Posts Tagged ‘1960’

So its that time! Time to look at communication, specifically an old over-the-horizon radar system called the Duga from the former Soviet Union (Russia/Ukraine for the purposes of this article.) Over The Horizon (OTH) or Beyond The Horizon (BTH) are radar systems for long range use. Most were used in the 1950’s and 1960’s because they were early warning systems, just think about the Cold War and the idea of it being a necessity; the ones I am looking at here are the Duga system but they were used all over the world and still are, if modern reports online are correct. I am no expert so correct me where you can if I get things wrong.

The system operated from July 1976 up until December 1989, there were two deployed in Chernobyl and Chernihiv. Chernobyl is in the Ukraine and Chernihiv is Siberian. They were powerful and appeared without warning, sounding like a repetitive tapping on 10Hz, they became nicknamed by the listeners as the Russian Woodpecker.

They seemed to pop up pretty randomly and could interrupt legitimate broadcasting and all variations of stations. Complaints were sent in about them but I can’t imagine it being easy to prevent them. Some of the radio and television users began including blockers in the circuit to try and filter out interruption.

The first type of Duga was built in the Ukraine and did successfully detect rocket launchers from 2,500 kilometres. With its success they worked on the larger project. The first signal was picked up in 1976 and amatuer radio users gave it the name woodpecker, some people had reported it as early as 1963. Regardless of the date the Russian Woodpecker was traced back to the Soviet Union. The sources were found in Kiev, Minsk, Chernobyl, Gomel and Chernihiv but eventually narrowed down through speculation has been made that there was more than one transmitter. Wireless World, 1977 muses that along with the OTH system the Russians might be trying to utilise radar returns or another source that worked along side it, or around two or more spots.

I wondered if this was plausible or were we just putting more technical knowledge to that in retrospect or are we accepting that NATO might not have been entirely accurate? The NATO name for DUGA-1 is quoted as STEEL YARD, some sources also use STEELWORK. It is officially recorded name may well be different but not disclosed for security purposes.

Some points of interest are that they realised when listening that it was not used as a form of jamming because Moscow and pro-Soviet Stations were also caught by it, so it couldn’t be reliable enough for that. The signal used three repetition rates of 10Hz, 16Hz and 20Hz, but the most common was 10. They used a fairly wide bandwidth, usually 40Khz.

An attempt to stop the signals causing interruptions came along, one of the ways was tor try and use signals at the same pulsing rate, people formed a club called The Russian Woodpecker Hunting Club. The transmissions slowed down in the 1980’s by 1989 they had disappeared. This slow down and eventual end does coincide with the Cold War closing down, the official end being 8th December 1971 when the Soviet Union ceased to exist. Another factor in the close would be a further advancement in early warning systems, satellite systems are far more advanced and less likely to be affected by adverse weather.

The original Duga system was experimental and it lies outside of the Black Sea port of Mykolaiv in southern Ukraine. It was restored in 2002 after it was badly damaged by fire. As of October 2013 there is a possibility to visit the Ukrainian site via tour operators for Chernobyl who know how to get the correct paperwork.

For those who like modern reference here are some ways the Duga has been imported into modern media.

If, like me, you enjoy games like Metro Last Light or S.T.A.L.K.E.R then you may already know this… Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant is a heavy feature in S.T.A.L.K.E.R and specifically around the nuclear accident. The Duga array is in Clear Sky after the main campaign game. It is in the fictional city of Limansk-13 you can see it and visit it in game. The ‘Brain Scorcher’, a military installation, is inspired by the idea that Duga-1 was used for mind-control.

Call of Duty:Black Ops the map ‘Grid’ is placed in Pripyat and the array can be seen in game there too.

A documentary by Chad Garcia looks into the Chernobyl disaster and the potential links to the structure. The documentary interviews people directly involved in the building and operation of the installation.

Advertisements

An 18 acre site of land in Waterbury, Connecticut, USA that had a theme park based around passages from the bible. In 1984 the theme park closed down and there is now a project, ongoing, to restore it. It was a concept of John Baptist Greco, of Waterbury, who wanted an attraction that would replicate the Bethlehem and Jerusalem of the biblical era. It was to be a place of peace for any colour, race or creed. During its peak in the 1960’s to 70’s it had upwards of 40,000 visitors on an annual basis, it was sadly left unfinished when Greco died in 1986. It has since fell into a state of disrepair.

It is featured on the website Roadside America along with warnings about exploring it, especially if you are not up to date with your tetanus shots.

July 201 saw another dark spot in the area’s history when the rape and murder of a 16 year old female brought a renewed media interest to it. In 2013 the land was brought with a plan to be renovated, and 22nd December 2013 the new cross was lit up on the site.

 

HolyLand

 

HolyLand“. Via Wikipedia.

