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Posted: 9/14/2003 6:50:49 PM EDT
Well, just another day here at the top of the world. Tooks some pics out the window today, check it out!


So I had to take this out and be ready...


Note the snow. It has been snowing often, every since spring, if you can call it that. Bear is still outside...
Link Posted: 9/14/2003 7:02:17 PM EDT
What are all the antennas in the background?
Link Posted: 9/14/2003 7:20:01 PM EDT
Well, I can't say much, but I can say this. I was taking pictures out the window of an Air Force Long Range Radar facility. There are only 3 permanent employees here. There is another DOD contingent working here on their own unrelated project, and that antenna field belongs to them. The project is classified (no B.S.), but a field full of antennae - take your best guess, you probably wouldn't be far off.
Link Posted: 9/14/2003 7:30:44 PM EDT

Originally Posted By AK_Mike:
Well, I can't say much, but I can say this. I was taking pictures out the window of an Air Force Long Range Radar facility. There are only 3 permanent employees here. There is another DOD contingent working here on their own unrelated project, and that antenna field belongs to them. The project is classified (no B.S.), but a field full of antennae - take your best guess, you probably wouldn't be far off.



I knew it! Will you please tell them to stop reading my thoughts.

TIA.
Max
Link Posted: 9/14/2003 7:34:32 PM EDT
On a serious note. Is that shotgun a personal weapon or the AF's? Will it take down a big bear or just piss it off?
Link Posted: 9/14/2003 7:38:20 PM EDT


Hmmm. Maybe they aren't listening to your thoughts, maybe they are broadcasting them?
Link Posted: 9/14/2003 7:59:11 PM EDT

Originally Posted By AK_Mike:


Hmmm. Maybe they aren't listening to your thoughts, maybe they are broadcasting them?


Is there a lot of DEW in the morning?
Link Posted: 9/14/2003 8:00:46 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Max_Power:
On a serious note. Is that shotgun a personal weapon or the AF's? Will it take down a big bear or just piss it off?



You would think the Air Force would supply us with one. I work for a civilian company contracted by the USAF. Even our own company won't issue one cause they would need to train us and then there is a big liability issue (my company leaves MUCH to be desired). So that shotgun is my own privately owned piece. Loaded with Brenneke Rifled Slugs, it will put down any bear, even the white beast. Of course a .338 or .375 will do that too, but nothing for close in defense like a good shotgun. That 1-1/4 oz slug, travelling at 1600+fps, is developing over 3500ft-lbs. Bad medicine for bear. When hiking in the woods, I usually take a shotgun or 45-70, and I am very confident with those tools. BTW, that shotgun you see, with it's adjustable tritium ghost ring sights and 18-1/2" smoothbore cylinder (no choke) bore will group those slugs into less than 1" at 25 yards - amazing to me with that kind of barrel.
Link Posted: 9/14/2003 8:01:37 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 9/14/2003 8:02:50 PM EDT by AZ-K9]

The Air Force needs new carpet.
Link Posted: 9/14/2003 8:04:47 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Sylvan:
Is there a lot of DEW in the morning?



Hey, now there's someone who seems to know a little backround of where I work, if you mean what I think you mean. These northern LRRS stations were called the DEWline back in the early days. Distant Early Warning. They extended into and across Canada's north slope. Now the ones in Alaska are part of the ARS (Alaska Radar System), along with anothe 11-13 other stations.

So Sylvan, were you alluding to something else, making a joke, or are you familiar with the Dewline?
Link Posted: 9/14/2003 8:07:46 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 9/14/2003 8:09:25 PM EDT by AK_Mike]

Originally Posted By AZ-K9:

The Air Force needs new carpet.



HHAAHA! Fooled. That suckass carpeting is actually in my house, but at least it is not as old as the vintage 1956 carpeting that covers the floors of this station I work at.

Edited to say: I can't believe anyone actually reads our Alaskan posts...
Link Posted: 9/15/2003 3:49:05 AM EDT

Originally Posted By AK_Mike:

Originally Posted By Sylvan:
Is there a lot of DEW in the morning?



