AT&T Long Lines
(Click on logo above to enlarge)
AT&T's Long Lines department consisted of a network of facilities for
nationwide and worldwide communications. Its circuits interconnected the
territories of the telephone companies that provide local service throughout the
country. With its communications counterparts abroad, Long Lines furnished
circuits linking the United States with countries around the globe.
Telephone operators handled all long distance
calls until Direct Distance Dialing (DDD) was implemented. Today we rarely
use an operator to place a long distance call and most of us don't appreciate
what was involved just 40 years ago in making a long distance call though an
You can hear a typical domestic call in the USA (about 1949) in a
old Dragnet TV series show by clicking
here. The rock
group Pink Floyd had a song called Young Lust whose ending dramatized an
international phone call. You can listen to this audio clip by clicking
Now for some interesting history of the
American Telephone and Telegraph Company's Long Lines Department . . .
We Offer Personalized One-On-One
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AT&T Long Lines Department TD-2 Microwave Radio Restoration Van
'Long Lines' The Bell System Unit
Worldwide Communications" - Published by the
Bell System in 1969 - Contributed by
Roy Juch for me to scan into electronic format for preservation in this
website's historical archives. Details the AT&T Long Lines department of
the Bell System.
Photos and scans contributed by Roy Juch
Explosion damage photos
Contributions by Roy Juch
Click on photo above to enlarge
"Referring to the photo above, the AT&T Long Lines
Headquarters was at 32 Ave of the Americas in NY but that location was also an
equipment location so both required more space. AT&T Long Lines Headquarters
then moved to Bedminster, NJ in 1977.
AT&T Headquarters at 195 Broadway also outgrew its space
and moved (mostly operational folks) to "295" which was in near by Basking
Ridge, NJ. It's really strange to me that now AT&T has sold 195 & 295 and
moved into Bedminster and 32 Ave of the Americas. In the final analysis what
remains of AT&T now is really the Long Lines Department of the old AT&T!" - Roy Juch
The photo above was sent to me by Roy
Juch. His description of the photo follows: "...a picture of two Linemen
standing next to a Long Lines-Bell Telephone truck. The fellow on the left
(with the tie) is the Foreman Floyd Evans. The fellow on the right is my
father, the 'helper', Roy Juch, Sr.. This pix was taken about 1940 + or - in
probably mid Missouri on an Open Wire Line they were either constructing or
repairing. Notice the high boots which beside snake protection facilitated the
wearing of the 'climbers'.
Full view of truck
Click on photo above to enlarge
Microwave Radio Tower
Click on photo above to enlarge
"This is a pix of the Hollister, MO Radio Relay Building
& Tower taken in about 1968. I was the supervisor at this location between
1966-1968. The location is just south of Branson, MO and still in use today
although used for digital radio not analog radio relay. A half dozen
technicians worked out of this location maintaining smaller microwave relay
stations along the St. Louis-Dallas Radio Relay Route." - Roy Juch.
Click on photo above to enlarge
"This is a picture of a TD-2 Radio Repeater.
This is typical of equipment in most all 'Microwave Repeater stations' like
the Hollister above. It takes a weak analog signal in the 3.7
to 4.2 gigahertz band coming in from the receiving cornucopia antenna on the
receiving waveguide, amplified the signal and sent it on to the transmitting
waveguide and antenna system. Tens of Thousands of these "repeaters" were in
service at thousands of repeater stations all over the U.S. and many foreign
countries. Each repeater was improved to eventually carry at least 1200 voice
circuits, or one television channel. At one time Long Lines provided all the
television distribution for all the television networks. Prior to television
over the microwave radio it was provided by Long Lines via coaxial cable on B2
(Black & White) terminal equipment and later on B3 (color) terminal
equipment." - Roy Juch.
