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UER Forum > Archived US: Great Lakes > Satellite Tracking Facility (Viewed 1244 times)
medoug 


Location: Dubuque, IA area
Gender: Male




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Satellite Tracking Facility
< on 7/22/2011 5:35 AM >
Posted on Forum: UER Forum
 
Here are some photos of a decommissioned Telstar satellite tracking facility that I explored a couple years ago. It’s about ¾ mile hike to get to it from the closest road. The old road to the facility has been gated off just beyond the guard station. At the time, employees required government clearance to work here.

The facility would have originally been constructed to steer two gigantic parabolic satellite dishes to track several Telstar communication satellites in the 1970’s through the 1990’s before finally being dismantled. The Telstar satellites were used to relay telephone and television signals from continent to continent. Because the satellites circled earth in low non-geosynchronous orbits, the giant dish antennas needed to be continuously turned and precisely controlled as the satellites traveled overhead.

Most of the buildings and the dishes themselves have been removed, but two massive cylindrical concrete bases remain (probably due to the large expense that would be required to demolish and dispose of them). Each of the bases has thick walls with 2 rooms and are about 70 feet in diameter with ceilings more than 20 feet high. These would have contained the machinery and controls to maneuver the huge dishes mounted above.

Remnant of old road to facility
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Guard station
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Signage at guard station
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First view of facility when exiting the woods
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Here is a photo of a similar Telstar facility showing what this area would have look like before the dishes were removed. Notice the size of the dish antennas compared to their bases.
239797.jpg (47 kb, 600x458)
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Entrance to one of the dish bases
239798.jpg (91 kb, 461x346)
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Images from the inside

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239801.jpg (84 kb, 538x717)
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239802.jpg (89 kb, 666x499)
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Hope you enjoyed these,
medoug.
[last edit 7/22/2011 5:37 AM by medoug - edited 1 times]

Dark_Legion_00 


Location: Central Florida
Gender: Male


Rust and dust, exploration a must.

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Re: Satellite Tracking Facility
<Reply # 1 on 7/22/2011 11:34 AM >
Posted on Forum: UER Forum
 
Good find. Looks pretty well untouched since abandonment.

Telstar belongs to AT&T now. Their first two satellites were launched into orbit in the early 60s I think. They were some of the first to relay television signals via satellite, not to mention other things like phone calls and fax data. Supposedly they're still in orbit.

Be careful with entrance images....

- Dark_Legion_00
medoug 


Location: Dubuque, IA area
Gender: Male




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Re: Satellite Tracking Facility
<Reply # 2 on 7/22/2011 11:05 PM >
Posted on Forum: UER Forum
 
Posted by Dark_Legion_00
Good find. Looks pretty well untouched since abandonment.

Most vandals are too lazy to make the 3/4 mile hike.

Posted by Dark_Legion_00
Supposedly they're still in orbit.

Just space junk now.

Posted by Dark_Legion_00
Be careful with entrance images....

Thanks for the reminder. This is my first exploration post. I will review the policy more closely.

Keep in mind that the doors had been completely removed from the large openings. Beyond obvious how to get in.

medoug.


MonoxideChild 


Location: Rockford, IL
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Re: Satellite Tracking Facility
<Reply # 3 on 7/27/2011 7:49 PM >
Posted on Forum: UER Forum
 
love the location. i even dig the abandoned road leading up to it. great find. what state is this even in?

~Quote By Thomas Edison~
I have far more respect for the person with a single idea who gets there than for the person with a thousand ideas who does nothing....
Captain_Slow 

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Location: Dallas, Tx
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Re: Satellite Tracking Facility
<Reply # 4 on 7/27/2011 10:20 PM >
Posted on Forum: UER Forum
 
Posted by Dark_Legion_00

Be careful with entrance images....


He's fine


cdevon 


Location: west county
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Re: Satellite Tracking Facility
<Reply # 5 on 7/28/2011 2:03 AM >
Posted on Forum: UER Forum
 
Posted by xxxmonoxidechild
love the location. i even dig the abandoned road leading up to it. great find. what state is this even in?


state of decay???