Hey, now there's someone who seems to know a little backround of where I work, if you mean what I think you mean. These northern LRRS stations were called the DEWline back in the early days. Distant Early Warning. They extended into and across Canada's north slope. Now the ones in Alaska are part of the ARS (Alaska Radar System), along with anothe 11-13 other stations.

So Sylvan, were you alluding to something else, making a joke, or are you familiar with the Dewline?


Well, skippy, why in God's name do you think I am moving to Delta Junction?
Because it is CLEAR? Or because my pet COBRA and my great DANE need somewhere outdoorsy to get in touch with themselves?
Link Posted: 9/15/2003 1:48:18 PM EDT
Sylvan,

Ah ha, I understand now. That's why I initially moved back to Alaska, the jobs. Personally, I am hoping to be working in the CLEAR on the SSPARS project within the next six months. It's much closer to Fairbanks, has a 3&4 day schedule, so I would be off half the time and get to have a life in a (small) town again. Let me know when you get to Delta and perhaps we can hook up some time for shooting or otherwise. I go through Delta on my way to fishing when I get the chance. I also like to drive my motorcycle down there during the 3 month season...
Link Posted: 9/15/2003 6:48:46 PM EDT
I won't be there till next summer, but you will have to hook me up on the best fishing and hunting.
There are lots of contractor jobs in Greely, as well. If you are interested, I might be able to link you up.
Link Posted: 9/15/2003 7:10:22 PM EDT
Yeah, I had a friend approached for the job of Engineering manager at Greely. Problem with the contractor jobs there is most of those workers jobs will end (Greely wise) when the work is completed. Another is, I am an electronics technician and I don't know if there is much call for that there except for installation jobs, which I don't really like. Being an ET in the Teamsters severely limits my options up here, and since our pension is not connected to the International Teamsters outside of Alaska, I am kind of stuck here.
Link Posted: 9/15/2003 7:17:15 PM EDT

Originally Posted By AK_Mike:
Yeah, I had a friend approached for the job of Engineering manager at Greely. Problem with the contractor jobs there is most of those workers jobs will end (Greely wise) when the work is completed. Another is, I am an electronics technician and I don't know if there is much call for that there except for installation jobs, which I don't really like. Being an ET in the Teamsters severely limits my options up here, and since our pension is not connected to the International Teamsters outside of Alaska, I am kind of stuck here.




Mike, I really hope you have a woman up there.
Link Posted: 9/15/2003 7:30:44 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 9/15/2003 7:32:40 PM EDT by AK_Mike]
Well, um, no damnit! [>(] I don't have a life, and I don't even drink (not by choice). All I have is guns and boards like these, why do you think I have time to post all these messages all the time? It has made me a little strange and somewhat of a freaky hermit
Link Posted: 9/15/2003 8:07:29 PM EDT
Mike, we need to do an ARFCOM woman search for you! Kinda like a group buy for Mr Happy, if you know what I mean. Damn, we have a brother in need here, and something needs to be done.
Link Posted: 9/15/2003 10:03:25 PM EDT
Well to tell the truth, it's because I don't have a woman (these days) or kids that I can afford all the stuff you see me posting elsewhere. I hope to change that soon as I am trying to relocate jobwise to I can get back to town and a life. I'm still young, still a some time left.
Link Posted: 9/15/2003 10:39:40 PM EDT
So mike,

Do those bears attack people out of nowhere? Or are they more like the brown bears and really dont go out of thier way to be offensive?

I am just wondering because I am a bear nerd.
Link Posted: 9/15/2003 11:48:14 PM EDT
Well, in general Brown, Grizzly, and Black bears do not want to mess with humans. Black bears are more fiesty/nasty and ornery, yet are the smallest, like the wolverine. Crack a shot over their heads and most will go the otherway. They only attack if they are hurt, desperate, really hungry, or are protecting territory or cubs (children). Most are scared of humans if they have never seen one. The problem is when they get used to humans and/or they learn to feed off of human food sources (like dumpsters above or when some idiot feeds them), then they have to be shot as they can wander into town and become agressive.

