Radar dishes at RAF Stenigot
Abandoned Radar Dishes, RAF Stenigot, Lincolnshire
They were once the forefront of communication technology, but now four huge tropospheric scatter dishes lie abandoned in a unique pile of scrap metal on a Lincolnshire hill.
At RAF Stenigot, the dishes formed part of the Ace High communications network, which passed military messages from the 1950s. But the site was in use well before that.
RAF Stenigot from above
The huge mast which is still on the site today, originally formed part of the Chain Home Radar - giving crucial early warning of German Attack during the Second World war. But now it has a whole new use - as the UK's leading training centre for military personnel learning how to operate safely at height.
As new microwave communications technology was developed in the in the 1980's, the tropospheric scatter systems became redundant and so the dishes at Stenigot were abandoned. The cost of removing the dishes though proved too much, which is why they still lie in this field today.
Flt Lt Rob Hitchen
Flt Lt Rob Hitchen from the Aerial Erector School says, "They're enormous - each dish is about twenty metres in diameter. It must have been quite a major construction to get them installed in the first place. They were used as a communications relay station, firing signals off into the ether, rebounding off the troposphere and being received at base."
"They're massive structures made of solid metal, and it's part of the development leading on to what we have now with modern satellite communications. This was a route through to that."
Cpl Paul Topping - Aerial Erector
Cpl Paul Topping - Aerial Erector adds, "Every time we come along, we're always training different people. We tell all of them the same story about how it helped us in the battle of Britain, and how the Luftwaffe tried to knock it out. It's steeped in history and it's good to see that these structures are being used over and over again."
"It's nice to know that something that was put here all that time ago, is still standing and still being used."
So what remains are these huge scrap dishes on one side, abandoned to the elements - but the original mast has now found a new use, with a crucial role in our country's defence.
last updated: 03/10/2008 at 16:50