When I say I'm 'clean and sober', it means I've showered and I'm headed to the liquor store.
medoug 


Location: Dubuque, IA area
Gender: Male




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Re: Satellite Tracking Facility
<Reply # 6 on 7/29/2011 10:47 PM >
Posted on Forum: UER Forum
 
Posted by xxxmonoxidechild
love the location. i even dig the abandoned road leading up to it. great find. what state is this even in?


I spoke to some of the people who had worked there during its operation. They told me that the workers required government clearance and the facility required a certain level of security because it was considered a relay station for intercontinental communication to important officials who might be in Chicago. If the President (or other high-ranking officials) were doing business in Chicago, it would be close enough that an important message could be relayed even if primary ground communication lines had been severed, yet far enough away that it wouldn't likely be affected by bombing of major cities.

Keep in mind that this was during the time when the cold war was active, and fears of nuclear missiles, etc. were still considered a very real threat to our nation. As a result, it was located in a very rural area within a few hours drive (or shorter flight) from Chicago.

medoug.
[last edit 7/29/2011 10:51 PM by medoug - edited 1 times]

hairmetal1990 


Location: South Beloit,Il
Gender: Male


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Re: Satellite Tracking Facility
<Reply # 7 on 9/12/2011 9:25 AM >
Posted on Forum: UER Forum
 
I know Exactly where this is, except i was here at night. Didn't venture into the old dish mountings for fear of racoons and such. The army depot to the south is def worth checking out while you in the neighborhood.

get the wunderwaffle!!!!!
medoug 


Location: Dubuque, IA area
Gender: Male




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Re: Satellite Tracking Facility
<Reply # 8 on 9/14/2011 11:01 PM >
Posted on Forum: UER Forum
 
Posted by hairmetal1990
I know Exactly where this is, except i was here at night. Didn't venture into the old dish mountings for fear of racoons and such.


Only evidence of critters in the dish bases were the nesting swallows.

If that worried you at the satellite tracking facility, then you really would be hesitant about the fallout shelter. That is one creepy place going in for the first time!


hairmetal1990 


Location: South Beloit,Il
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Re: Satellite Tracking Facility
<Reply # 9 on 9/15/2011 12:58 AM >
Posted on Forum: UER Forum
 
Oh for sure lol.

get the wunderwaffle!!!!!
Clockwork 


Location: Minneapolis, MN
Gender: Male


I WILL KILL THIS MONKEY! I'M CRAZY!

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Re: Satellite Tracking Facility
<Reply # 10 on 9/19/2011 3:19 AM >
Posted on Forum: UER Forum
 
I put this location in the UE DB as a radar site last month. http://www.uer.ca/...ow.asp?locid=30330 Feel free to edit the entry as you see fit. I left it as a public viewable entry because I really didn't think it was a big deal and/or really in danger of party kids trashing it or anything. I didn't realize this was a satalite place. Cool to finally know more information about it. I was previously unable to figure out more information.

So you are located in Dubuque? That is my home town. I languished there for years without any other explorers. I always have had to import my exploring friends from other cities. What have you been exploring? What's your story? Are you coming to Clocktoberfest?
[last edit 9/19/2011 3:22 AM by Clockwork - edited 2 times]

\/adder 


Location: DunkarooLand
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Re: Satellite Tracking Facility
<Reply # 11 on 9/19/2011 3:30 AM >
Posted on Forum: UER Forum
 
Posted by medoug


I spoke to some of the people who had worked there during its operation. They told me that the workers required government clearance and the facility required a certain level of security because it was considered a relay station for intercontinental communication to important officials who might be in Chicago. If the President (or other high-ranking officials) were doing business in Chicago, it would be close enough that an important message could be relayed even if primary ground communication lines had been severed, yet far enough away that it wouldn't likely be affected by bombing of major cities.