Polar bears have NO natural predators, they fear NOTHING, anything that moves is considered some kind of food. Notice how in the pictures above it pays no attention to those jackasses hanging out the window (who were wistling to it - I was quite farther away but photo angle belies that fact). It knew we were there, there was even a truck full of observers outside my window watching it (there to observe, professionally harass the bear as in move it along, and protect people). To move it along they had to finally shoot shots near it, use bean bag rounds on it, etc. None of this really scared that bear. It was very young and is not experienced enough to know to be scared of people. It simply didn't care about all the people near it. Since it was feeding and not hungry, desperate, or hurt, we weren't in much danger. Just like the bear in my avatar, it was just curious, and smelled all the food in the garbage bags from the mess hall. Unfortunately, the next morning (today) it was once again in another dumpster. It has learned that dumpsters are like picnic baskets of food - easy pickings, food without the work. It's not scared of people. If it doesn't go away soon and leave town, it will have to be shot for the protection of the people. Too bad, they are magnificent creatures. Legally, I can't even haze it to make it go away, much less kill it unless absolutely the last defense resort, that's illegal for non-natives. Alaska Natives/Eskimo/Indian, unlike the rest of us, can by law shoot and hunt these bear. Not all are dying to shoot them (for the teeth, skull, claws, fur, etc... no one eats them as far as I know), but some do as the rest of us, for the goodies.

So, bears don't like people, most are afraid of them. Black bears are more fiesty, they may cop an attitude cause they want to. Polar bears fear nothing, and eat anything that moves if it cares to. Best to always be prepared, I'm sleeping with my loaded shotgun again tonight. Here endeth the lesson.
Link Posted: 9/16/2003 4:55:40 AM EDT

Originally Posted By AK_Mike:
Well to tell the truth, it's because I don't have a woman (these days) or kids that I can afford all the stuff you see me posting elsewhere. I hope to change that soon as I am trying to relocate jobwise to I can get back to town and a life. I'm still young, still a some time left.


At greely, there are lots of Russian women looking for American Man.
BTW, the construction at Greely won't end for awhile IMHO.
Link Posted: 9/16/2003 12:39:05 PM EDT
I heard the primary work was good for about 3 years, then it would scale down as it went operational...
Link Posted: 9/16/2003 4:45:19 PM EDT

Originally Posted By AK_Mike:
I heard the primary work was good for about 3 years, then it would scale down as it went operational...


Sounds right
Link Posted: 9/16/2003 8:41:32 PM EDT

Originally Posted By AK_Mike:
It's not scared of people. If it doesn't go away soon and leave town, it will have to be shot for the protection of the people. Too bad, they are magnificent creatures.



Mike,
I thought that "they" (local government officals) try to caputre the bears that get too close and transport them to locations far, far away from people in order to prevent killing them... Or that is what they told my wife and I when we were up there for vacation a couple of years back.
Link Posted: 9/17/2003 1:03:52 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 9/17/2003 8:48:16 PM EDT by AK_Mike]
Rogue,

That may be true for Grizzlies or some such, but WE IS THE FAR AWAY. I am at the top of the world, you can go no farther north in the USA/Alaska. They wait here until the pac ice forms so they can go out and spend their time on the polar ice pacs. There is no where really to take them.

I am unhappy to report that as of 1-1/2 ago (half an hour before noon our time), that polar bear you see above had to be shot and killed. This was the third day it was hanging around, trying to get into our dumpsters. We stopped placing garbage bags with food into the kitchen dumpster, and poured some ammonia into it to try and disuade the bear from returning to it. It had jumped up on top of it, breaking in one of the four built in covers. This bear would not go away, even though it was frequently (professionally) hazed. The hazing was nothing more than temporary annoyances to it, and it learned that dumpsters were just picnic baskets containing easy food. Too bad. This is what also can happen when an idiot feeds wildlife - the wildlife gets used to humans, comes back for food, becomes a real danger and must be shot. Never feed the dangerous animals. Even the fox are very, very cute. The arctic fox have a 7 (IIRC) year cycle where at the peak, more than 90% have rabies. You feed the fox, they keep coming back, and when you don't feed them they get ticked and start nipping at you, next thing you know you are having to get rabies shots and I can tell you - that is a very, very unpleasant process.

So much for this bear. I expect to see bear trinkets for sale by the locals soon. You can't eat the meat of a polar bear, but you can utilize the rest for various arts and crafts, if you are a native that is.

