Saturday, August 16, 2014

Russian Radar Returns - sort of

The current tensions between Russia and Ukraine reminded me about the vast abandoned over-the-horizon radar system built near Chernobyl. It wasn't the only facility, but obviously the nuclear disaster in 1986 made this particular operation impossible.

In 2010, a video appeared on YouTube from two guys who went to visit the abandoned facility and gave us insights into what we were hearing on many parts of the shortwave dial in the 1980's.

In the Media Network radio programme back in 1985, we reviewed filtering equipment from Datong to try and reduce the interference caused by the pulses. And, in the programme below, we reported on projects to try and stop similar systems being build in the US.

This story from Russia Today (now better known as RT) claimed an exclusive visit to the abandoned radar facility in April 2011. It starts 2'13" into the piece. Bearing in mind RT's close links to the Kremlin, the reason for running this piece isn't all that clear to me. The RT reporter seems to be confusing HF broadcasting with the HF pulses that this system was putting out. It wasn't trying to reach the US East Coast, except that the pulses would carry on propagating around the world due to the nature of shortwave radio. The "Russian Woodpecker" made listening to some parts of the shortwave broadcast bands nearly impossible.

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