AT&T Long Lines Truck
Click on photo above to enlarge
Photo above taken during the Antique Car Show
held in Hershey, PA every year in October. Photo submitted by John Ford
AT&T Long Lines Department
TD-2 Microwave Radio Restoration Van
(compiled by Larry Douglas)
-AT&T Long Lines Department TD-2 Microwave Radio
SUMMARY - Dated 5-9-04
This is a picture of an AT&T Long Lines Department TD-2 Microwave Radio
Restoration Van. This van is about half way up to the top of a granite toped
mountain that is located about half way between, and in the line of sight with
Lyndon B Johnson’s Ranch near Stonewall Texas, and Austin Texas. The trail, or
road up the mountain had to be upgraded before the truck could be towed up the
Lyndon B. Johnson became president after John F. Kennedy was assassinated on
Nov. 22, 1963. When LBJ was to entertain his first foreign visitor, he
requested television coverage at the ranch. This picture was taken during the
provision of that service. It is estimated that this picture was taken in
Myrl Bridgewater Retired Long Lines District Operations Manager from St Louis
Mo. recalls this historical event quite well:
“Some of us were attending a meeting
(a one day meeting in Omaha) to become familiar with SAC (Strategic Air
Command). (We were equipped with one-night overnight bags) John Barteck and
I, along with a couple of other folks, were called out of the meeting and
were told we were to go to Texas on a RUSH mission to construct a TD2 system
between Johnson's ranch and Austin, Texas.
Johnson was already president. The purpose of the rush was because Johnson
was to entertain a visiting dignitary from a foreign country. He wanted
television coverage at the ranch. It had to be done within about 60 hours.
Southwestern Bell said it could not be done. The Long Lines Operations VP,
Earl Schoolley, said Long Lines could do lt. We were given an "open check
When I said, I would go to St. Louis for my clothes; I was handed a plane
ticket to Austin and told there was no time for St. Louis. I was in charge
of the ranch site, about two hundred yards from the ranch house, and John
Bartech was in charge of the site between the ranch and Austin. Walt
Peterson was in my crew.
John Barteck's site was on top of a granite peaked mountain about halfway
between the ranch and Austin. The first evening they were there, they
drilled into the granite and set off a dynamite charge. The next morning an
inspection revealed the holes were the same size as the drill bits. The
tower anchors were placed in those holes.
The picture was taken of the van being
towed up the hill to Bartech's site. It was about half way up the hill.
We had the TD2 system up and working
within 48 hours. We had to, as our hides were on the line. Schooley was not
known of being forgiving. After all we only worked about 40 of those 48
After 3 or 4 days those overnight bags
were about gone. We did go to town to buy clean clothes. I was going to buy
jeans and work shirts, but Walt Peterson said "OH, no you don't". By G--,
you are our manager, and you must dress like it. I bought white shirts.
We spent the better part of to two weeks there. The secret service men were
real gentlemen. After two days they were calling me by my name. I could go
on to the ranch and take visitors with me, when they recognized me. Some of
the visitors were: Bob Huber, Todd Esery, and others. (We were not allowed
into the house as Lady Bird was living there).
Larry, thank you for reminding me of
this episode, as it was one of the most interesting of my 41+ year career”.
- Myrl Bridgewater
This picture represents the ability of
the Long Lines department of AT&T to restore, or provide temporary TD-2
microwave radio facilities, on a relatively instantaneous basis. This
capability did not occur over night; it came about as the result of a lot of
dedicated Long Lines employees. Walt Peterson Midwestern Area staff
Supervisor, and his counterparts in the Transmission, and outside plant
engineering groups had been working on the Idea for some time, but it was
difficult to get the necessary budget authorizations to put them into service.
As is to often the case, a drastic
situation has to occur that requires such a capability, before all parties are
convinced that is required.
Such a situation occurred on Sunday morning May 28, 1961 when a small radical
organization who called them selves “The American Republican Army” blew up
TD-2 microwave radio stations at Wendover Nevada, and Cedar Mountain Utah, and
a K carrier repeater station at Knolls Utah. This shut down the central
transcontinental TD-2 and K carrier facilities. (SEE RELATED STORY
After this crisis was restored and
construction of new stations underway, a pair of semi truck vans were equipped
with all power and equipment and tower sections necessary to put up a TD-2
repeater station in just a matter of hours. Practice restoration exercises
were performed in each region to assure a competent restoration crew could be
assembled in a short time wherever they were needed.
Additional vans were equipped and stored
in Key locations across the country.
This capability was put to use several times over the years restoring towers
that were blown over by tornados, as well as providing remote network
television coverage for special events and circumstances.
NEWS FLASHES AT THE TIME:
SERVICE QUICKLY RESTORED AFTER REPEATER STATION BLASTS
Early Sunday morning, May 28,1961 the TD-2 repeater stations at Wendover,
Nevada and Cedar Mountain, Utah, and the K repeater station at Knolls, Utah
were blown up and virtually destroyed, interrupting both the central
transcontinental microwave and K-carrier routes. More than 2200 telephone and
telegraph circuits and four television channels were interrupted.
