That’s a great question– I often ask myself that. I’m not sure why I was compelled to spend so much time on such an obscure topic but then again, extra time is something we all had during the COVID lockdowns of 2020/2021 when this site came together. So, here’s my short explanation:
As an architect and private pilot, I certainly love all things related to science and technology. Specifically, it fascinates me how mankind innovates new technology and deploys it in large-scale systems to solve complex problems. It equally amazes how quickly many of these systems, no matter how widespread and part of everyday life they once were, are forgotten once a new technology comes along. I grew up in the 1980’s and the examples that pertain to my generation include the well-oiled machinery that used to send millions of newspapers daily to everyone’s door step (especially in the days before computers) and the mammoth infrastructure needed to watch the skies for Soviet missiles and launch our response during the Cold War. Both are becoming obsolete (the last one thankfully) and websites like this one are starting to pop up to remember them.
Add to this my love of aviation and maps, I guess this why this particular topic resonated with me. The US government spent the equivalent of billions of dollars to develop hundreds of these (at the time) state of the art stations, thousands of people were involved in their engineering, manufacturing, construction and training. The public often read about in the papers and coined a popular phrase, there was even a board game! Every sizable town had one somewhere with its antennae visible on the horizon from a wide area. It was the radio equivalent of a system of lighthouses, safely seeing a generation of pilots to their destinations and it enabled one of the key aspects of modern travel we take for granted: travelling anywhere and anytime we want, rain or shine. There are many stories that part of this huge human and financial investment that are now forgotten.
Finally, although there is great coverage of the other aspects of the Golden Age of Air Travel (e.g. airway beacons, lost airports, the many fabulous planes of the time, etc.) there is little coverage of this system. This system sent it last signals half a century ago; however, in scattered sites all across the country, and possibly even in our backyards (and for a lucky few people this is literally true) the remnants of these stations tell this tale. Especially as we are now losing the last generation of pilots that had firsthand experience with it, I thought it was worth a few moments of my life to create a site that can keep this story alive for anyone who wants to know.
Thanks for your interest and have fun exploring!
Please note, the original contents of the website, namely the text and graphics not attributed to others is copyrighted © 2020 by Doug Davis. All rights are reserved; however, I will allow this information to be used in its unaltered form for educational and non-profit uses provided the material used is credited.
I’ve intended this website to a living resource to anyone who is interested in the Low Frequency Radio Range. I’d love to work with others to help improve the information we all have on this technological legacy. You can drop me a line here. If you have any information on a station please use the Google Survey. Please note I do have a full-time day job, so please be patient if you reach out to me – it may take me a few days, but your comments and suggestions are welcome