To communicate with submarines patrolling thousands of kilometers distant, China has launched the world’s leading antenna. This antenna is also being utilized to improve civilian-military communications. This antenna’s specific position is unknown, however, it is thought to be somewhere in the Debei Mountains, a designated natural reserve that spans Anhui, Hubei, and Henan provinces. China’s sea power is likely to grow much more with the deployment of this antenna. On land and in the water, the signals sent by this antenna can reach huge distances. This antenna is spread over a radius of 100 km.
The antenna seems to be a large cross when viewed from space. The antenna resembles a typical power line, which is comprised of a network of wires and poles. This antenna is believed to be 100 kilometers long and wide. Copper nodes at the lines’ terminals appear to be firmly lodged in the coarse granite. To power this antenna, two powerful subsurface transmitters have been constructed. If one of the transmitters fails or becomes useless, another can be used. One megawatt of electrical current can be generated by these transmitters.
According to the project’s lead developer Zha Ming and his coworkers from the Wuhan Maritime Communication Research Institute, the antenna was intended to keep underwater communications over 1,900 miles (3,000 kilometers), enough to reach Guam, the largest US military base in the western Pacific Ocean, according to the South China Morning Post.
While the exact position of the massive antenna is uncertain, the team claims it is 620 miles (1,000 kilometers) south of Beijing, 1,242 miles (2,000 kilometers) southeast of Dunhuang in northwest China, and 620 miles (1,000 kilometers) east of Mianyang in Sichuan’s southwestern region.
A paper published in the Chinese Journal of Ship Research details that the receiving devices planted 700 feet (200 m) below the surface on the seafloor can pick up signals from the giant antenna 800 miles (1,300 km) away.
The antenna is made up of a huge network of wires and pylons that are comparable to electricity lines. According to SCMP, the technology works by charging two underground transmitters with electric current, transforming the Earth into a massive radio station.
The Chinese antenna, according to the researchers, is the planet’s first large-scale extremely low frequency (ELF) facility accessible to non-military applications, capable of generating electromagnetic waves between 0.1 and 300 Hz. These waves can easily travel large distances both above and below the surface.
But it wasn’t simple to adapt. If the electric currents get too strong, a magnetic field may form, affecting the conductivity of the cables. As a result, the radio waves created should be fine-tuned. The group noted that they had answers to these issues and that the facility has met or surpassed the preexisting requirements.
The antenna is situated on a 1,400-square-mile complex that took 13 years to finish. The ELF system can detect minerals and oil, as well as communicate with submarines and act as a seismic sensor to understand what happens to the earth before major earthquakes.
However, the latest report from SCMP makes no reference to whether the antenna stations in question are the same, but based on their anticipated position and performance objectives, it’s safe to assume they are.
Experts claim that a submarine hidden hundreds of meters beneath the water can pick up its signals, removing the need for the ship to resurface to receive transmissions. The project follows the completion in 2009 of China’s first military-grade super-low frequency transmission station.
While these signals will primarily be used to transmit and receive vital messages over long regions, researchers have speculated that they could also be used to detect fault lines beneath the surface and assist in the assessment of potential earthquake hazards in Chinese cities.