Shortwave in the water tower guard shack (AQUATONE)

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Message posted by Salty (Member since 08/10/2018) on December 19, 2023 at 19:18:23 PST:

Page 45 of Peter's book, when looking at the picture of Lt. Mingus in the observation post on the water tower (very cramped!), I caught right away his arm is resting on a shortwave receiver (Zenith Transoceanic 600 series to be exact - what a beaut!). My first thought was this is some sort of way to get codes to the base in case of national emergency.

So then I see what looks to be a loop antenna mounted above the tower itself, and wondered if I could figure out where it's pointed (broadsides of such a loop are the directions of greatest signal).

You can see the Lt. is looking N, as the runway, a bit of the lake, and the road off of the runway are in sight to the W. The slope of the roof is in the direction he's facing, so we can tell that the picture of the water tower on the same page is facing WNW.

Looking further, I gathered that the hill just behind the left-most tower support is Quartet Dome (see

From that I estimated the loop is facing about 225, and Los Angeles is at a bearing of 212 or so. Pretty close. Any bases around there would be well outside of VHF range, although why not have a shortwave *trans*ceiver is something I can't fathom.

Anyone have any further insights, corrections, whatever? :-)

BTW, Peter, if you're reading this, I know I'm early on in the book, but wonderfully written. I thought it might end up being "scholarly dry", but it is really intriguing instead. And thanks for the sources. Not because I (or anyone else should) doubt your work, but as a scholarly endeavor, it allows other researchers in the future to push forward.

Fun fact: The 600 series of the Transoceanic was the last of the series to use vacuum tubes. You can blame Shockley, Brittain and Bardeen for inventing that transistor thingy. I guess it caught on. :-D


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