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Blick auf Pitigliano

"Ice Station Zebra" - NATO radio station

The abandoned NATO radio station in the Apuan Alps - also known by the more romantic Urbex code name "Ice Station Zebra" - was built as part of the ACE High communications network during the Cold War in the late 1950s. The 5 hectare site was in operation from 1958 to 1995. The development of satellite communications made the network obsolete. It is still managed by NATO, but in 2005 a group of amateur radio enthusiasts were given permission to rehabilitate the radio systems for civilian use.

The journey is quite tedious. After about an hour's drive from the coast, the access road was no longer passable with a normal car (SUV was still working). So leave the car and walk 4 km up the street. That was from 1300 meters in altitude to almost 1500 meters. We arrived after about 50 minutes. There were warning signs everywhere, but an open entrance was quickly found. The houses were neglected. The 4 large parabolic antennas with a diameter of 20 meters are still in good condition and make the Urbexer heart beat faster. Two of them face France while the other two face Rome. But there were many cameras in the building, probably because of the telecommunications technology. So quickly took a few photos, enjoyed the wonderful view and hiked back down. I haven't met anyone.

The ACE-High-System - "Allied Command Europe Tropospheric Forward Scatter Communication System", is a connected long-range communication system. This globally operating communication and monitoring system led in the north of Europe from the Faroe Islands, north through Denmark and Norway to the Soviet border and south through England, Belgium and Germany to Italy. From there it continued via Greece to Turkey, where the ACE-High system also ended at the border of the Soviet Union and the Warsaw Pact. This communication system controlled by NATO with a very high technical and uniform standard at the time (security against eavesdropping and encryption of the information) has to connect the most important operational centers and the radar outposts, which were installed scattered in the various European NATO countries. The high-power UHF emissions directed by parabolic antennas were scattered back to the earth in the troposphere (troposcatter), which enabled long ranges to be achieved. The advantage of ACE High was that such connections would still work if shortwave connections were impaired after the use of nuclear weapons. The system was used for upper management.

 

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