Historic California Posts, Camps, Stations and Airfields
Wildcat Military Reservation
(Including Fire Control Stations, SCR-296 Radar Set No. 1 and Seacoast Searchlight Sites Nos. 1 and 2)
Prior to Army use, the Site was open range land belonging to the Glen and Wildcat Ranches.

The initial parcel that measured 3.69 acres was purchased directly on 14 May 1940 for the establishment of a fire control station supporting Fort Cronkhite's Battery Townsley. The Site was later expanded by 155.20 leased acres in order to place a fire control station for Fort Barry's Battery Construction 129, an SCR-296 radar set, and two searchlight stations.

The fortified powerhouse normally consisted of a small gasoline powered electrical generator that provided lighting to the fire control stations. It would have been serviced by a soldier who would have refueled the generator with five-gallon fuel cans. Air defense of the site was provided by two .50-caliber machine gun positions (Positions 3 and 4).

According to a 1943 letter from the War Department, the SCR-296 radar set contained two power plants and a 2-inch gas line. Each power plant had it's own underground fuel storage tank.

The two leased parcels of land were returned to their property owners on 15 July 1947 (Tract 7) and 30 June 1953 (Tract 6). The remaining 3.69 acre parcel (Tract 4A) was quitclaimed to Grace Hamilton Kelham on 16 August 1961 without stipulation.
Site Map


SCR-296 Radar Radar Set No. 1 Supporting Battery Townsley, Fort Chronkite


Typical installation of an SCR-296 radar set.

Description: Fixed Coast Artillery gun-laying medium wave radar, assigned to modern 6 inch or larger batteries.
Uses: Set is designed to track a surface target in range and azimuth. Data are sent to the plotting room and used in firing. An SCR-296-A normally is assigned to one battery, but may furnish data to more. Works with IFF RC-136-A.
Performance & Sitting: Range is shown on "A" scope. The target is tracked in azimuth with a pip matching oscilloscope or a zero-center meter. Range accuracy is about ± 30 yards while azimuth accuracy is about ± 0.20 degree under the best conditions. The set has a dependable range of 20,000 yards on a destroyer size target when employed at a height of 145 feet. Site should be not less than 100 feet above sea level; 150 to 500 feet is recommended.

Shipment includes areas and separate generator. When crated the total weight is 91,763 lbs. Largest unit is 5,270 lbs.
Installation: SCR-296-A includes a tower, an operating building, and two power plant buildings. The tower is obtainable in heights of 25, 50, 75, and 100 feet. Concrete floors must be put in locally.
Personnel: Operating crew consists of 5 men in addition to a power plant operator and maintenance man who should be available at all times.
Power: Primary power of 2.3 KW is supplied by PE-84C -- commercial or auxiliary 110 V, AC single phase. Generator needs high octane gasoline.

Information from Naval History Library Online.

For more information on the SCR-296 radar set CLICK HERE

Reports of Completed Works - Seacoast Fortifications


Other Online or Printed Histories
Harbor Defenses of San Francisco - A Field Guide 1890 to 1950
US Army Corps of Engineers Real Estate Maps
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Sheet 2 of 2
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Updated 8 February 2016