JAMMING by Rimantas Pleikys

p. 55

JAMMING FROM A JEWISH CEMETERY

When the Soviet Union collapsed, some low power jammers (especially in the Baltic States) were dismantled. One of these jammers, installed shortly after World War II at a Jewish cemmetery in the seaport of Klaipėda was also dismantled (the chapel was returned to believers). In another city - Šiauliai - the closed jammer was converted into a cafe. In Vilnius, one of the short wave jamming transmitters has been retuned to medium waves (1485 kHz) and leased to commercial radio station "Radiocentras". By the way, it's not true that all jammers were directly subordinate to the KGB or army. At least in the Baltic "republics", civil telecommunication ministries were in charge.

Jamming accelerated the decline of Soviet prestige since it was heard all over the globe. Listeners in all countries knew that this cacophony was "Made in USSR". On November 30, 1988, at the height of Gorbachev's perestroika many jamming veterans were in shock over their future employment prospects, when they suddenly got Moscow's command to switch off all the jammers. There were a lot of elderly people, many heavy drinkers among them, that were able to retire. The younger people, however, could not all find normal jobs in radio and television transmitting stations in the new market economy. Nobody could say for sure if their skills would be necessary in the future. The whole world was praying during the attempted coups in Moscow to keep the hard-line communists from returning to power. If they win someday, I have no doubt, that the dinosaurs of the cold war would pollute the short-wave spectrum once again. It must be kept in mind that many of the Russian jamming sites are still preserved. Let's wish them an eternal "sleep" or change the profession of "radio defence" to normal broadcasting. The jamming system of the USSR employed about 10,000 people (A.Snyder). A standard groundwave station usually covering a 100,000 population city (or a greater one) was run by a staff of aprrox. 20 people. Larger skywave stations could employ over a hundred.

BACK TO THE LIST OF CHAPTERS