Institute for Telecommunication Sciences / Research Topics / Table Mountain / History / Chapter 1: Introduction

A Guide to Table Mountain Field Site, December 1966

Chapter 1: Introduction


One of the main factors in the choice of Colorado for location of the Institute for Telecommunication Sciences and Aeronomy Laboratories was the availability of suitable areas for radio experimental field sites. Such activities require substantial land area, suitable terrain and sufficient freedom from man made electrical interference. Increasing residential and industrial development makes it difficult and expensive to obtain such sites in more congested regions of the country.

Table Mountain Field Site is the principal general experimental receiving site in the Boulder area. It was originally leased in 1954 and acquired by purchase in 1961. The size is approximately 2 ½ miles in a north-south direction by 1 ½ miles east-west, and has an area of approximately 1800 acres. It is an elevated, flat-top butte, with a uniform 2% slope, and is uniquely suited to its uses for radio experiments. The economy and convenience of its proximity to the I.T.S.A. Laboratories is an important factor. No radio transmissions are conducted at the site, and power distribution on the site is by means of buried lines to avoid interference.

Transmissions observed at Table Mountain originate from many sources and locations, including remote field stations of I.T.S.A. at Long Branch, Illinois, and Haswell and Erie, Colorado. Studies are also made of radio emissions from satellites as well as from the sun and other radio astronomical sources.

Other field stations besides those already mentioned are located at Fritz Peak, Colorado, for aurora and air glow studies and Cheyenne Mountain, Colorado, for elevated reception of tropospheric transmission. Ionospheric sounding and space disturbance warning operations are made at Fort Belvoir, Virginia, and Anchorage, Alaska. A major field activity is conducted at Jicamarca Radar Observatory near Lima, Peru. Many other field observations are obtained through cooperative and contract arrangements throughout the world.

Chapter 2: Ionospheric Telecommunications Laboratory