Two thirds of the telephone circuits,
all critical services and all TV and radio circuits were made good by
rerouting within A few hours after the blasts. The radio systems were rerouted
around the damaged section by way of Los Angeles within two hours. By Sunday
evening all circuits affected by the explosions had been made good, using
spare facilities and protection radio channels. Pre-arranged emergency service
restoration plans worked smoothly. In less than 30 minutes after word was
received, men and materials were moving to the three stations. Portable
microwave equipment and truck-mounted towers were flown to the two radio relay
locations. Despite the high number of circuits blanked out, the effect on
traffic was light. Many military private line circuits were not affected at
any time by the explosions because of alternate routings.
Also, many other private line circuits
were individually rerouted with minimum delays. One two-way TD-2 channel was
made available between Salt Lake City Junction and Los Angeles Tuesday night,
May 30, by Expediting installation of new channels that were nearing
completion. This released some of the protection channels that had been used
for reroutes. Portable TE microwave equipment was brought in to restore
service across the breaks. By June 2 four TE channels had been set up, two for
message service, one for TV, and one for protection.
Five K-1 systems were restored by cutting the cable through at Knolls and
using additional amplifiers at the adjacent stations. Temporary buildings have
been constructed at the three sites, and a temporary installation of TD-2
equipment has been made at the two radio sites to serve until permanent
rebuilding can be done. This installation was completed by June 4.
Permanent restoration is expected to be completed at all three locations
before September 1. As a precautionary measure, National Guardsmen had been
posted quickly at all unattended K-carrier and radio-repeater stations in the
area. They were replaced by Bell System guards a few days later. Many normally
unattended stations in Utah, Nevada and California are continuing to be
attended or guarded.
"I was working in Salt Lake at the time, and seen the damage first hand.
The FBI was at the sites within in a
couple hours, and determined what kind of explosive had been used what
quantity had been used, and where it was purchased, within a very short
period. The people were tracked to California, and were apprehended within 2
or 3 days. The group called themselves “The American Republican Army” See Joe
Gibson's recount below."
"The Explosion at Knolls K station was so strong, that the only thing that was
left was the floor slab. The Emergency diesel engine was blown 50 to 60 yards
out into the flat."
"The Towers were not just blown over, a charge was set on each of the tower
legs about a third of the way up, and detonated at exactly the same instant.
The result was the lower part of the legs spread open and let the upper part
of the tower drop straight down inside the bottom section still standing
upright. This dropped the antenna below the line of site signal. This also
made it more difficult to erect a new tower, as the old one had to be
unassembled and removed first." - Larry Douglas
Joe Gibson recalls:
"I was either the Dist Plant Supervisor or Dist Plt Supt in Dallas at the time
of some or all of these events. I believe John Bartek was the Dist Plt Supt in
Albuquerque in answer to the question mark by his name."
"My recollection is that the leader of
the so-called 'army' was caught in his boat, along with weapons and munitions,
somewhere along the Mexican coast. He was later identified as a disgruntled
contractor who was terminated by Southwestern Bell in Houston and he alleged
that the event destroyed his business, as like a lot contractors, he depended
on that one contract too much. I recall that ATT and Southwestern Bell
officials later had to testify at his parole hearings to oppose his release
from prison. His main operative was a soldier of fortune who was simply hired
to do the dirty work. It would be interesting to chronicle some of the very
humorous events that surrounded the aftermath, when we were all told to hire
guards for all of our tower and repeater locations. We hired private security
firms, off-duty sheriffs and police and there were a lot of wild stories and
events regarding some of their activities. It was like scenes from a keystone
cops movie." - Joe Gibson
PS Ross Dyer was assigned to spend some time at the LBJ ranch and has some
very amusing story about LBJ and Mrs. Johnson. LBJ was very hard of hearing
and complained that his television sets, multiple ones tuned to the various
networks, were not loud enough due to poor transmission. Ross stated that they
were so loud it was deafening to everyone but LBJ.
Roy Juch sent this nice book,
published in 1969, on AT&T Long Lines to scan for the website.
To go to the table of contents and read the online version of this book, click
on the front cover image above or click
Long Lines related website
links that are not part of this website:
The Microwave Radio and Coaxial Cable
Networks of the Bell System
Here's a page about the Richmond, VA CAPAR "Flying
Squad" which handled coaxial-cable breaks:
and photos of repair work on a damaged
river-crossing coaxial cable:
AT&T Long Lines Microwave Towers