"at RAF Chicksands, United Kingdom" intrigues me. Echelon? Or am I reading too much into some noise?"
Google for chicksands and the "elephant cage".
There where atleast two USAF SigInt groups at RAF Chicksands. Most of the HF and low VHF antennas are now gone but you can still see the "crop circle" effect on google earth etc.
If you want to know why google BRUSA and other names such as Hanslop Park.
There is a website called "secret bases" that tells you some of the history of UK Int sites.
There are also a couple of books but they tend to deal with "holes in the ground" such as the Box Tunnel Gov Nuke Bunker etc.
BRUSA is probably the original "outsourcing" deal and has in it what is in effect a "dirty back door" to get around "we do not spy on our citizens". Basicaly the US agreed to spy on UK citizens and the UK agreed to spy on US citizens and then swap the Intel.
In most cases the equipment was supplied by the US and operated by UK Forces personnel all the data was on encrypted tapes that got sent of to the NSA who processed it and as some have pointed out "swept the crumbs off the banquet high table for the pet dog to lick up".
However the segrgation of duties was as far as it went. For instance in Cyprus there is an RAF base and also a small US radio monitoring base.
At one point a boat used to leave the RAF base very very early in the morning and head over the horizon it then went a little bit further and changed course to come back to a point very very close to the US base. A little later it did the same in reverse. As an equipment operator you had to have both a strong stomach (for the trip and the distilary fumes) and a high boredom threashold as invariably you where not alowed to go down town because as Maggie Thatcher advertised (via a failed OSA court case) the local Aeroflop ;) office was KGB Central.
Speaking of the court case it had it's funny moments.
The Crown where trying to make out that some squadies wife was a "spread her legs for secrets" operator. The squadie had had some serious cross questioning from various people. Finaly the defence barrister asked him,
DB: When you married X was she a virgin?
S (pauses and looks sad) : No she was not.
PB (looks happy) :
DB (looks crestfallen) :
S (Brightens up and says proudly) : But she was when I met her.
(Smiles on faces of several jury members)
PB (gives look of thunder as a whole morrnings cross examination goe down the pan).