Excerpt from "A
Short History of the Northwest Territories and Yukon Radio System
Another important NWT& Y Radio Station project that misfired in 1939
due to the outbreak of war was the installation of a radiotelephone station
at Grande Prairie, Alta..
Grande Prairie, 250
air miles northwest of Edmonton and capital of the grain rich Peace River
Block, was sorely in need of more reliable long distance telephone service
to Edmonton and beyond. RC Signals received the call to provide the answer.
The old Newton farm,
a mile or so east of Grande Prairie, was brought to serve as a transmitter
site. The house thereon was in good condition and could be easily renovated
to act as a combined married quarters and operating building. Two acres of
land adjoining the Newton farm to the east were also acquired for a remote
Early in August SM "Nash"
Neary, QMS "Happy" Mitchell and SSgt. "Snoot" Ross, who
was to be NCO IC Station, arrived in Grande Prairie and commenced the necessary
work. Late in August a circuit was set up with Edmonton Radio Station using
an M 15 transmitter and Hammarlund 120 receiver in order to keep in close
touch with HQ during the various phases of installation.
The 400 watt short wave
transmitter on order from Marconi in Montreal and the Bendix receiving equipment
were expected early in September, renovation work on the building was progressing
favourably, most construction and underground cabling from transmitter site
to remote receiver site and A GT exchange were well under way when, as in
the case of Fort Providence, the fatal order to cease operations was received
on 5th September.
Small equipment was
packed and shipped to Edmonton while the larger equipment was safely stored
in the station building and the personnel dispersed to more urgent employment
elsewhere. Efforts were made to secure a reliable caretaker tenant for the
building but to no avail, so the Province of Alberta, Department of Lands
and Mines was given a License of Occupation at the nominal fee of $ 1. 00
for the duration of the war on condition that they keep the property and
buildings in good repair. However the property was repossessed by the Department
of National Defence during 1942 or 1943 and became a Special Wireless Station,
functioning in this capacity until 1947.