Posts Tagged ‘1977’

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.

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A major highway/express-way in Hong Kong that was built in 1977, the early design and heavy usage mean regular traffic jams and road accidents. This has led to it being known as a haunted road.

In July 2003 a lorry and bus collided, the bus broke through the barriers and dropped 115 feet into the Ting Kau village below. 21 deaths, including the driver, and 20 injured were the results of the accident. The lorry driver was convicted for causing death by dangerous driving which after an appeal was reduced and became careless driving.

This is only one of the history of fatalities but it is by far the worst, drivers down the road began to tell of people who had appeared causing them to serve and it has been accounted for pile-ups and crashes there regularly enough that it has given way to the haunted reputation. Now regular travellers and witnesses say they simply drive through them.

Whether or not this is true or urban legends developing from the tragedies, it’s certainly a road that you will need to take caution with if you are heading along that way.

HK Tuen Mun Road So Kwun Wat Section

I admit I went there and had no sense of anything spooky, just the overwhelming smell of the candy. I therefore amused myself by seeing some local tales about it and other reports of supposedly paranormal activity.

In April 1907 the park was officially opened and was a place for picnics and boating. Milton S Hershey created it for his employees at the candy factory and has been there since, it has grown and is now a modern day attraction for the public.

Some say that Hershey himself haunts the park, often rather than being reported as seen he is caught in the smell of cigar smoke when no-one else has one lit.

The #47 Carousel of the Philadelphia Toboggan Company found its place at the park and was moved from near Spring Creek to Founders Circle in 1972. Park Personnel have apparently reported lights that turn on themselves and the ride to have started up itself. The music of the Wurlitzer has been faintly heard when the ride is off.

An anecdote says a security officer who saw the lights on, went and turned them off and left, as he walked off the lights came back on and he turned around. The officer saw a shadowy figure and the officer went back to intercept an intruder, he could not find anyone.

There was once a swimming pool at the park, it was filled in during 1971 but the lighthouse there was kept. Several children had drowned in the pools and the children have been seen near the lighthouse oblivious of the modern changes.

William Harter’s death is the one that was documented and therefore merited a little more of my time. He was at the park in August 1977 as part of a summer vocational training programme. The ride struck and killed Harter after it moved, another maintenance worker was also injured. The Hershey Company was fined for two safety violations. There are some claims of his ghost there too, but I cannot really find anything more about it than that. It was a sad tragedy that a young apprentice died there but I don’t know if that really means the area is haunted by him.

The scariest part for me there was the flipping ride with the cow butts swishing!

Hersheypark view from Ferris Wheel, 2013-08-10

The WOW! Signal was detected in 1977, 15th August by Jerrty R Ehman whilst working on a project at the Big Ear Radio Telescope. It was in Ohio, it bore the expected anticipated markings of being extra-terrestrial.

The noise lasted for 72 seconds and since then it has not been heard again.

The name WOW! came from Ehman writing it on the computer print out of the signal.

There have been further attempts to detect the sound again, but by 1999 after six 14-hour long observation attempts WOW! had not been picked up again.

In 2012, on it’s 35th Anniversary a response from humanity was beamed out. The idea is that if there are other lifeforms out there, they might pick us up on their travels.

 

An oldy but goodie as they say! And a little break from some of my more serious ones.

The King is Not dead!

Elvis Aaron Presley died at age 42, on 16th August, 1977. He had been blighted by ill-health and had┬átaken┬áto drug abuse as well as over-eating. Fan’s across the world mourned his death, by overdose, and some went so far as to deny his death had even occurred.

The body of Elvis Presley was lain for view in an open casket, at his home in Graceland. Despite this fact there were still claims that he was not dead, sightings were reported and the King’s life carried on via speculation.

There were claims that he was a secret FBI agent that had been given a new identity, this was to hide him from the Drugs cartels and save his life. Part of the Men In Black Film pays homage to the speculation as they explain he went home…