back to article RAF radar station crew begs public for cash to buy gaming LAN kit

We invite readers to spare a thought today for the operatives at the Royal Air Force's Remote Radar Head (RRH) Staxton Wold tentacle which, while forming a vital part of the UK's Air Surveillance And Control System (ASACS), is apparently no better suited to civilised living than when the Romans first planted a beacon there in …

  1. qwertyuiop
    Go

    *ULTRA* reliable!

    came online in April 1939, and as the last operating example, claims to be "the world's oldest [continually operating] radar site"

    Bloody hell! 76 years with no downtime - that's amazing!

    1. TonyJ Silver badge

      Re: *ULTRA* reliable!

      Bloody hell! 76 years with no downtime - that's amazing!

      Not sure about that. Can't imagine a 76 year old radar would detect modern threats at all, let alone in time.

      I rather suspect they mean that there has been an operational presence for that entire time.

      At first I thought it was a bit tongue-in-cheek but the article closing statements did make a good point.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: *ULTRA* reliable!

        ISTR that the 1st gen stealth aircraft were designed to be invisible to the kind of high tech short wavelength radar that the US military uses. Apparently the aircraft can be seen quite clearly by a skilled operator of the obsolete longer wavelength radars that are still in use in some poorer parts of the world.

        1. gazthejourno (Written by Reg staff)

          Re: Re: *ULTRA* reliable!

          I am told modern anti-aircraft radars are capable of painting an actual picture of the target's outline on the operator's screen, allowing visual identification the old-fashioned way many tens of miles away. That suggests some kind of super-duper-ultra-mega-high frequency setup.

        2. Voland's right hand Silver badge

          Re: *ULTRA* reliable!

          Also, it becomes visible instantaneously the moment it prepares to fire. All the wonderful radar signature decrease magic goes straight to hell at that point.

          Serbians picked it up from 60km out during the NATO bombing campaign and nailed it for 6 at that point.

          In fact, when you take into account that the time to target for a lot of AA missiles is under 30 seconds the whole idea of stealth starts to look a bit ridiculous.

          1. Trigonoceps occipitalis

            Re: *ULTRA* reliable!

            "prepares to fire"

            Surely you mean "Uncloaks"?

      2. qwertyuiop

        Re: *ULTRA* reliable!

        <sigh>@TonyJ, it's my own fault for not using the Joke Alert icon. I didn't actually think that it was the same system...

        1. Chris Harden

          Re: *ULTRA* reliable!

          It's the same brush, I've replaced the head and the handle at various time, but the same brush I've been using.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Thumb Up

      Re: *ULTRA* reliable!

      I would imagine it does not use a computer! Prob some kind of analogue machine that works really well!

    3. the spectacularly refined chap

      Re: *ULTRA* reliable!

      Bloody hell! 76 years with no downtime - that's amazing!

      It's a continuously operating radar site which is distinct and more easily achieved than maintaining operations of any equipment on that site.

  2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    Look before you leap

    "keep the skies safe 24-hours a day 365-days a year"

    Next February - be afraid; be very afraid.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Coat

      Re: Look before you leap

      "Next February - be afraid; be very afraid."

      Yep, I know exactly what you mean. Valentine's Day. Expense I seriously don't need so soon after Christmas.

  3. This post has been deleted by its author

  4. Stuart 22

    If you are Russian, please look away now ...

    Yep, another smart move by our brilliant lads to deceive the enemy by highlighting this decoy site to attract incoming when the balloon goes up.

    The lack of any connectivity with civilisation or even Yorkshire gives it away. Shame on you Reg for publishing a picture of the real comms hub. Beer will be spilt!

  5. Pete 2 Silver badge

    Buy your way in

    Let's just sit back and see how long it is until the station receives a donation of LAN equipment from, say, Iran, the PRC or N. Korea. I'm sure it would all be perfectly fine and that there would be no chance it would have any backdoors, bugs, covert comms channels, spyware or other nasties.

    1. 2460 Something

      Re: Buy your way in

      By the sounds of it they are building an isolated LAN. If they had internet access they wouldn't need to be setting this up in the first place....

  6. bpfh Bronze badge
    Go

    Can't provide cash, can help provide kit...

    Got spare cables and 40 port HP gigabit ethernet switches... What's their mailing address?

    1. Peter2 Silver badge

      Re: Can't provide cash, can help provide kit...

      From this:-

      http://www.raf.mod.uk/organisation/stations.cfm?selectStation=9E1391FE-AF20-CAFC-2BB5532364919C64

      and the article i'd guess this would be the correct mailing address:-

      Mr S Grundy

      Radar Technician

      RRH Staxton Wold

      Scarborough

      North Yorkshire

      YO12 4TJ

      I'm not sure if they'd be allowed to run their own cables internally though, the defence housing agency gets pretty shitty with people doing DIY repairs on publicly owned properties IIRC, so i'd hate to think what they'd say about drilling holes for wiring the place. Wifi might be a better option for them if anybody has one of those wifi hotpoints that Misco were trying hard to give away to business customer decision makes if they'd endure an hour long sales spiel recently? I skipped this because I hate salesdroids, but if anybody has one going spare then it'd probably be more useful than cable.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Can't provide cash, can help provide kit...

        That's a vendor promotion not ours, we just like to get customers signed up because it makes us feel warm and fuzzy inside. You should give it a try, if only because they give you a decent AP, and since it's given to you rather than your company you're well within your rights to flog it on eBay if you don't want it (whether that's ethical or not is up to you).

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Should they be using copper between buildings that are probably on different phases of the electricity supply? Surely that comes with a risk of mains voltage being present on the LAN? (in a fault condition obviously)

    Best practice would be to use fibre surely? I'm sure there are some local data cabling bodies who'd do it or the local ham radio soc - they'd probably do it for an anoraks' weekend out.

    1. Simon Harris Silver badge

      But isn't there generally an isolation transformer between the ethernet controller and the cable?

      1. Tom 7 Silver badge

        Re Isolation

        or was that Midi?

        1. jbuk1

          Re: Re Isolation

          midi certainly uses optoisolators on input.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      " I'm sure there are some local data cabling bodies who'd do it or the local ham radio soc - they'd probably do it for an anoraks' weekend out."

      They probably would do it for a day out... however the likleyhood of anyone being allowed onto an operating military site without at least SC Clearance is non existent.

  8. notowenwilson

    Cancelled

    Looks like the kickstarter campaign has been cancelled.

    1. 2+2=5 Silver badge
      Joke

      Re: Cancelled

      > Looks like the kickstarter campaign has been cancelled.

      We need to start another one asking for a subscription to Wireless World -- 'cos he's going to need something to put down the back of his trousers when he gets hauled up in front of the CO.

    2. Mark 85 Silver badge

      Re: Cancelled

      The update points that out. Perhaps gofundme would have been a better choice than Kickstarter?

  9. casaloco

    No TV

    Sky? You're telling me they can't put up a small Sky dish?

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

    2. Tim Brown 1
      Mushroom

      Re: No TV

      Indeed, you do rather fear for the safety of the free world if, with all their kit, all they can manage is 'intermittent tv signals'.

      "Is that a missle heading our way? Never mind, it's gone now, must have been a glitch... wait, its back... no gone again.... back... gone... perhaps if you go and stand in the corner next to the window?"

      Oh and Freesat would I'm sure be adequate and save them between £40 and £80 quid a month!

  10. 2460 Something
    Go

    Cancelled

    Cancelled by the time I looked. Good call on the closing ed. comments, I would hope, however, that the type of people that put their hand in their pocket for something like this probably already support www.helpforheroes.org.uk.

    1. auburnman

      Re: Cancelled

      I was of the impression that Kickstarter was only for projects that aimed to make something for their backers i.e. prepaid sales transactions, not seeking donations. They probably got punted for being on the wrong platform.

  11. Britt
    Facepalm

    LAN Gaming

    Highlights the rather annoying lack of LAN gaming native to most recent games and the requirement to phone home to a server just to play locally.

    Gimme back my Day of Defeat LAN games!