Keep in mind that this was during the time when the cold war was active, and fears of nuclear missiles, etc. were still considered a very real threat to our nation. As a result, it was located in a very rural area within a few hours drive (or shorter flight) from Chicago.

medoug.


Every long lines site I've been to bears a similar sign:





"No risk, no reward, no fun."
"Go all the way or walk away"
escensi omnis...
medoug 


Location: Dubuque, IA area
Gender: Male




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Re: Satellite Tracking Facility
<Reply # 12 on 9/21/2011 2:31 AM >
Posted on Forum: UER Forum
 
Posted by Clockwork
I put this location in the UE DB as a radar site last month. http://www.uer.ca/...ow.asp?locid=30330


Hmmm. 17 days after I posted this here, you add it to the database? Seems a bit more than a coincidence.

I planned to add it to the database when able to do so once I became a full member. I also was going to list it as public viewable at that time since the property is now part of the Wikowsky Nature Preserve which in DNR land and open to the public.


I lived in Freeport, Illinois for 19 years before moving to Dubuque area about 3 years ago. I heard about the satellite tracking complex from a co-worker who used to drive by it (when the dishes were still in place and the tops visible from the road) everyday when she worked at the Savanna Army Depot. Besides, this spot, I also explored the large nuclear fallout shelter (also posted in this forum), a cave, and a couple abandoned farmsteads. I also know of a small lead mine that I hope to explore some time.

medoug.

Clockwork 


Location: Minneapolis, MN
Gender: Male


I WILL KILL THIS MONKEY! I'M CRAZY!

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Re: Satellite Tracking Facility
<Reply # 13 on 9/21/2011 4:24 AM >
Posted on Forum: UER Forum
 
It actually is a coincidence. I only just now noticed this thread a few days ago. My posting in the UE database has nothing at all to do with this thread. If I was ripping you off, I would have correctly labeled it as a satellite tracking facility. The pictures I posted of it are from the one time I checked it out back in 2007 (notice the snow). I heard about it from a friend's coworker who used to live in Galena and explore caves when he was a kid back in the 1970's (same guy who told me about the Jim Hole cave on Red Gates road we checked out last year). He said most caves in the areaa were dynamited shut in the early 1980's.

On a side note, this satellite tracking facility is literally down the road from Clocktoberfest.

Clockwork 


Location: Minneapolis, MN
Gender: Male


I WILL KILL THIS MONKEY! I'M CRAZY!

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Re: Satellite Tracking Facility
<Reply # 14 on 9/21/2011 4:25 AM >
Posted on Forum: UER Forum
 
Also curious about this lead mine...

medoug 


Location: Dubuque, IA area
Gender: Male




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Re: Satellite Tracking Facility
<Reply # 15 on 9/21/2011 5:56 AM >
Posted on Forum: UER Forum
 
Wow! I just looked up the info on Clocktoberfest. I'm surprise I missed reading about this event. I think an event this close, I HAVE to attend! BTW... Thanks for setting it up, Clockworks.

It gets pretty cold in October. I'm not much of a cold weather camper since getting snowed on in a tent during a trip to Colorado several years ago. I'll have to see if I can find my tent since its still boxed up from the movers 3 years ago. But, for now, I'd count myself as a "strong tenative" for attendance.

Do we have any other explores planned besides the cave rafting trip during the event? I know of a special abandoned tunnel in the area but not sure if it's safe from what I hear and its entrance may now be more securely baracaded. (I suspect that you're also familiar with that tunnel.)

The "lead mine" is in Dubuque. It just looks like a deep crevice/cave to me, but I was told that it is an old lead mine. You can't see how far back it goes from the opening. It requires ropes to get in and out from the entrance (about 10 feet down). The ropes/climbing is the only thing that kept me from checking it out at the time. I just haven't taken the time yet to return with the proper gear to explore it further.

