, insulated from the tower, extending from a point about ten feet above ground directly horizontally to convenient trees around the perimeter. This above-ground counterpoise was fed from a tap just a little bit above ground in the tuner.
I found a group of photos I took from the top of the tower just before I took it down in late 1993, but they were all of the view from there and only one showed any tower. The neighborhood has certainly grown up since then! I have a number of artifacts from the site. The old tower is near Homer, on the ground.
You'll notice, since I'm a broadcast engineer that I put the transmitter first in this story. Well, the studio was in several locations. Today it's at 1315 Mill Bay Road in Jim Ashford's building. Just before this location it was at 1227 Mill Bay Road. Before that it was in Kashevaroff Villa, and before that it was at the Kodiak Inn.
Bob Bridges's dad originally built the station. Here's an e-mail message from him.
From: "Dr. Bridges" alaskabob (at) RivRad.com Subject: Radio Date: Mon, 10 Aug 1998 18:49:17 -0700 Hello Joe: Thanks for the e-mail. It has been a very long time. I was in Kodiak for the first time three years ago and boy had things changed. I heard the the old site was being decommissioned and video taped the site. When I cut down those 3 plus acres of forest there wasn't a road near by. Peter Bailey helped on a few days back then in the summer of 1974. Our history on Kodiak goes back to 1967 when my Dad was finishing the construction of KSRM in Soldotna. We happened to meet some Kodiak people at the time and they told us of the need for a station on Kodiak. So, I should be able to fill in the 1967 to 1979 era. When I visited KVOK three years ago, very little was left from the original gear. Only one Revox was identifiable. Thanks for letting me know that some of the gear "lives on". The top-loadedcounterpoised antenna that Carl E. Smith designed was very good. The FCC had fits over approving it but we got it done. I will be glad to submit a history for the KMXT site as one central repository of information is a good start. There are issues that never have seen the light of day, that had a major influence on the operation of KVOK, and the relations (sometimes strained) with the Coast Guard, AFRN and KMXT. They are purely historical now, but are worth putting in perpective. Presently I am a partner in a nine member radiology group in Riverside. We have three imaging centers, and have the contract for the major hospital here. Prior to Riverside I was an Assistant Professor at University of California - Irvine School of Medicine. I am double boarded with certification in Radiology and Nuclear Medicine. Kind of far removed from radio these days.. but I hope to get back into Alaska doing locum tenens. Looking forward to saying "hi" personally. Sincerely, Bob Bridges
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
NRFO USCGC Onondaga
WYSM Ft. Morrow
WYSH Cold Bay
WXEN Great Falls, Montana
info from Bob Coonrad, The Forgotten War, Vol 4, p 55-58.
From map "KODIAK ISLAND VILLAGES AND CANNERIES"
1 January 1944 Intelligence Office Ft. Greely
counterclockwise from Shuyak Is.
place name - description - radio call
Port Williams Fish & Oyster Co. - dock, fresh water, cold storage plant, northern radio monitor station KANA
Bluefox Bay Herring Plant - shallow water dock
Iron Creek Herring Plant - dock KIOH
Port Vita Herring Plant - dock KAMZ
Port Wakefield Herring Plant - dock KIOC
Port Bailey Cannery - dock KIAQ
Uganik Fisheries Cannery - dock, machine shop KIBH
San Juan Cannery - dock, machine shop KIJP
Sandvik's small cannery - no dock
Danielson's Saltery - no supplies, no dock
Chatham Straits Fish Company - dock, few supplies KKAC
Uyak Village Cannery - dock
Larsen Bay - A.P.A. Cannery, pop 70, 900 foot dock, machine shop, supplies, KAMI
Karluk - Fishing Village - pop 185, no dock, store, supplies, KBVE
Parks Cannery - dock, machine shop, KBQT
Halibut Bay - Grimes Packing Co. Cannery, no dock, no supplies, KAJQ
Olga Bay Cannery - dock, no radio, no supplies
Akhiok - Native Village, pop 40, no dock, no supplies, KTPA
Alitak - P.A.F. Cannery, pop 20, good dock, machine shop, dories, skiffs & power boats
Trap Point Cannery - pop 10, oil tanks, dock, KBTK
Aigktalik Native Village - pop 15, no dock, no supplies
Kaguyak Native Village - pop 15, no dock, no supplies
