Antenna Division

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Antenna Division
Chula Vista, California
Compiled by Sue Poole

The Antenna Division, headquartered in Chula Vista, "had fully integrated capabilities for design, fabrication, field erection and acceptance of the wide variety of antenna structures" (Rohr Corporation. Undated brochure, p. 25).



In 1961 Rohr entered the antenna structures field as part of a corporate diversification program (Austin. Summer 1965, p. 44).

During the summer of 1961, "the first Rohr-built antenna was erected in Alaska - a 60-foot-diameter instrument" (Rohr Corporation 1966 Annual Report, p. 16). After the success of this first antenna, Rohr was offered more antenna contracts. Antenna volume grew to include radio telescopes, troposcatter antennas, microwave relay horn antennas, observatory domes and and a $12 million, 210-foot diameter unit erected in Goldstone, California (Austin. Summer 1965, p. 12-13).

In 1964, the Antenna Divsion was established "to supply a growing demand for large, steerable antenna structures needed for world-wide communication programs" (Rohr Corporation, undated, p. 5).

According to the Rohr Corporation 1964 Annual Report, work on the 210-foot diameter Advanced Antenna System space tracking antenna for NASA and JPL was proceeding on schedule to be installed at Goldstone, California. Completion was scheduled for November of 1965 (p. 3, 8).

"Rohr designed, fabricated and installed the antenna at the Goldstone Deep Space Station in Barstow in 1966" (Rohr Magazine, Fall 1969, p. 18). The Antenna Division completed the "colossus" of Free World antennas for NASA and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. The 210-foot diameter tracking and communications antenna was "considered the the most precise instrument of it's kind - extending the range of NASA's Deep Space Instrumentation Facility to the edge of our solar system." The Antenna Division has also "built a number of ground station antennas" (Rohr Corporation 1966 Annual Report, p. 2).

The Antenna Division "enhanced its position through extensive participation in the communications satellite program in addition to its well-established role as a producer of antenna structures for spacecraft communications, radio astronomy, ground communications and other missions." During 1967, antenna installations were completed in Washington, Hawaii and Spain. The market for small microwave relay antennas extended into Canada. (Rohr Corporation 1967 Annual Report, p. 3, 9).


By 1965, Rohr's Antenna Division's products included: microwave relay horn antennas, 210-foot tracking antennas, shipboard antennas, radar antennas, 30, 60, and 85-foot tracking antennas, radio telescopes, and radar calibration spheres. Antenna Division customers included: Western Electric Company, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Gilfillan, Bristol Iron and Steel, Westinghouse Electric Corporation, Raytheon, National Radio Astronomy Observatory, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Imodco U.S.A., Reeves Instrument Company, and Naval Research Laboratory (Peeples. Spring 1965, p. 54).

Antenna products:

1961- Rohr's "first antenna - its reflector dish is 60-foot in diameter - was erected in Alaska in the summer of 1961" (Rohr Corporation. undated brochure, p. 25).

1962- Received order for microwave relay antennas from Western Electric Company, which were built at Rohr Chula Vista (Hall. Summer 1965, p. 45).
1964 - Awarded - 36-foot diameter millimeter wave radio astronomy telescope 

1964 - 15-foot diameter millmeter radio telescope was delivered to Aerospace Corporation in El Segundo, California (Hall. Summer 1965, p. 45).
1964 - 85-foot X-Y antennas erected in Rosman, North Carolina, Alaska and Australia for NASA (Hall. Summer 1965, p. 45).
1964 - 85-foot X-Y polar mount antennas in Maryland
1964 - 85-foot X-Y antenna for a foreign site

1964-1966 - 210-foot diameter space tracking and communications antenna for JPL/NASA, at the Goldstone, California Deep Space Station in the Mojave desert (Hall. Summer 1965, p. 44; Rohr Corporation. Undated brochure, p. 25).

1964-1965 - 45-foot diameter observatory domes for the University of Michigan, erected in Hawaii

- 30-foot diameter AZ-EL X-band automatic tracking antenna for JPL at the Goldstone, California Deep Space Station (Hall. Summer 1965, p. 45).

- Rohr fabricated the 30-foot tracking antennas for Jet Propulsion Laboratory - one used for measurements on Venus and the other two for NASA's Apollo program (Hall, Summer 1965, p. 45; Rohr Corporation. Undated brochure, p. 25).

- 36-foot-diameter wave reflector at Kitt Peak, Arizona for the National Radio Astronomy Observatory (Hall. Summer 1965, p. 45).
- 36-foot diameter Az/El radio telescope near Tucson, Arizona - "The largest millimeter wave antenna in the Free World." It features positive, gearless drive and absolute pointing accuracy with a design goal of two seconds of arc" (Rohr Magazine ad, p. Summer 1965, p. 43).

- 45-foot diameter astrodomes for the observatory on Mount Haleakala, Hawaii, for the University of Michigan (Rohr Magazine ad, p. Summer 1965, p. 43).

- International Telephone and Telegraph Export Corporation 60-foot troposcatter antenna systems with transmitting and receiving feeds and waveguide equipment (Rohr Magazine ad, Summer 1965, p. 35).

- 85-foot radio telescope was installed at the Naval Research Laboratories, Maryland Point Observatory (Hall. Summer 1965, p. 45).

- 95-foot diameter Rohr Dome integral part of the antenna unit for the National Radio Astronomy Observatory (Rohr Magazine ad, p. Summer 1965, p. 43).

A classified 150-foot diameter tracking antenna (Hall. Summer 1965, p. 45).

May 6, 1965 - Rohr aluminum "spheres rode into orbit on May 6, 1965 as a "bonus payload" on a Titan III-A flight test at Cape Kennedy" (Peeples. Summer 1965, p. 51).

1966 - 210' Antenna for NASA stands as high as a 21-story building (Hall. Summer 1965, p. 44).


- completed a 97-foot communications satellite ground station antenna in Thailand (Rohr Corporationannual report 1970, p. 14)
- under construction a 100-foot diameter antenna in Greece (Rohr Corporationannual report 1970, p. 14)
- manufacturing horn antennas for the Northern Electric Company of Montreal (Rohr Corporationannual report 1970, p. 14)

Microwave relay horn antennas
400-foot diameter radio telescope
100-meter steerable antenna
Shipboard antennas
Radar antennas

60’ tracking antennas
two 85-foot-diameter high gain antennas for the Sylvania Electronic Systems Division errected at Brewster Flat, WA and Paumalu, HI
six Cassegrain Horn Reflectors
85’ tracking antennas 

Radio telescopes
Radar calibration spheres
105ft diameter antenna - in 1965 for GTE
11 meter

85-foot XY
300-foot Az/El
15-foot radio telescope
85-foot Az/El
210-foot tracking antenna

36-foot diameter solid face reflector of the National Radio Astronomy Observatory

A 40-foot diameter deep ocean weather station that telemetered information on weather and sea conditions back to land for General Dynamics (Hall. Summer 1965, p. 46).

A deep submergible buoy for Woods Hold Oceanographic Institution in conjunction with the Polaris program (Hall. Summer 1965, p. 46).

Hall, R. D. Summer 1965. “Antenna Division.” Rohr Magazine 15, no. 2: 44–46.

Peeples, Larry I., ed. Summer 1965. “Orbiting Target: Rohr-Built Sphere Serves to Calibrate Antenna Systems.” Rohr Magazine 15, no. 2: 51.
Rohr Corporation. Undated brochure.


See also:
Rohr News, November 18, 1968



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Last updated: 07-07-2022