Target Jim Creek: is an Obscure Washington State Naval Radio Facility in Russia’s Nuclear Crosshairs?

A new article in the Seattle Times newspaper discusses a large VLF radio facility that many people even in nearby Seattle, WA are not aware of:

https://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/obscure-snohomish-county-navy-radio-station-named-as-top-russian-target/

This story reminds me of my 1960s childhood, growing up with a father who worked on the USA’s Minuteman ICBM missile defense program. This Cold War era missile system was a cousin to the submarine-based nuclear weapons. The Jim Creek transmitter was–and still is–a vital communications link to U.S. subs stationed worldwide.

Guy Atkins is a Sr. Graphic Designer for T-Mobile and lives near Seattle, Washington.  He’s a regular contributor to the SWLing Post.

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6 thoughts on “Target Jim Creek: is an Obscure Washington State Naval Radio Facility in Russia’s Nuclear Crosshairs?

  1. DanH

    My Dad was stationed at Jim Creek during the shakedown and commissioning. They had a lot of trouble taming aurora off the feedline. Cars in the parking lot had to be grounded with a cable and clamp to the bumper or frame. He shook the hand of Senator Lyndon Johnson (ex-Navy) at the opening ceremony. I have been to the VLF station at Lualualei, too.
    The Navy experimented with even lower frequencies at Jim Creek but they didn’t pan out. Getting enough information out in a short period of time was key to submarine communications. VLF signals travel through the earth.

    Reply
    1. DanH

      I should clarify that VLF can travel trough seawater and the earth to a very limited degree. For long distance communications VLF propagates off the ionosphere like HF but is able to utilize the D layer better than HF. The advantage for submarine communications came with the ability of VLF to penetrate seawater. The sub must to get close to the surface to receive a VLF communication but they don’t actually need to break the surface even with an antenna.

      Reply
  2. Mangosman

    This is not the only high powered VLF transmitter still in operation. Its mission is to communicate with submarines whilst under water.
    The Harold E Holt communications base in Exmouth North West Cape Western Australia is now contracted to a private company to keep it running.
    https://youtu.be/mwYs5SnzDps
    https://www.exmouth.wa.gov.au/heh-naval-communication-station.aspx
    This is cyclone (tornado) country so the antenna is designed to be able to be folded down to ground level for such events.
    https://www.aspistrategist.org.au/north-west-cape-the-joint-facility-that-changed-australian-politics/

    Reply
  3. Jon

    Jim Creek is one of my favorite Naval Radio Stations, for the sheer fact that they strung the antenna up between two mountains. Genius.

    Reply
  4. Eric Fetters-Walp

    I’m in nearby Lake Stevens, so I hated seeing this headline. But it would be an obvious target if you want to cut off communications with U.S. subs.

    Reply

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