Mysterious Device Revealed

mysterious device revealedOn Monday, I distributed a photo (see below), which was taken by a western US appraiser at the subject property, and asked if anyone could accurately describe what this device is:

The property owner was not at the property when the appraiser was there, and the appraiser was frankly stumped as to what this ‘thing’ is.

By late afternoon Monday, the appraiser was able to talk with the property owner, and was told about this contraption. Meanwhile, dozens of appraisers wrote back with suggestions or positive “it’s a” statements.

One appraiser actually has an administrative assistant who is a HAM radio hobbyist and former HAM radio license instructor, and called me. We had two phone conversations, one before I heard back from the appraiser, and another after.

All in all, this has been a fun distraction from all the “you touched me” accusations swirling around these days. Well, believe it or not, this thing reaches out also!

I thought I knew what this item is, but was only half-right. I spent about 15 years spread out in the Air Force, college electronics classes and radio broadcasting, and was able to tour a very high power low frequency device that could send coded messages to submarines in the Pacific. So I’ve seen my share of oddities like this.

mysterious wired thing

What it isn’t:

It’s not a clothes line to hang GSE and AMC dirty linen on.
It’s not a device to allow horses to run around in a circle getting exercise.
It’s probably not monitoring Area 51 activity… although that facility is in the same state as this item.
It’s not a capture device when extraterrestrial’s fall to earth.
Although it has similar appearance and design, it’s not used by a HAM or Shortwave radio hobbyist.
While it is attached to the dirt rather strongly, it’s not part of the property real estate for valuation purposes.
It’s doubtful the property owner wears a tin foil hat, or carries a ray gun. Or light sabre.

Have you gotten any closer to figuring out what this is?

Many of you who wrote back said it’s some kind of antenna. You are correct.

What I learned late yesterday afternoon from the appraiser, who finally was able to get info from the property owner, is this facility is a ‘security agency antenna’ and the owner agreed to a 10 year lease at $200 per month to allow it to be placed on the property. 5 years are remaining on the lease. (I suspect that will be extended.)

After I got that info, I asked the HAM radio hobbyist what this could be. Immediately he said ‘low frequency satellite receiver antenna.’ He could tell the type by the locations of the wires in the array. It might be a transmitter also, but we don’t know for sure about that. He said the conical design of the array makes it possible to receive (and maybe transmit) signals from a wide cone area hundreds of miles above earth where satellites are either traversing, or in geo-stationary orbit. The satellites are used to monitor lots of activity on earth, and that data has to be delivered back to ground stations and sent to a processing facility. Likely, this is one of many located in other rural areas across the earth. Low frequency transmissions are more reliable than higher frequencies, like are used for satellite TV reception with the small dish antennas.

So there you go. We didn’t have to submit a FOIA request to find out the use of this device. And we had fun playing the ‘whatzit’ game!

Hope everyone has a wonderful Thanksgiving with family and friends.

Dave Towne
Image credit flickr - Katy
Dave Towne

Dave Towne

AGA, MNAA, Accredited Green Appraiser - Licensed in WA State since 2003. Dave Towne on

You may also like...

2 Responses

  1. Kerry Reece on Facebook Kerry Reece on Facebook says:

    Thank you for sending the email afterwards stating what it was. I was so curious but had no clue as to what exactly it could be.

  2. Baggins Baggins says:

    That was a fun exercise.  I was convinced there would be an underground bunker with a lifetime supply of dinty moore and spam to go with it.   So you can sub lease your land for high tech, think they’d allow that in suburbia?  I’m going to do like 10 of them and maximize my potential land income.  I’ve got a whole quarter acre here, seeing dollar signs right now.


Leave a Reply

We welcome critical posts & opposing points of view. We value robust & civil discourse. You may openly disagree, but state your case in an atmosphere of mutual respect, in which everyone has a right to a particular view about the topic of conversation. Please keep remarks about the topic at hand, & PLEASE avoid personal attacks. If the poster gets you upset, it is the Internet, you can walk away from it.

Personal attacks harm the collegial atmosphere we encourage on AppraisersBlogs.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

xml sitemap

Mysterious Device Revealed

by Dave Towne time to read: 2 min