I'm pretty sure that there's still some accessable mines at the Mines of Spain park south of Dubuque. Most of them have been filled or the entrances blocked, but I suspect you could still get in some in the more remote areas of the park. I took a photo of a map I was once shown which includes the approximate locations of some of the mines but haven't had the time to investigate more.

medoug.

medoug 


Location: Dubuque, IA area
Gender: Male




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Re: Satellite Tracking Facility
<Reply # 16 on 9/21/2011 6:17 AM >
Posted on Forum: UER Forum
 
BTW...
I've already been to Union Park. What a great historical place! During my visit, I hadn't checked out the cave there, but would like to.

During the Sunday of Clocktoberfest, are we going there with permission from the YMCA? The reason I ask is because they have opened up a portion of the park for zipline tours so it would probably be harder to sneak in undetected (or maybe it'll be easy to blend in and look like we belong there).

medoug.

MonoxideChild 


Location: Rockford, IL
Gender: Male


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Re: Satellite Tracking Facility
<Reply # 17 on 9/21/2011 3:45 PM >
Posted on Forum: UER Forum
 
yea. clocktoberfest might be a cold one. but thats what the fire's and alcohol is for. ;)

~Quote By Thomas Edison~
I have far more respect for the person with a single idea who gets there than for the person with a thousand ideas who does nothing....
Clockwork 


Location: Minneapolis, MN
Gender: Male


I WILL KILL THIS MONKEY! I'M CRAZY!

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Re: Satellite Tracking Facility
<Reply # 18 on 9/21/2011 10:10 PM >
Posted on Forum: UER Forum
 
Posted by medoug
Wow! I just looked up the info on Clocktoberfest. I'm surprise I missed reading about this event. I think an event this close, I HAVE to attend! BTW... Thanks for setting it up, Clockworks.



LOL. You can see how easy it is to miss locally-relevant threads on this forum.



Posted by medoug
Do we have any other explores planned besides the cave rafting trip during the event? I know of a special abandoned tunnel in the area but not sure if it's safe from what I hear and its entrance may now be more securely baracaded. (I suspect that you're also familiar with that tunnel.)



The beauty of the location of Clocktoberfest is that it's kind of in a nexus surrounded by Galena's fantastic history, including the ruins of forgotten things. I'm assuming the tunnel you refer to is the Winston Tunnel:




Winston Tunnel is pretty cool. There is also another abandoned train tunnel near Hazel Green, Wisconsin that I enjoy more, due to the strange cave areas offshooting it. It's been abandoned for much longer, and accessibility is a bit more sketchy due to farmer-owned property.

And to answer your question, yes there are other events planned. Saturday day might revolved around the abandoned army depot, but organization is always iffy with this crew. I am also expanding Clocktoberfest to include Thursday night, October 20 as an unofficial event night, due to popular demand for one of the historically interesting drains.


Posted by medoug
The "lead mine" is in Dubuque. It just looks like a deep crevice/cave to me, but I was told that it is an old lead mine. You can't see how far back it goes from the opening. It requires ropes to get in and out from the entrance (about 10 feet down). The ropes/climbing is the only thing that kept me from checking it out at the time. I just haven't taken the time yet to return with the proper gear to explore it further.



Send me a private message with more information on the location. I might know where it goes, or it might be completely new to me. There are at least a few caves in Dubuque that I searched for but never found. Maybe you discovered something.


Posted by medoug
I'm pretty sure that there's still some accessable mines at the Mines of Spain park south of Dubuque. Most of them have been filled or the entrances blocked, but I suspect you could still get in some in the more remote areas of the park. I took a photo of a map I was once shown which includes the approximate locations of some of the mines but haven't had the time to investigate more.


All the mines I scouted for in Mines of Spain park were only visble as collapse trenches. If there are any intact tunnels remaining I would be surprised, but like I said before I am not a map wizard so you might have better luck than me with that.
[last edit 9/21/2011 10:14 PM by Clockwork - edited 1 times]

UER Forum > Archived US: Great Lakes > Satellite Tracking Facility (Viewed 1244 times)



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