George M (N2XM)'S NDB IMAGES

~~ GALLERY TWENTY TWO ~~

Three of the four beacons pictured in this Gallery, 'MSQ' on 357 kHz 'Nailr' Culpepper VA, 'VIT' on 277 kHz Vinton, VA, and 'UV' 396 ‘Bales’ Martinsville VA lie along the eastern slope of the Appalachian Mountain Chain. This chain, referred to locally as the Blue Ridge Mountains, demarcates the western boundary of the State of Virginia. Pictures of all of the NDB beacons along the reverse west slope of these mountains already appear in previous Galleries.

The fourth beacon, 'EZT' 275 kHz Elizabethton TN, also lies along the east slope of the Appalachian Mountain Chain but, in this instance, within the boundary of the State of Tennessee. In this northeast corner of TN the chain is referred to as the Great Smoky Mountains. The pictures of this beacon, when taken together with those in previous postings, complete the photographic collection of all the NDBs in Tennessee that had not already been dismantled before March 2015. While on this picture taking expedition, I also visited three other NDB site in Virginia. Two were already dismantled and hence no pictures: HLX-269 "Galax' Hillsville, VA, and AZS-336 'Azalea Park' Charlottesville VA.

The third, LY-385 'Bojar' Evington VA, sited at the top of a 600 feet knoll was active ... 'LY' was booming forth from the loudspeaker of my Tecsun 380 hand-held receiver. But after two transits of the road which circled the knoll's base, I still was unable to locate a path up to the beacon, hence I stopped to make inquires of local residents. My reception was unusually cool ... one resident simply locked herself in her garage upon my approach. Another, a very elderly gentleman sitting on his front porch, was totally unresponsive ... holding a shotgun on his lap, he simply continued rocking in his rocking chair. After a very few seconds I departed.

Later at a diner 20 miles distant from LY-385, upon hearing of this episode the friendly owner remarked "... you were in 'moonshine country' (locally 'white lightning') and people thereabout are suspicious of strangers with out-of-state license plates. Alcohol Tobacco & Firearm agents as well as Federal Internal Revenue agent prowl about looking for illegal alcohol stills ... ".

It is unlikely that pictures of LY-385 will ever appear among my collection of pictures of Virginia NDBs.

NOTE# - All of the following pictures are copyright 'George M N2XM', and should not be re-produced with out first obtaining his permission - please ask us for his contact details if you should require them.


'MSQ' on 357 kHz located at 'Nailr' Culpepper VA:

MSQ 357 'Nailr' Culpepper VA is located a few feet off Carkys Lane, 1/4 mi west of its intersection with Stevensburg Rd and about 5 mi east of Culpepper.


Click on the image to see the full sized larger version:

MSQ 357.0 kHzMSQ on 357 kHz at 'Nailr' Culpepper VA:

At about 90 feet in height, this NDB has the tallest structure of those that I have visited thus far on my picture taking expeditions. Given its height, seemingly good ground system (see Pic 3) and being sited in open, level farmland, I would have expected it to be logged in more further west than only along the US east coast. (152.0kb)
MSQ 357.0 kHzMSQ on 357 kHz at 'Nailr' Culpepper VA:

View of the upper reaches of the vertical antenna. A zoomed-in view shows that the nine guy-wire cables are insulated from the vertical member. Hence none of the guy wires serve a second purpose, that of capacitive-loading as is found in the other tall, guy-wire supported, vertical beacons visited in the PA/MD/VA/TN area. (117.0kb)
MSQ 357.0 kHzMSQ on 357 kHz at 'Nailr' Culpepper VA:

Note the unusual ground system for the beacon, a bundle of wire exiting from the conduit on the left side of the concrete tower base. It is speculated that a radial set of buried wires constituting a ground system whose ends are brought together at the tower base for connection to its base. (282.0kb)
MSQ 357.0 kHzMSQ on 357 kHz at 'Nailr' Culpepper VA:

View of the antenna base sporting the three (usual) box-mounted components of a Southwest Avionic Beacon: (left to right) Transmitter Box, Antenna Loading Coil, and Black Backup Battery Supply. (290.0kb)



'VIT' on 277.0 kHz Vinton, VA:

Located off Mountain Edge Road about 5 miles due south of Vinton and 5.5 mi southeast of Roanoke, VIT-277 is perched on a man-made knoll bull-dozed from the top of a mountain. A series of sharp cutbacks provides an adventuresome drive from the valley floor to an elevation of ~1500 feet and the NDB. The last 100 yards are navigated via a gravel road with a grade estimated to be about 10%. This well-cared-for site is surrounded by spacious open grounds sloping down from the knoll upon which several new up-scale residences of an ante-bellum design are featured.


