July 2005 photos & notes contributed by Tom Page
I paid a visit to the Silver City, NM, air-route surveillance radar site atop Brushy Mountain on Tuesday, 5 July 2005. I did not know ahead of time if I could gain access to the site, or exactly what would await me if I did. The best-case scenario, I figured, would be to locate the access road easily, find an open gate at the top, be greeted warmly by the FAA technician on duty, be allowed to take photos of the site, and be provided vintage photos for copying. I got lucky -- all those things occurred! Thanks go to Mr. Roger Young, the FAA technician on duty, for his hospitality during my visit.
This is a far distant view of the Silver City radar site's radome on Brushy Mountain, as seen from State Road 78 west of Mule Creek, NM. [looking east-southeast]
This is a closer view of the ARSR-2 radome from the site's access road near the mountain top. [looking roughly west-southwest]
This is the ARSR-2 radar tower and the FAA lodge to its right. [looking northeast]
This is the underside of the ARSR-2 radar tower. [looking east]
This is a view of the concrete pad that originally supported the AN/FPS-90 (later, AN/FPS-116) height-finder radar antenna assembly. Weeds now grow out of the center section where the antenna pedestal once stood. This was the only CONUS height-finder radar that was mounted at ground level; the reason for this configuration was, the FAA's ARSR-2 radar was installed on a short tower, and the height-finder radar had to be positioned so that it would not interfere with any part of its 360 degrees of coverage. [looking south]
This is another view of the concrete pad that originally supported the height-finder radar. A present-day microwave dish antenna is seen to its right (south). This former radar platform now serves as a helicopter landing pad. [looking southeast]
This photo shows one section of the site's access road, made of hard-packed gravel its entire length. The road is well-maintained. [looking northeast]
This final photo, viewed from the mountain top, shows the site's access road far below. [looking west]
This annotated aerial image shows the precise locations of the two radar sets.