Report number: 110/2010

Title Cooling Radio Station, Hoo Peninsula, Kent: An Archaeological Investigation of a Short-Wave Receiving Station
Summary In August 2010, English Heritage’s Archaeological Survey and Investigation team carried out an investigation of the remains of Cooling Radio Station. The station was constructed in 1938 to house the ‘Multiple Unit Steerable Antenna’ (MUSA) system developed by Friis and Feldman in the 1930s. The MUSA array was the last major technological development in the short-wave communication era and represented the ultimate short-wave receiving system. It is believed that only two other stations using the MUSA system were built in the world: the experimental array constructed near Holmdel, New Jersey, and one other full array at Manahawkin, New Jersey. Unlike the mechanical operating system employed at Manahawkin, Cooling Radio Station was unique as it was controlled by an electrical phaseshifting system. In total, the receiving equipment at Cooling utilised 1,079 valves making it both complicated and expensive. The MUSA system was probably the most complex radio receiver ever built and gave valuable service between the 1940s and 1960s. Prior to the rise of satellites and the end of the short-wave era, an experimental short-wave receiving system was constructed at Cooling. The ‘Multiple Direction Universally Steerable Aerial System’ (MEDUSA) had the potential to be the next major development in global shortwave communication. During the early years of the Second World War, an Admiralty direction finding (D/F) station was located near to the apparatus building at Cooling. This station was part of a network which played a vital role in the war against the U-boats.
Series Research Department Reports
Pages 73
  • Gregory, D
  • Newsome, S