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ON MAPS, this site was marked as a children’s playground. That couldn’t be further from the truth.
When the Chernobyl nuclear explosion happened in 1986, it shook the world in many ways. Not only did it put the now ghost town of Pripyat on the map for all the wrong reasons, it also exposed the world to what was really at this site in Ukraine — the dreaded Duga radar, also known as the Russian Woodpecker.
A Soviet engineering and scientific feat of its time, the Russian Woodpecker was an over-the-horizon radar system designed to provide early detection of an intercontinental ballistic missile attack.
[…]Air traffic controls, television and radio broadcasters would be irked by the mysterious pecking noises it emitted, hence its nickname, the Russian Woodpecker.
Built just outside the city of Pripyat, it was completely off limits and unknown to outsiders.
It was erected near Chernobyl due to its high power demands. On maps, it was marked as a summer camp for children hidden in the depths of the forest. Locals were told that the imposing skyscraper was a radio tower.[…]
Many thanks to SWLing Post reader, Charles, who writes:
Thomas, you might find this movie review of “The Russian Woodpecker” interesting. Looks like the film is more conspiracy than investigative reporting. Too bad. Having dealt with Woodpecker noise during my ham radio career, it would have been fun to know more about the motivation behind building that enormous OTH radar: