Traditional Geocache

V.L. Baseline Array

A cache by AB-n-AP Send Message to Owner Message this owner
Hidden : 6/26/2010
In Iowa, United States
1.5 out of 5
2 out of 5

Size: Size: regular (regular)

Join now to view geocache location details. It's free!


How Geocaching Works

Please note Use of services is subject to the terms and conditions in our disclaimer.

Geocache Description:

This geocache will take you to a giant VLBA (Very Long Baseline Array) antenna/dish near North Liberty, IA. The VLBA is a system of ten radio-telescope antennas, each with a dish 25 meters (82 feet) in diameter and weighing 240 tons. Only eight are in the continental United States! Each telescope is controlled remotely from the Array Operations Center in Socorro, New Mexico, that work together as the world's largest dedicated, full-time astronomical instrument.


For this geocache, you'll have a nice short .10 walk along a grass trail from the parking area. At the coordinates, you will be looking for a clear lock-n-lock container, and their is a nice view of the giant antenna/dish from this location. You'll also find a few survey makers in the area and a very cool monument: a GPS STATION MARK! It's located about 100ft south of the geocache. See if you can find the inscription.

The driveway entrance to the VLBA is hard to see until you're right on top of it. The antenna/dish can not be seen from the roadway, as it's nestled back into the woods. We suggest getting on Mehaffey Bridge Road [the main road between North Liberty and Lake MacBride State Park] and plugging the following coordinates into your GPS as they are the coordinates to the entrance. Look for blue road sign# 2269. N 41° 46.120 W 091° 34.330


Upon entering, you'll drive down a long driveway to get to the array.


  • Two technicians are in control of the North Liberty VLBA. One of them must be within two hours of the Operations Center at all times.
  • The VLBA sees millions of light years deeper into space than the Hubble Telescope.
  • The North Liberty VLBA fills a 6 Terabyte hard drive weekly. Sometimes faster. The technicians have to swap them out when full.
  • The VLBA antenna/dish's were seen in such movies as "CONTACT" with Jodie Foster, "2012" with John Cusack, and the recent "TRANSFORMERS: DARKSIDE OF THE MOON (the third movie) with Shia Labeouf & Optimus Prime.

The other nine VLBA sites are located at:

(You can see a [very cool] photo of each VLBA Station at each link)

Mauna Kea, Hawaii

Owens Valley, California

Brewster, Washington

Hancock, New Hampshire

Kitt Peak, Arizona

Pie Town, New Mexico

Fort Davis, Texas

Los Alamos, New Mexico

St. Croix, The Virgin Islands

Special thank you to TJ&DJ for informing us about this special place.

Permission granted by the North Liberty VLBA Operations Center.

Quote from the NRAO (National Radio Astronomy Observatory) website:

Radio astronomy is the study of the invisible universe. We see the world around us because our eyes detect visible light, a type of electromagnetic radiation. Objects on Earth and in space also emit other types of electromagnetic radiation that cannot be seen by the human eye, such as radio waves. The full range of radiation emitted by an object is called its electromagnetic spectrum.

Radio astronomy is the study of celestial objects that emit radio waves. With radio astronomy, scientists can study astronomical phenomena that are often invisible in other portions of the electromagnetic spectrum.

Additional Hints (Decrypt)

Gurfr ner glcvpnyyl gnyyre guna fngryyvgr qvfurf, ohg abg va guvf pnfr!

Decryption Key


(letter above equals below, and vice versa)



212 Logged Visits

Found it 185     Didn't find it 11     Write note 11     Temporarily Disable Listing 1     Enable Listing 1     Publish Listing 1     Needs Maintenance 1     Post Reviewer Note 1     

View Logbook | View the Image Gallery of 55 images

**Warning! Spoilers may be included in the descriptions or links.

Current Time:
Last Updated: on 4/16/2017 5:52:23 PM Pacific Daylight Time (12:52 AM GMT)
Rendered From:Unknown
Coordinates are in the WGS84 datum