P.S. Again, this is the polar bear's natural domain when it is not out on the ice pacs during the winter. At any given time, even in the summer, one can go out to the northern point about 8-12 miles from here, and see them (mostly sleeping). They don't really hibernate like other bears in the traditional sense.

Edited to say, I suppose they could have bagged it and flew it down the coast and hoped it didn't smell another village. Why don't they? Probably because of the tremendous cost, which would really add up quick because it happens multiple times each year, in multiple places. A different polar bear was shot a couple of weeks ago here alone.
Link Posted: 9/18/2003 12:46:50 PM EDT
Just a young cub...

Sigh
Link Posted: 9/22/2003 3:57:47 PM EDT

Originally Posted By AK_Mike:
I am hoping to be working in the CLEAR on the SSPARS project ...




Those aren't SSPARS antennas in the background.
Link Posted: 9/22/2003 7:15:51 PM EDT
Correct, SSPARS project is at Clear AFB, another location, one I hope to be working at in the not so distant future. As for those antennas - let's just say the government likes to hear everything, all over the world...
Link Posted: 9/23/2003 7:19:21 AM EDT
Sylvan, The Cobra Dane radar is located on Shemya Island, AK (i.e. Eareckson Air Station). Clear, AK has the SSPAR from Eldorado, TX. Its part of the old BMEWS line of radars located at Clear, Fylingdale, England and Thule, Greenland. They are all solid state phased array radars looking for missile launch/track info from Russia, China etc. plus space surveillance. The Fylingdales radar is three sided and can look down to the Middle East; I don't know about the Thule radar, but you can see the 2 sided Clear radar here: www.clear.af.mil/mission.htm. The Clear radar looks a lot like the Beale and Cape Cod Pave Paws radars.

I know the Engineering Manager on the GMD program at Ft. Greely, he took the job from Huntsville, AL and then moved his family there just last month.

FTG GMD work will going on for a while, mostly due to Sen. Stevens. Eventually, we'll upgrade the Clear AK radar sets just as we are at EAS, Beale, Fylingdales etc. It down on the list of priorities, though.

BTW, the antennaes in the background look a lot like the antenna farm at EAS. Think "Never Said Anything" and you'll probably be close. Think DEW and you'll probably be off. YMMV.

I've only been to AK, mainly through Anchorage on the way to Shemya. Everyone I met was very nice, polite and very easy to talk to, especially when they found out I was from the South.

One other thing I found out: My truck wouldn't stand out at all in AK!

I hope to visit FTG soon, probably before the end of the year. I specifically asked to be sent during the winter, just for the heck of it.

Good luck on your job search, AK_Mike!

Thanks,

Merlin

Link Posted: 9/24/2003 8:04:20 AM EDT
And I thought I knew where all the HFDF sites were.........
Link Posted: 9/24/2003 9:20:11 AM EDT
Mike,

Why can't you eat the meat of a PB? I heard that you can't eat the liver due to Vit A poisoning, but this is the first I've heard about not eating PB meat. Grizzly meat is supposed to be inedible due to the fish smell.

Thanks,

Merlin
Link Posted: 9/24/2003 4:32:18 PM EDT
Some can eat it. It is very, very rich. Smell has nothing to do with it, though eating bear that has feed on berries instead of fish is much more preferable. The diet of a particular animal will greatly impact the flavor and taste of the meat. Most find digesting Polar bear meat problematic, though if you are used to meat like that, you may not have a problem. For instance, many natives will eat fermented whale, caribou, or duck meat. If you have not built up a tolerance to it, it would make you very sick, possibly kill you I suppose. One family I knew of would take strips of whale meat and blubber (the skin fat), and pack it into a 55 gallon barrel. They would shove this barrel up against the furnace in their home and let it ferment for up to months. When they go to eat it, it is bubbly and black, very slimy too. They can eat it no problem, but a common white man will have SERIOUS problems with it.
Link Posted: 9/24/2003 5:28:43 PM EDT
Fascinating post regarding polar bears.

What a coincidence, I had just opened up some photos of a friend's backyard in CDA Idaho. His bear is tiny compared to the small polar bear.

Great avatar and a great very practical shotgun.

