Area 51 Back Gate

The back gate road is the first road you encounter leaving Rachael heading towards highway 93. [The GPS coordinate where the back gate road intersects the ET highway is N37 38 03.7 W115 43 11.0. The border is at N37 35 45.2 W115 53 47.3. Obviously, you better look for the warning sign rather than depend on this waypoint.] There are a few branches on the road, but just head straight to reach the back gate. 

This photo, taken in January 2000, is how the back gate used to look. . 

The back gate was redesigned late in 2000. This is how the site looks as of January 2001. All the cameras on top of the old trailer are gone, and the old trailer looks abandoned. The poles in the area hold cameras and security lighting. [The inset at the left is off a pole a bit outside the photo.] The pole at the far right has a microwave dish pointing in the direction of Bald Mountain.

This is a view from the parking area towards the right of the front trailer. (photo taken in April 2001)

This view is from the parking area to the left of the gate. (photo taken March 2004)

These photographs were taken in February 2006.  A new remote control camera was installed so that the guards don't have to peek between the blinds with binoculars.
wide angle view of backgate to show the location of the remote control camera
The hand of Bob Lazar is pointing to the new camera. The terrain is relatively flat, so that the height of the camera isn't really required to help it see down the road. However, height keeps the optical path above the ground where thermal distortion is great due to heat reflecting off the ground.
zoom in on remote control camera
The QuickSet positioner both rotates (i.e. azimuth) and adjust the angle (altitude) of the camera. There appear to be other devices in the camera case, perhaps heaters or IR illumination. Of course, the camera was pointing at me as I photographed it, similar to a scene in the movie "Ten".  The photo is a bit grainy since it was shot with a telephoto lens rather than with a telescope.

Back Gate in the winter (January 2010)

Clearly some steath technology was enabled
.area 51 back gate snow 2010

Mysterious tracks in the snow.

tracks in the snow

New building  (May 2011)

Groom Lake Area 51 bake gate north gate
The pad for this building was present in November 2010. Tthere is no obviousl use for the building other than a bigger shack to hang out. Note the camera on the toweris rotated to view the photographer.. Also a second road crossing arm has been added. The arms used are B&B Protect-O-Arm type. Thiey don't provide much security, at least when compared to the hauldralic pop-up barriers.

Road construction equipment (May 2010)

Clink here to see the images. As of May 2011,  the road leading to the back gate is partially paved.

High Technology Vehicle Detector

Discovered by Desert Shadow in June 2009 and identified by "Nospam", this is a Dakota WMA-3000 Wireless Motion Alert Driveway Alarm Alert Motion Sensor. The default frequency is  433.92MHz.
cheap ass sensor

cheap ass sensor

After seeing the Area 51 special where the monitoring guru and the security guru were concerned about getting too close to the fence, the "midnight monitors" set up both a campfire and BBQ right by the fence line. The cammo dudes were forced to breath our sausage cooking on the grille. The orb in the background is just the moon, though I could send this photo to Coast to Coast and claim it is a UFO. Note the temperature was cold enough to wear a ski mask. The nice thing about central Nevada is there is never a shortage of rocks to make an impromptu fire pit or BBQ. Now finding wood to burn is another story. 

The new gate in action. You can see the camo dude without the usual "optics" hiding his face. The camo dudes at this border point are not camera shy, though the policy of not photographing camo dudes should still be followed. [They can lose their jobs if their photo appears on the net. Besides, the last thing you want is a PO'd camo dude.]

