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102 Responses to Comments

  1. I just wanted to say hi to a fellow Dewliner, I was employed by Felec Services Inc. from 1977-87 at various Dew Line stations across the Canadian Arctic.

    Guillaume Cote

  2. Suzanne says:

    Hi Brian

    As a “youngster” who was -7 around about the time you were on the Dew Line, I’m absolutely fascinated reading about it all. Thank you for documenting priceless memories and history.

    Hope you enjoy your trip in July 2012 – some 50 years later. AWESOME!

    I wonder what Lorraine was doing whilst you were up there? Yes, I know you hadn’t met but …

    Love
    Suzanne
    Johannesburg, South Africa

  3. Jim Campbell says:

    Read your interesting account of the Dew Line. My brother Jack Campbell (radician) ex sparks at sea,was up there for 5 years in the late fifties, ended up in Tuk. I was a “summer” highrigger in 1961. Started in Fox Main and did several I sites, Fox,Bar and Cam. Never had food as good and the pay was great. Couldnt get a contract as there were few permanent riggers.
    Liked your decription of climbing the tower. We did it twice a day every day, except when the wind was above 20 knts, then we did nothing ! well maybe a few odd jobs, like painting airstrip signs.
    Cheers
    Jim

    • Brian says:

      Jim:

      Thanks for taking the time to visit my site and for your comments. I have to take my hat off to you. Even as a young lad, I wouldn’t have been able to climb those towers two times a day on a regular basis. Had I been able to, I’d have legs of steel today. 🙂

      Brian

  4. Todd says:

    Brian,

    Just wanted to say thanks for the site. I have been reading about the Dewline history and this is one of the best sites to give the rest of us a real feel for what it was like to live and work on these remote stations at such an important time.

    Todd

    • Brian says:

      Thanks for your comment Todd. The DEWLine, like much of the Cold War is rapidly disappearing into the past. This my attempt to keep some of it visible for others.

  5. Louis Schwalm says:

    Brian,
    I was at Hall Beach as an Upper Air Technician from August 1966 till August 1967. Like you, I was very young when I went to Hall Beach: 18 years and 5 months. I liked the job I did, the people I worked with, and look fondly upon that part of my career. I am now an electrical engineer nearing retirement in Virginia and have enjoyed both my short (5 year) and much longer (34 year) engineering careers.
    I very much enjoyed your accounts of your short career as a radician on the Dewline from the early 1960s. I have a few photos from 1967 that I have posted to Google Earth.
    I liked your walkthrough of the A and B trains. The mounted polar bear skin that you showed in the display case in the dining area was fairly new at the time that I arrived and was mounted on the wass of the bar – about the area where the big screen TV set was when you visited. The story I got when I was there was that it was shot when it took a very strong interest in the pies that the night baker was cooling in the kitchen in 1965 or 1966. It was apparently peeling the siding from the building when it was shot.
    By the time I arrived at Hall Beach, I think the generators had been moved to a detached building a short distance away from the end of the B-train and that end of the B-train was all offices and quarters for the millitary personnel. I don’t remember the theater at all. In fact I don’t remember watching any movies at all while I was there.
    The upper air staff lived in the last few rooms of the B train in that new extention at the far end from the overhead crossover bridge. The upper air staff served for a full year without a break at that time. We envied both the radician pay scale and the radician 6-month stints.

    • Brian says:

      Charles:
      Thanks for taking the time visit the site and for your contribution. It is most welcomed and always a pleasure to meet another DEWLiner. We’re becoming a rare breed. 🙂

  6. Wally Harwood 111740 says:

    Brian,
    I was a radician at Fox 3 and Cam 3 about 1962/63 ( $196.15 a week) and later Installation Supervisor for Surestop. Your article, which I have not completely read/watched yet, brings back many memories.
    Were you there when Federal Electric recinded our contracts and tried to get us to sign on at a lower rate? Many of us did not sign on and demanded our bonus for completion of contract, which we eventually got ($800) thanks to the courts of Illinois and the IBEW who was trying to organize the employees. I was rehired at an even higher rate of pay about a month after refusing to sign the new degraded contract.
    Thank you for doing this.

    • Brian says:

      Wally:
      I exited the Line before the situation you mentioned happened. The IBEW was just beginning its recruiting drive when I left the Line for the last time.
      I hope you enjoy the rest of the information that I’ve posted and I encourage you to spend some time strolling down your own memory lane and documenting some of your own DEWLine adventures before they are lost in time.

      Once a DEWLiner, always a DEWLiner!

      Regards,
      Brian J.

  7. Cathy SJ says:

    Hi Brian-

    I had been wondering, lately (don’t ask why!) about the DEW Line, as my dad worked up there, I’m gonna guess in the eary/mid 60’s. He’s no longer here and my mom’s memory probably would not be too accurate, but I believe that he was up there in the great white north with FEC. I would have loved to know more about this, from him, but any stories i heard were soooo long ago and i was pretty young!
    Looking forward to reading more here and sharing it with my siblings!
    Regards,
    Cathy

  8. Jens Fog Jensen says:

    Great account to read for an anthropologist checking out on abandoned places in the high north.

    Thanks

    • Brian says:

      It would be fascinating to stumble over an abandoned DEWLine station and to stroll down the empty corridors once again.

  9. Wendy Wands says:

    Hi Brian, my dad Bill Wands died on July 1st of this year (2013). He died of mysothelioma, the cancer caused by asbestos at the age of 86. I wish I’d found this site before he died so he could have gone through it with myself and my sister Robin. We found it while we were writing his obituary.
    Dad had a good life and was healthy right up until March of this year when the cancer took over. He often told us stories about the DewLine and we found all sorts of photographs and even his letter of resignation.
    Sorry to Lyall who called my dad. I laugh a little because it sounds like him. He didn’t trust anyone over the phone. He was very careful to give out any information if he didn’t know for sure who it was.
    I will keep reading this site and share it with my daughters when they are a little older.
    Cheers to you all,
    Wendy Wands

    • Brian says:

      Wendy:
      My condolences on the passing of your Father.
      I first met Bill when I was assigned to the CAM-D DEWLine site at Simpson Lake NWT. Bill was a gentle person who had a quiet wisdom that he willingly passed on to others. He is one of the few people who I remember from those years.
      His memory lives on.
      Brian J.

