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Kwajalein, MI, PMR
(+8.44 N   +167.43 E)

 Reminiscences--Beavers on Kwaj--HamShack--Nuclear Detonations / as seen from Kwaj -----
Map of Area
Novel set on Kwaj-Sub Zero
Photos of Missiles
More Pics

Kwajalein, An Island Like No Other
Paperback – May 18, 2014
by Lynn A Jacobson 
25 customer reviews

Just Another Day in Paradise
A History of Kwajalein, MI
Hardcover – June 1, 2015
by Bill Remick 
6 customer reviews

LIM-49 Nike Zeus
by Maury Markowitz

Kwajalein, Island 1961, part of the Marshal Islands, located at the southern end of the Kwajalein, Atoll. It is also at the far western end of the U.S. Navy's Pacific Missile Range (PMR), and Home to the U.S. Army's Nike-Zeus Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) test facility.   Later versions were known as, Nike X, and Sentinel; and presently, part of SDI.
The island consisted of the technical area to the left; two runways; fuel storage area on the lagoon side and housing area to the right.
150 Years ago Today
NMD Non-Muzzleloader Defense 

AP_ Connecticut: This guy Colt is claiming he has an idea for a "Repeating Gun." 

He says that instead of muzzle loading one shot at a time, he envisions a weapon that will hold several "bullets," and simply by squeezing the trigger repeatedly, he will be able to better Defend himself.

"It will NEVER work!"

"What if it misfires?"

"The way I understand it: It will be limited to only five or six shots." 

"What if lots of the enemy attack him at once? He wont be able to shoot all of them."

"Besides it not being technically feasible, I understand it will cost $10,000 to develop, that’s more than 1% of the Army’s budget". 

Many of our top scientists are against it; they say it will only lead to more tomahawks and bows & arrows.


Bloomberg News on MDS 8/03/2011
by Elliot Blair Smith, et al., Thorough!


Manager of the "TTR" and his young family
"Which way is Home Daddy?" 




Island  QSL Cards



Collins S-Line 2KW SSB, Telrex 6 element Tri-bander at 120 feet &  the Pacific Ocean as a ground plane.
Running a phone patch back to the States in the U.S. Army's "Ham Shack," KX6DB (K X Six Dirty Bird / Dog Biscuit)  located on the second floor of the JTO Building on Kwajalein Island in the Marshal Islands, home of the Nike Zeus/Nike-X, Sentinel, ABM at the  western end of the Pacific Missile Range. I was a civilian employee of Western Electric/Bell Labs.

Hamming there in KX6 land was great fun, but it ruined it for me when I got back to the states--nobody wanted to talk to little old me; I was often tempted to use my KX6AY call.

I also operated a similar setup in the U.S. Navy's "Ham Shack," KX6BU (King Xray Six Brown Underwear)  a 12' x 12' block house located in the Coconut Grove on the ocean side of Kwaj. See Fred, KX6DA, below.
Glen, K4QNL/KX6AY 
     (King  Xray Six Always Yaking)
See our Ham Page
I want to Recognize a good friend, J. Frazer Lyon of Cheraw, SC, W4EOZ.  He ran thousands of phone patches for us folks in these "Faraway Places."

KX6AY, from the comfort of my room

I operated a Collins KWM-2, 180 Watts PEP, with a Mosley Tri band beam on the roof of the Reef BOQ.

My call on Kwaj was KX6AY, (King Xray Six Always Yaking). I was known for talking more than listening; in fact there was a rumor that my receiver had been broken for three days before I realized it. 

-–Only a rumor



Fred KX6DA

Fred Browning   W1HLP
From Fred: 
"I was the first WE man on Kwaj , with my family 1959. I set up that room in the JTO bldg. It was like Christmas when I opened all those Collins boxes.  I also was instrumental in the demolition of the old KX6AF building and station and the consrtuction of the new 12 x 12 block building (long and interesting story , the walls are filled with empty beer cans emptied by the PMZ labor guys who did it for free--beer)."


De Havilland "Beaver" (L-20)
Similar to one I flew on Kwaj (Story of wild ride)

.  .

Home for 18 months


Zeus Acquisition RADAR
 ZAR Receiving Antenna
ZAR Power Plant
ZAR Transmitting Antenna
ZAR layout


The Zeus Acquisition Radar (ZAR) was so powerful 
that it used seperate transmitting and receiving antenna.


Another Shot of ZAR
Foreground: 85 foot in diameter Receiving antenna with it's 600 foot, in diameter, ground plane. 
Background: ZAR Transmitting antenna enclosed by a 90 foot high, 660 foot in diameter, stainless steel "Beam Forming Fence." 
And, in between is the ZAR Power plant. 

Nike Zeus Specs: http://www.alternatewars.com/



The Sprint Missile's exit velocity was so fast that its skin glowed in the daytime.


