Military


Omega Station OMSTA LaMoure, North Dakota

The Navy initiated activation of a new Very Low Frequency Navy facility -- including VERDIN capabilities -- at La Moure, North Dakota after a similar facility at Annapolis, Maryland was decommissioned during the base closure process.

The mission of NCTAMS LANT DET LaMoure (Code 11) is to manage, operate, and maintain those facilities, systems, equipment and devices necessary to provide Very Low Frequency (VLF) communications for the command, operational control, and administration of the Department of the Navy to manage, operate and maintain those facilities of the Defense Communications System as assigned; and to perform such other functions as may be directed by higher authority.

The OMEGA radionavigation system, developed by the United States Navy for military aviation users, was approved for full implementation in 1968. When the eight station chain became operational, day to day operations were managed by the United States Coast Guard in partnership with Argentina, Norway, Liberia, France, Japan and Australia. Coast Guard personnel operated two US stations - one in LaMoure, North Dakota and the other in Haiku, Hawaii.

The tower is about 1200' tall, and has about a 10-12' face, and the top guys are actually a "top hat" providing capacitive loading. The anchor points for the top hat guys stretch about 1/2 mile distant from the tower itself. The rest of the guys are located conventionally.

A 1970s study of the 1,200-foot federal Omega tower near LaMoure found 1,000 birds were killed each spring and fall from striking the tower and guy wires. Night-migrating songbirds, apparently attracted to and confused by the tower's red lights in foggy conditions, accounted for most kills,

Because of their prominent antennas and interesting mission, many Omega stations were recognized in their local areas as major tourist attractions, including official listings and pictures in area tourist brochures. Omega station North Dakota was located in the town of LaMoure, with a population of less than 1,000. In this small town is located the Omega Motel, the Omega Plaza, and the Omega Room at one of the restaurants.

Several nearby lakes and the James River provide great fishing holes. Lake LaMoure has a swimming beach, camping area and allows water skiing. Fort Ransom State Park, an hour's drive away, is another popular site with hiking trails, groomed cross-country skiing trails. Down hill skiing is available nearby.

With the Global Positioning System (GPS) being declared fully operational, the use of OMEGA had dwindled to a point where continued operation was not economically justified. OMEGA was shut down precisely at 0300Z on September 30, 1997 - the end of an era.

The Omega station is now going to be owned by the US Navy and converted to a 150 khz station used for submarine communications.

 



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