Exclusive - Secret Soviet Transmitter alarms Nato Chiefs - By Martin Jackson.
Daily Mail - London - Saturday December 18 1978
A MYSTERY radio transmitter in the heart of Russia is causing havoc to Western broadcasting.
Last night the BBC asked the Government to make an official complaint to the Russians over its "Blacked out" broadcasts.
NATO defence experts have traced the transmitter to Gomel in Belorussia, an industrial town 175 miles south-east of Minsk.
The transmissions were first heard five months ago. Recently they have been stepped up, and occur for five minutes three or four times every 24 hours.
They make a "woodpecker" sound in the middle of programmes which infuriates the broadcasters - and alarms defence experts who believe it is a dramatic new extension in Russian military build-up.
Mr Dafydd Williams, chief engineer of BBC External Broadcasting said: "We have never heard such radio-transmissions before.
"We think it has something to do with Soviet Defence. It operates on a very low frequency, but is so powerful it spreads all over the short-wave.
"The transmitter must be 20 or 40 megawatts or even more, audible in every part of the globe."
First thought of defence experts was that the transmitter is over-the-horizon radar.
The West has similar radar installations but they do not cause such massive interference to domestic broadcasting.
A senior radio engineer said; "In the event of nuclear war, the ionosphere could be destroyed.
"You would need transmitters of this power to continue communications to your submarine and missile bases.
"Certainly the present transmissions seem to be directed at Russian submarines and ships."
Other Western broadcasters are expected to join the BBC in seeking diplomatic pressure to curb the interference.
Last September the Canadian Government protested to the Russians.