Just to continue this thread as there seems to be very little available digitally.
Can anyone shed any light on the following please?
Tumby as Coningsby's WW2 Radio station?
705 MSU at Tumby?
And where they was set up in what is now the dog section?
Unfortunately, there seems to be no sign of the previous occupants. This could be, admittedly, because I don't know what I'm looking for in regards to the MSU, but if any of the ex MSU members on here can expand on this I'd be very grateful.
705MSU certainly occupied the site (named as RAF Tumby on Google Maps) throughout the 1970s when they used RTS2 for bomb scoring. Apart from the standard mobile RTS2 set-up, they also had a complete fixed system intended as a test and repair facility known locally the Static Rig. On those rare occasions when it had a full complement of serviceable units, the Static Rig could be used operationally. In those days I worked for the Radar Division of APT Electronic Industries Ltd, and enjoyed several visits to provide third line support. Wish I’d taken some photos!
The following user(s) said Thank You: ChrisTheAncient
Hi folks new here - via a search for 705 signals unit
I was stationed at 705 at Tumby 1972 to 76 as a ground radar eng.. We were indeed a mobile radar tracking unit. During my time we were deployed to Abberporth in Wales to track missiles, locally to Wainfleet bombing range on the wash where we tracked the prototype Harrier to check it's inertial Navigation system. They would hover over the wash whilst we spotted there location fly off on their sortie and then return to hover over the same spot whilst we measured how accurate they were.
The Radar was a 3 cm radar and a pencil beam with a range of around 100 miles. So the beam had to be scanned manually round the area to locate the required target. Then it could be locked on and automatically controlled by an analogue computer system (lots of gears).
Acquiring the target and locking on was a very skilled task that took much practice to become proficient. At Tumby all of the staff (apart from the officers) operated the radar generally on your own in a small cabin barely 5 feet tall and 6 feet or so square with a very loud transmitter receiver system just behind you for company. The display was 2 A type displays i.e. a straight
line a coarse display and a fine display. the coarse display had a rectangle in the middle which designated the fine display area. The target appeared as a sharp triangular blip which could be moved along the display with a hand wheel (range) , a knob varied the azimuth and there were 2 foot pedals. The first pressed when the target entered the fine display, this gave you coarse tracking, then after a moment or two where you assisted the tracking system keep the target centered the second pedal was pressed to initiate full auto tracking. Somewhat akin to patting you head and rubbing your tummy.
The system worked quite well with a good operator and at Abberporth we caused some consternation amongst Marconi scientific types by producing very good tracks of the "untrackable" missiles. However when they inspected the system they turned their nose up realising it was a close relative to wwii hardware and very manual (which apparently didn't count).
In my time we deployed to Sicily and Germany for exercises and work with the Harriers. Although I didn't go on those trips. The system was self contained with it's own mobile generating equipment and in my day the radar trailer was towed and most of the transport apart from the opps caravan was pretty old vintage. I did however get sent on an HGV course at St Athens and gained a commercial HGV2 licence so I could drive one of the generating trucks - Exciting times.
The site had been a transmitter site for RAF Conningsby during the war. Whilst i was there we pulled out of the ground the copper mesh mat that was buried to give the transmitting aerials a good ground plane this was a copper mesh made of copper wire about a thick as a first finger.
We were billeted on Conningsby although we had our own Co and operational staff. There were about 15 TO 20 people on site that operating mostly during the day but the site was manned 24 hours.
Anyone who was there at that time may remember me because I owned an orange Bond Bug 3 wheel car then,
The following user(s) said Thank You: 698, ChrisTheAncient
I was one of the small team that built that static training rig. Because we mounted the dish on the roof we had to hand make the waveguide to connect to the transmitter down below.
Carefully cut by hand with a hacksaw and with hand soldered connectors, things i didn't even know you could order from stores, The system seemed to work quite well. although the wave guide did look slightly wonky to the eye a spirit level showed it was vertical.
When the team came from ATP to certify the installation they expressed some considerable doubt about the hand assembled waveguide saying it wasn't going to be any good because in the factory they had special jigs and machines to assemble such things - You could NEVER do it by hand.
However checking the Standing wave, a measure of the wave guide efficiency they found it to be well within spec. They conclusion was we must have made so many mistakes they all cancelled each other out - Yeah Ok then. I would like to claim that RAF engineers were well trained (then).
Much of our work load was in fact with the American air force from Lakenheath, Alconbury and Bentwaters. The only major Uk customers we used to get were Vulcans during the various exercises that happened every year.
Interesting note by Richard Harris (3rd Jun 18) about the buried meshing. I was always lead to believe it was made of standard chicken wire, which explained why it was unobtainable during the war. Finger thick copper rodding sounds much more elaborate than I expected. Or was it special to that site and its equipment? I'm thinking about AA gunnery requirements here.
As far as I know they were fairly standard pylon style transmitter towers, made of timber and around 20 to 30 feet high. When I arrived the tower had gone but you could see the base of the 4 legs in the south east corner of the field right against the boundary fence. The mesh was thick, A part had become exposed and we cleared the grass and pulled the rest out with a truck (eventually) Certainly not chicken wire. Very green with verdigris.
Ossington_2008 wrote: Interesting note by Richard Harris (3rd Jun 18) about the buried meshing. I was always lead to believe it was made of standard chicken wire, which explained why it was unobtainable during the war. Finger thick copper rodding sounds much more elaborate than I expected. Or was it special to that site and its equipment? I'm thinking about AA gunnery requirements here.
Copper rod of that size made up into mesh would be heavy and worth a tidy sum for scrap. Perhaps that material was used only on selected sites to establish a good ground plane in difficult ground and less effective but adequate steel mesh used for other locations.
I never heard tales of buried copper being recovered for scrap post-war so perhaps it was taken up by the WD before the sites went for disposal.
Could have just been copper plated steel mesh so worth recovering for the value of the copper?
Electrically, particularly at radar frequencies, there is no difference between copper plated and solid copper. The copper makes it easier to bond together whilst steel would liable to the "rusty bolt effect" - I was told at one wireless intercept / DF that the farmers were told to remove all their wire fences for that reason as well not allowed to use their tractors near the site.