Hacker News new | past | comments | ask | show | jobs | submit login
Radio hams do battle with 'Russian Woodpecker' (1982) (qsl.net)
77 points by dmazin on May 28, 2015 | hide | past | favorite | 19 comments

In theory, it should have been possible for the Hams to modulate the their transmissions, to write an expletive on the tracking screen of the Russian radar. In practise, it probably would have been too big a challenge with 1980's home based technology, as an HF transmitter that could accurately generate arbitrary waveforms was bleeding edge tech. Nice to dream about though.

I used to work in the Jindalee OTHR facility back in the woodpecker days. I've memories of sitting in the control room, and being given a tour of the airwaves by one of the senior techs, who was also a ham. The tour included listening on on the various HF radars that we could find, including the woodpecker, discussing each system as we went. By the nature of the project, a lot of the technical people had an interest in ham radio, so they looked out for the ham bands. The tech who gave me the tour used to occasionally have a bit of fun by plugging his ham rig into the main transmitter (lots of power, with beamforming).

The other cool bit of technology was the "frequency management system", which was a mini HF radar, used to map the ionosphere in real time. It was fascinating to watch the dynamics of the various ionospheric layers on the screens.

Officially, the Soviets don't even admit the signal is theirs.

Just like that superbowl ring.


"It would be in the interest of US-Soviet relations" - in 2005?!

Why not? Better not start some stuff with Russia just because of some ring. I mean, it's Putin, I can see him throwing some childish fit over a ring he wanted to have. It's just too bad for russians.

edit: forgot to say it's the first time I heard of the story, and it is pretty 'wtf' to me.

The Soviet Union ceased to exist in 1991.

If this kind of thing interests you, drop by #priyom on Freenode! We've got current schedules of active number stations and loads of info about weird transmissions.

Also, check out WebSDR.org to listen to HF receivers around the globe. (My Raspberry Pi-based receiver here in Texas should be back online Sunday night.)

Yes, indeed! We actually use links to various of these (mostly the receiver located at UTwente in .nl) when a number station schedule activates. Our channel bot spits a link into the channel where you can listen via this very cool in-browser receiver to live number stations as they are transmitted.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Duga-3 appears to be the radar system in question, with a photo of an antenna.

Indeed. Duga-3 (over the horizon) long-range missile defence array was the source of the 'woodpecker' signal.

Nice username ;-) You'd have to change it to MDZhB though?

Also here are some recent 2015 transmissions:


It really does sound like a woodpecker. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aOMVdOc9UbE

That sounds oddly familiar, but i was just a kid when this thing was decommissioned.

Pretty funny, but if you are a ham (i am) you're not supposed to deliberately interfere with other transmissions, period.

   -- KC2ZZQ

Let's hope those times packed with hostility won't return ever.

They're already back, don't you read the news ?

GP may have been exercising <sarcasm>.

If that's the case, GP should have used the proper <sarcasm/> tag !

Applications are open for YC Winter 2021

Guidelines | FAQ | Support | API | Security | Lists | Bookmarklet | Legal | Apply to YC | Contact