Grand Junction FAA Radar Site
Grand Junction FAA Radar Site (1963-Active) - A Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Long Range Radar (LLR) site first established in 1963 near Grand Junction, Garfield County, Colorado. The site is used to identify and track military and civilian aircraft movements within a 200-mile radius and to provide air-ground radio communication with those aircraft. Assigned a SAGE System ID of Z-215 and an FAA ID of ZGJT. Active FAA Radar Site.
The survey for this site began in 1959-60 and included photographing the horizon and the installation of a portable radar set so that flight checks could be made. Construction of the site was completed and equipment was installed by November 1962 and the expectation was that the site would go operational shortly after the beginning of 1963 and that the dedication would take place sometime in February 1963.
This site became an operational FAA radar site in 1963, furnishing radar track data to both the FAA ARTCC's and to USAF Direction Centers. The initial FAA ARSR-2 search radar remained in operation until it was modified to become a Common Air Route Surveillance Radar (CARSR)
Mode S Beacon System
The Grand Junction FAA Radar Site was selected in the 1990s to become one of 21 long-range radar sites to have a Mode S radar beacon system installed. The Mode S system allowed operation in the existing beacon modes but added features to improve beacon operation by allowing aircraft identification with a single interrogation and two-way digital communication between controllers and pilots.
Besides the 21 long-range sites, there were other short-range radars to be upgraded for a total of 137 sites on the implementation list. Grand Junction was #95 on the list, scheduled to receive the Mode S equipment on 30 Sep 1994. Installation required interfacing with the radar system, addition of a beacon antenna on top of the search radar antenna, a new larger radome, interfacing with the Common Digitizer (CD-2) if installed, additional communication lines and equipment.
The nationwide replacement program converting FAA legacy radar systems to the CARSR radar configuration was completed by 17 Aug 2015 and Grand Junction FAA Radar Site was a part of that program. Legacy FAA radars underwent a Service Life Extension Program (SLEP) that replaced key components in the vintage ARSR-1, ARSR-2, FPS-20, FPS-66 and FPS-67 radars. The CARSR program replaced legacy klystron radar transmitters with a solid-state transmitter as well as renovating the radar receiver and signal processor. The CARSR modification also included common digitizer functionality making a separate common digitizer unnecessary. The Grand Junction FAA Radar Site is now operating with the CARSR radar. An 7172 Antenna is in place.
The radar site data is now available to the USAF/NORAD Battle Control System-Fixed (BCS-F) operations centers (EADS & WADS) as well as the FAA Denver ARTCC (ZDV) and adjacent ARTCCs. Other federal agencies have access to the data under the Homeland Security umbrella.