    1. DavCrav Silver badge

      Re: LAN Gaming

      For me I had two computers in my room when I was a teenager, and played two-player co-op Diablo. Over a serial cable mind, none of this fancy stuff.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Priorities

    So. There's a pub 800m away. I believe that the CEP of a SS-18 Satan MIRV can be as low as 220 metres, depending on the variant. Assuming a yield of 750 Kt, and having watched 'Nuclear Explosions Explained', from the 'Protect and Survive' series of Public Information Films, I believe the pub should emerge relatively unscathed from any attack. Phew. As long as the staff camp out in the cellar for a fortnight (there would be worse places to ride out the apocalypse), and giving them some time to get the white paint off the windows, they should be good to continue selling Bitter to thirsty punters within a month. Locals : hope that puts your minds at rest.

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Priorities

      So what you're saying is, in the event of a thermonuclear war we should go to the pub, have a nice cold pint, and wait for all of this to blow over? Perfect!

      1. DavCrav Silver badge

        Re: Priorities

        Yes, but dogs *can* look up.

        1. Hellcat

          Re: Priorities

          Remain indoors, and remember

          Do not think about the event.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Priorities

        "[...] we should go to the pub, have a nice cold pint, and wait for all of this to blow over?"

        Don't forget your towel.

      3. bpfh Bronze badge

        Re: Priorities

        No, that only works for the zombie apocalypse...

    3. martinusher Silver badge

      Re: Priorities

      "Protect and Survive" was a masterpiece of misinformation, cobbled together on the basis of keeping the plebs quiet until they discovered the reality ... by which time it would be too late for them. You might recall that the UK's civil defense strategy used to be to bottle up the urban population in the cities. The road system was set up so that a network of improved roads bypassed cities and could serve as choke points to contain population movements.

      That's all back in the good 'ole Cold War days. These guys were quite serious about this, they fully expected at least a third of the UK's population to be killed. Post Cold War we might have forgotten just how callous these people were towards us but now they seem to be back in retro-CW mode we might want to remind ourselves just how regressive and nasty they were.

      Incidentally, it wouldn't surprise me to discover that a state of the art radar station was full of state of the art kit -- from the 1970s.

      1. This post has been deleted by its author

  13. Vordicae

    morale support needed!

    I Utterly Disagree with the closing editorial !

    There I said it, positive discrimination is still discrimination, boys and girls.

    Just because one has not had his leg blown off in active duty does not make their contribution any more or less deserving.

    and while the radar boys claims of keeping the skies safe might be a bit melodramatic I honestly can sympathise

    having sat for 6-months in Bosnian communication blackholes and wondered how the hell to get some entertainment going.

    Outside of "Going to the Pub!"

    1. Hans 1 Silver badge

      Re: morale support needed!

      >having sat for 6-months in Bosnian communication blackholes and wondered how the hell to get some entertainment going.

      I hope you are not a French General ... like the guy who stood on a tank and said:"We will protect you!" to a bunch of Muslims, hours before Serbian forces deported and murdered 'em all. I heard he has now a hefty retirement plan ...

  14. flearider

    at 23-37k you would think they could do it themselves ..

    shame on them for asking ..fair enough if they where posted somewhere unsafe .

  15. Alan J. Wylie

    Scrounge some bandwidth from GCHQ

    Staxton Wold is less than 5km from GCHQ Scarborough, as mentioned Yesterday

    They are both on hills, with low ground in between and probably have line-of-sight between them

    http://www.megalithia.com/elect/terrain.php?Make=-1&ngr=TA021778&bht=10&ngr1=TA011867&daod=10&dname=&dht=0&go=go

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Scrounge some bandwidth from GCHQ

      Scrounge some bandwidth from GCHQ

      Staxton Wold is less than 5km from GCHQ Scarborough, as mentioned Yesterday

      They are both on hills, with low ground in between and probably have line-of-sight between them

      .. and it's not like they're short of dishes :)

  16. Mike Richards

    Alternative explanation

    The budget cuts at the MoD are rather deeper than we think and these guys are actually building a new radar station one kickstarted doohickey at a time.

    We'll know if next week they ask for money to buy some little round television screens and a spinny-around dish on a pole, preferably one that gives a reassuring PING! when it spots Ivan (forgive the deeply technical nature of the language).

  17. Elmer Phud

    Cheeky

    This is just for training purposes.

    A ruse to get the public to fund drone training and simialr.

    Games, my arse.

    I read Last Starfighter, I know what it's all about.

    (Where the F is the tin-foil hat icon?)