Port Hobron - abandoned whaling station, no supplies, dock in poor condition
Old Harbor Native Village - pop 100, no dock, no supplies, BIA School KTPC
Shearwater Bay - Kadiak Fisheries Cannery, good dock, dories & power boats, small machine shop KIJW
Eagle Harbor - church, abandoned
Kodiak - large village, pop 1500, oil tanks, machine shops, supplies, 3 docks, hospital, ACS radio station WAF
Uzinki - cannery, village pop 100, dock, no supplies KAQI
Howe's Saw Mill KILW
Afognak Native Village - pop 75, no dock, no supplies
Litnik - pop 40, no dock, no supplies
Commercial Telephones in Kodiak
The original Kodiak town switchboard was an Army surplus 400-line Western Electric common battery manual switchboard removed from Ft. Greely at the end of the war. The Kodiak city exchange is presently located at 1115 Mill Bay Road, across from Powell Ave. and is a Northern Telecom DMS-10 digital switch. Just prior to this switch, it was a Stromberg- Carlson X-Y switch located in a concrete building still located at Mill bay Road and Yukon Street (at the "Y"). The building is now the home of Domino's Pizza. The move to 1115 Mill Bay Road and to a DMS-10 took place around January 28, 1986, the date of the space shuttle Challenger explosion. The X-Y system was in use prior to the 1964 earthquake and tidal wave which inundated the telephone building. The company has undergone several owners, prior to 1964 until sometime in the 80's it was Glacier State Telephone part of the Continental system. It operated as Telephone Utilities of the Northland. It was purchased by PTI and legally kept the TUNI name, but did business as PTI. Circa 1997 purchase was being negotiated by Century Tel. In the summer of 1999 the Kodiak local telephone utility was being sold to Alaska Communications Systems, a group organized 14 October 1998, led by Charles E. "Chuck" Robinson, Chairman of the Board, President, and CEO. Wes Carson is Executive VP.
Contel newsletter E.H. (Hal) Lincoln has been appointed district manager in Kodiak, Alaska, for the Glacier State Telephone Company. He reports to E.K. Larson, state manager.
For further infomation see: An overall history of the telephone network in the United States from 1921 to 1984 by Tom Farley. Telephone Collectors International, a historical society.
Telephones and the 1964 Tsunami
from Kodiak Tsunami, First 29 Days, published by City of Kodiak Prepared by Karl Armstrong March 27, 1964 the tide came in, in, in ,in ...
Emergency Bulletin #2, 29 March 1964 TELEPHONES First Lt. Tuza of the National Guard said he has received field telephones and enough wire to establish six miles of communications between vital points. Gordon Nelson said he has located a used board in Kenai and efforts may be made to bring it to Kodiak on National Guard or Navy aircraft. This would be used to establish long distance phones. TELEGRAMS Sgt. Buzz Sawyer of the ACS is keeping that installation open 24 hours a day to enable the filing and receiving of telegrams and messages. ROADS ... One hundred Seebees arrived Saturday and are busy on the base.
#4, 31 March PHONES 1st Lt. Tuza of the National Guard reports he has received more phones and wire and will be able to connect up more vital points.
#6, 2 April TELEPHONES Phil Anderson tells us that it will probably be about three months before phone service can be resumed here. The entire telephone office and exchange was wiped out by the initial tidal waves and an entire new board must be built.
#7, April 3 LONG DISTANCE PHONES ACS now has three lines to the mainland for phone calls to the mainland and the lower 48, according to Sgt. Buzz Sawyer.
#8, 4 April TELEPHONES It will be some time before Kodiak will have a regular phone system operating again, according to Kodiak Telephone Co. Manager Gordon Nelson. Meanwhile, valiant efforts on the part of ACS personnel, with Jensen's assistance, has nearly completed a switchboard installation with the following 18 local lines in service: 111 City Police 207 Pillar Mountain 112 City Manager 208 Woody Island 113 City Hall 212 KEA 114 Information 214 Hospital 120 ACS Radio 215 Dr. Bruce Keers 122 PNA (City office) 216 Civil Defense Headquarters (by high school) 202 High School 217 Dr. Bob Johnson (Home) 203 National Guard 218 Alaska Ice & Storage 206 ACS 222 Chiniak In addition, they now have four long distance lines with three booths operating at ACS.
