US Naval Communication Station

Bouknadel, Morocco

 

The following photographs and commentary were contributed by Darian Paganelli (Pag) who served at Bouknadel, Morocco. He can be contacted at dpanop3698@sbcglobal.net.

This set of scanned slides is of the inside of USNRST (CNL) at Bouknadel Morocco in 1970. I had asked Commander Morrison (CO) if I could take a few slides of the inside of the building to have as a remembrance, he said sure and I took a fair amount of slides inside the building one night in December of 1970 when I was on a slow watch.

Incidently, the base at Bouknadel is still occupied and the transmitter building is still there too. The antennas are all gone. This can be seen on Google Earth.

 

Slide 1 above is a 40KW FRT-40 Made by TMC (Technical Materiel Corp) in Mamaronek, NY This one is #55 It resided in the east wing of the transmitter building, on the left side as you walked toward the exit door at the end of that wing.

Slides 2 and 3 above are of the same 200 KW FRT-62, also made by TMC. It was referred to as "Charlie", as in Alpha, Bravo, Charlie. It resided in the north wing of the building. I was assigned to keep it running. When the Crowbar circuit fired to shut down the Final Amplifier Stage before it could run amok (shorting the plate voltage to ground) it sounded like a howitzer going off inside the building.

Slide 4 above is of one of the two low frequency transmitters, up to 180KC carrier frequency, 100KW transmitters that fed the 800 foot tall Omni antennae at each end of the antenna fields. They were referred to as Alpha and Bravo. This is Alpha.They were manufactured by LTV (Ling Temco Vought). They were used to communicate with Submarines in the Mediterranean.

Slide 5 above is the other low frequency transmitter, Bravo, that resided across from Alpha in the west wing of the transmitter building.

Slides 6 and 7 above are of the north wing of the building, which is in the physical rear of the building.

Slide 8, above is the east wing of the transmitter building, looking east from the center of the building. A bunch of 10 KW FRT-39s up and running in the center and back wall of that wing.

Slide 9 above is of the microwave gear inside of the microwave shack located behind the transmitter building.

Slide 10 above is of ETN-2 Paganelli giving a final tweaking to the IPA stage of the FRT-62. After that you just had to show it the Axe and it would run better immediately.

Slide 11 above is of ETN-3 David Holmes on the right and ETN-2 Darian Paganelli on the left standing in the entrance lobby of the transmitter building on a December night, shortly before Christmas of 1970.

 

Although these slides are not of general interest, they will probably touch the heart of all ETs and RMs who see them. I hope they get as much pleasure out of them as I did when I looked at them recently while sorting them.

The night these slides were taken, everything was pretty much up and running. Usually it looked like a junk yard for large trucks when we had to take the transmitters apart and work on them. Sometimes 4 or more of the transmitters would be out of commission and we would scavenge one for parts to get another one up and running. The worst problems were with the power supplies for the FRT - 40s and the FRT - 62 . They had three primary power transformers each, that weighed 500 pounds apiece. Moving them to trouble shoot the power supplies was a struggle frought with high voltage hazards if not done properly.