Two former radio amateurs gave 50 years worth of interest (and still ongoing) for space conspiracy enthusiasts. In the 1960’s they claimed they had recording that showed the Soviet Space program covered up the deaths of Cosmonauts. These claims have met with rebuttals and the interests continues but that’s why I think it’s a great one for this blog.

They claimed to have monitored transmissions from the Soviet Sputnik program and Explorer 1. They said this included other recordings, like the sounds of a lost cosmonaut who was dying. 28th November 1960, one of those was also an SOS signal that was moving away from the Earth’s orbit and their information was picked up by a Swiss-Italian radio station who took them on as their space experts.

They also made a further claim that they had heard of a female cosmonaut yelling “I am hot” amongst other parts of that transmission. They stated that this was the sounds of her transmitting before she burnt up.

In total they had released nine recordings over a course of years:

  • May 1960, a manned spacecraft reporting its going off course.
  • 28th November 1960 the faint sounds of an SOS transmission as a spacecraft left orbit.
  • February 1961, the recorded sounds of a cosmonaut suffocating.
  • April 1961, capsule recorded orbiting Earth three times before it entered Earth’s atmosphere and this was days before Yuri Gagarin took flight.
  • October 1961, a cosmonaut looses control of his ship and goes into deep space.
  • November 1962, a capsule misjudges re-entry bouncing off the Earth’s atmosphere it then goes out into space.
  • November 1963, a female cosmonaut dies during re-entry.
  • April 1964, another cosmonaut killed when their capsule burns up in the Earth’s atmosphere.

People that have analysed this have stated they are dubious that certain protocol appears to have been ignored during those transmissions, for instance that the cosmonauts had not identified themselves during those transmissions. You could of course argue that burning up in space is a pretty good reason to forget this right?

There seem to be a lot of grammatical errors, or errors in sentence construction when it was generally accepted that the Soviet’s would only use highly trained and educated native speakers but again you could argue that panic would ensue and even the most articulate of people are going to loose that.

The technology the Soviet’s were using may well have been sending dogs into space but there is no suggestion they had enough technology to be putting a manned craft out of the orbit by that stage.

Another factor that was given to consideration, and perhaps this is the one that might convince me – with all the other countries listening into the space race and monitoring these transmissions why hadn’t the professionals found them too? The other countries would have little to no reason to avoid giving up that information as they were all in the race so-to-speak. So why did it fall to two amateur radio enthusiasts who self-taught themselves to get such potentially controversial details out into the public?

I also listened to a brilliant podcast and presentation by Brian Dunning, Skeptoid about this and felt it was a great tale for the blog.

Jacksonville, Florida, is home to an odd brown, brick school infamously known as the ‘Devil’s School’. It’s original and official name is/was Duval Country’s public school No 4. The hauntings allegedly began when a furnace exploded back in the 1960’s, it killed half the students, some faculty members and the janitor.

It was said it’s victims were very active in their haunts, teachers refused to work there and it was forced to shut for a brief time. A priest was called in to exorcise demonic presences but that wasn’t enough, and it seems to have secured it’s grizzly place in history.

The principal was a cannibal, if students fell asleep in class they were sent to him and never seen again.  He had a closet in the office he had converted into meat lockers.

Let’s not forget the janitor, a janitor supposedly went on a rampage and slaughtered a number of children.

In reality what can be found out is that it has had more than one name, it was a vacant building that could be used by local transients and kids would hold “initiation” rights there for their various clubs.

A fire did occur, in 1995, most likely due to it’s homeless visitors and not due to anything paranormal. There seem to be no documents to support the deaths, or strange occurrences, just a lost of hearsay. It’s been marked for destruction as part of a local development plan. I put this one down as a series of local tales and urban legends.

The first known report of the ‘abominable snowman’ came from Europe in 1832. A British official in Napal described an unknown hairy creature walking erect on two-legs. In the high and often inaccessible peaks of the Himalaya’s the wild man was now being brought to the attention of the media.

In 1921 the Yeti was given the name ‘abominable snowman’ by Western climbers, they were striving to conquer the mountain peaks when they became enthralled by local tales about the Yeti, also called Minka or Kang-Admi.

In 1948 a Norwegian claimed he had been attacked by two of them in Sikkim. In 1951 a British climber called Eric Shipton was in the Gauri Sankar range, he took photo’s of what he believed to be the Yeti. Many experts conclude that they could have been bear prints, distorted by the thawing snow.

The local Sherpa’s were happy to recount tales, and monks in a Himalayan Monastery, they showed off bones, skins and scalps of the creatures. In 1993 both Edmund Hilary and Tenzing Norgay saw strange footprints in the snow during the first ascent of Everest. In 1960 a further expedition was launched by Hilary but they were unable to find any further evidence of the Yeti.

The search carries on.