#11, April 7 TELEPHONES Kodiak Telephone Company Manager tells us that he understands a switchboard is now enroute to Kodiak which will enable the hookup of about 300 phones. He said that vital points would of course, be hooked up and phones set up in outlying areas for fire control reporting points. Other phones would be provided to vital businesses and many may have to be on a party line basis for a time he said. Recognition was give to the National Guard technicians who provided the emergency lines which now connect vital points. 1st Lt. Conrad Tuza, Commander of the local guard unit last night was asked by City Manager Ralph Jones to convey to the men of the unit the feeling and appreciation and gratitude felt by the people of the community for the services they have rendered during this emergency. Just before the disaster the unit won the coveted Governor's Trophy by getting 99.77 points out of a possible 100 at annual camp. RADIO STATION Plans are underway to provide Kodiak area with a radio station capable of reaching all area residents who receive electricity into their homes, according to Alan Austerman. Young Austerman is receiving cooperation from Cpl. Alan Herrington, a radio technician with the marine Corps on the Naval Station who is researching out the equipment needed. "We need badly a means of communicating instantly with the people of the community ... this disaster is a prime example of need for such a facility and we hope to be in operation shortly," said Austerman.
#13, April 9 ACS LAUDED ... ACS operators ... Meritorious Service Award ... Dorothy Valen and Lois Hausman. ... S/Sgt. Ronald Partlow, S/Sgt. A. "Buzz" Sawyer, NCOIC, Station Commander, A1/c John Daugherty, A1/c Lanny Watkins, E.W. Talbert, Jinny Carlson, Linda Russell, Jim Childs, Ruth Arneson (who incidentally is the ACS chief operator in Anchorage who was on leave visiting here and pitched right in to help!)
#21, 18 April TELEPHONES Following is a list of phones now in operation: (Manager Gordon Jensen and his crew of experts is working day and night now to get telephones into operation. He is presently putting together some rather awesome looking devices in the rear of City Hall where the phone facilities will be located for a time.) LONG DISTANCE...............0 HIGH SCHOOL.................486-2191 CITY INFORMATION............2133 DR. BOB JOHNSON.............486-2171 NAVY INFORMATION............70 DR. BRUCE KEERS.............486-2244 A C S LAND RADIO............486-2141 KODIAK OIL SALES............486-2344 A C S TELEGRAMS.............486-2323 KODIAK ELECTRIC ASSO........486-2261 ALASKA ICE & STORAGE........486-2343 PACIFIC NORTHERN AIRLINES...486-2231 CHINIAK AIR BASE............486-2381 PILLAR MOUNTAIN.............486-2361 CITY DOCK...................486-2342 STATE POLICE................486-2441 CITY HALL...................486-2101 MAJOR BANNISTER.............486-2461 CITY POLICE.................486-2311 WALT MULLER.................486-2422 HARVEY'S FLYING SERVICE.....486-2471 WOODY ISLAND................486-2571 PHONE BOOTHS Manager Gordon Jensen of the Kodiak Telephone Company today announced that the long distance booths inside their old building are now in operation 24 hours a day. persons desiring to make calls are advised to remember to bring coin change for the phones as the booths will not be attended.
#24, 22 April RETURN FIELD PHONES S/Sgt. Buzz Sawyer, Station Commander of the local ACS, today appealed for the immediate return of all field phones ...
Military Telephones in Kodiak
The Army at Ft. Greely and it's other local forts used manual common and local battery magneto phones such as the EE-8 field telephone. The first switchboard at Ft. Greely was a suitcase portable unit, the BD-40. Later the Army had a standard Western Electric 100 line switchboard. While the 100-line unit was in use, they built a building against the side of a hill just for the purpose. Then they added three more positions to the board for a total of four. Members of the 14th Signal included Bert Webber, Allen A. Feitelberg and Julius I. Krupp. Sgt. George Cole was the chief operator who also handled complaints at a nearby desk. The Western Electric switchboard was installed by civilian contractor Tim Desmond. Sgt. Charles S. "Windy" Schaeffer was wire chief. Pvt. Jerry Hewitt and Sgt. Richard H. Gardner were operators. Sgt. Dale L. Ramm was a chief operator and Sgt. Richard H. Gardner was the outside construction chief. After the war the entire switchboard was sold and moved to Kodiak. During the war, there were three lines to the village of Kodiak. To Kraft's General Store and dock, the Alaska Communications System office, and to the Bank of Kodiak.
Seperate from the Army's logistics telephones was the harbor Defense Telephone Network.
At Long Island, the Army had a Kellog four-position model BD-74 switchboard. This switchboard was equipped with about 74 common battery lines and 12 magneto lines per position. This switchboard is still in place.