A heavily "airbrushed" photo of an early Sprint Launch


Borrowed, Great Photo
Another View of the Technical Area & "downtown" Kwaj.



Dependent Housing, including trailers residing on a newly dredged addition to the island
(ZAR radar antennas and power plant, can be seen across the very top)


My 3rd floor corner room in the Reef BOQ, across from the Yokwe Yok
(I had a Mosley Tribander Beam on the roof, KX6AY)


Click map to see Larger Version
Map of the Kwajalein Atoll


A "borrowed" Montage


The Yokwe Yok Movie Theater
The Yokwe Yok Lounge


"Macy's of the Pacific"

Department Store, Post Office, Barber Shop_1 each
& Babe Surveillance Location
Living on Kwaj

Part of a letter from me describing my stay on Kwaj: 

"...I was there in the early sixties (1961 - 1963), and as an electronics technician, I earned--in today's dollars--the equivalent of  >$302k/year (2013). 

I was 25 and single; worked for Bell Labs/Western Electric and had a GS rating equivalent to Major.  I lived in the BOQ and took meals in the Navy officers mess (not a pretty sight--we often snuck in the CPO mess).  If I had been married and accompanied by my family we would have lived in dependent's quarters.

I mention this because I was privy to sections of the social strata that some were not. The things that went on there at that time were pretty WILD--even by today's standards. If you were married and had your family with you, you could join one of the several "key clubs" there. Also, there was "organized" illegal gambling, drugs, smuggling, and other ways of getting your ass in a sling. There were several suspicious deaths (murders--gambling, etc.).

I knew several engineers single and married that were asked to leave before their tours were finished, due to their heavy dependency on alcohol--which was cheaper than Coke Cola!

In 18 months, there were three different island doctors--all of which left under a cloud...  --Three great tales to tell there (later editions).

The dependent kids were, for the most part, "unsupervised," they kept the island security pretty busy.
 During my tour, the population grew to more than 3500 people.

The justice on the Island was "Navy Justice," e.g., if someone walked up behind me and hit me in the head with a two by four, the Navy's solution was to hold no hearing, but declare both parties at fault and ship both off the island.

A positive side was the money: one could amass a good sized nest-egg fast!

Even though, after eighteen months, I couldn't wait to get the "Hell Off," I have fond memories: it was truly a life altering experience! "


A Closed Mouth gathers no Feet
(Once Upon-a-Time on Kwajalein)
When I was twenty four, I worked as a civilian electronics technician at the Nike Zeus anti-ballistic missile test facility, run by the U.S. Army's Redstone Arsenal, located at the western end of the Pacific Missile Range (PMR), on Kwajalein, Island, in the Marshal Islands. 

On a return trip to the island, after vacation, I had just sat down in the connecting bus to our charter flight from Oakland to Honolulu, when a middle-aged man wearing a flowered shirt sat down beside me. 

On the trip to the airport we chatted amiably, and the conversation got around to the Army's Nike-Zeus anti-missile system. Having just finished a tour with the U.S. Air Force, I felt compelled to contrast the Army's Nike-Zeus with the Air Force's anti-missile approach. I raved on about how the Air Force's boost-phase intercept was superior to the Army's terminal-phase interception. 

He listened very patiently, never disagreeing. When the bus reached its destination, we parted company. 

About a week after having returned to the island, my boss, myself and several of my co-workers were entering the Officer's Club for lunch, when I was greeted by the outstretched hand of a U.S. Army, Four Star General with his entourage of assorted bird colonels and majors in tow. 

I did a double-take. It was the guy on the bus! 

With his entourage patiently waiting, we chatted like long lost buddies for a few minutes, never once alluding to our previous conversation--he was magnanimous. 

After taking our leave of one another, my boss--who was suitably impressed, turned to me and asked how in Hell was it that I knew the Head of the U.S. Army Missile Command...


Beavers on Kwajalein

One of my jobs was to work on Linden Flight Service's two de Havilland Beavers' com radios and nav aids.

I had the habit of demanding that the pilot take me up to check the quality of the repairs. One day after a missile shot, with the doors off of the pontoon Beaver, a co-worker and myself took just such a ride. I think the pilot had had enough of my crap, so as we taxied out and started our takeoff roll he opened the throttle, and pushed the aileron wheel over into my lap and held it there with his knee, and shouted, "here you fly the plane." I had never flown a plane in my life; the only thing close was that I had been a Link Trainer instructor in the USAF, which I always mentioned two or three times around the pilot.

When I protested that I couldn't fly, he shouted back, "yea you can, you use to 'fly' in the Air Force, you told me so!"

My buddy who was in the "jump seat" in the rear, couldn't hear what was being said for all the noise, and assumed that I could indeed fly, so he set back to enjoy the ride.

