An abandoned tropospheric communications station

On top of St. Michael Hill near the city of Anadyr, a number of huge non-operational antennas are towering.

Years ago, the Yukon tropospheric communications station was located there as well as a local civilian TV broadcasting center. Due to the reduction in the armed forces and the development of satellite communication technology, there was no need to go on with the costly maintenance of the tropospheric station and it was shut down in 2003. The broadcasting center lasted a decade longer.

The station is located 10 km (6 miles) away from the city, and the easiest way to get there is to take a taxi. The car will take you up to the very top, where a small piste was opened a while ago.

The grounds are looked after, but the piste keeper and his dog do not mind my taking a tour of the station, and it even seems that they have mistaken me for a local.

The windows of the one-storey building of the broadcasting center are bricked up. Maybe it was done to protect it from the wind, or maybe from thieves. However, it didn’t help to save the equipment from being taken apart by someone, and not a long time ago.

The control rooms are full of remnants of equipment that grow into tall piles in places.

Having left the center, I moved on to the tropospheric station antennas. While paraboloid antennas are commonly known as “dishes”, these are dubbed “burdock leaves” in Russia for their shape.

Being about nine storeys tall, they can be spotted from a few dozen miles away in the tundra. The Yukon station was a hub that connected three lines of communication: the city of Magadan, the Bering Strait and the coast of the Laptev Sea.

Under the evening sky, the worn-out R-410 type dish antennas look into the sunset with sadness, waiting to receive the signals that are gone forever.

Images by RALPH MIREBS, reproduced with permission

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