Similar switchboards were located at St. Peter's Head, Chiniak, at Artillery Hill and at Miller Point.
The Army telephone network on Kodiak had an extensive buried cable system. There was a cable from Sequel Point via Cape Greville, Round Top, Miller Field, and St. Peter's Head in Chiniak to Isthmus Point along the road. It then branched to Narrow Cape following the road and an underwater section across Kalsin Bay to Queer Island, Broad Point, Cliff Point, Puffin Island and then to Buskin Hill. From Buskin Hill the cables ran to the Joint Command Post on the Navy Base, another cable to Gibson Cove, one to Kizhuyak Point via Anton Larsen Bay and a cable to Shahafka Cove. From Shahafka Cove a cable ran to Spruce Cape then to Miller Point and on to Spruce Island. Another cable ran from Shahafka Cove via Woody Island to Long Island. The function of every pair in these cables is detailed in exhibit 16B to the harbor defenses annex dated 9-6-44.
The navy base had an automatic Strowger dial exchange with 400 to 600 lines during the war as well as a number of manual switchboards with up to 200 lines on a manual board.
For details see the Navy base Communications file.
NOJ Cable Plant
NOJ is the callsign of the Coast Guard Communication Station Kodiak.
|Name||Start Point||End Point|
|ALPHA||Bldg 576 - NHB||Transmitter Bldg - T1|
|CHARLIE||Bldg 576 - NHB||Navy Cable Vault near NAS|
|DELTA||Bldg 576 - NHB||Holiday Beach Receiver Site|
|ECHO||Bldg 576 - NHB||Navy Cable Vault near NAS|
|GOLF||Bldg 576 - NHB||White Alice Comms Facility|
|JULIETTE||Bldg 576 - NHB||Navy Cable Vault near NAS|
|KILO||Bldg 576 - NHB||Navy Cable Vault near NAS|
|MIKE||Hangar 1||50 pair cross hangar cable|
Alpha Cable was decommissioned in 1993 with major portions of the cable removed by 1995. Alpha Cable was an aerial cable almost its entire length.
Charlie and Echo Cables were both 25 pair lead paper/cables that ran from building 576 to the Navy Cable Vault near the Naval Air Station or what is now CG Air Station Kodiak. These cables were in use until 1989 when most pairs were declared unserviceable. The cables were subsequently transferred to CG Electronics Maintenance Detachment (EMD) Kodiak. EMD Kodiak decommissioned them later that year. These cables were primarily buried cables once they reached the base.
Delta Cable was the longest cable at 14 miles. This cable was a 100 pair cable. 50 pair were given over the Continental Telephone Company as part of a maintenance agreement with the Coast Guard. Delta Cable was a plastic cable and was aerial its entire length. In 1988, Telephone Utilities of the Northland (then the local phone company) released an additional 25 pair back to NOJ for its exclusive use.
Delta Cable was decommissioned for CG use in 1993 upon test and acceptance of NOJ's redundant path microwave system. The local telephone company (PTI) was using circuits on Delta Cable to Bells Flat and at least two to the CG receiver site at Holiday Beach. The Coast Guard end of the cable was removed from building 576 in 1993.
During the 1999-2000 period, the Delta Cable and all it's poles, which were too close to the highway, was being removed.
Juliette and Kilo Cables were both 50 pair plastic cable that connected the Navy Cable Vault to the fuel pier and mooring pier. It did not connect to circuits at marginal pier. Patching telephone lines for military vessels was done at the cable vault. After the 1985 fire at building 576 - NHB, these cables were cross connected to Charlie and Echo cables, thus bringing the patching capabilities up to the temporary technical control building adjacent to NHB. Juliette and Kilo cables were turned over to Electronic Support Unit Kodiak (old EMD Kodiak) in 1993. The cables were decommissioned and abandoned in place when Telephone Utilities of the Northland re-cabled both piers. Juliette and Kilo cables were underground cable throughout their length.
Mike Cable was a 50 pair plastic cable used to extend phone and data service at the CG Air Station for special operations. The cable was installed in 1989 and was decommissioned in 1992. The cable may still be in use by the CG Air Station, but NOJ no longer has any responsibility for this cable.
Golf Cable an old 50 pair armored cable which ran from building 576 - NHB to the Air Force White Alice facility. This cable was not active after the close of the White Alice station by the Air Force. Portions of the cable are still visible on Pillar Mountain and in the vicinity of Swampy Acres at the foot of Pillar Mountain in early 2000.