From the First Signal Brigade
Antenna with raidome removed
Raidome at Nah Trang
Welcome to the Nha Trang Satcom site
Nha Trang SATCOM Space age communications come to Vietnam :
In 1966 the Defense Communications Agency published a plan to give communications satellites a larger role in supporting the Vietnam war. Thirty two satellite communications channels were planned between Southeast Asia , Hawaii and the United States . The channels were divided between two satellite communications systems, the Initial Defense Communications Satellite System and the commercial system of the Communications Satellite Corporation.
The IDCSS called for development and launching of a score of satellites to serve fourteen earth terminals. The satellites were launched into a non synchronous equatorial orbit. These small low powered satellites required large parabolic dish antennae to amplify their signals. The AN/MSC 46 was developed to satisfy the requirements for a mobile ground station. Two of the fourteen earth terminals, with a capacity of twenty-two voice channels were placed in Vietnam . One was at Ba Queo near Saigon and the other was at Binh Tan near Nha Trang. Binh Tan was an outpost of the 5th Special Forces unit A502. Ba Queo was near the Phu Lam Signal base. These terminals went into service in July 1967 with ten of the planned twenty-two voice channels in operation. By the end of 1967 the two terminals were totally operational, and had been upgraded to their maximum capacity of eleven voice channels each
In addition to the twenty-two military-owned and operated voice channels the Defense Communications agency also leased the ten channels from the commercial Communications Satellite Corporation. This gave the thirty-two channels that met the requirement for Southeast Asia .
There is quite a bit of information on the Ba Queo station available on the 1st Signal Brigade web page but not anything about the Binh Tan site. I was stationed at Binh Tan in 1970 and '71 and thought that it needed a little of it's history documented before it passes into the dust of time. I found Louis Cioccio online who was stationed there in 1967 and he had some great pictures and interesting stories to tell from his service. He and I were bunking in the same hooch but three years apart. It was amazing to me the changes that occurred in this short amount of time. I met Harlow Short online at the A502 web page and he has built an amazing site with all the history and information on the Special Forces at Binh Tan.
I've only been able to find three of the guy's I was stationed with, Larry Badon , Eloy Gonzales, and Burl Blankenship. Larry was officially our generator operator but was one of those folks that could fix or do almost anything. He kept the air conditioners, refrigerators, and motors running. He also drove the front end loader when we took the station apart to be sent stateside. He played the base guitar and we enjoyed many evenings listening to tapes his Sister made of WLAC in Nashville Tennessee with him playing the base along with the tape. Eloy and I went through training and Vietnam together. He always amazed me with his classical guitar playing. Burl Blankenship always stood out in my mind for his character. He had some personal problems at the time and didn't't let them affect him. Hope that this page will help to track down some more of the guy's.
Binh Tan photo By Fred Munoz
View looking from the front gate.
Image of raidome taken
Site maintained by Craig C. Fox