Founded: 1970

Abandoned: 1986

Visited: 2014 + 2015

Chernobyl-2, Ukraine

In the woods about 10 kilometres south from Chernobyl and Pripyat, there is this top secret site. The site is named Chernobyl-2, but also called Duga. It’s one of the three Soviet ‘over the horizon’ radar stations. A system made for early detection of attacks by ballistic rockets. They started to built the Radar station Chernobyl-2 in 1970. Part of this station there was a small town for military families. This garrison held about one thousand people, had a medical facility, a school, kindergarten, club, hotel, shops and a fire station.

This radarsystem was developed in the Soviet Union in the 1950s, during the cold war. The Duga systems were extremely powerful, over 10 MW in some cases, and they broadcasted in the shortwave radio bands. They appeared without warning, sounding like a sharp, repetitive tapping noise at 10 Hz, which led to it being nicknamed by shortwave listeners as ‘Russian Woodpecker’. The random frequency hops disrupted legitimate broadcasts like amateur radio, commercial aviation communications, utility transmissions. It resulted in thousands of complaints by many countries worldwide. The signal became such a nuisance that some receivers such as amateur radios and televisions actually began including ‘Woodpecker Blankers’ in their design.


The radar was abandoned in 1986 because of the accident to the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant. At the end of 1987 the system was partially stopped. Together with the final decision of closing the zone around the nuclear power plant, Chernobyl-2 was closed.

Photos Chernobyl-2

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