7 February 2022 – The Russian Woodpecker over the horizon radar – a blast from the past by Keith Snyder, KI6BDR

| February 7, 2022

Keith’s presentation

Hidden deep in a serene forest yet taller than the clouds, standing in surreal beauty is an antenna array like none other on earth, having an aperture area greater than 15 U.S. football fields. One of the great wonders of the world – a top secret Soviet radar, so secret that even the name is uncertain, for it had many. It was the Russian Woodpecker. It was the Steel Yard. It was Duga.

The story of this top secret place is one of mystery and intrigue. Now abandoned, a rusting testament to man’s cold war hubris, almost all popular accounts on the web are seriously flawed—victims of deliberate disinformation. Where did it come from? What did it do? Did it transmit? Did it receive? Was it the first of three, or the third of two?

Keith Snyder, KI6BDR, has been busy reverse-engineering to uncover truth before time erases history. Keith shows visible engineering clues that reveal the mission and correct the history of the huge Duga 3 antenna array. The Duga 3 is located a few kilometers from the Chernobyl nuclear power plant site. Although it has fallen into disrepair, it stands today due only to a hasty exit forced by radiation from the
Chernobyl nuclear accident. The nuclear accident ironically protected the array from dismantlement, a reprieve from all but the ravages of time. The antenna array today attracts tourists who visit Chernobyl. It is one of the eighth wonders of the world due to its titanic size.

About Keith

Keith Snyder (KI6BDR) currently works at Northrop Grumman as an antenna engineer at the Space Division located in Dulles Virginia. Though he really works from his home in Vista California. Keith has a BSEE degree from The Ohio State University and studied antennas and electromagnetics from a well known ham operator Dr John Kraus (W8JK).

Keith has been working in the field of antennas since 1980. Jobs include Harris Broadcast, GTE, Ball Aerospace, Aydin Radar, Space Systems Loral, and his current employer Northrop Grumman. He has used computer codes for antenna analysis and design through out his career and is currently an expert user of FEKO for antenna design and scattering analysis.

Watch live

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Find out more

The birth of British radarThe Memoirs of Arnold ‘Skip’ Wilkins – Edited by Colin Latham and Anne Stobbs

The Voices – spying and radio warfare during the Cold War – by Gordon Adams, G3LEQ

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