Click on the image to see the full sized larger version:

VIT 277.0 kHzVIT on 277.0 kHz at Vinton, VA:

View looking up the last 20 yards of the sharply-inclined gravel approach road towards the beacon. (323.0kb)
VIT 277.0 kHzVIT on 277.0 kHz at Vinton, VA:

Overall view of the beacon site. Out of view to the right is a large expanse of down-sloping grass-covered land which surrounds about two-thirds of base of beacon’s knoll and which appear to be under development for up-scale residences. (264.0kb)
VIT 277.0 kHzVIT on 277.0 kHz at Vinton, VA:

Close-up view of beacon’s radio shack. (305.0kb)
VIT 277.0 kHzVIT on 277.0 kHz at Vinton, VA:

View of the bottom section of the center-loaded vertical antenna. (339.0kb)
VIT 277.0 kHzVIT on 277.0 kHz at Vinton, VA:

View of the transmitter line exiting from the shack. (177.0kb)
VIT 277.0 kHzVIT on 277.0 kHz at Vinton, VA:

View of the spider-web top-hat vertical antenna with a center-mounted loading coil. (99.0kb)



'UV' on 396 ‘Bales’ Martinsville, VA:

Sited about seven miles southwest of Martinsville, the beacon is located off of Chestnut Knob Road (County Road 781) about one-half a mile north of its intersection with Lee Ford Camp Road.


Click on the image to see the full sized larger version:

UV 396.0 kHzUV on 396 kHz at 'Bales' Martisnville, VA:

View of the site. A thick growth of brambles and vines adjacent to near three sides of the chain-link security fence restricted camera angles for this and the following photographs. They were taken with a telephoto lens. (253.0kb)
UV 396.0 kHzUV on 396 kHz at 'Bales' Martisnville, VA:

View of relative position of the three structures on the site. (256.0kb)
UV 396.0 kHzUV on 396 kHz at 'Bales' Martisnville, VA:

Close up of the Radio Shack and the 75 MHz Yagi serving as outer marker antenna for the Blue Ridge Regional Airport about 5 miles to the northwest. (309.0kb)
UV 396.0 kHzUV on 396 kHz at 'Bales' Martisnville, VA:

Loading coil centered 30 feet below the three-wire symmetric-T above. (342.0kb)
UV 396.0 kHzUV on 396 kHz at 'Bales' Martisnville, VA:

Pole supporting the west end of the symmetric-T at 30 feet. (364.0kb)
UV 396.0 kHzUV on 396 kHz at 'Bales' Martisnville, VA:

Activity directly across Chestnut Knob Road from the NDB site; acres around are being clear cut of mature stands of pine and spruce trees. (163.0kb)



'EZT on 275.0 kHz Elizabethton, TN:
EZT 275 stands well camouflaged among the many trees and heavy undergrowth separating the 13th and 14th fairways on the Elizabethton (TN) Municipal Golf Course. It is accessible only by a narrow path upwards from the 14th fairway. The golf course is located off of Buck Van Huss Rd in Elizabethton, TN. Four separate trips were required before EZT finally yielded to my camera lens.

I am indebted to Doug (KB4OER) and Don (KPC6NDB) for determining the correct coordinates for the beacon's location and to the golf course manager, Herman Roland, for his guidance to the site and for taking the last four photos in this set. It is with Herman's kind permission that these photos are included here.

Click on the image to see the full sized larger version:

EZT 275.0 kHzEZT on 275.0 kHz at Elizabethon, TN:

On the second trip to the site (July 2013) and forewarned by Herman that the beacon could not be seen through the thick undergrowth, with his guidance the camera was pointed at the site and this picture was taken while standing on the 13th fairway. Compare with the next picture. (252.0kb)
EZT 275.0 kHzEZT on 275.0 kHz at Elizabethon, TN:

On the fourth trip to the site (Mar 2015), again standing at the same location and with the camera pointed in the same direction as in Pic 1, EZT's top-hat was finally photographed. Notice that in this view, the top of the beacon is at about eye level above 20 yards away. Compare with next picture. (486.0kb)
EZT 275.0 kHzEZT on 275.0 kHz at Elizabethon, TN:

View center-loaded vertical antenna with a spider-web top hat. In this picture, taken while standing on the 14th fairway, note that the top-hat is about 20-30 feet above the viewer revealing that the beacon is positioned on a steep down-slope. The magnitude of the slope may be judged by considering that the two fairways are only about 30-40 yards apart. (401.0kb)
EZT 275.0 kHzEZT on 275.0 kHz at Elizabethon, TN:

View of the heavy undergrowth obscuring the view of the Southwest Avionics transmitting unit. (488.0kb)
EZT 275.0 kHzEZT on 275.0 kHz at Elizabethon, TN:

View of the Southwest Avionics unit through the undergrowth. (283.0kb)
EZT 275.0 kHzEZT on 275.0 kHz at Elizabethon, TN:

View of the Southwest Avionics unit from a different angle. (490.0kb)



George has a number of other Galleries as well, just click on the buttons below to visit them:


We're very grateful to George for sharing this wonderful piece of NDB history with us, and if you have shots of your own that you would also like to see on display here in the NDB List Photo Gallery, we would love to hear from you too!



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