Germantown, MD

Common Language Location Identifier (CLLI): GMTWMDQ0010
Geolocation (GL) code: MD2110

Site Data

FCC Microwave License Data


Germantown's physical facilities are a building and a 125 ft. (38 M) self-supporting steel lattice tower.


Germantown's construction date is unknown, but the station was in service as early as October 1966.

Germantown appears to have been a terminal station, but its exact function (or functions) is not yet known. The sharp angle between its two 1979-79 and 1988 radio routes, and the presence of only one route in 1966, suggest that it was not a relay (auxiliary) station. And the existence of just two routes indicates the station was not a route junction.

The Germantown site is located immediately outside the fenced federal government property now occupied by the U.S Department of Energy, so it's possible that the station was built to serve a federal agency.

Strong evidence of a federal role for Germantown is provided by a project file, titled "Germantown / Retire and Remove LMX-1 to Wash #4", found in the records of the AT&T Long Lines Randallstown [MD] Radio Relay Maintenance Group. "Washington No. 4" is/was one of AT&T's names for the hardened federal facility at Mount Weather near Bluemont, VA.

The documents in the folder show dates between December 1971 and December 1972. The important item is a Circuit Order Preamble card E01605, naming the transmission facilities to be discontinued. It shows MGS [possibly Mastergroups: 600 multiplexed voice channels], MURs (Message Units Radio: one-way microwave channels between two terminal stations) and RUs (Radio Units: one-way microwave channels between two protection-switching stations) linking Germantown and Washington 4.

The card shows the radio channels going through Hamilton, VA - important because it reveals the existence of a previously-unknown AT&T microwave link going east from Mt. Weather. It may be significant that Hamilton also had a microwave path to Garden City, VA, which was a major junction station serving Washington and had an important role in network TV program distribution. Note that, in 1988, Germantown had a direct microwave link to Garden City.

When AT&T converted its transmission network to fiber optics, Germantown was no longer needed and was shut down. AT&T sold the station to American Tower Corporation, which leases space on the tower to cellular telephone companies and other wireless communications providers. American Tower has produced a site brochure describing the facility.

Thanks to Terry Michaels for contributing the CLLI and GL code data.

Microwave Route Maps

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Created on May 21, 2003 at 00:22 by Albert LaFrance