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Mt Alice Fighter Control Radar Relocation 1984

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Mt Alice Fighter Control Radar Relocation 1984

Old 22nd Nov 2009, 16:06
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Mt Alice Fighter Control Radar Relocation 1984

In the Spring of 1984, my crew underslung a complete AR3D radar installation between two mountains on East Falkland using a Chinook. Having lifted this rather heavy load off the ground, we had to fly it to its new home some 14 miles away and position it onto a carriage which was then to be wheeled on a track into the dome. All went well but I wonder if anyone has photographs of the lift that they might wish to share?

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Old 22nd Nov 2009, 16:21
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PM for you, Pedro.
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Old 22nd Nov 2009, 18:22
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Are you sure about the details of the lift? From memory, Mt Alice isn't on East Falkland (nor within 14 nm of East Falkland!).
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Old 22nd Nov 2009, 19:12
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OH, East is East, and West is West, and never the twain shall meet

Perhaps you meant West Falkland?
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Old 22nd Nov 2009, 19:50
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Build Mountt Alice

Without checking my log-book, I recall building the radar sites in 83 or 84 when two ships were loaded with all of the bobbins required to build a radar site to which we then detached for a few days at a time to off-load the stuff in sequence. I think one was Op Cara-Cara (Alice?) and something else for Mount Byron? I do remember a penguin in the aircrew shower one morning (!!!) and "Caddyshack" playing endlessly in the mess-room. Regret no pictures of the evolutions - but do have one of the penguin in the shower.
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Old 22nd Nov 2009, 20:05
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I was the resident (english) hooker on the Corato. I remember the radar lift very well, but for what might have been all the wrong reasons. On the day we flew the radar head itself we positioned the ship closer to the mountain, acft weight was a concern. As usual it was very windy. To cut a long story short, on deck the wind blew my rigging scheme away and I 'cuffed' a scheme to get the job done. Perhaps I should have let on at the time - sorry. Mind you 11 years of hooking and never lost a thing.
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Old 22nd Nov 2009, 20:16
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I think one was Op Cara-Cara (Alice?)
Cara-Cara was Mount Byron.
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Old 22nd Nov 2009, 20:50
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The 3 sites were Mount Kent, Mount Alice and Bryon Heights
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Old 22nd Nov 2009, 22:58
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I was at Byron when they took the Type 99 off in Jul 98. ISTR the transmitter cabin was about 11 tonnes which was right on the limits for the Chinook and conditions. There were several attempts due to the fact that the thing had to break some suction from having been there so long.

Eventually, the thing lifted and the Chinook disappeared (it seemed almost to stagger!) over the cliff edge and I don't think I was the only one who wondered whether it would be able to stay airborne - but I needn't have worried (though it must have gone almost straight down as it was several minutes before it reappeared some 2,500ft below and heading away).

Sometimes wonder what the radar sites are like these days.

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Old 23rd Nov 2009, 09:11
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Cara Cara


my apologies; I never could manage to sort out East and West. Yes the operation was on West Falkland.

Rolandpull, the operation that I refer to was not the initial deployment from the ship but the relocation when it was found that the radar cover was not ideal from the first location. The crew judged the weight of the load to be in the order of 11.7 tonnes; it certainly required all available power to haul it off the ground and none spare for the transition until a lucky gust of wind allowed a small surplus to initiate the transition. To give us the best chance, we had stripped the aircraft of anything not connected with the lift.

I would add here that the hookers were really fantastic. We picked up all kinds of odd loads in those days and never had a single problem with rigging or instability. They worked in foul weather, received massive static kicks from the strops on occasions yet never let us down. Brilliant effort.
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Old 23rd Nov 2009, 12:48
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"Sometimes wonder what the radar sites are like these days."

Having had 3 tours of FIADGE (in 89, 94 and 97), I'm relieved to know that I'll never get to find out!

Seriously... all three were enjoyable tours, two of Alice with an AR3D that hardly ever worked (especially second time around) and one of Kent.

Incidentally, I'm sure Alice was the original Cara Radar... I'll go and find out......

Yep. 751SU Mount Alice was definitely previously Cara Radar. There was an old painted wooden sign at the door to the accom complex with it painted on it, with a picture of the two cara birds descending. Cant remember the old names for Kent and Byron I'm afraid.
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Old 23rd Nov 2009, 14:49
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Jabba, quite correct. Cara Cara was the original callsign at Cape Orford to start with. I was there when we shut Orford and moved to Alice. Although Alice was a great site (better than the Somme at Byron), Cape Orford was a lovely place. Fond memories of BV206 races around the lake en route to the Whales Graveyard.

