Hartlen Point , NS  

'' Y  '' and Standard Monitoring Station 


Early in WW 2,  at the  request of RCN, the Department  installed a monitoring ' Y ' station  at Hartlen Point to intercept enemy radio trafic.


Y-stations were British Signals Intelligence collection sites initially established during World War I[1] and later used during World War II. These sites were operated by a range of agencies including the Army, Navy and RAF plus the Foreign Office (MI6 and MI5), General Post Office and Marconi Company receiving stations ashore and afloat.

The "Y" stations tended to be of two types, Interception and Direction Finding. Sometimes both functions were operated at the same site with the direction finding (D/F) hut being a few hundred metres away from the main interception building because of the need to minimise interference. These sites collected traffic which was then either analysed locally or, if encrypted, passed for processing (1) .. specially constructed Y stations also undertook direction finding on enemy wireless transmissions. This became particularly important in the Battle of the Atlantic (1939–1945) where locating U-boats became a critical issue. Admiral Doenitz told his commanders that they could not be located if they limited their wireless transmissions to under 30 seconds, but skilled d/f operators were able to locate the origin of their signals in as little as 6 seconds.


From Ed Davey's 1967 report to Bill Wilson ... 


It was the policy of HQ that the monitoring service would form the nucleus of an Interception Service in case of war. In December of 1939 I moved the Marconi 482-C Equipment and installed it at Hartlen Point, which was specially built for Interception and HF/DF work. However, Mr. Bain - looking forward as usual - thought that getting a frequency standard installed there would be a “foot in the door” for the post-war years.


This forethought paid off as Hartlen Point continued as a monitoring station after the war and resulted in the eventual move to Montague, as Hartlen Point was selected not for its location as a Monitoring Station but as a H.F. D/F site.


By 1942, the RCN were obtaining intercepts and DF from 19 sites of which ten 'Y, Stations were operating in Canada and Newfoundland. Wanting to become self reliant, they decided to build new sites and eliminate their dependency on DOT and RCAF facilities. Thus the DOT Hartlen Point and Ottawa would henceforth be employed on the interception of illicit W/T traffic in Canada. (3)



Here seen is George Day manning Marconi CSR-4 receivers

(Click on photo to enlarge)



The design of land based D/F  stations preferred by the allies in WWII was the U-Adcock system which consisted of a small, central operators hut surrounded by four 10 m high vertical aerial poles usually placed at the four compass points. (2)

(Click on photo to enlarge)



Some of the operators at Hartlen Point (1936 - mid 50's ) were: W.J. Baxter, (1st O.I.C.at the onset of WWII) ,  George Day, Phil Ritcey , Dave Clarkson, Peter Melanovitch, Stan Cairns, Robert Ferguson, Roland Lutvick, Cecil Kenny and Cyril ' Sprack ' Spracklin.



  1. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

  2. D/F Hut photo thanks to Roger Squires

  3. RCSigs Militaria Site Canadian CESM History


Links   -   Liens

1962  -  Montague Monitoring Station  -  Policing The Air Waves