Russian Ionospheric Link

Russian Remote Relay network

Before the satelite communication was implemented Russian military bases located at the low-populated places such as shores of Arctic Ocean or frozen Siberian forests had to communicate somehow. It was practically impossible to connect them with wire because required too much effort, and was not secure at all – just a small cut off of the line would cause days of searching for it at -40 weather.

So Russian army has implemented the network of stations that fired their messages to ionosphere then the message was reflected from it and returned to the Earth surface – right to another station. By connecting those stations in relay chain they could communicate through all 10000 mile wide Russian land instantly.

After the sat connections came into play some of the stations were discontinued some were converted to satelite link.

Below you can see the map of this system, and the basic stations. People were sent there to serve their military service for two years guided by full time military commanders. Some still remember those times with a nice nostalgic feeling, some don’t – just imagine to live in the middle of the nowhere for couple of years with the only task to service some strange looking antenna.

Russian Remote Relay network 2

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52 thoughts on “Russian Ionospheric Link”

      • The large surfaces are just reflectors, the feed horn antenna is located above the ground in front of the reflector. The angles look odd but the beam will have a takeoff angle of about 20-30 degrees

        • correct. It’s called “offset feed”
          it has many advantages, like:
          .easy access to feedpoints (the feed horns shown low down at the end of the horizontal “walkways” in some photos)
          .lower noise figure as the feedhorn aims against “cold” outer space rather than the “warm” earth
          .mechancal rigidity (due to feed arm being braced against the mass of the earth) helps focussing issues.
          .reflectors can be easily replaced or re-aligned (within limits)
          .additional off axis “skew” feeds can be fitted (though at much reduced gain)
          ..there are others..

  1. NATO had a similar network of communications called ACE High, it was used from the 60’s till late 80’s or early 90’s. It was pretty wide, from USA till Turkey throughout Europe. When I was child I remember some huge antennas on mountains’ peak, everybody was calling them “radars” but nobody knew their real purpose, we thought it was air defense system.

    After satellite communications were evolved (and became cheaper) all these projects were phased out.

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    And.. being nerdy… given the issues of comms there – seems like a pretty good soltion

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  6. Sure, this is certainly no communication antennaes, but long-distance over-the-horizon radar antennaes. If the map is correct they were used in order to spy on the Americans.

  7. I always hating theses antenna! Theys reminding me of right-most portion of Evil Amerikan flag!!! Why did they not paint them to look a like nice Russian flag??

  8. Interesting post, and these are tropospheric scatter systems, Cool!!. Indeed they were necessary to cover this large territory, while remains unknown to me if the transmissions were encrypted cause Americans develop SIGINT satellites like the Orion, Vortex, Mercury, Ferret, Magnum, Mentor and many others to eavesdrop on this systems, part of the signals dont bounce on atmosphere so they can be picked up by the large mylar antennas of those spy satellites. Maybe they get something or at least useful to get traffic analysis details. Anyway those pics are awesome, the source page even has videos of it.

    • if you’re impressed by bouncing of the _ionosphere_ , there’s no hope for you.
      It’s been common practice for , oh, about 80-100 years worldwide

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  10. oh my – how little is known ….

    OK, Everybody – these are actually (most of them) – yes wait for it – microwave receivers !!! On picture number seventeen (or so) you can see the round ones which are actual transmitters. These are used for long distance line-of-sight communication – that is why they build relay stations on high mountains / hills. They are mostly used by the military for telephonic type communication which is not reliant on the civilian telecoms infrastructure. They receive quite a strong microwave signal and if you manage to park a modern car close to an active station it can really mess with the electronics.

  11. In th4e US they had something similar during WWII. LArge tracks of land on Long Island in New York State (currently over 4000 acres as a State park formerly “RCA property”) and others one nearby another large “wireless” array near Princeton, NJ were used to send signals bounced I think off the ionosphere at night to Europe during the war. I think David Saranoff (or Saranov), then promoted to General, the RCA research center in Princeton, New Jersey today was in charge. Nearby Orson Welles landed the Martian invaders at Grovers Mill in the 1938 Halloween radio transmission of H.G. Wells “War of the Worlds”. The wire arrays, were more like gridded lines between telephone poles and did not stand out like these from what I know. The first “radio fax” of a picture was in 1924 perhaps used that way also. I was told the plans for the D-Day invasion were kept in a safe on Governors Island in NYC perhaps transmitted by ionospheric transmission too over the large networks just above the tops of “pine barrens” today preserved for rainwater recharge of aquifer.

  12. Well you know the HAARP ?, It’s the same thing, project for ionospheric “control”, you remeber Katrina ? and the new magnetic weapon.
    sorry for my english.

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  14. I had no idea about this. Russians were actually very advanced until the end of WWII in all fields. Today however it is a different story!

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