Thanks.
Link Posted: 9/25/2003 4:52:20 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Merlin:
Sylvan, The Cobra Dane radar is located on Shemya Island, AK (i.e. Eareckson Air Station). Clear, AK has the SSPAR from Eldorado, TX. Its part of the old BMEWS line of radars located at Clear, Fylingdale, England and Thule, Greenland. They are all solid state phased array radars looking for missile launch/track info from Russia, China etc. plus space surveillance. The Fylingdales radar is three sided and can look down to the Middle East; I don't know about the Thule radar, but you can see the 2 sided Clear radar here: www.clear.af.mil/mission.htm. The Clear radar looks a lot like the Beale and Cape Cod Pave Paws radars.

I know the Engineering Manager on the GMD program at Ft. Greely, he took the job from Huntsville, AL and then moved his family there just last month.

FTG GMD work will going on for a while, mostly due to Sen. Stevens. Eventually, we'll upgrade the Clear AK radar sets just as we are at EAS, Beale, Fylingdales etc. It down on the list of priorities, though.

BTW, the antennaes in the background look a lot like the antenna farm at EAS. Think "Never Said Anything" and you'll probably be close. Think DEW and you'll probably be off. YMMV.

I've only been to AK, mainly through Anchorage on the way to Shemya. Everyone I met was very nice, polite and very easy to talk to, especially when they found out I was from the South.

One other thing I found out: My truck wouldn't stand out at all in AK!

I hope to visit FTG soon, probably before the end of the year. I specifically asked to be sent during the winter, just for the heck of it.

Good luck on your job search, AK_Mike!

Thanks,

Merlin



Cavalier/concrete ND (part of the old safeguard system) is BMEWS as well.
Only Fylingdale is 360. The rest are 240.
You have been to Shemya? It ain't the end of the world, but you can see it from here!
I would like to go to Shemya, but not for longer than a week.
What do you do in GMD?
Link Posted: 9/25/2003 6:58:19 PM EDT
Shemya...ughh. Adak? UGHH!
Link Posted: 10/4/2003 5:06:14 PM EDT
Sylvan,

I'm an engineer on the site activation side of things. I just learned Thursday the differences in the Clear/Thule/Fylingdales radars.

Looks like I'll be going to AK in mid-Feb, thru early March. I plan to take a couple of days off and see if I can get to the Artic Circle on the pipeline road. Doable?

I was at Shemya 3 weeks last Nov. It was enough! No where to go and firearms are a very big no-no to USAF! Boring after about a week. Great food though.

Thanks for any hints about winter travel in AK.

Thanks,

Merlin
Link Posted: 10/5/2003 1:10:54 AM EDT
Merlin,

You may want to fly to Deadhorse, then drive back. With only two days, you are going to be driving most of the time for both. Just rent a truck in Deadhorse/Prudhoe bay, then turn it in when you get to Fairbanks. I spent a lot of time there (our Oliktok LRRS is accessed through Prudhoe Bay), and meant to do what I recommend, but never got around to it. Snow will cover much of it I am afraid to say. If you travel the Haul Road (Dalton Hwy/Pipeline road), make sure you are prepared as there are long periods of no rest stop facilities...
Link Posted: 10/15/2003 5:25:14 PM EDT
AKMike,

To be little clearer: I'll have a company rental truck (Ford F-150, I think), plus I just want to get to the Artic Circle, about, what 150 miles north of Fairbanks (haven't looked at the map lately). Late Feb or early March. Just to say I did it, plus to see the scenery. Hell, I used to go to the Nevada desert during our 2 weeks off during Xmas back when I lived in Seattle.

I'm debating whether or not to bring my Glock M-23 or Marlin Guide gun in 45-70. While working, I'll be living on base and I'm afraid to ask what the policy is on US Army bases for contractor personnel. The alternative is to buy a gun in Fairbanks from a non-FFL, if legal.

I'll have my personal cold weather gear plus the survival suit from the company ($150 cleaning charge if I open the suit). CW gear would include cold weather clothing plus hand knife, 2-3 different firestarters, extra food, .... what else?