    • Sue says:

      So sorry for the loss of your dad! Was the asbestos exposure related to his Dewline station?

  10. Thomas Foote says:

    My father, Capt. Erwin L Foote (now deceased) was the CO of the Streator DEW line training site from 1961-1963. I remember well the batches of Canadian and American students cycling through on their way to the DEW Line. I was in the 6-8th grades and remember being banned from the family room of our house whenever my father and mother would have one their raucous parties. It was, and still is, situated in the middle of a corn field SW of Streator.

    • Brian says:

      Thomas:
      Thank you for taking the time to comment. It appears that I probably passed through Streator a year before your Father became the CO. As a matter of passing interest, I’ve come across some later day photos of the Streator site. As you mentioned, it is still there. It is run down and derelict and appears basically abandoned. That said, it is still a part of DEWLine history, as was your Father.

  11. Claude Phillips says:

    I was in the US Navy in 1958 and was on a resupply mission to Dewline along the coast of Greenland. Had no idea (all these years) of the complexity and extensiveness of this operation. Totally enjoyed the photos as we only saw the drop zones for the food items and other supplies we were off loading. I was on the LSD-6 Lindenwald.

    • Brian says:

      Claude:
      Thanks for dropping by the site. You were there a couple of years before I got there in 1960. You resupply people were some of the background heros of the Cold War as we would not have been able to subsist without the supplies that came up every year by ship. The material and supplies that you brought up would not have been possible to ship by air. The annual sealift was critical, if only to get our year’s supply of beer. 🙂
      Brian J.

  12. Darcy says:

    So glad that I happened across your website as I hope to embark on some research involving the DEW Line in the near future when I (hopefully) pursue a graduate degree in History. I was fortunate enough to have had the opportunity to visit FOX Main as well as FOX-5 in the early 2000’s before it was recently dismantled. This site offers a unique glimpse at an important era for Canada’s north. Thanks!

    • Brian says:

      Darcy:
      Thanks for dropping by my DEWLine site. I would have loved to stroll through the FOX 5 module train with you. What an adventure that must have been. If I can be of any assistance in your studies, please contact me.
      Brian

  13. Susan Kelly Archer says:

    I was the Greenland Sector QAE (July 1986 through July 1987). I know I was the first female officer (USAF) assigned full time to the DEW Line. I think I may have been the only woman to have held one of the Line QAE positions. What a great experience! I was based out of Sondrestrom and spent my year schlepping back and forth to the 4 DYE sites.

    • Brian says:

      Thanks for dropping by my site Susan. DYE East was just being built when I was on the Line and wasn’t yet operational. Consequently, I never had an opportunity to visit any of the sites.
      Being the first female officer on the Line must have created quite a stir, to put it mildly. 🙂

    • Michael Ferguson says:

      Susan –
      You were proceeded by USAF 1stLT. Heidi Golden – Cam M.( Apr 1981- Apr.1982.) I was at Pin M as the USAF ASDO/QAE guy . Heidi, myself and Lt. Mark Ferrinbaugh were from the 4700 ADG, and like yourself served our time on the DEW Line.

  14. Rino Manarin says:

    I was on the DEwLIne from about april 1960 to May or JUne 1961.
    MOst of the time at Cam3 also some time at the I site west of Cam 3. I am really interested in finding an old buddy Harvey Wise or Wice. they were good times, Streator was a blast, but was happy to get out of that town. ONe of my main pastimes at Cam C was, cutting hair, the brass on their site tours always looked forward to stopping at our site so as “Rino” could give them a haircut, my specialty was a crew cut. BUt I could also do a petty good job with a regular neat military style cut. As I remember fishing was “OK” at Cam 3. I am now 81 so maybe I will not hear from any old aquaitances. Good site, keep it up.
    Rino Manarin

    • Brian says:

      Rino:

      Thanks for dropping by and taking the time to leave a comment. I never fell over Harvey during my time on the line but then I spend all my tours in Fox Sector. It seems that I arrived on the Line shortly after you left.

      Like you, I went off to an I-Site, the one to the east of CAM-3, CAM-D. Also like you, I tried my hand at cutting hair but unlike you, I was a disaster and the poor guy who was my guinea pig wore a hoody for a couple of weeks while his hair grew back in. 

      I saw a recent video of the Streator site as it is today. It is still there but in quite disrepair as you might expect.

      Stay well.

      Brian

  15. William Kellerman says:

    I’m excited to find this site. My Dad worked on the Dew Line as an employee of Western Electric. He worked on the project for 20 months. When I was little, my mother and I would fly to Edmonton from St. Paul to meet him.
    Later, when I was growing up, I would take all the pictures he had taken in the Arctic as slides and show them as my class projects in school.
    Thank you for this site, I can’t wait to show it to Dad!

  16. Nancy says:

    Brian
    I just wanted to thank you for all the stories, they were so interesting to read. My father Art Evetts was up on Dew Line not exactly sure of location but remember some stories of the cold and being so close to the arctic. I do remember seeing lots of pictures of him one of the photos was of him standing outside by giant containers that had PCB on it. My Dad was also stationed at Kempis Mountain. I believe he was up on the line in the late 1950s and 1960s. Unfortunately, my Dad passed away with multiple cancers in 1991. I really enjoyed reading and learning more about the Dew Line.

    • Brian says:

      Nancy:

      Thank you for visiting my DEWLine web site and for your kind words. I didn’t know Art but that doesn’t mean that our paths didn’t cross at some point. Being on the DEWLIne wasn’t like being part of one big family but more being a part of one of the many small families made up the Line. I’m sorry for your loss. I suspect that your Dad would agree that they were interesting times.

      Regards,
      Brian J.

  17. George Brien says:

    Great stories!
    I went north in 1953 as a radio operator for the company building
    The Pinetree site at Hopedale NL called n28
    7 months no days off but good pay for a 19 yr old!

    • Brian says:

      George:

      Thanks for your kind words. You’re right, what a great adventure for a 19 year old. Memories that last a lifetime.

      Regards,
      Brian J.

