UPDATED: Sub Base Kings Bay Advanced Technology Sonic Weapon System Redux

[scroll down for update]

I finally got an actual response from the sub base this morning. Bear in mind that I’ve been contacting them since December of last year.

Responding just so you have my direct email and not the generic office address.
Please know that the announcing system we use has not been adjusted. The announcements are made at our Waterfront Restricted Area every 15 minutes.
I am sorry this is so bothersome to you.

Scott Bassett
Public Affairs Officer
Naval Submarine Base
Kings Bay, GA
Office: 912.573.4718
Cell: 912.467.1312

Well. That certainly called for a reply.

Dear Mr. Bassett,

I understand from the person who answered the PAO phone (912-573-4718, per base web site) the night of March 2, 2017 that your Advanced Technology Sonic Weapon System’s audio gain is not adjustable, which seems in line with your statement that the volume has not been adjusted. I regret to inform you that your system has suffered a cataclysmic failure of the amplifier(s) AGC circuitry, which has effectively weaponized it.

Per a long time resident, your announcements were not audible in this
area until the Fall of 2014. At first, the announcements were merely
audible, but not particularly disturbing to us (I did pity those closer
to the base).

Gradually, the announcements became louder until, in December 2016, they were audible inside my closed house half a mile from the fence line. In fact, as I’ve pointed out, at that time they achieved a level
demonstrably capable of waking me up. This was not a steady progression, however, as some days-to-weeks the volume would drop.

Your nonadjustable system’s audio output has varied. Most notably, the volume went down immediately after I CC’d Rep. Carter and Senators Isakson and Perdue on my complaint. The volume stayed down for days, then rose once more. After I CC’d the base PAO on my letter to the Tribune & Georgian editor, the volume mysteriously went down to a nearly reasonable level until Thursday, March 2, 2017, evening (the very day the letter was published) when, again, the announcements were audible inside my closed house half a mile from the fence line.

I do not know the geographic extent of your “Waterfront Restricted
Area.” I had assumed that the noise source was speakers along the fence line at Charlie Smith Sr. Highway. If the source is along the Cumberland River — approximately four miles from my house rather than half a mile (per Mapquest) — then the volume is far higher than I feared.

As for the timing of announcements, my guess that they are triggered by actual alarms being tripped by animals was based upon the fact that I hear the announcements at irregular intervals, sometimes less than fifteen minutes. Perhaps your announcements go out to multiple zones sequentially and I’m merely hearing various different zones one after another. Or perhaps your timing circuit needs a new 555 or associated RC circuits. I’m sure a qualified electrician’s mate can help you with that, as well as the AGC.

While your technicians sort out the AGC failure, might I suggest that
they install a volume control pot (https://www.amazon.com/volume-control-potentiometer-Industrial-Scientific/s?ie=UTF8&page=1&rh=n%3A16310091%2Ck%3Avolume%20control%20potentiometer)
as a stopgap measure?

I do have a few questions:

1. Where did the Navy obtain a public address system with no audio gain control? I’ve never seen one before, including when I worked on base PA systems for the USAF. But I’ve only been working in comm/electronics and computers since the late ’70s.

2. What tactical doctrine mandate requires your announcements to be
audible inside enclosed structures half a mile to four miles from your

3. Was there a significant engineering change made to your PA system
during the Fall 2014 time frame?

Thank you for your attention to this maintenance/repair issue.


Carl “Bear” Bussjaeger
Author: Net Assets, Bargaining Position, The Anarchy Belt, and more

I CC’d Carter’s office and the local paper’s editor. I look forward to any response, as I expect such to be morbidly amusing.

UPDATE: I happened to be outside when an announcement went off at (I checked my watch) 3:23:30 PM. It was loud enough to be audible, but probably would not have been audible indoors. Per Bassett, if this were on a 15 minute timer, the next announcement would be at 3:38:30 PM.


I waited until 3:41. Still no announcement. Yep, the “timer” is apparently as hosed as the Automatic Gain Control (since they say it isn’t manually adjustable).

Oh, and I got a snail mail from Rep. “Buddy” Carter. To clarify, they say the announcements come from the easternmost part of the base. According to Mapquest that’s at least 4 miles away.

UPDATE 2, 3-7-2017: It seems my email to Bassett bounced.

This is an automatically generated Delivery Status Notification.

Delivery to the following recipients was aborted after 13.0 hour(s):

* scott.bassett@navy.mil

Reason: There was an error while attempting to deliver your message with [Subject: “Re: Letter to the Editor: Base PA and ID Theft”] to scott.bassett@navy.mil. It has been in queue too long, and will not attempt delivery again.


3 thoughts on “UPDATED: Sub Base Kings Bay Advanced Technology Sonic Weapon System Redux

  1. wdg3rd March 6, 2017 / 12:47 pm

    These days, I find most things in life to be morbidly amusing. Except my nephew’s kids. You met Rebekah when she was a bump. She’s now three which is when “cute” transforms from an adjective to a very active verb.


    • Bear March 6, 2017 / 12:55 pm

      What? She bypassed the Terrible Twos?


      • wdg3rd March 6, 2017 / 1:04 pm

        I wasn’t here for that. Nicky and Leah turn two in July.


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