Monday, December 26, 2005

Sugar Grove, WV - the NSA's "listening post" for the east coast

Boing Boing: Profile of NSA's "listening post" for communications spying

As reported in the NYT:
Deep in a remote, fog-layered hollow near Sugar Grove, W.Va., hidden by fortress-like mountains, sits the country's largest eavesdropping bug. Located in a "radio quiet" zone, the station's large parabolic dishes secretly and silently sweep in millions of private telephone calls and e-mail messages an hour.

Run by the ultrasecret National Security Agency, the listening post intercepts all international communications entering the eastern United States. Another N.S.A. listening post, in Yakima,Wash., eavesdrops on the western half of the country.

I grew up at the edge of the radio quiet zone. Our AM radio station quit broadcasting at sundown. There are also special FCC regs. you have to be aware of when operating an amateur radio station in the radio quiet zone as well.

The official reason is the National Radio Astronomy Observatory at Green Bank, WV, approximately 30 miles west-southwest of Sugar Grove, which has the world's largest fully steerable single aperture antenna, and like everything else in this state is named for Robert C. Byrd.

Most people who live in WV don't know where Sugar Grove is or that it is home to the Naval Security Group Activity (NSGA). Sugar Grove is, in fact, a Naval base. A Naval base with no boats.

Update Here's a Wired article on Radio Quiet Zone.


Blogger Jesse said...

The boy from California knows where it is. Coming from the East on 33, turn left at the campground in Sugar Grove.

In 1969, or there abouts, NSGA Sugar Grove had an old 1930s Ward LaFrance fire truck that was destined for the scrap yard at Brandywine, MD.

I was sent to Sugar Grove to drive that fire truck back to NCS Cheltenham, MD and then later to Brandywine.

Such a beautiful place is Sugar Grove, that my family and I camped at the campground and on a trip for Gov't business we even stayed in a rustic but nice motel in the villiage of Sugar Grove.

Nice place...
AZ Bluejacket

1:44 AM  

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