February 17, 2014

1958 Kenora - Red Lake Ontario Tropo

Reviewing the information in the September 1966 edition of IEEE Spectrum has opened my eyes to several previously unknown-to-me troposcatter links which were in use, in Canada, during the Cold War timeframe.  Many of these networks were not specifically military, but used similar (sometimes identical) gear to the military, and may have had satellite civil defence or safety benefit by connecting remote towns with more reliable communications.  The authors of the article I'm referencing gathered their information from trades articles of the time and other open source information.  Some of the information may be incorrect, but while most of the information seems factual, some doesn't make sense.

AN/TRC-90?

http://www.mobileradar.org/Documents/other_equip/photos_drwgs/radios/TRC-.jpg
Take the Kenora Ontario to Red Lake Ontario tropo link.  It was built ~1958.  It had only 4 voice channels, expandable to (only) 12.  It was built by Collins Radio Co using Colins gear from top to bottom - including (2?) the 15 foot Collins reflectors.  It's output was 1kW, and it shot 91 Miles.  It was listed as being both fixed, *and* transportable.  It used the 900Mhz band.  It was listed as "CC" Common Carrier - so, maybe for phone use?  Was it for one of the mines or private industry who wanted to be able to communicate South in case of emergency?  Four phone lines doesn't seem like much for a phone company, and a 15 foot reflector is a small satellite dish compared to the 100ft+ billboards in use elsewhere.  I have many more questions than answers. Where were these located?  Who purchased them, and for what?

Collins pitched (successfully) the AN/TRC-90 1kW 15ft antenna tropo kit to the American military, and were deployed to Vietnam in 1963.  Was this 15ft 1kW rig a test, or part of the Collins development cycle? Maybe not, but it is interesting that the military kit is transportable and has the same sized reflector.








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