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Speaking of Big Ears



This thread about "Speaking of Big Ears" reminded me of an encounter I
had with "Big Mouth". I was in the Air Force between 1961 and 1965.
During the years of 62-65 I was in a GEEIA(Ground Electronics
Engineering and Installation Agency) outfit stationed in San Antonio,
Texas  In 1964 I was part of a team tasked with disassembling what I can
only characterize as a "Big Mouth". It had an 85 foot dish on a El-Az
mount and was feed by the darndest transmitter I have ever seen. The
exciter was a 100 kw TV transmitter and the PA used a klystron that
stood about 6 foot tall. The transmitter PA cavity was big enough for a
man to stand up in. The power supply had a PFN (Pulse forming network)
about 20 foot tall and 10 foot on a side. I was given to understand this
thing was capable of multi megawatts in the 100-200 Mhz range. The
transmission line was a copper pipe about 24 inches in diameter with an
inner conductor about 6 inches in diameter. All this copper was 1/2 inch
thick at least.

I now wonder if this rig wasn't used to zap some of the Russian spy
satellites that the "Big Ears" detected. I don't think we had any deep
space probes then and the moon landing effort did not require such
power. It may have been part of a deep space Radar system, but I don't
recall ever seeing anything that resembled a receiver or signal display.
Does this ring a bell with anyone.

BTW, I am not making this up. It was located 50-75 miles north-northeast
of Laredo, Texas out in the desert. It was also a very high security
area.

Jim
K4AHO


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