      • George Brien says:

        Hi Brian- Yes, a great adventure.
        Here is a link to a story I posted up on the Pinetree net
        http://67.69.104.76:84/Pinetreeline/other/other22/other22k.html

        a few years ago.

        • Brian says:

          Thanks for the link George. it’s a great read. It was the very early years of building the three radar lines (Mid-Canada, Pinetree and DEWLines) and you had it more difficult than I did. I got there after all the construction work had been done and we had reasonable living quarters. I would have like to see some photos of the equipment you were using.

  18. George Brien says:

    Ok Brian – It was pretty secret stuff in those early days. I was working for Fraser Brace, a NY construction Co. and even had to be finger printed before going North..
    No idea where I was going to, no cameras allowed etc.
    We used the Hallicrafter HT4/BC610 xtmr for our CW traffic down to Saint John NB,
    the staging area. http://www.radiomuseum.org/r/hallicraft_ht_4_ht4.html
    Main Rcvr Hammerlund HQ129 http://www.ohio.edu/people/postr/bapix/hq129.html
    plus a National NC125 for monitoring incoming aircraft.
    We also had a beacon xmtr made by PYE which we turned on for inbound aircraft
    and we could also transmit AM on this LF rig.
    Great to remember these times again.
    My Ham call VE1NK- Been on the air for 55 years, mostly CW
    73

    • Brian says:

      Thanks for the additional information George. I’m familiar with most of that gear. In fact, I’m a member of the Volunteer Radio Group at Canada’s Cold War Museum and our station (VE3CWM) has a BC-610 that we would like to restore along with a HQ-129 that we’d like to sell. You can check it out at http://www.VE3CWM.com. We also have some PYE VHF equipment that is original to the facility. It’s great fun playing with the old gear.
      I’ve also been licensed for many years (now VE3UU) and have been working at getting my CW back. There are some pictures of my station at http://www.VE3UU.com. What band do you usually work?

      Brian

  19. Layne Whipple says:

    Hello Brian:

    I just want to thank you for the great stories about the DEW Line. I was 5 years old when you went to work in the cold frozen north of Canada. But I remember being taught what a critical part of our protection that the DEW Line played in protecting Canada. I have often wondered about how it worked and who it was that manned those stations so far away from everything. One question that I have, how much were you paid for serving this great country of ours? If you prefer not to answer that I understand…. I am just curious. Thanks for bringing those images to life in my mind. Thanks for posting this. Most of all thank you for serving our country and all of North America and keeping us safe during the Cold War era.

    • Brian says:

      Layne:

      Thanks for asking about our remuneration. There is no doubt that we were well paid for our isolation and semi-sever living and working conditions. I left what was considered a well-paid position at the National Research Council as an Electronics technician with an annual salary of $2750/A (about $1.60/hour!) and went North for an annual salary of $12,000, an almost four-fold increase. The equivalent today would be about $95,000/A. It was a very attractive salary as, at that time (the 1960’s), an engineer might make $5500/A. Added to this already good pay package was the fact that the company also provided free room and board. Because we had absolutely nothing to spend the money on, those of us who were single simply banked it.

      As grand as “serving your country” sounds, to most of us it was simply a very well paying job that had to be done and we were the ones doing it. Having made that observation, I’m proud to have been a “Cold War warrior” (of sorts).

      Interesting time that I hope we don’t see again.

  20. Arthur Edmondson says:

    Brian, found your site and enjoyed your adventures. I was originally assigned to LIZ-2, the last civilian manned site in western Alaska. I remember Streator well. Our class in March 1964 was half Canadian. We all got along great. I had to share a room with two others, one was a French Canadian who was from Montreal and a staunch separatist. We had a few friendly political discussions.

    One Saturday night, we all went drinking, we started at the hotel bar and I cannot remember where we ended up. One of the Canadians , (just discharged from the CAF)
    a really nice guy got blitzed, falling down drunk. We got him back to the hotel, and
    got him up, put a few gallons of coffee in him. When he became lucid he told me that he lost his teeth the night before. We spent all day Sunday looking for his teeth It turned out that he lost his teeth in the hotel bar and luckily they kept them.

    I often wondered what the farmers thought of the crazy Americans and Canadians.

    I also spent time at Bar Main and Pow Main.. One of the funniest incidents occurred while I was at Pow Main (Point Barrow). A regular scheduled flight of Japan Airlines (flight # 801) was required to call in prior to entering the Dewiz. He was required to call Oliktuk radio. Unfortunately the Japanese pilots could not pronounce the station name, and ignored repeated requests to comply. Needless to say this caused great consternation with Norad and the two Air force Flight controllers stationed at Barrow. The next time they refused to call the Oliktuk station, the Alarms went off and the controllers authorized the scrambling of four fighter jets from Elmendorf AFB. We watched as the fighters approached the Japanese plane and heard a torrent of screaming Japanese attempting to contact with every conceivable prononciation of Oliktuk radio. Needless to say, we never had that problem again.

    Art

    • Brian says:

      Art:

      Thanks for visiting my DEWLine website and for your comments and observations.

      There is no doubt about it, Streator was a blast, particularly for a 19 year old (me) who was away from home for the first time. I was fortunate enough to have a room to myself at the back of the building. The room had a sink in it that, I’m hesitant to mentioned, acted as an urinal on occasion.

      I’ve been tempted to take a pilgrimage back to the corn fields of Streator just for fun.

      It sounds like you have a small pile of DEWLine stories of your own. Have you considered doing what I did and take a stroll down memory lane and documenting them before the lane gets overgrown? It’s worth the trip, trust me.

      Be safe, stay well.

      Brian J.