If its crazy, what else to do with 2-3 days near the Fairbanks area? If you say go to a mall, I'll never speak to you again.....:)


Thanks,

Merlin
Link Posted: 10/15/2003 11:11:47 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 10/17/2003 11:48:55 AM EDT by AK_Mike]
Ah, okay, that's different. That won't take long. It's legal to buy a rifle if you are out of state, but not a pistol if I remember correctly. The GREEN 4473 form is for non-residents (never used one when I was a dealer). You shouldn't have too much to worry about since it will still be cold, bears probably come out later. If I were in town, I'd loan you my own Marlin 45-70 guide gun, just the ticket. If you brought that, you could conceivably go hunting if you like. If it's not a polar bear, a shot or two over it's head is usually enough to make a brown go away. A good cheap shotgun, say a Mossberg 6shot cruiser (pistol grip included) package is what I used to sell a whole lot for protection.

No real malls to go to, brother! Fairbanks is not a real city. Kmart left, Fred Meyers is here, and the big news is that Walmart is coming to town. That is how small we are. Even the girls at the strip clubs are skanky except for the imported girls from the lower 48. There is simply not much to do. If they are conducting tours, might want to stop by Gilmore Creek NOAA facility, I used to work there. Much will be covered by snow, but if not, the Gold Dredge or Red Dog Mine might be worth looking at. Try the Turtle Club if you like Lobster, Prime Rib, and Gigantic Prawn. The strength of Alaskan towns are not the towns, its in the people. By the way, carry concealed pistol without any permit is legal here now, no laws against anyone carrying. If there is enough snow, snowmachining is fun.

As to emergency gear, just make sure you have good enough CW gear to survive extended periods of say, -20 or so at worst at that time of year I think. Have a charged cell phone with extra battery. Make sure your vehicle battery is good, lots of fuel. People are friendly, they will stop for you if you are in trouble. Spare tire. Firestarters and stuff shouldn't be necessary unless you pull a mountain man thing and go run out into the bush. Hell, I would light a tree on fire if I had too, plus that can get someone's attention. Tires burn nice, lots of smoke. A personal EPIRB (emergency location device/rescue beacon triggers Search and Rescue operation) might be available.

No need for fancy clothes, we don't cotten to fashion much up here, many look like lumberjacks, though some like to dress up like they are in a real city from time to time
Link Posted: 10/17/2003 3:33:36 AM EDT
AK Mike,

Thanks for the tips. As I get closer to my travel date, I'll ask for more info and advice on the AK board and stop hijacking your bear thread here.

Thanks,

Merlin
Link Posted: 10/20/2003 8:35:57 PM EDT
Lets not be dissin Adak now, that's my second home. Spent two seasons out there. Loved it! When Im working as a Medic on the slope, I get pinned with Polar bear duty sometimes. 12ga, 6 shot. 2 Crackerrounds, 2 rubber slugs then 2 lead slugs. Usualy a cracker or two moves them off. Garbage bears won't learn and if moved, will find a way back or a new place to find garbage. Too bad, beautiful critters.....Never ate polar, griz is OK but not brown ( yes I know the DNA is the same but not the bear) black taken before the fish run is fantastic!
Link Posted: 10/21/2003 9:13:27 AM EDT
I was on Adak for 3 1/2 years as a dependant. Loved it. A teenaged history buff and a huge ghost city to explore.

Got dropped off there in '94 in the Navy when our boat was headed north above the Arctic Circle. Looked up some of the teachers and a couple of them were still there.
Link Posted: 10/21/2003 9:26:33 PM EDT
Adak is it's own little world. I didnt go the last year I had a chance, wish I had. I took a record book Bou in 2001. Lots of them out there way bigger than mine. Heard of a 444 being taken.
Link Posted: 10/23/2003 12:07:26 AM EDT
Don't get me wrong guys, it's not ADAK itself that I have a problem with, it's the weather! Weather on the chain sucks in general, at least in all my experience, which is more than I wanted. Even as high as Cold Bay, it was always blowing.
Link Posted: 10/23/2003 11:50:46 PM EDT
Birth place of the winds. Just to make sure you enjoy the good days I guess. Hell, even women there, if you lower your standards enough.....Rember girls, ya leave the rock and your a 3 again.
Link Posted: 10/24/2003 12:05:45 AM EDT
Unless they fly over the Brooks range, then back to queens...
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