[More information and numerous photos at the web site.]
Situated atop Spears Mountain, about 11 miles west of the town of Buckingham in Virginia's rural Buckingham County, near the geographic center of the state, this nuclear-hardened radio communications facility was built by AT&T in the 1960s. It is no longer in service.
The station, named "Buckingham", was not a part of AT&T's commercial long-distance network; it existed solely to provide national-security communications. It was a relay point linking two similar, but larger and more elaborate installations in Virginia and North Carolina. The station used a radio technology known as "tropospheric forward scattering" (usually shortened to "troposcatter") to provide communications over distances greater than would be possible with conventional terrestrial microwave links.
The most prominent physical features at Buckingham are two prismoidal concrete structures, located in a cleared area at the top of the mountain, and visible from nearby roads. Recessed into the the north and south faces of these structures are metal "dish" reflectors roughly 30 feet in diameter. One reflector in each direction was for transmitting, and the other for receiving.
Each radio beam, outgoing or incoming, originated or terminated at a horn-type microwave antenna embedded in a concrete block near ground level in front of the corresponding reflector. Buckingham's only other known communications medium is a multi-pair aerial telephone cable.
The installation's other major structure is an underground building of undetermined size and configuration, covered by several feet of earth and entered through one or more doors in a concrete retaining wall. One of the entrances is located inside an auxiliary building, probably the site's security office, which abuts the retaining wall. An emergency exit door is built into the side of at least one of the reflector structures.