  21. Arthur Edmondson says:

    Thanks for the response. The funniest experience I had involved how i was hired. I had quit H.S. and went on active duty in the Navy to attend ET School. I completed the scholl and went on active duty and was assinged to a minesweeper out of Charleston S.C. The ship only had basic electronics, Radar comm gear, sonar. No ssb or advanced electronics. After two years I was discharged in 1963. By Jan 1964 I was out of work. My sister-in-law saw the ad in the Sunday New York Times from federal Electric for radicians for $232.oo a week and called me. The ad said to call immediately including Sunday. I called and was asked my experience, and I adivsed him ethet I had no tropo, training . The interviewer was a nice guy and told me that I probably had no chance to pass the test, but I was welcome to try, the next day. I had $5.32 left in my pocket and said what the hell I will give it a shot. I went to the dept store and bought a copy of the amateur radio relay handbook to study that night. Having no experience in trop, I shortly began get bored and frustrated. I flipped the book open and the pages it opened to were about single side band theory. Having absolutely no idea about the SSB, I read the approximately five pages and then gave up. I arrived in Paramus at the federal Electric Headquarters the next day and again was advised that based on my background, I was probably wasting my time. I elected to take the test GUESS what, I wrote the highest mark of the two hundred applicants who took the test that day.Much to my surprise the test was almost word for word on the information that I had read from the amateur relay handbook, the night before. I was immediately taking into a private room and told that if I passed the medical, I was Hired!! Apparently they thought they had discovered a genius.

    On to Streator and then to Bar main. When we arrived at bar main, upon exiting the aircraft, We were advised the Alaska had gone union and we would be obligated to pay union dues equal to 1% of our pay. I then asked what the union would do for the 1% of my pay. MY base pay was increased to $332 a week, two weeks vacation after six months and six weeks vacation after one year. So began my Alaska Dewline job.

    Art

    • Brian says:

      Art:

      Loved your story. My pre-employment experience was similar. In my case, it was my Mother who found the FEC ad and encouraged me to apply despite my lack of radar knowledge.

      I failed the test the first time but they left the door open for a retest so I went to the technical library where I worked and read two books on radar. That was enough to fill in the technical gaps. My two years of technical school (Electronics) along with having been an amateur radio operator helped.

      It was a great adventure that I never regretted. It was quite a personal thrill to be allowed to go back to FOX Main in 2012 and to have free run of the station. On the other hand, it was a bit sad to be strolling around an almost empty facility where once a hundred or so people worked.

      I wouldn’t have missed that trip for the world.

      73
      Brian J.

  22. Arthur Edmondson says:

    Brian, just to clarify, the union dues were 1% per month. quite a sum of money.

    Did the Canadian sectors ever handle ptarmagan (sp) SAC B-52’sflights?

    • Brian says:

      Art:

      I had left the Line before it became unionized. There were union rumblings at that time but nothing had happened while I was there.

      In response to your question re B-52’s, yes, they were a regular fixture and we would transmit the EAM message (Skyking, Skyking, etc.,) on a regular basis. There was lots of B-52 traffic during the Cuban crisis period when we doubled up in the console and watched both the Upper and Lower beams. Tense times.

      Brian J.

  23. Arthur Edmondson says:

    Brian,
    You have awakened my.memories. During the winter months, after sunset on the East coast, at Barrow, we would listen to 1010WINS radio. This station broadcast from NY. One night the DJ wondered who was the most distant listener. Well the innovative crew took up the challenge. We dialed 81, to each dewline station pbx until we reached Greenland (Thule). We then convinced the operator st Thule to.patch us to Stewart Air Force Base in NY. I then used persuasion to have the operator to call the radio station, and spoke with a producer, statiing that we were calling from Point Barrow and wanted to claim the title as the most distant listener. The producer was incredulous, and refused to believe us. This endeavor took approximately three hours, we were dropped several times calling each individual dewline station.
    This incident just illustrates, the lengths, we would go to keep our mind occupied

    Art

    • Brian says:

      Art:

      The memories are all in there. All you have to is pack a mental lunch and go for a stroll. It’s worth the trip. Trust me.

      There is an old phrase “rank has its privileges.” On the DEWLine, being a “Radician has its privileges,” one of which was that we had access to all the communications systems.

      I used a similar technique to patch my way from FOX Main down through the Rearward system to Goose Bay where I was usually able to get a patch to the US embassy in Ottawa, my home town, where I could usually get the duty officer to patch me into the phone line and I could call, my then, fiancée. Much better than waiting for the weekly mail plane. Rank (or position) does indeed have its privileges.

      Brian J.

  24. Nixon Mercado says:

    Greetings; My father Jose M. Mercado from Puerto Rico works during 60’s & 70’s I think was as a radio rigger and master welder. I try to find more information or pictures related to him and his duties.

    • Brian says:

      Nixon:

      Thanks for taking the time to comment. Any ideas as to what sites you father might have worked at? Any photos would be welcome.

      Brian J.

      • Nixon Mercado says:

        He talked to us about Sondrestrom and 4 DYE

        • Brian says:

          Nixon:

          It appears that Your father was in what was called DEW East, the extension of the DEWLine into Greenland. You might want to Google DYE 4 and see the Youtube video. These sites were built on permafrost and had to be raised hydraulically every year to stay above the snow. When they abandoned the sites, they started to sink. Actually, they didn’t sink. It was the snow rising up around the stations so that it appeared the stations were sinking. I’m not sure if the Youtube video’s are of Dye 4 in particular or of one of the other DEW East sites.

          I hope you find this of interest.

          Brian J.

  25. Brian,
    Great website, thanks.
    I have just gotten off the phone with you and was delighted with our chat…….. but then old farts love reminiscing, don’t they!
    We were in school, in Streator, together and went North to Fox-Main together, too. Then you went off to Cam-5 (Pelly Bay) and Cam-D, and I went to Cam-4 (Mackar Inlet) and Cam-E. Yup, it was an unforgetable experience. I remember that the AVERAGE temperature for the month of February was, -28F with only slight variation from day to night, and it was dark all day – only saw the Sun as a strobe on the radar …… never complained about the cold after that.
    We got pretty good at table tennis, enjoyed our 6 cans of beer {sometimes “skunked”}, and lots of food – fortunately we were young enough that it didn’t fatten us up, and the occasional movie that was played and replayed.
    As I recall we did see the Northern Lights a few times – looking South.

    Michael Fagan, Mountain View, CA.

    • Brian says:

      Michael:

      What a pleasant surprise hearing from you after all these years, and on an appropriately cold evening at that! I had forgotten that we did our training together in Streator. Thanks for the memory refresh. Now I’ll refresh yours. I went to CAM-4 (Pelly Bay) and then on to CAM-D (Simpson Lake) before joining the Sector Crew. You were at CAM-5 and then CAM-E.

