Wednesday, February 04, 2009

FOX-5 DEW Line Station

Having traveled the past couple summers through former Soviet bloc countries, I was sometimes able to get a small taste of the history of the Cold War. I am reminded of just how much of a grip this era had on the world when I don't even have to leave the North to discover it. Back during my time in Qikiqtarjuaq (Broughton Island), Cold War history was right on my door step, in the form of a DEW (Distant Early Warning) Line station. The entire line consisted of 63 radar stations of various sizes strung out roughly following the 69th parallel from Alaska to Baffin Island. Although the system quickly became obsolete, it was, upon its completion in 1957, considered a technological marvel. A good source for further information on the history of the DEW Line can be found here.

Three levels of stations were built - small, unmanned stations, intermediate stations (such as the one at Broughton), and larger stations with a number of staff and amenities (such as the ones found in Hall Beach (FOX-Main) and Cambridge Bay (CAM-Main)). Broughton Island (FOX-5) was the second most easterly station sited atop a rugged plateau at an altitude of about 1900 feet. The entire system is now mostly automated and a number of sites have been decommissioned. While I was teaching in Qikiqtarjuaq, a clean up crew was there for a large part of the year as part of the massive clean up of the site.

Here, then are a few pictures from that blustery August day back in 2004 when I was able to make the trip up to the old DEW Line site and get a first-hand look at a Cold War relic.







Photo of the automated structure on the site.




5 comments:

Nancy said...

Is there anything left of it now? I've been to Qik twice (fall of 2007 and 2008) and didn't see a trace of it in my wanderings. I've been to the Cambridge Bay and Hall Beach ones when they were still operational.

Way Way Up said...

I know the automated station is still there. I'm not so sure about the white modular structure. It makes for an interesting historical site but it wasn't exactly the safest place to be exploring around. There was a crew in during the 2003-2004 calendar year doing clean up at the site so it may very well have been dismantled. It is pretty difficult to see the radar dome from the town unless its a clear day too. The original structure may still be there although I haven't heard anything further about it.

Way Way Up said...

The DEW Line Site is no more according to Google Earth.

ron stewart said...

Brings back memories. I was a truck driver at site 39, fox 5, 1957 and again as a rigger stationed at Dye Main. My area covered Resxi ,Dye main ,Fox E,Fox 5, Fox D, Fox 4.I often wonder what they look like now. I still stay in touch with some old Dew line buddies. Ron Stewart.

kjl said...

The white dome was there as late as February 2006. I was in Qikiqtarjuaq for work and could see it in the distance from the window of my room at the Inns North hotel. I have a picture of it on Flickr
http://www.flickr.com/photos/northernpix/212659613/

I wanted to hike up there but the weather turned bad the next day and stayed bad for the rest of my visit. Oh well - glad to see you have pictures of it, as I was always curious what it looked like close up...