Duga, Chernobyl, Ukraine /// 2019.08.05. @Ati @Berni @Levi @Andi @Gergő @Iván RATING: ✪✪✪✪ DIFFICULTY: hard SIZE: 2-3 buildings

Attila Deák

17:00 9th July 2022 Published by Attila Deák

The Story

The Duga Radar also known as Chernobyl 2 was the world’s largest military radar facility by far. It was a top-secret Soviet station to check if there were any US high-range nuclear rockets coming from the West toward the Soviet Union. It was mind-blowing to see how big it is in real life. Unfortunately, we had no time to climb it (which is strictly forbidden by the way).

Chernobyl, Ukraine /// 2019.08.05. @Ati @Berni @Levi @Andi @Gergő @Iván RATING: ✪✪✪✪ DIFFICULTY: hard SIZE: 4-9 buildings

Attila Deák

17:00 9th July 2022 Published by Attila Deák

The Story

The Duga Radar also known as Chernobyl 2 was the world’s largest military radar facility by far. It was a top-secret Soviet station to check if there were any US high-range nuclear rockets coming from the West toward the Soviet Union. It was mind-blowing to see how big it is in real life. Unfortunately, we had no time to climb it (which is strictly forbidden by the way).


Finding and locating Urbex sites is a time-consuming task or we can call it a hobby.

First, try Google Search Google Maps, a good search can do miracles 😉

But with the help of Google maps and Bing maps, google search urbex-related webpages, and delving into the comments of open/closed Facebook groups with abandoned topics, you can find almost every location if you really want it. That’s how we’ve made a Google Urbex World Map digging deep into the Internet, so now we have thousands of amazing new places to discover, only time and money limit us. If you are also an Urbex photographer, or if you have an Urbex Vlog/Blog please contact us, we are ready to share or change locations if we are sure you are a trusted Urbexer/Friend, not a metal dealer/thief or a destructive barbarian vandal.

We strictly condemn all forms of destruction of deserted places, and damaging abandoned sites. We take nothing away, we do not move anything, don’t break locks, don’t break windows. Take photos, leave just footprints.

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Please support us on Patreon, so with this support, we can visit better and better-abandoned places all over the world. You will be able to get the newest blog posts and pictures weeks before they will be published here and on our Facebook page. Also, we are doing live chat sessions with our supporters, so you can hear the really interesting stories about how we find a hidden location, hor how is it possible to enter a place or how can we survive when we are cathed by the security. This behind the scene information is only for the supporting Patreon users. Also, you will be the first to be able to buy a cheaper price for our future printed Urbex photo albums, so early heads up on any new print products just for you.

Maintaining a site like this, with a Facebook page with daily posts needs a lot of time and effort. We created this Club to share our adventures and photos with the world, to keep the memory of these abandoned buildings which might even disappear in the near future forever. Our hope is that visitors enjoy their time here and think about the past, the stories behind the pictures, and maybe we will encourage someone to buy and restore a site.

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The background story of the Block no5 of the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant

The Duga Radar

Duga was an over-the-horizon radar system used as part of the Soviet ballistic missile defense early-warning network during the Cold War. It earned the nickname “Russian Woodpecker” thanks to a repetitive shortwave band tapping interference generated by this 150-meters high antenna. Many conspiracy theories and myths surrounded this top-secret military facility, from shaping weather to mind control experiments, all of which were obviously only legends.

This military base is located in the 30 km zone around Chernobyl in Ukraine, which is the home of the Duga-2 (NATO code: Steel Yard) over-the-horizon missile detection radar belonging to the former Soviet early missile warning system.  After the first experimental system, Duga-1, built near Mykolaiv, Duga-2, installed in the Chernobyl and Homjel area and commissioned in 1976, was the first Soviet over-the-horizon radar in active operation. Its basic task was to detect missile launches on the territory of the United States. The system monitored the change in shell distribution in the ionosphere, which was influenced by rocket launches. The receiver antennas of the system are located at the Chernobyl-2 base, the transmitter was built at the Ljubecs-1 base located in the Chernihiv region, near the Belarusian-Ukrainian border. On Chernobyl-2 and Ljubecs-1 there is a larger and a smaller grid antenna, these provide the two shellac-length modes of the system. The power of the transmitter located at Ljubecs-1 is approx. 8 MW (megawatts). The system was successfully tested first with nearby rocket launches and then with launches over the Pacific Ocean in the evening. The difficulty was caused by the computing capacity of the Soviet computers at the time, which was absolutely necessary for processing the signals.

As expected, such a massive structure consumed quite a lot of power to operate and while I haven’t found any officially published technical specifications, online sources quote up to 10MW. This was likely one of the reasons behind its close proximity to the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Station.