      Not many people have had to look south to see the Northern Lights. We’re a unique bunch.

      Let’s stay in touch. There too few of us left.

      Brian J.

  26. Harold Booker says:

    Hi Brian, Great web log. My name is Harold Booker. I worked on the DEWLine from 1959 to 1964 at CAM-1 and PIN-4 in the Cam Sector, and DEWEast as well as DYE Main. I Live in Connecticut during the summer and early autumn, and spend the cold weather months in the Tampa Bay area in Florida. I am trying to see if there is any interest in a reunion before we all die off. I am proposing 2015-2016 winter in the Tampa Bay area as a target. Canadian, American & Danish civilian and military personnel are all encouraged to attend. Spouses are also welcome. If there is sufficient interest I will enquire about Hotel Accommodations with meeting rooms. Any interested parties can contact me directly at bookerharold@aol.com. Please disseminate this as widely as possible among any of your DEWLine acquaintances. Hoping this finds you well, Harold

    • Brian says:

      Harold:

      Thanks for visiting my site and for your comments. I see we were on the Line around the same time.

      Your idea of a reunion is great and if you want to see if you can get something going, I’ll do my best to get the word out. I’ll put up a notice on Larry Wilson’s DEWLine site for you.

      Brian J.

  27. Sue says:

    My Dad was in Point Barrow at the DEW line in 1965-1966 as an Officer in the AirForce. He recently passed from multiple cancers. I notice other comments here regarding cancer. Is there a link? A lot of asbestos use in Barrow?

  28. nutrilawn says:

    I’m a recent employee of nutrilawn and very impressed with your experiences so I thank you for taking the time to share them, because they were fun to read and interesting to get a first hand account of how hard it must’ve been being stationed in the arctic.

    Thanks again,

    Kind regards

  29. Madelyn Christopher Hucker says:

    My Dad, HW ‘Chris” Christopher, worked on DEW Line in mid ’50s, places like Pt Barrow and Aleutian Is. He had gone to school in Streator, Il too. Then in ’59 or ’60 he was working in Europe somehow – doing same sort of work. As kids, lived in England and Iceland, went to US Base schools – brother was able to live with Dad in Faroe Is as it wasn’t a family accompanied tour. Also stationed in the Shetland Is. I was surprised to learn it didn’t completely cover N Pole. Do remember term NORAD … Would anyone have info on the European ‘side’ of DEW line? What other defense systems would have played a role? Thanks for any info:)

    • Brian says:

      Madedyn:

      Thanks for taking the time to contact me. Very little is known about the European end of the radar chain. I only recently found out that the US Navy flew radar picket planes off both ends of the DEWLine, something I was never aware of, and I certainly wasn’t aware of the European extension.

      For even more information on the DEWLine, you might also check out this site: http://lswilson.dewlineadventures.com/dewline.htm.

      Brian J.

  30. Jack Tyler says:

    Brian, I was recently told of your web site by another U S Navy Willie Victor sailor. Sam K3KLC, who was telling us on a regular schedule that we keep weekly on 40 meters about your web site. My Navy tour was from 1958 – 1962, was trained as Aviation Electronics Tech. and CW operator and flew on the WV-2 Super Connies. Some of our missions were flying the Atlantic extension of the DEW Line from Argentia, Newfoundland across the N Atlantic reporting radar contacts. Little did I know at that time the hard work, isolation and sacrifice you all were making at the land sites.
    Thank you very much for sharing the great the stories.

    Best 73, Jack KB5TXS

  31. Louis (Lou) Riccoboni Jr. says:

    Really enjoyed reading your posts. Brings back fond memories of my father’s DEWLine stories. Many thanks, LR

    • Brian says:

      Thank you for your comments Lou. I believe that I worked with your Father at FOX-1 in the early 60’s. Small world.

    • Ken Moroz says:

      Hi Lou jr.
      My name is Ken Moroz.
      When I started working on the Dewline it was your dad that was my mentor at a base called Fox2 in 1965.

      • Brian says:

        Ken:
        I also work with Lou Riccoboni during my stay on the DEWLine. He was a true professional.
        Brian J.

      • Lou Riccoboni JR says:

        Ken and Brian. Many thanks for the kind words. Very proud of him and the women and men he served alongside. He went to Vietnam, married my mother and we left in ’75. Settled outside Toronto and he passed in 2011. But this site and the stories bring it all back like it was yesterday. Many thanks! LR

  32. Al Park says:

    Hi Brian
    Just ran across your site and really enjoyed the stories. I served on the Dewline/Bmews from 1973 to 1987. Station chief at Pow-M Pow one and a good amount of time at Dye4. my favorite. I worked out of the Headquarters in Colorado Springs most of the time. I was Sealift Supervisor and remember vividly the beer run. Haven’t been able to make contact with the old gang ie: Kevin Delaney-Bucky Harris – Bill Harmon etc. Hope you are doing well. I certainly enjoyed your site, brought back fond memories. AL Park

  33. Marjorie Dorn Klovdahl says:

    My father Ray Dorn from worked across the Dew Line on and off during 50s 60s and 70s. I was fascinated by him. He died in 1994. I remember he was gone for 23 months in row once and was excited to see him during a supply run to NY Airforce base .Those few hours were a memory I will never forget.The great sacrifices you men made were immense.Sam Benney was one of my fathers great friends for many many years. If you have any recall of my Dad please let me know.Thankyou Sir.

  34. Patrick Hill says:

    I came across a photo of a group of men in uniform, the sign in front says
    BEC 8
    6 jan 58
    Stn Clinton
    can you tell me what BEC stands for, I would like to share this photo as all the last names are on the back and where they came from ie: Kyte, Sydney N.S.
    thanks
    Patrick Hill

  35. Daniel says:

    I know a man who worked on Dew Line…..his name is Bernie Ward….wondering if anyone knew him……or how I might find websites to try and connect him with fellow Dew Line construction people……God Bless

    • Conrad Hild says:

      My dad was a manager in the construction days (catering). He told me the tours were 19 months at a pop. He was the catering manager up there.

