September 25, 2013

CFS Ramore and GATR Site

Ramore Air Station was built by the USAF, then passed to the Canadians as RCAF Station Ramore, and was decommissioned as CFS Ramore in 1974. It was a sprawling base with 3 gravel runways, several rifle ranges, helipads, at least two private lakes for recreation, and two hilltops to locate radio gear, radar equipment, as well as Diesel generators. The Candian Forces continue to use the property for training off and on, and in 2005 they used it for Exercise Polar Bear, a training exercise in the snow
( ) The buildings that made up the base, the generator building at the top of the mountain, and even the foundations of the radomes are in good shape compared to other Pinetree Line stations.

Slideshow of my latest CFS Ramore pictures from August 2013

Created with Admarket's flickrSLiDR.

I mentioned previously that along with the Pinetree Line radar sites there were supporting facilities; air fields were created, mini-radar stations built to fill in the gaps in coverage, and powerful radio transmitters were built to communicate with overflying NORAD fighter interceptors.  Well, every Pinetree Line station (AFAIK), in the early 60s, had their radio transmitters/receivers upgraded.  They went from two separate buildings by the base (say within ~1-2 Km, and on the station's grounds) to one remotely located a bit farther away (say ~3-30Km).  The upgraded transceivers were more powerful than the previous gear, and they didn't want interference from the Radar, or visa-versa.

While looking for the location of the CFS Ramore GATR site I found two hints on the internet:

Hint #1
Narrative Report
RCAF Station Ramore, Ont.
2 Oct 61 to 31 May 62

"19 Mar 62
The GATR site located north-west of the station 17 miles distant by
road, was accepted from the contractor this date."

Source: National Archives of Canada
Meaning, the contractor finished the work and officially handed the keys on that day to DND.  They'd been working on the facility for about two years .

Hint #2
"I was stationed at Ramore from Jan '65 to Jul '71. Worked at the GATR site, which was located just off the Watabeag road."
-Rick Lean,
 Hanover, Ontario

By contacting Mike Milinkovic, I found out exactly where the CFS Ramore GATR was located.  From the satellite pictures it was very difficult to discern the location. Usually there is a bare patch measuring 400'x1000' where the antenna farm would have been.  In this case, the foliage had all grown back, leaving only a difference in the shade of green between the old growth and new growth.  I assume the location hasn't been maintained since CFS Ramore shut down in 1974, which explains how much he area's trees have grown.  The site is West of CFS Ramore, connected at one time by telephone cable along a cleared line that you can still see cut along the concession boundaries, is where the site stood.

(Location here:

(Thanks to Thomas Page of the Online Air Defense Radar Museum for finding the hints above and trying to find the location with his resources too!) 

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Slideshow of my pictures of the CFS Ramore GATR Site

Created with Admarket's flickrSLiDR.


    This is the Pinetreeline web site that is now part of the C&E Museum website. The pinetreeline website was started by a retired RCAF member, Ren Lecuyer, and he maintained the site until his passing in 2005. Until 2009, his wife, Marg, was able to keep it going but after that, it went offline. The rights passed to the C&E Museum (based in Kingston, On) and they have now reintroduced it, very much the way it was presented before. For anyone interested in a more personal view of life on the Pine Tree Line radar stations, this site is great. There is a wealth of information, pictures, maps...

    1. As the "owner" of the "rights" to Ren's work, it would be swell if the C&E Museum were to continue Ren's work rather than just displaying what he'd done in memorial.