Sugar Grove Station was an outpost designed to listen in on Soviet radio signals reflected off the moon. How would this work? Wouldn't the radio signals be distorted by the imperfect surface of the moon? And wouldn't they also be extremely weak since they wouldn't be beamed directly at the moon?

  • $\begingroup$ Consider that there may be a reason the original mission of the station was changed. The military was trying many different ideas at the time, and not all of them ended up being viable. $\endgroup$ – Peyton B Apr 7 '17 at 17:45

I can't comment in detail but Earth-Moon-Earth communication at radio wavelengths is well established.

At wavelengths longer than a few cm (frequencies below 10 GHz), the Moon appears smooth and acts like a reflective sphere as far as radio waves are concerned.

  • $\begingroup$ I'm a licensed HAM operator. The physics are correct, but in practice EME is hard, due to the extreme distance. You need both ends of the comm channel to actively pursue this goal, it won't happen by accident. As for the station described by the OP, I guess with a large enough budget you could probably catch a whiff of the strongest transmissions being reflected back by the Moon, but I doubt you'll get a good reception. $\endgroup$ – Florin Andrei Apr 7 '17 at 20:28
  • $\begingroup$ @FlorinAndrei There's rather a lot of difference between the best HAM receiver and the stuff the spook shops build to extract radar signal from noise :-) $\endgroup$ – Carl Witthoft Apr 10 '17 at 12:23

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