      Conrad

      • Brian says:

        When I was on the Line, the initial contract was for 18 months and you could go out on R&R leave at the half-way point. I waited 12 months before I went out on my first R&R because I knew that if I went out at 9 months, I wouldn’t go back again. Subsequent contracts were of a 12 month duration with 2-week R$R leaves at 6 months. There was a 6-8 week holiday between contracts.

        Brian J.

  36. David Coles (ex RAF Radar 1958) says:

    I never did make Dew-Line, though I did apply at the end of my RAF service, I was a bit green and ignorant in those days. Since then I’ve been in Electronics and Aviation.
    Now 82, I am retired and with it, love Canada even if I am a Brit as an Author. My first book was ‘The Four Geniuses of the Battle of Britain’, Watson-Watt (Radar), Henry Royce (Merlin Engine), Sydney Camm (Hurricane), Mitcchell (Spitfire).
    THE[ISBN 978-1-84884-759-0].
    I love writing, but I have found little is known of Dew-Line in the UK or even Canada. So I’d like to get researching Dew-Line, and then come up with a book, with the Dew-Liners’ approval. The first obvious question is “Did Russia have an equivalent?”
    Of course if you say,” Clear off, that’s our patch and none of your business.”, I’ll most certainly say OK. If it’s OK I’ll get going, even sharing authorship.

    Regards, Yours,
    Eur. Ing. David E. A. Coles, B.A. Hons., C. Eng., MIET

    • Brian says:

      David:
      Thanks for taking the time to pass along your observations to me. You are quite correct in your observation that very few people know about the DEWLine and the numbers decrease every day as DEWLiners and those interested in this part of the Cold War die away. There are few books out there on the topic and it is ripe for someone of your talents to take on the project. I’d be delighted to assist in any way that I can.

      Brian J.

  37. Jack Smith says:

    Hi Brian
    I enjoyed your story. I’m 90year old, now in WW2 Vets home who completed 2 tours
    1957/59 as Station Manager Bar 4, Bar 3. and their I sites.Also at Cam Main during final construction months, and Point Barrow.
    And see message re Jack Campbell. We trained together in Streator. Wonder if he
    ever purchased his pub back in Ireland?
    Regards
    Jack Smith December 2015

    • Brian says:

      Jack:
      Thanks for dropping by my site. It’s always nice to have a fellow DEWLiner comment on it. I saw your name on the DEWLiner Contact List on Larry Wilson’s DEWLine site. Be safe and stay well.
      Regards
      Brian J.

  38. JoAnn says:

    My dad worked on the DEW Line. I still have photos from his many times there. He was employed by ITT. Peace

  39. Brent Seres VE3CUS says:

    Hi Brian
    I’m really enjoying your site as it hits on a number of my interests, the cold war, vintage radio gear, ham radio, and Canada’s arctic.
    Although not a DEW liner, I did spend a number of years as a radio inspector with DOC during which time I worked 8 years at the Acton monitoring station. Both of the managers I worked under there were ex forces, comm research and had done numerous tours at CFS Alert, so heard lots of stories about the arctic, isolation, electronic surveillance and other, probably semi classified stuff that probably shouldn’t have been mentioned, although we did all have a Secret clearance. I remember them saying that the public had ‘no idea’ how close we were on numerous occasions. I’ll always remember the knowledge thesee guys had in being able to hear a signal and immediately identify by ear the type of circuit, cryptography, etc.

    I was only 7 at the time of the Cuban Missile Crisis. Growing up in Ottawa, I still remember the air raid sirens, and the ‘what to do if’ broadcast one night on CFRA. Apparently we were all to head for the cold storage rooms in our houses. I remember Dad telling Mom the next morning that if the alarm was sounded he would try and make it home from work before everything went up. We also did ‘duck and cover ‘ drills at school, although they were careful to avoid telling us why. I do remember my parents explaining the seriousness of it all.

    I teach at the local college here part time, and young people today have no concept of how tense the world was back then.

    Like yourself, I have been a ham for over 40 years, and enjoy restoring vintage stuff and sharing memories.

  40. Mike Svegliato says:

    Hi Brian,

    It is a pleasant surprise to find your site.

    I went to Streator, in September 1960. Was assigned, as a Radician, to BAR Main, Barter Island (Kaktovik Village). Fortunately, I did not have to spend four hours a day sitting at a screen, monitoring and tracking aircraft. The Sector Instrument Technician, Jim Ganon, was leaving and the BAR Sector needed a replacement. Jim had a nice “lockable” workshop in the “radar” train in which to repair and calibrate instruments. Since many of the larger instruments were not easily transportable, I spent many an hour “visiting” the sites in the BAR sector, i.e. eastern Alaska, Yukon and Northwest Territories.

    To “qualify” for a promotion to the Sector Chief C&E position, I also spent 3 months at an I site.

    We, at BAR Main were also very fortunate to have Kaktovik village on the Island. It was situated between the site and the airport. We were also fortunate to have some Eskimos as part of our workforce. The village was “out-of-bounds” but during one Christmas they came up to the site for a “party”, and the next we went to the village. It seemed that every young man in their “entertainment” group thought that he was “Elvis”. The Eskimos were friendly, honest, and family oriented. The entire village, or so it looked like, would go out and play volley ball. I have photographs which I have promised myself for years that I would copy and send to the village. Some of the kids must be grandparents by now.

    As many of us found out, the $110 from the Korean GI Bill just didn’t cut it. After 2 contracts on the DEW Line, and not being married, my senior year at Michigan was “easier.”

    We DEW Liners were all affected by the experience. Sometimes, it may show itself.

    • Brian says:

      Mike:
      Thanks for your visiting my site and for your comments.

      Like you, I had to earn my spot on the Sector Crew by spending time at an I-Site, in my case, CAM-D. Absolutely no one wanted to serve at an I-Site because of the severe isolation as well as the fact that you had to be available 24 hours a day to tend to the transmitters when they got “noisey” or decided to fail. Hence the “bribe” of better things to come if you went to one of the I-Sites. 🙂

      If you ‘discovered’ my DEWLine web site, you probably also discovered Larry Wilson’s site as well. His is the definitive DEWLine site. Just in case you haven’t seen it, it can be found at: http://lswilson.dewlineadventures.com/dewline.htm.

