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Secret Transmitter

- Peter - Thursday, November 20th, 2008 : goo

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image 29574

image 29575

image 29576

A quick web-search shows that this transceiver/antenna is almost all that remains of the "Third Naval District US Naval Communication Center Headquarters", which was located in the and was closed in 1958. The entire Navy Yard facility, as an active, government-run facility was decomissioned in 1966.

Perhaps someone that knows more about this structure or its function could tell us more?

, ...

This article has been viewed 14856 times in the last 7 years

CartLegger: 20th Nov 2008 - 22:18 GMT

OK, I'll bite. But I'll also cheat and use the words of Daniella Romano, head archivist for the Brooklyn Navy Yard.

BLDG 1/291, Material Laboratory, Substation 27
Construction: 01/01/1940

##"The last active Naval building at the yard, BLDG 1/291 was originally part of the “Material Science Laboratories” and in it were many rooms used for various equipment tests. There was a cold room, and a hot room to test equipment under extreme temperatures. There is a padded “soft” room, which may have served as an anechoic chamber for acoustical research. There were "RF (Radio Frequency) shielded rooms" to protect equipment highly sensitive to radio waves. There were also many radio transmitters in the building and corresponding antennas on the roof. There was also a guillotine or “drop” tower in the squared-off NE corner of the building. As the name implies, this was a 5-storey drop to test high velocity collisions.
In 1961, the building became the United States Naval Applied Science Laboratory. As the 3rd naval District was consolidated, headquarters at 90 Church Street closed and Command shifted to BLDG 1. With its purchase by Steiner Studios, it will soon be known as '25 Washington Ave', and be a location for a film post production facility "##

As you can see, there is nary a word on the secret transmitter. We've talked about it, but you know, its secret and all. The 3rd Naval district stretched all the way to Puerto Rico, so it musta been pretty strong. Really I don't know much, and will have to do more research on this topic.

Its only one of the many stories that emerge from the little known crevices of the Navy Yard. Hope ya'll can make it in sometime with me on a tour!

Alan: 20th Nov 2008 - 22:54 GMT

It looks like a primitive VLF or ULF antenna to me -- at one time such low frequencies were used to communicate with submarines under shallow water, and the Earth's own magnetosphere emits in those bands making them of interest to physicists.

Peter: 21st Nov 2008 - 00:42 GMT

lol cartlegger: thats why i told you it reminded me of spies like us when i was last there ;)

today, i spoke to a navy veteran who was stationed on one of the last few naval ships to go through there, ca. 1985. he claims its a ULF side-band transceiver used for submarine communications, which i (as well as alan) pretty well guessed...

as a side note, he mentioned that his only daughter was conceived on the ship the last night it was berthed in the navy yard, hehehe...

but no hard facts yet. what i posted above i mostly culled from know of any other good public resources?

John Waclawski: 5th Mar 2010 - 16:49 GMT

I was stationed here from early 1982 - early 1984 as a Navy Radioman. The whole 2 years I was there I can honestly say I was never told what those antenna's were for nor do I even think they were used the entire time I was there. Therefore I would have to agree that these antennas and their use were decommissioned long before I arrived. We never did maintenance on them while I was there.
I would love to tour the old NavSta if I'm ever in the city. I have a lot of great, great memories of Navsta NY. and would love to see the old base (albeit not a base anymore) again.
Thanks for the pictures.
If you have any further questions you can reach me at

Eugene Grudzien: 25th Feb 2011 - 06:12 GMT

I worked at MATLAB/NASL in the sixties. Is there anyone still out there from the old bowling league or participants in the golf outings at Bethpage? I'd like to hear from you. I have contact with people in the Navigation group that was transfered to NADC in PA. My address is the double "r").

popeye : 7th May 2012 - 12:40 GMT

I was stationed there 1957 when asigned to navcommunit#2 90 church
st. our radio shack was used for n y control 2716 kcs voice circuit.
many many tranmitters including ssb for low freq. contacts... we were
also used to track sputnik when first launched.....

g. albertz: 5th Sep 2012 - 21:03 GMT

If it is the Material Lab, I worked there from 1955 to 1961. It had a gyro test space with large Scorsby Motion Platforms to simulate roll, pitch, & yaw of a ship on which gyro compasses & other inertial navigation equipment were mounted & tested.

g. albertz: 5th Sep 2012 - 21:04 GMT

If it is the Material Lab, I worked there from 1955 to 1961. It had a gyro test space with large Scorsby Motion Platforms to simulate roll, pitch, & yaw of a ship on which gyro compasses & other inertial navigation equipment were mounted & tested.

c.j. santheson rm3: 10th Dec 2012 - 20:52 GMT

Was stationed at navcomunit2 90 church st.1957 and also stood watch
at the brooklyn navy yard nycontrol circuit 2716 kcs... anyone from
from that time period ... Also had a corner at johns bar on fulton
st. great duty while it lasted !!

c.j. santheson rm3: 10th Dec 2012 - 20:58 GMT

just remembered using that trans and antenna to contact bermuda
control but had to get permission to use it ... emc2 malley used
to help me set it up ..... that sputnik thing was a bunch of
crap, sounded like a bunch of tty garble... tks.

Rick Gales RM2 : 27th Dec 2012 - 17:57 GMT

I was TAD there awaiting orders to Naples Italy, thanks to RM1 Bill Fletcher, my old LPO on AE-21, I went up to the mast to check on the pressure for the couplers, they were used in the mid 80 for NYC Navy Harbor Control, for all Navy Ship traffic that came into and out of the area, and for all ships that went through Costal Dry Dock, in fact, Navy ships, USN & USNS (MSC) come in for quick fixes. USNS Hoist was in just a couple of months ago, (JULY 2012).
The Building was the Admin Building, that is where all the navy personal from the New York City Area were processed, not at Fort Hamilton. Fort Wadsworth was not build at that time.

anon ( 15th Feb 2013 - 19:43 GMT

For anyone interested they are taking the antennas down now.

John P Patterson RM2: 20th Sep 2015 - 06:20 GMT

Last time I was at BN Navy Yard Comm Sta was March 1973 "Operation Home Coming" VN POW's were debriefed at St. Albans Naval Hospital I handled all traffic to be encrypted and sent to Wash DC and Intel Agencies. We were fully operational and manned 24/7. At that time there was one Reserve ship stationed there, the Marine Barracks and Brig was operational, SP was active tracking down AWOL's and deserters.

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