This meant that Duga had its own electrical substation in the nearby forest. A 110kV line from the CHNPP was connected to several massive transformers and distribution boards, which sent electricity to the radar and control buildings. To make things even more interesting, the incoming 110kV overhead power line is still live and simply ends near the substation. A distinctive electrical crackling noise can be heard in the woods.

Just like the Russian Woodpecker control rooms, the place is mostly empty since all valuable equipment was removed spare parts, and scrap metal.

Comprised of two sites it operated from July 1976 to December 1989. The nickname woodpecker originated from a distinctive 10Hz tapping noise generated by the antennas.

Many controversies and conspiracy theories arose around this site. The powerful 10MW signal would often disrupt amateur radio operations, TV broadcasts, and aviation communications at a considerable distance leading to some speculations, the most prominent theory being that Duga was a part of a secret Soviet mind-control experiment. Today only one of the sites remains Duga-2 located in Eastern Siberia was reportedly disassembled and scrapped several years ago.

The frequency of the broadcast varied between 4 and 30 MHz, depending on the highest usable frequency, which is determined by the current state of the ionosphere. At dawn, for example, the band between 14 and 22 MHz was typically used. There are various estimates of the power of the transmitter between 2 and 40 MW. The transmitted signal was pulse modulated, which interfered with the emergency frequencies used in transatlantic flight, so certain specific frequencies were later dropped.

Un radar can be reached by turning off the main road between Lelev and Kopacsi. It used to be marked on maps as a disused pioneer camp.

After the Chernobyl nuclear power plant accident in 1986, the system was decommissioned, but it is still under military custody. Of its two umbrellas, the larger one is 150 meters high, the smaller one 90 meters high and together about 900 m wide, in clear, sunny weather, they can be seen in the evening from the town of Pripyat, which lies just 10 km northeast of it.

Duga-1 is one of the three Soviet ‘over the horizon’ radar stations. A system made for early detection of attacks by ballistic rockets. This radar system was developed in the Soviet Union in the 1950s, during the cold war. The array station was hidden in a forest together with the secret military town Chernobyl-2.

In Soviet countries, all the secret military objects were named after the neighboring cities. Probably the military tried to confuse enemy intelligence this way. Chernobyl-2 was home to families of military personnel that worked at the radar site. The infrastructure of the secret town consisted of two parts. Firstly the Soviet over-the-horizon radar system Duga-1. Secondly the town for military personnel and their family.

The array was put into use at the end of May 1982. Its systems were extremely powerful, over 10 MW in some cases. It broadcasted in the shortwave radio bands. They appeared without warning, sounding like a sharp, repetitive tapping noise, which led to it being nicknamed by shortwave listeners as ‘Russian Woodpecker’. The random frequency hops disrupted legitimate broadcast, amateur radio, commercial aviation communications, and utility transmissions, and resulted in thousands of complaints by many countries worldwide. The Duga-1 consisted of two sites, Chernobyl-2 and Lyubech-1, not far from the town of Chernihiv. The two transmitting antennas were located in Liubech and the two receiving antennas, here in Chernobyl-2. Because of different ways of counting the installations and the secrecy that surrounded them the radar is quite frequently, but incorrectly referred to as Duga-3, when in fact Duga-3 was never constructed.

Until 1985, the Duga was undergoing a series of improvements. In 1986, the radar installation was completely improved and began to undergo a state inspection. No one knows whether it would be possible for developers to bring the system to perfection or not, everything changed on April 26, 1986.

The entire population of the town was hastily evacuated from the radioactive disaster zone a day after the Chernobyl disaster. In this case, the site was on stand-by for over a year, until it became clear that the operation of the radar in an environmental disaster was impossible. Today, the site is still abandoned and only visited by guards and tourists. The radar in Lyubech was demolished in 2000.

Articles and other photos about the Duga Radar

The famous woodpecker sound of the Duga Radar


Videos of the Duga Radar

(Chernobyl) Probably the best DUGA RADAR “how it works” video on youtube! (must see the end!) mrmattandmrchay

Duga Radar Climb in Chernobyl Ukraine Summer of 2021 NDPOL

Chernobyl DRONE 4K ( Pripyat and DUGA-1 ) – goytso

Chernobyl abandoned ghost town | Ep4 – Exploring With Josh

The secret Soviet radar hidden in Chernobyl’s shadow BBC Reel

Magyarok Csernobilban 4. rész. Urbex Hungary – Elhagyatott helyek nyomában

Chernobyl: The Duga radar (Russian Woodpecker) Prepper Hub

Climb Duga-3 Antenna in Chernobyl 2 BilliAF

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