Pedro Dome White Alice Communications Site
Pedro Dome White Alice Communications Site (1958-1994) - A Cold War U.S. Air Force Communications Station, a part of the Alaska White Alice Communications System (WACS). Located 15 miles northeast of Fairbanks, Alaska. The site system ID was "PJD".
After HF radio systems proved inadequate for command and control communications in Alaska, the Air Force implemented the White Alice Communications System (WACS). This was a system of tropospheric scatter and microwave radio relay sites constructed during the mid-1950s and 1960s to provide reliable communications to Alaska Air Command (AAC) AC&W radar system. The system came to encompass facilities for the Distant Early Warning (DEW) Line and the Ballistic Missile Early Warning System (BMEWS) in Alaska. While some of the WACS microwave sites remain active the WACS tropo sites were closed circa 1979 as communications technology rapidly changed to embrace communications satellites.
This site was built in 1957 and was officially activated on 6 Jan 1958. Original Facilities included a 15,024 square-foot composite building that included a dormitory wing with a dining room, kitchen, walk-in cooler and freezer, storage room, laundry room, community bathroom boiler room, and ten dormitory rooms. The building was "T" shaped, with the top of the "T" containing a power and equipment room that measures 40' x 256' and the base of the "T" being the aforementioned dormitory, kitchen area and dining room measuring 35' x 134". The power plant room in the composite building housed four Chicago Pneumatic 6-cylinder diesel engines with 150 kW GE generators.
Other buildings included a 41' by 51' Auto Maintenance Shop, a 13' by 17' Water Fire Pump Station Building with a 6-cylinder gas engine to power the fire pump, a 15' by 22' Quonset-style Warehouse and a 12' by 12' Water Pumphouse Building at the base of the Dome to pump water up to the site. Two diesel POL tanks had a combined capacity of 470 barrels of fuel and there was a 1,000-gallon mogas tank and dispenser. There was an insulated water storage tank with a capacity of 216,000 gallons.
Two pairs of 60' billboard tropo antennas were connected into the equipment building. The 60' antennas operated at 10 kW each and a single 60' antenna weighed some 15 tons. There were three TD-2 microwave towers, one was 72' high.
Pedro Dome WACS was a Tropo and Microwave station linking Fort Yukon, Bear Creek, Fairbanks Alaska Communications Site (ACS), Harding Lake, Murphy Dome, and Eielson Air Force Base. One pair of 60' tropo antennas faced Fort Yukon (124 miles) and a second pair linked Bear Creek (130 miles). At least three TD2 Microwave links were in operation in 1977 along with radio links and an MW1 link to Eielson Air Force Base.
Alaska Telephone Switching Station (ATSS-4A) switching capability was added in 1969 to Pedro Dome, Big Mountain, Neklasson Lake, and Kalakaket Creek. These four facilities formed a large rectangle and were linked so that if one facility failed, circuits would be switched so that the other three could still communicate.
The specific links from Pedro Dome WACS (PJD) as/of July 1977 were:
Part of his site was closed down as the major White Alice terminals were replaced by Alascom satellite terminals circa 1978-9 but is probably true that some of the microwave links remained in place until the 1990s and may still exist on newer equipment.
From the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation, Spill Prevention and Response Database:
Pedro Dome is a former military communication site (1958-1984) which is now being operated by a private company. PCB (Aroclor 1260) contamination near a water tank was found on 10/9/86. The suspected source are four oil-filled heating elements within the tank. Date of release unknown. Extent of contamination and possibility of PCB migration has not been determined. Site qualifies for cleanup under the DERP program and remediation is planned. Remedial action is scheduled in FY 91 for portions of the site by the Army Corps of Engineers, including the removal of PCB contaminated soils. Cross reference files 100.02.009 and 100.23.017. DERP-FUD. White Alice site purchased by Alascom and removed from property records (Air Force) in 1986 (rpltr3.1). PCB soil removal in 1998, 1999. Still waiting on after action report 12/99.
Active modern microwave repeater site(s) with none of the original White Alice buildings or antennas. The concrete pad of the composite building can still be seen in satellite views of the area. The site now also houses an FAA NEXRAD weather radar installation.