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RAF Ringstead (486L-Medcom)

Last modified: 16 Jul 2020

Country: United Kingdom    Region: Dorset

Locale: Ringstead village

Latitude: 50° 37' 54" N     Longitude: -3° 38' 18" E

Area use / Military Branches: Demolished


50°38'3"N 2°20'36"W Former Ringstead Chain Home radar staton (WW2)

50°37'55"N 2°21'43"W Former Ringstead Bay troposcatter station in the 48Lima Medcom system. Closed 1972; demolished 1975.

In the 1960's RAF Ringstead.Troposcatter commolink site to Spain (Gorramendi). The 486L, Medcom communications chain. stands for MEDiterranean COMmand, operational as of 1966 spanning the Mediterranean from Spain to the Near East. A network with sites in Spain, Sardenia, Sicily, Italy, Greece, Crete and Turkey.

In 1963, the longe-range link direct to Spain was built at Ringstead Bay operating across hundreds of miles to Spain. Using massive billboard-style reflectors to direct enormous amounts of HF energy into the troposphere, these ‘tropospheric scatter’ communications networks were all over the world

Frequencies used ranged from 832 - 959MHz. The emission mode was F9 (frequency modulation, miscellaneous), and output powers typically 10- 50kW. Throw in the colossal antenna gain from the 80ft dishes and you can imagine the kind of power they radiated (up to 10Megawatt) .
With the 490L AUTOVON switches installed, any MEDCOM user was able to use the world-wide US military communications network.

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