The U.S. Naval Receiving Facility (NAVRADRECFAC) Imperial Beach maintained and operated a high frequency direction finding (HFDF) facility and provided communication support to Navy and other Department of Defense elements.
The communications facility that was located at Imperial Beach included an operations building located in the center of an AN/FRD-10A Circularly Disposed Antenna Array (CDAA), also known as a Wullenweber antenna array. Installed in 1967, this CDAA was the last Navy Wullenweber to be installed in the vast world-wide HFDF network. The CDAA ceased operations on September 9, 1999 and the NAVRADRECFAC site at Imperial Beach closed on September 30, 1999. The CDAA was left abandoned until 2007 when structure was dismantled. Today, the property belongs to the Silver Strand Training Complex and is the premier training facility for the military’s special forces.


On July 1, 1957, the Communications Technician school at Imperial Beach was redesignated NAVCOMMTRACEN (NCTC) Imperial Beach, CA and moved from Imperial Beach and became NCTC Corry Field, Pensacola, FL in March, 1960.

The Navy made San Diego part of its first radio communications network by establishing the Naval Radio Station, Point Loma on May 12, 1906, with a 5 kw transmitter in a small wood building on the Point Loma Military Reservation.

In 1922, the Naval Radio Station headquarters and message center moved to the Naval Base Headquarters in downtown San Diego, at the foot of Broadway on Harbor Drive, co-located with the command center of the new Eleventh Naval District, which was established in 1921.

In 1941, the Navy took over 145 acres in Imperial Beach around the old Fort Emory artillery station, and in 1943 built a new radio receiver that took over the job from Point Loma. In 1947, the Imperial Beach receiver site became Naval Communications Station, Eleventh Naval District, and in 1953 became Naval Communication Station (NAVCOMSTA), San Diego, Imperial Beach, CA. The Point Loma site became the U.S. Navy Radio and Sound Laboratory in 1940 and the Navy Electronics Laboratory in 1945. In 1977 it was merged into the Naval Ocean Systems Center (NOSC), San Diego, CA.

Imperial Beach CT School Buildings, circa 1959.  Courtesy of NCVA

Communications Technician (CT) training “A” school commenced in U.S. Naval School,
Imperial Beach, CA, on October 1, 1949. Courses of instruction included both a basic and advanced CT courses. U.S. Naval School, Communications Technician (Supplementary Training) was established at Bainbridge Island, WA in October, 1951 and was closed in December, 1953. When the school closed at Bainbridge Island, only the Imperial Beach Communications Technician schools remained.