Elder Point WWII Radar Site
Elder Point WWII Radar Site (1943-1946) - A World War II U.S. Army Radar Site established in 1943. Used to provide fire control information to large caliber (6" and above) coastal gun batteries in the Harbor Defense of Dutch Harbor against enemy warships. Located on Fort Learnard, Elder Point, Unalaska Island, Alaska Aleutians West (CA) Alaska. Closed in 1946.
Part of the Harbor Defense of Dutch Harbor.
Constructed on Fort Learnard and transferred for use on 30 Nov 1943 at Elder Point on Unalaska Island, Alaska. The physical plant consisted of a transmitter building, two powerhouses each with a 1000 gallon fuel tank and an antenna housing disguised as a Water tank atop a frame. The transmitter building and the antenna housing were prefabricated steel units furnished by the Signal Corps. The buildings and the circular antenna housing were placed on concrete pads and footings installed by the Corps of Engineers who erected all of the structures.
The radar equipment was installed by the Signal Corps. It required 16.3kW of 120/240 AC, 1 phase, 60 cycle power furnished by base power backed up by the two on-site generators. The two 25 kW generators were furnished and installed by the Signal Corps.
In operation, the SCR-296-A radar could only track one target at a time. Target assignments were made from the harbor HECP/HDCP command posts by telephone, citing the approximate range and azimuth of the target using the SCR-582/SCR-682 search radar and/or optical spotters. The SCR-296-A radar operators would then find the target and pass the precise range and azimuth to the plotting room at the gun battery by phone. Two operators were required, one for the range position and one for the azimuth position. The radar operators would continue to track the target and update the plotting room as the range and azimuth changed. Once the shore battery fired, the SCR-296-A could detect the water splashes of near misses and provide adjusting information by voice commands such as "300 short" or "500 long".
In operation, the range accuracy was about ± 30 yards while azimuth accuracy was about ± 0.20 degree under the best conditions. The set had a dependable range of 20,000 yards on a destroyer size target when properly sited between 150 to 500 feet above sea level.
The operating crew consisted of 5 men plus a power plant operator and radar maintenance man.
Closed by 1946. The SCR-296-A Radar equipment was declared obsolete by AG letter on 17 Jan 1946. The Tower and radar equipment were to be disposed of while the buildings were to be retained.
A series of 2004 photos show the radar site with the two power plants collapsed with the debris of what looks like Quonset Hut like structures. The Radar Transmitter building still had the steel walls standing but the roofing was gone and parts of the ceiling were gone exposing the interior to the elemennts. The top and the sides of the antenna housing were collapsed.