Friday, December 23, 2011

Don't Forget!

I'm getting excited!  We ALWAYS track Santa here at EIP; it's in our blood.
Back when I was in the radar biz we used to do this sort of thing locally for the families of the guys at the radar sites where I was stationed. Back in the day every USAF long-range aircraft control and warning (AC&W) radar site had a video mapping device that fed programmed exercise video to Operations; the normal output from the video mapper was "canned" and consisted of video blips simulating actual aircraft. The video mapper was used to train ground-control intercept controllers and technicians during the course of “normal” business, but we put that video mapper to a much different use at Christmas. On Christmas Eve we'd load up a special video overlay and route it to the intercept control scopes in Operations. While "exercise" video consisted of fake bogeys (simple blips) and tracks to train intercept controllers and technicians, the special Santa video showed a sleigh and reindeer on the scopes, and of course the sleigh moved…traversing our radar coverage area. Not nearly real, but real enough for the kids that saw it! (And for the adults, too…those willing to “suspend disbelief,” as it were.)

The kids always got a big thrill out of the radar displays. Doing the Santa video was one of the most fun things I ever did while I was a radar guy.
My first Santa tracking experience was at Lompoc Air Force Station during Christmas of 1964.  A lot o' water has passed under the bridge since then, but I still get a kick out of tracking Santa. 
I always put this up on Christmas Eve (or close to it).


  1. That's just one of the coolest things ever! I'm surprised the ACLU hasn't shut it down by now. Enjoy!!!

  2. Buck, can I get a text alert when he enters the 71112 zip code?

  3. I can imagine the kids listening closely to the radio...

    "Sierra Charlie One, Hometown Center Two NinerNiner Two, Squawk 1225 Ident, continue low approach..."

    I used to love hearing this stuff, too.

    W/V Recon

  4. I remember watching the TV in Klamath Falls, Oregon and seeing the a radar screen tracking Santa and his sleigh.


  5. Moogie: Yeah, I'm surprised, too. But the whole thing is pretty secular, actually. Weird, that.

    Andy: You'll have to ask NORAD.

    Darryl: Heh. You have that Direction Center stuff down!

    Sam: Yeah, we had the teevee folks in K-Falls come visit the site one year, if memory serves.


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