      Thanks for sharing your story.

      Brian

  41. Ken Ford says:

    Wonderful stories…….Thank you…
    Although I am not a DEW LINER, I have worked with many of you. I was a tech with
    AT&T. At NORAD Cheyenne Mountain for 20 yrs. We had the contract to provide
    the communication links for the three BMEWS sites. Clear, Thule, and Flyingdale.
    The primary lines were on transoceanic cables but the secondary lines were via
    tropo scatter over the DEW LINE.
    If we had troubles, we would call Vegarville via commercial long distance lines.
    We would then have him patch us through to Pin 3. The tech at Pin 3 could help
    us isolate the trouble north or south of him. We would stay on the line with him as
    he troubleshoot problems across the DEW LINE using the tropo order wire.

    Twice a year there would be an incident that was coded named a ” Hammer Hanger.”
    This was caused as sunlight shined directly down the tropo scatter wave guide. The
    result was about 10 to 15 minutes of very high level white noise with all
    communications being lost. I assume only one location, who’s antenna pointed in
    the correct direction was involved but am not sure.

  42. Denis Carnochan says:

    Hi, I left the RCAF after working at the sister site of Cheyenne Mountain in North Bay, Ontario and went to work off and on the DEW line for over a decade. I had never been to the arctic before that time and was wholly ignorant of the ways of the north and its people. After Streater, a place with as many bars and churches. (I wonder if there are still old men sitting in front of the TV watching baseball in that old hotel- certainly in my memory; and of a funnel cloud coming close to the base in the hot, humid corn field.) They shipped me off to Shepard’s Bay on Baffin Island. What an incredible, primeval, place. Willows less than a foot high and hundreds of years old and a large flat rock with a scratch on it. And at the end of that scratch, the pebble exactly where the melted glacier left it. Raised beach lines where I was told by a geologist from the Canadian survey that the whole of the arctic and Hudson’s Bay is bouncing back out of the mantle of the earth now that the heavy glacial ice is gone. At Dewar Lakes where humans were so unknown that foxes and wolves would follow me around on those windy days when the mosquitoes were kept at bay from sucking me dry. Where ravens would out fox the foxes every time for food. I clearly remember going out to do the weather at the end of my shift at 3 am and seeing the southern skies lit up with aurora and the -63F temperature would make it sound like I was walking on broken glass not snow. So cold the stars didn’t twinkle and the foxes would wrap around my feet at the Stevenson screen. Broughton Island was the most powerful and most desolate. I ordered in climbing gear from REI I think and would read the instruction book while hanging off a narrow cliff, in clear sight of the kitchen window if I remember rightly. One fine day on the mountain top I looked down to see the masts of the supply ship breaking through the fog – God it was a beautiful place. I remember Hall Beach where I ignorantly asked an Inuit what the names of his sled dogs were and he looked at me as though I was from outer space and said “you don’t name things you might have to eat”. I remember the long twin otter flights to the west – one from Hall Beach to Komakuk Beach – those stale air rides seemed to go on forever. How the warm western summer months would make the grasses grow high and the air, land and sea filled with life – but no trees. I remember being chased off the beach by a beautiful blond arctic grizzly bear all the way back to the station. (I think he had a great deal of fun that day!) And seeing the same bear rolling over rocks to get at ground squirrels just outside the kitchen window after I got off shift in the morning. Where the cook made me a Klondike breakfast of a dozen eggs, pound of sausage, a loaf of toast and a pot of coffee. I was young and I got it all down but a few pieces of toast and most of the coffee. I remember being stuck at Komakuk for an extra three weeks because we couldn’t keep the caribou off the runway. How I tried to use the natural ditches to sneak up on them with my camera. When I looked up they were to close all around to get picture in focus. Amazingly curious animals. At one of the Pin stations I remember being surrounded by wolves when I was in a gully leading to the sea. They called all around me but I never saw one of them. As a biologist later in life that happened many times but that one time, all the hair on the back of my head stood on end. That same day I remember using a spotting scope to look at seals all over the sea ice and watching All turn at once in the same direction over many square miles. When I turned up the power on my scope I saw a polar bear many, many miles away – but they all knew where it was. All those experiences lead me to become a naturalist, a park ranger and teacher after I left the arctic. It is a place for young men but lord it was one of the most beautiful places I have ever lived, but also the most lonely. I recall turning many a time as though to tell a friend how beautiful it all was – and no-one had seen it but me.

    • Brian says:

      Denis:

      You have a wonderful way with words! You captured many of my feeling about being in the Arctic exactly.

      I hope you take the time to record your DEWLine adventures as I did. They are too precious to lose.

      Brian J.

  43. jane says:

    Hi there – In your travels, have/did you know a Mark Ward – he was stationed one of the Dye sites as a radician, engineer

    • Brian says:

      Mark’s name doesn’t appear on the DEWLiner’s Contact Listing so finding his whereabouts will be a challenge without knowing what sites he was on and what year(s) he was there. In answer to your question, I didn’t know a Mark Ward from my time on the Line.
      Good luck in your quest.
      Brian.

  44. Tommie Baker says:

    When was the totem pole erected at the Point Barrow LRRS? Who made it?

    • Brian says:

      Tommie:
      Sorry, I have no ideas as to where the totom pole came from or who erected it. It’s a mystery (at least to me).
      Brian J.

  45. Mike French says:

    Hi Brian:
    Thanks for adding me to the list. The following brief memory might be of interest to others visiting here.

    I arrived at site 34 (Fox B?) sixty one years ago at the beginning of May 1955 2 weeks short of my 18th birthday as a student engineer fresh from my first year at McGill. We landed in a USAF C129 Globemaster on the lake ice. I got the gig at that tender age because my dad and the VP at Foundation Co. were college buddies. 19 weeks later I was on an early flight out of the new airstrip which I had helped to survey and
    construct. During that summer 3 of us caught 400lbs of arctic char in an hour at the outlet of the lake, The Norseman on floats flew us back to camp at the other end and could barely get off the water with the unexpected overload.
    We also shot a caribou with the Super’s rifle from the blade of a D8 after the meat ran out for the 90 guys we had in camp. Highly illegal but the fish and the caribou were much appreciated. $350 per month plus room and board. A great summer for a kid.

