Grande Prairie NWT and Y station
|Grande Prairie NWT and Y Station|
This station never actually operated as part of the System. Its opening was interrupted by the start of WWII and at that point it was operated by AHQ as Special Wireless Station No.2. After the war it was no longer deemed to be necessary to the System and was closed in 1947. See note below.
Another important NWT& Y Radio Station project that misfired in 1939 due to the outbreak of war was the installation of a radiotelephone station at Grande Prairie, Alta..
Grande Prairie, 250 air miles northwest of Edmonton and capital of the grain rich Peace River Block, was sorely in need of more reliable long distance telephone service to Edmonton and beyond. RC Signals received the call to provide the answer.
The old Newton farm, a mile or so east of Grande Prairie, was brought to serve as a transmitter site. The house thereon was in good condition and could be easily renovated to act as a combined married quarters and operating building. Two acres of land adjoining the Newton farm to the east were also acquired for a remote receiver site.
Early in August SM "Nash" Neary, QMS "Happy" Mitchell and SSgt. "Snoot" Ross, who was to be NCO IC Station, arrived in Grande Prairie and commenced the necessary work. Late in August a circuit was set up with Edmonton Radio Station using an M 15 transmitter and Hammarlund 120 receiver in order to keep in close touch with HQ during the various phases of installation.
The 400 watt short wave transmitter on order from Marconi in Montreal and the Bendix receiving equipment were expected early in September, renovation work on the building was progressing favourably, most construction and underground cabling from transmitter site to remote receiver site and A GT exchange were well under way when, as in the case of Fort Providence, the fatal order to cease operations was received on 5th September.
Small equipment was packed and shipped to Edmonton while the larger equipment was safely stored in the station building and the personnel dispersed to more urgent employment elsewhere. Efforts were made to secure a reliable caretaker tenant for the building but to no avail, so the Province of Alberta, Department of Lands and Mines was given a License of Occupation at the nominal fee of $ 1. 00 for the duration of the war on condition that they keep the property and buildings in good repair. However the property was repossessed by the Department of National Defence during 1942 or 1943 and became a Special Wireless Station, functioning in this capacity until 1947.
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