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Duga-3 (OTH) Radar - Chernobyl - Ukraine - October 2014

Nobby

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Duga 3 (OTH) Radar

During our trip to Chernobyl and Pripyat our man on the ground informed us we were off to Duga-3. We jumped in the van and headed off into the countryside a few kilometres from the centre of Pripyat through the vast forests of northern Ukraine to the site. The sight of Duga from the road as we headed in was intimidating, this behemoth of Soviet steel that stood before us getting taller and taller the closer we got started to make my palms sweat and my heart rate rise.

I only had one thought on my mind.



History

The Russian Woodpecker was a notorious Soviet signal that could be heard on the shortwave radio bands worldwide between July 1976 and December 1989. It sounded like a sharp, repetitive tapping noise, at 10 Hz, giving rise to the "Woodpecker" name. The random frequency hops disrupted legitimate broadcast, amateur radio, utility transmissions, and resulted in thousands of complaints by many countries worldwide.

The signal was long believed to be that of an over-the-horizon radar (OTH) system. This theory was publicly confirmed after the fall of the Soviet Union, and is now known to be the Duga-3 system, part of the Soviet Anti-ballistic missile early-warning network.

The Soviets had been working on early warning radar for their anti-ballistic missile systems through the 1960s, but most of these had been line-of-sight systems that were useful for raid analysis and interception only. None of these systems had the capability to provide early warning of a launch, which would give the defences time to study the attack and plan a response. At the time the Soviet early-warning satellite network was not well developed, and there were questions about their ability to operate in a hostile environment including anti-satellite efforts. An over-the-horizon radar sited in the USSR would not have any of these problems, and work on such a system for this associated role started in the late 1960s.



The first experimental system, Duga-1, was built outside Mykolaiv in Ukraine, successfully detecting rocket launches from Baikonur Cosmodrome at 2,500 kilometres. This was followed by the prototype Duga-2, built on the same site, which was able to track launches from the far east and submarines in the Pacific Ocean as the missiles flew towards Novaya Zemlya. Both of these radar systems were aimed east and were fairly low power, but with the concept proven work began on an operational system. The new Duga-3 systems used a transmitter and receiver separated by about 60 km.

Starting in 1976 a new and powerful radio signal was detected worldwide, and quickly dubbed the Woodpecker by amateur radio operators. Transmission power on some woodpecker transmitters was estimated to be as high as 10 MW EIRP. As well as disrupting shortwave amateur radio and broadcasting it could sometimes be heard over telephone circuits due to the strength of the signals. This led to a thriving industry of "Woodpecker filters" and noise blankers.

Example of the signal


 
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Wevsky

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Hats off to you mate,i staired up at this and even if we would have been given the ok to climb i doubt i would have got very far (y)

 

skeleton key

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Great shots and a really cool write up there.

Nice work buddy and cool share (y)

:comp

 

Stussy

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Thats the first pic's i've ever seen of someone up there, awesome collection of pics with superb angles! hope mine turn this good in a few months!

 

The_Raw

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Nice one Nobby, had only one thought on my mind when I went this week too, it's not an easy climb so fair play to you and well done on gettng some wicked pics of the place :D

 

shaddam

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cracking stuff mate :D , was a sight to see in real life for sure 1

 

jones-y-gog

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Cool shots and a good read too.

Also some nice decay in the buildings (which I opted for!)

 
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