    1. phuzz Silver badge
      Black Helicopters

      Re: Cheeky

      Instead of the tinfoil hat, you have the Black helicopter coming to silence you.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Cheeky

        Instead of the tinfoil hat, you have the Black helicopter coming to silence you.

        Is that what that icon is? Here I thought it meant "No Tadpoles" ;)

  18. Joey M0usepad Silver badge

    is kickstarter just a begging site now? or would a donator get some return on that investment?

    1. spot

      The inestimable pleasure of a good deed in a naughty world, Joey.

    2. Stevie Silver badge

      is kickstarter just a begging site now?

      Only if you fall for the pitch.

      Move on. No Harm. No Foul.

  19. Horatio

    Pleasant

    Scarborough? Pleasant? Ha!

    I suppose if you get straight off the train, head to the beach, build sandcastles and then go home again it can look fairly respectable.

    Of course, most of the tourist sites have been sold of/closed down/turned into flats/etc by successive councils. Still plenty to do; head into town into one of the many cheap lager houses and get assaulted by the locals (who, to this day, keep a "league table" of the hardest man in Scarborough. i.e. which jobless pleb has assaulted the most visitors/tourists recently. Yes, it is 2015 and a town full of grown men care about such things!). Or one could head into old-town into one of many run-down pubs for a pint and a side serving of knife-crime, and finish your night off in one of the towns night clubs, where the 2 for 1 drink offer extends to how many times you are likely to get bottled/glassed per drink ("free ammunition hour", as it is known locally).

    Just when you thought you couldn't have any more fun at the fair you could head into one of the town's many former Bed and Breakfast establishments, now set up as "Vacancies for Smack Heads" hostels, which cater en-mass for the region's drug & benefit tourists. How about a walk in one of the many nice parks, where you are sure to bump into solvent abusers getting ripped on petrol/glue/butane/deodorant/whatever (who will probably rob you, AND THEN assault you)?

    The more discerning visitor might like to head into one of the sprawling estates (Barrowcliff or Eastfield), where he/she can get stabbed AND beaten up AND mugged (3 for the price of 1!) by a smack head, rather than (or possibly, as well as) an alcoholic glue sniffer, and then run over by a 49 year old car thief/smack-head/alcoholic/glue-sniffing chav, out on day release for the 32nd time from a sentence imposed for car theft in 1984.

    This infomercial was brought to you by the Scarborough-tourism-board.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Pleasant

      Umm... Sounds a bit like where I live, in East Anglia.

      Posted anon, obviously.

    2. Sgt_Oddball Silver badge

      Re: Pleasant

      Why the hell do you think I moved to leeds? A lot safer ,and I've not been hit once in 10 years since I moved.

    3. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: Pleasant

      "head to the beach, build sandcastles "

      Only if you check the tide times first. There's not even a beach when the tide's in.

  20. jbuk1

    It appears the kickstarter has been cancelled. I was going to donate too.

    Shame.

    1. omnicent
      Unhappy

      I did manage to donate something but got an email today saying its been refunded, no unreal tournament for them then...

      (Guess when I stopped playing LAN games :-) )

  21. x 7

    I wonder what the broadbands like at Mount Pleasant or Ascension? Or Benbecula if you want something closer to home...

  22. deanb01

    The Stark Truth

    Fair play to them. Even S.H.I.E.L.D agents get to play Galaga whilst on duty.

  23. Dan 10

    Why the criticism?

    So then, no-one is allowed to ask for anything because there is always someone less fortunate than you? What a load of cobblers.

    That said, at £500 between a group, I don't see why they don't just crack on. Add a bit of generosity from the likes of bpfh (above, re switches) and you're away. When I felt a bit remote in the Falklands, I ended up saving £3k in 4 months, get to it lads!

  24. Zmodem

    get a Pluto R2418N wi-fi access point, £150 from hong kong and suppose to have 7Km range

    http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Pluto-R2418N-150M-Wireless-Outdoor-Access-Points-Bridge-Client-PoE-18dBi-Antenna-/350915240262?hash=item51b42da146

    1. x 7

      wheres the 7km come from?

      Specs seem to indicate just 150m

      1. Zmodem

        its 150mbs and 7km is mention in the paragraph details

        if there are only 12 people, 150mbs should be alright, a 300mbs version is linked at the bottom of the page

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