During the move we had loaded one ISO (One of many!) about half full with PSP. The hooker got it ready and when the Chinook came to lift it I have never seen a Chinook work so hard trying to get it airborne. The crew reckoned it was about 15 tons in weight!!! Oh what fun we had having just spent all morning filling the damn thing only to empty it again

Wasn't Kent 'Puffin Radar' and Byron just Byron?
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Old 23rd Nov 2009, 15:18
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Ah, I think you're right about Kent.

One of the things that I remember most was when the AR3D's klystron ate itself on one of my tours that we had to have the T259 brought up from MPA.

Except that when the 259Det turned up, they were minus at least one generator... the helo had got half way across the sound with the genny underslung when the strop gave way and those accompanying it could only watch as if in slow motion as the load fell gracefully towards the water before landing with a mighty sploosh.

And when they did finally get it working a few days later (it wasnt as if we could ever see anything anyway), because they stuck it on the alternate hardstanding to the side of the dome, right by the western edge of the perimiter, where the wind rushes up the escarpment, as soon as the wind got above a certain speed (about 25-30Kts), the aerial would just click and stop.

We used to get a lot of wind like that in a Falklands winter....

Some very fond memories, but I have no intention whatsoever of ever going back!

Most interesting chinook lift I saw was at Kent in 94. They'd just refurbed the accom and the catwalks and there was a huge skip (like one of those things off the back of a dumper truck) by the BV shed full of crap - bits of wood, metal and heaven knows what else. It had just been used as a dumping ground and there was all manner of garbage in there. OC decides it needs to be sorted out and got rid of. So, four of us on a work party spend ages skip-dipping sorting it out and sticking a netting over the top ready for the wokka to come and take it away.

Wokka duly arrives a few days later and attempts to pick said skip up. Unfortunately for him, right next to said skip is a rather prominent rock outcrop. No sooner has he strained to get the thing into the air than a freak gust of wind catches the skip and blows it towards the rock outcrop, taking said wokka in same direction.

Cue emergency drop of the load back onto its original place with a godalmighty bang that was heard around the entire camp and diverting of wokka to Kent's helipad for a change of pilots trousers before RTB'ing to MPA. From (rapidly fading) memory that was some time mid-late Dec 94.
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Old 23rd Nov 2009, 15:26
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Fond memories. Jabba, your skip story reminds me of a Rapier move where a certain individual was rather twitchy with the emergency release

"When we release the load I'll...."

That'll be a Rapier fire unit dropped from quiet a few feet.
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Old 23rd Nov 2009, 15:31
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Probably did it the power of good.

Hiya Big Nose
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Old 23rd Nov 2009, 15:54
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Ah memories of 1983. Taking our turn to fly off 25 hours in 3 days based on the stout ship "Ly-caon" a Russian container ship based in Alermarle harbour --this ship contained the entire stuff needed to build a radar site--aggregate in the topmost ISOs right down to the radar heads at the bottom of the ship--simples. She was crewed by a ragged assortment of flotsem and jetsam and had a Liverpudlian captain who had ingeniously filled the ships' swimming pool with barrels of I think Carlsberg Special Brew--he cut us a fine deal--the lads in the O Mess, Sgts Mess and Wockers bar really enjoyed it instead of the dreadful Watneys Red Barrell that we were buying at high cost from the Naaffia in down-town Stanley. The ships crew were brilliant towards us and were quite happy for us to use their washing and drying machines on board (no such luxuries at Kelly's.) Happy days and I still have the video somewhere of the building of the site--the very first ISOs when quickly emptied were welded together and became the hard accommodation--happy memories (in the main)--was it really 26 years ago?
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Old 23rd Nov 2009, 16:35
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My last trip to Byron was '06 and it was still (leaky) welded together ISOs then, although Kent was purpose built if memory serves - didn't get as far as Alice (Alice? who the **** are Alice?!)

Had some Wokka lifting antics - and associated LIs! Make sure the door to the rubbish ISO is shut before the Wokka takes the strain with some peice of Radar equipment the other side of the compound; it only ruins your day picking up the resulting mess! Oh, and the door to the ISO will never close again!

"Byron boys are on the **** again!" - my knuckles have never looked the same since!

Which reminds me, must be due a return visit soon;

* Cold wx gear - Check

* Sense of humour - Check

* Spare liver - Check
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Old 23rd Nov 2009, 17:16
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.... and then some killjoy built a road up to Kent!!!!!!
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Old 23rd Nov 2009, 17:36
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Big-Nose! Who are you calling Big-Nose?

How are you Mike? Ah De Havilland and happy memories of a lost afternoon at "School Dinners" in Soho!!
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Old 23rd Nov 2009, 19:00
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Kent was indeed Puffin Radar, but I've also heard 'Island Radar' used as well (except for one FC who could never remember which call-sign he was at so just kept with 'Mount Kent Radar').

Had a brilliant time there back in 96.
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