Meanwhile, about halfway down the runway we were rolling at about 85 knots, I realized he was serious; he shouted, "take off, take off!" As we started to run out of runway, I looked at the flight instruments and praying, I pulled back on the aileron wheel and started climbing out at about ~300 fpm, I flew it as if I were flying my old Link Trainer (C-47) in IFR conditions--never once looking out the front windshields.

At about a 100 or so feet I did look out the wind shields and realized we had a crosswind (~25 kts) that was pushing us toward the tower where all I could see was what looked like an upraised fist as I rolled it away from the tower.

We continued to climb to altitude ~5,000 feet where we got a radio call that there was an overdue boat out there somewhere and would we keep an eye out for it. So we flew around for what seemed like an eternity. All the time I was waiting and watching for the pilot to loosen his grip on the aileron wheel stalk so I could push it back into his lap--where it belonged, and scotch it with my knee; I sure as Hell didn't want to try and land that thing--especially with a cross wind!

Finally he directed me to the approach end of the island--right over the shark pit--to line up for final approach, at this point I was begging for him to take the wheel, but he kept saying "you can do it!" As we entered the approach pattern he backed off on the throttle and as we started to descend he took the wheel and landed the plane, I was so grateful I could have hugged his neck.

Later back at the JTO building I told my buddy what had actually happened--that I could not fly and had never flown until that day, when he finally understood what I was saying and finally believed me, he turned white and ran into the latrine where proceeded to "loose his lunch." Meanwhile I went back to the BOQ and took a shower and changed underwear. 


The ZAR Fire

About half way through my tour on Kwajalein we had the excitement of a fire in the antenna of a very powerful radar, the Zeus Acquisition Radar (ZAR). This radar was so powerful (30MW peak) that it used separate antennas, one for transmitting and one for receiving, which were about a thousand feet apart. 

The transmitting antenna consisted of three separate antennas, each 80 feet long by 10 feet high, arranged like a three cornered hat.

Shortly after the fire there were people in baskets suspended from cranes, inspecting the ninety foot high, 660 feet in diameter, stainless steel beam-forming fence, that completely encircled the transmitting antenna and building, for bullet holes. 

Meanwhile, to find out what had happened, Bell Telephone Laboratories (BTL) in Whippany, NJ, over a weekend, sent out a C-130 full of antenna engineers.

Several of us from our lab were sent to assist. I was given the responsibility for designing and conducting the tests on the antenna material--copper strips in fiberglass. That test consisted of measuring the resistance (heating) of copper strips embedded in fiberglass which made up the "lens" of the antenna. 

This is all done in the presents of the island's fire department, the same department that was called when the first fire occurred.

First, with all personnel sequestered within the safety of the shielded transmitter building, the transmitter was turned on for a few minutes--without the antenna rotating. This allows the antenna to heat up, if it's going to. Then it's turned off, the shielded door beneath the antenna is quickly flung open and we run out, remove the shield protecting the Wheatstone bridge connected to the copper strips, and made our measurements. 

To make these measurements the operator must "play" the bridge like a musical instrument, if the sensitivity buttons were not pushed in the right sequence, the test would fail and the entire process would have be repeated.

I think the wisest thing we did out there was to request that we "choreograph" the steps, and rehearse it--many, many, dry runs!

It went off like clockwork, there were no mistakes--we got good data. 

That weekend was an adrenaline pumping 36 hours with everybody--and the fire department, in attendance.

And, the overtime wasn't bad either...


More Kwaj Stories...

Easter Sunrise
Kwaj Links:
Bloomberg News on MDS 8/03/2011, byElliot Blair Smith, et al., Thorough!
-See:  Nike Missiles Photos Page
The Kwajalein Hourglass
Kwajalein Missile Range  U.S. Army
Kwajalein High School's Home Page
Kwaj's Weather
Vandenberg from whence the targets cometh
 Raytheon Range Systems Engineering  Jobs,  Benefits, etc.
 Kwaj  Web lots of Kwaj People Photos
 Kwaj Net
Republic of the MI Online
Kwaj Yacht Club
The Kwaj Connection (Kwajaletter) 
Oceanic Research/kwaj

Missile Links:
Nike Zeus Photos & Specs:
Photos & Drawings
Zeus (Spartan) static display & Sprints 
Lots of related info, and links
Kwajalein Missile Range  U.S. Army
Raytheon Range Systems Engineering
 Nike Zeus Specs: http://www.alternatewars.com/
FAQ: How do I do research on NIKE Air Defense Missile Sites?
The Kwajalein Hourglass ---->
Outstanding News Paper in .pdf
 the targets cometh

Exploration of the remains of The Battle for Kwajalein Atoll
Suspenseful Novel set on Kwaj
by John Campbell
eck Amazon.com
Check out John's other Novels  
    Glen A. WIlliamson
    1961 - 1963

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