Posts Tagged ‘Russia’

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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(Sorry about the cheesy image I had nothing else)

Near to Prohlandnyi at 1am on the 10th August, 1989 a report came in about a Soviet Military radar picking up an unidentified flying object.

An attempt to contact the occupants of the aircraft was made but they got no response and it was declared hostile. MIG-25’s were put into the air to identify the UFO and they were authorised to use weaponry if it was deemed necessary.

The UFO then ditched over mountains so a retrieval team was dispatched. The area was completely cordoned off to everyone other than military personnel. The object was 20 foot long, 10 foot tall and shaped like a long cigar. There was a small amount of radiation and some members of the team were affected. The object was moved back to Mozolok Air Base, a scientific team was sent out. By then a KGB cover up was supposedly in action and yet it seems details were still released by unknown sources.

By crashing, the door to the UFO fell open and inside were three alien bodies. Two were dead and one was barely alive, the deceased two had been killed by equipment falling on them and the third they tried to save but he could not be helped. The aliens were said to be 3 ½ foot to 4 foot tall and grey outwardly. Underneath their outerwear the skin was a blue-green colour, they had no hair, large black eyes with a protective lid, web fingers and slender arms.

Due to a further lack of information this seems more like some strange local story than fact, but I found it interesting none-the-less.

17187-illustration-of-a-ufo-pv

PD Info: This image is licensed under Public Domain.
Released to the Public Domain by author.

AKA the Buzzer, is a broadcast station on shortwave radio at the frequency 4625kHz. It is a monotonous tone, it happens at a rate of 25 tones per minute and continues 24 hours a day. There have been rare incidents where voice communications have occurred in Russian and it has been active from around the 1970-80’s. So far no set reason for the station has been given, they have been able to confirm that the origins of the station can be traced back to Russia but there is little more to go by than that. The station originally identified itself as UVB-76 until September 2010, but it then moved location and is now broadcasting as MD2hB.

It seems that when the voices come through they are live and maybe due to an accidental microphone being transmitted.  For instance is seems that there was a change 2011, 9th April there are an interruption and technicians were heard making repairs. October that year a second buzzing was heard that interfered with the original transmission.  going back a little is seems that in November 2001 there was a conversation, “Я – 143. Не получаю генератор.” “Идёт такая работа от аппаратной.”   ” I am 143. Not receiving the generator (oscillator).”  and “That stuff comes from the hardware room.”

Overall it’s considered to be either military or research based. Perhaps there is also the explanation that they are being used to ensure that other receiving stations are alert. There was one other strange occurrence too, when the buzzer for a 38 second break for the Dance of the Little Swans, a part of the Swan Lake ballet by Tchaikovsky, then four days after on the 5th September there was an interruption as a female voice counted from one to nine, one hour later it was silenced for a male to read a voice message.

On November 11 in 2010 an intermittent set of phone conversations were accidentally transmitted and were recorded by a listener (at 1400 UTC) for a period of approximately 30 minutes. You can listen to them here: Link   and here is what seems to be a translation: Reddit  It seems that it was pretty much a Control Call but may have been accidentally transmitted or perhaps even intentionally who knows… well only they do.

24/26th January 2013 – From January 24 to January 26 UVB-76 (MDZhB) The Buzzer changed its messages type and sent a really weird message: OBYaVLENA KOMANDA 135 (Instruction has been announced 135. Apparently Buzzer was undergoing a special operation. If you listen to the below recording via youtube you can hear the broadcast.

It seems likely that this is either a military or government broadcast and as with most of these unless you know the specific code (and if it’s a one time pad etc.) you have no hope of working it out. Exactly as it should be really…

 

 

 

 

A large explosion was  caused by the impact of a small asteroid (or comet) in the area of what is now Krasnoyarsk Krai, Russia. It is the largest impact on Earth, that has been recorded in history. It occurred 30th June 1908.

There have been around a thousand scholastic studies about the impact and it’s site. The energy the event generated was about a thousand times larger then the atomic bomb that was dropped at Hiroshima, Japan.

Those in the area reported seeing a column of bright bluish light, ten minutes later there was a flash and sound like artillery fire. A shock wave caused people to be knocked off their feet and broke windows, hundreds of kilometres away.

Dr Who fans may recognise mention of the event in the novel, The Wages of Sin.

Comic fans from the DC side might also note that it was used in #199 Justice League of America.

 

Edit: This was also used with reference to the band Metallica’s video, All Nightmare Long. The video does not feature the band and instead features a series of historical events following the 1908 event. Band member Kirk Hammett claimed to have brought the film from a fan for $5 but then forgot about ut, later on having picked it up again he found a new fascination in it and arrange for a translation. The story was later revealed to be more fictional and used to hype the video (sort of Blair Witch style I guess).

If you want to see their video then CLICK here as unfortunately their official copy does not allow for embedding. Enjoy!

This is a city in the area, which is part of the Exclusion Zone. It was the administrative centre of Chernobyl Raion since 1932. I’m going to go over the details only briefly but it’s certainly one for the pages as it’s another abandoned place of interest.

In 1986 the city was evacuated due to a disaster at it’s Nuclear Power Plant 14.5km to it’s north-northwest. The cuty was not the residence of the of the power plant workers but nearby Pryptiat was built for them. After the accident the Chernobyl Raion administration was moved to nearby Ivankiv Raion.

The city is mostly inhabited, but a small number of people reside there with homes that state “Owner of this house lives here”. Workers on watch and administrations personnel are the only things close to long term residents outside of that. The city housed 14000 residents before the evacuation; nearly Skavutych was the specifically built area for
those evacuated.

First mentioned in 1193 Chernobyl has lain in the hands of Lithuania (13th Century), Polen (1569) The Russian Empire (1793) and has had a long history of border changes  mostly due to the political climate of its geography. Since the 1880’s it has seen many changed and in 1991 with the dissolution of the Soviet Union it remained part of the
Ukraine, now an independent nation. As of 2012 a small number of people remain in the area refusing to leave their native city.

April 26th 1986 Reactor #4 exploded, it happened at 1.23am and nearby  residents in Pripyat were asleep. Two workers were instantly killed and 40 hours later the residents of Pripyat were told to evacuate. Many never returned, many of the residents had already suffered varying degrees of radiation poisoning.

(CRDP) Chernobyl Recovery and Development Project was launched in 2003 by the United Nations Development Program. The program was based on the report initiated in Feb 2002. CRDP work s in the four most affected areas.

Photo’s Link here