The white trucks seen on the ET highway enter both Cedar Pass Road and the back gate. Using, the markings on the plate indicate:


82 - heavy truck -diesel

No arguments that it is a heavy truck. ;-)


U.S. Dept. of Commerce, NOAA, WASC, Acquisition Management Division, Contracts Branch B WC32, 7600 Sand Point Way NE, Bin 15700, Seattle, WA 98115-0070

66 -- UPGRADE/REPLACEMENT OF EXISTING CLOUD TO GROUND LIGHTING DETECTION SYSTEM ON THE NEVADA TEST SITE SOL 52ABNF-0-00068 DUE 072800 POC Abram Vinikoor (206)526-4395 E-MAIL: Click here to contact the Contract Specialist via, This publication serves as notice of intent to issue a sole source contract to Global Atmospherics Inc., Tucson, Arizona to upgrade the Lightning Location & Protection (LLP) System for NOAA's Air Resources Laboratory/Special Operations and Research Division (ARL/SORD), Las Vegas, Nevada. ARL/SORD provides support to the U.S. Department of Energy, Nevada Operations Office, at the Nevada Test Site (NTS) and elsewhere. The LLP System consists of Advanced Lightning Direction Finders (ALDFs) located on or near the NTS and an Advance Position Analyzer (APA). The following equipment is required for the LLP System Upgrade: 1) Upgrade five ALDF Model 141 Sensors to IMPACT-ES Sensors with the latest hardware and software. IMPACT-ES lightning sensors detect the presence of cloud-to-ground lightning events by employing both electric and magnetic field sensing. This combination of technologies provides the most accurate estimates of location and peak currents of cloud-to-ground lightning discharges. These upgraded sensors will improve existing ALDFs in sensor detection efficiency, angular accuracies, throughput: flash stokes; and concurrent flash processing. 2) Upgrade the APA280 Series Model 281 to APA 2000 Series, consisting of the LP2010 module with FALLS software. The LP2010 performs as the central analyzer for data collected by wide area sensors. The contract will include installation, training, site survey services, and priced options for spares and software. The design of this system is proprietary to Global Atmospherics Inc. The Government knows of no other system on the market that will independently provide lightning data that is physically, electrically, and functionally compatible to the existing ARL/SORD LLP System. This notice of intent is not a request for competitive proposals. See Note #22. Posted 06/28/00 (W-SN469488). (0180)


Smile, you're on camo camera.... The bottom camera points to the parking area towards the right of the gate. The upper left camera is to observe the traffic from the outside, while the camera on the upper right is to observe traffic from the base.

This dish points back to Bald Mountain, perhaps relaying the video and voice communications.

New camera (May 2011)

area 51 groom alke back gate north gate cameras

cohu 4860 camera

Oneof the cameras facing the gate has been changed. It appears to be a Cohu 4860. The is a low light level camera, though not to be confused with night vision or thermal imaging.

The back gate has a few radar installations of Russian origin. This one is known as the "long track".  Check out these links for more information:

Note that this radar truck is no longer present.

New radar dish (photo taken September 2002). This appears to be the Russian "side net" radar.  Check out more their photo and more information.

From the distance, the rounded white object looks like a LP gas tank, but close up it appears to be a radome.. The white towering devices are probably antennas as well. The one in the center appears to have radials. Then again, there are fine wires running to these points, which are not likely to be guy wires since they are routed back towards a point at the bottom, rather than spread out.

This panoramic includes the soviet "spoon rest"radar at the right. [Actually, this is a variant of the Spoon Rest, since the array at the back gate has 16 yagi antennas, while the Spoon Rest has 12.] You can click on the image to get a higher resolution image. [Dejavu plug in required.] The Spoon Rest has an interesting history. It is associated with the SA-2  surface to air missile system. This is the missile that shot down Gary Power's U2 over Russia. The SA-2 sites were one of the early targets in the 2nd Gulf War. reported a "spoon rest" radar was destroyed on 11/21/2002 in the "No Fly" zone as a precursor to the coalition attack on Iraq:

About two hours later, two US Air Force F-16s directed two precision guided weapons at a second Spoon Rest radar near Tallil, a regional air defense center 270 kilometers (170 miles) southeast of Baghdad, the officials said.

spoon rest radar in action

The "spoon rest" radar was running, rotating the large array of yagi antennas at about a revolution every 4 seconds. (photo taken during Red Flag in February 2006)

There appears to be lights just under this device .Perhaps a night time visit to the site would be in order. ;-) There is some discernable text on this unit, perhaps OKA, AK, and the number 2.

Yet another mystery device.

This appears to be some antenna system under construction. Note the antenna on the ground.