    I came back in May 56 to Site 42 ResX1, landing on the sea ice in a C46 on skis as
    a Laborer. Better money at $1.65 per hour, 1.5X after 44 hours and 2X after 72 hours and we never worked less than that. Worked full time for the site engineer Robbie
    Robinson and learned a lot more about surveying and civil engineering. I flew to Frobisher and back in the twin rotor USAF banana shaped chopper for knee treatment, after sliding down the mountain out of control on a piece of plywood. They would only fly in pairs and in less than two tenths cloud cover. We watched a
    Maritime Central Airways Canso/PBY sink in our harbour after hitting a growler while
    landing. A USN supply ship landing craft picked the crew off the wingtip and they
    didn’t even get their shoes wet. It took us 4 months to build that airstrip
    too – less than 2000 feet – landing over a cliff and stopping before the
    mountain. A DC3 could just do it. Take off was in the opposite direction. I was on the second plane out – a USAF C123. The third one in overran and banged into the mountain.

    Reading all the stories you have gathered brings back memories. Thanks for doing that.
    Mike

    • Brian says:

      Thanks for sharing your adventures with me Mike. Fascinating! Flying in the Arctic back then, even as a passenger was not for the faint-of-heart.
      Brian J.

  46. Conrad Hild says:

    Very odd, I just googled DEWLINE today, 40 years later after working up there from 75 to 77 as a supply specialist. Worked Cambridge Bay, Cape Parry and Hall Beach. My claim to fame was probably I was the youngest kid on the line ever (19) and doing 3 months at a pop, one time even 6, was stress big time. I never did recover 🙂 Prob most of my fellow Dewliners gone by now but I thought I would say hi here and salute all of us who endured. It really was one hell of an adventure. Cheers. Conrad Hild

    • Brian says:

      Conrad:

      It’s always good to hear from another DEWLiner. As someone said, “Once a DEWLiner, Always a DEWLiner.” I’ve added your information to Larry Wilson’s DEWLine site at http://lswilson.dewlineadventures.com/dewcontact.htm.
      Like you, I was the youngest person (at the time) to join the hardy bunch up North. I had my 20th birthday at FOX-M just before going over to my first permanent DEWLine home at CAM-4. I agree it was a hell of a time and still lives big in my memory. Great people, great adventure, great time. I was delighted to be able to return to FOX-M some 51 years after leaving if for what should have been the last time. That was a great trip down memory lane.

      Brian J.
      VE3UU

  47. Jay Diamato says:

    It was good to read about some of the things I’d long forgotten about Greenland. I was at DYE-4, working for the Federal Electric Co. out of Paramus, NJ. I was an Ironworker there in 1964 and 1965. We arrived at Sondrestrom Air Force Base in Greenland, then got a ride on a C-130 to Dye-4. We made what was at that time a hellish good wage…$242/week in ’64, and $315/wk. in ’65. I still have many pics of the site, and the antennas we worked on. The staff was all Danish, and the cooks were teriffic. The best part of all was that we had no place to spend any money (the weekly pay was deposited in a bank of our choice in the US). We got “pocket money” from family in their letters to us. We could buy seal and whale bone carvings from the local Eskimoes, and I still have mine. They were called “tubaluks” I think. Oh, yes, the Station Chief’s name when I was there was Temple Thorton…he was retired Navy. I still have his recommendation for future employment if I needed it!
    Those were good days, and its good to read about a few of you who were there in the mid-’60s. It would be good to connect with anyone who was there when I was.

  48. D E Davis says:

    Very interesting. In August 1958 I wound up at Port Moller AK (known as COB-4), helping to bring the station to life and then turning it over to the USAF in April. I had never even known about the Alaska Peninsula nor the Aleutian Islands. The military had provided, among other things, a rack of rifles – we couldn’t leave the site unless we took the rifles along because the Alaskan brown bears hung around the garbage dump – and they were BIG bears. I’ve never been back, and probably won’t at age 86 – but it was an amazing experience. At night, if it was clear, you could see the light from Pavlov volcano to the south-west.

    Dennis

  49. Jeff Head says:

    Hi Brian;

    I just finished reading your story. Very interesting and very well documented. I myself began my Arctic adventure starting out in 1988., I initially started as a summer student in Saglek, Lab-2, and am now employed as the Communications trainer with Raytheon corp. I have been across the Arctic to visit and work on pretty much every site within the NWS. I was previously stationed at Bar-2, Pin-M, Cam-3, Fox-M,Fox-3, Dye-M, Lab-2 and Lab-6. I worked as an Electronics Maintenance tech, (EMT), and was stationed out of LSS-F, LSS-C, and LSS-G. I now work in North Bay in the North Warning System Support Center (NWSSC) where we support the North on all aspects, I have also worked briefly in the Hole, North Warning System Control Center (NWSCC), which was previously underground but moved above ground to a new complex around 10 years ago. I usually go north in the summer months (I provide training in the winter months), to complete installations of upgraded equipment, most recently the automated weather observation system.

    Your story was very compelling, I cannot imagine working for 9 months with only 2 weeks off, and the isolation you experienced without contact with your family. I was in Fox-M when you were visiting, however at the time I was out doing an installation of some upgraded comms equipment. Rick has since retired to Elliston Nfld but the others are still there.

    I too have enjoyed my time in the north and feel very fortunate to have visited. I too consider myself a dewliner with a 28 year career working in the field. I can relate to some but not all.

    Jeff Head

  50. Marie (Carfantan) Fagnou says:

    I am looking for people who worked at Cape Dyer on Baffin Island on the DEW line. My brother, Marcel Carfantan worked up there in the mid 60’s, as a radar technician. My bother passed away in March and I am interested in piecing together his personal history, including his life on the DEW line. Thank you!

    • Brian says:

      Marie:
      Finding someone who may have known your brother on the DEWLine will be all but impossible as there is no formal record of who worked where. There is an informal DEWLiner’s Contact list at http://lswilson.dewlineadventures.com. You might check that out to see if you can find other people who were at the same site as your brother at the same time. I’m sorry that I can’t be of any real value in your search for more information.
      Brian J.

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