Fuchu Military Air Base

It is hard to imagine that there could be still be an abandoned military base in Tokyo. And even more surprising when you know that there are two gigantic parabolic antennas in the middle of it! It was very hard for me to stay away from it, those parabolic antennas are like magic magnet for urban explorers.

We went around the area for a few times, but the base was well protected. There were sharp and tall fences all around and no weak point could be found at all. It is located right in the middle of a residential area where the locals are constantly checking if someone is trespassing. Some residences have set up tripods to support the security. Inevitably, there must be a fun side in catching the bandits. There is also a communication tower inside the complex that is still in use and therefore, there is a real guard inside and cars going in and out.

I hesitated for some time, weighting my judgment. But for my partner, it was more than enough so she jumped on the fence like a cat on the run. Then I followed without taking a second look behind. After a short dash, we were safe hidden in the branches.

For some time we visited the buildings in which apparently a few of the sportsmen of the Tokyo Olympics 1964 stayed. The place is now full of graffiti and it seems two or three artists came here to play. The coming of a car and a guard made us ran away from the place but I came back alone a few days later.

Sometimes, exploration is safer when performed alone, it is easier to be careful and to hide. This time, I headed directly to the two big antennas where the communication center is located. I really wanted to climb them up but I still had the image of the guard in my mind.

This section of the military base was part of the Communication Group of the US 5th Air Force. It was active for only a short period between 1956 and 1973 but has contributed greatly to the communication of U.S. Air Force during the first part of the Vietnam War. “Decryption and Autovon” (U.S. “survival” telephone system in case of a nuclear attack) is what achieved the magic of the place. The two parabolic giants are 13 meters high, and were used specifically to maintain radio communication with another military base in the north of Japan (the Tohoku region), the Misawa Military Base. Communication was made by tropospheric scatter. The waves were balanced and received in the troposphere (layer of the atmosphere with an average altitude of 11 km) to avoid being limited by the visual field. This communication center was part of Japan Troposcatter System. As a result, the system allowed radio communications all the way from Okinawa to Tohoku with only very few terminals.

I jumped the fence again and ran away to the closest temple to take my breath back. This army base was another haikyo checkpoint I wanted to have in my collection.

FACTS

  • 1956 – 1973
  • Nippon No Haikyo #82
  • Fuchu City


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