Hungary and the Moon

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Hungary and the Moon

Post by wm » 27 Mar 2021 09:40

When Germany attacked the Soviet Union in the summer of 1941, [Zoltán Lajos] Bay was a professor in the Budapest Institute of Technology. Hungary then became an ally of the Axis powers, and Bay was asked by the Hungarian government to develop a radar system for use against Soviet aircraft.
Without any access to German radar developments he succeeded in producing a radar working on a wavelength of 2.5 meters, which went into service with the Hungarian army in 1944.

By that time Bay had collected a considerable group of scientists and technicians, and he decided to develop a moon radar system on a wavelength of 50 centimeters. His laboratory then suffered a succession of disasters, first from Allied bombing raids and then from the invasion by the Soviet army and the siege of Budapest.
By March 1945 he was able to make another start, but this time the Soviets dismantled and transported to the Soviet Union his laboratory and the factory manufacturing the Hungarian radar equipment.

In August of 1945 Bay made his fourth attempt to construct a moon radar system, and this time he succeeded—but in a most unconventional manner. He had no means of constructing a sophisticated receiver and display system ... He solved the problem of integrating the reflected signals for a long period by displaying the receiver output on a battery of ten water voltameters. Most of the voltameters received receiver noise only, but one also received and integrated the reflected radar signal from the moon.
On 6 February 1946 one of the voltameters showed a significant excess of hydrogen over the other nine after receiving the signals reflected from the moon for thirty minutes.
By any standards this was a remarkable result of persistence in the face of most extraordinary hazards ...

When Bay approached me at a reception before my lecture in Philadelphia in 1981, he clearly did not expect me to remember his lunar experiment of thirty-five years earlier, but I never could forget the complete astonishment with which we heard the news that a scientist in the Hungary of 1946 had made radar contact with the moon. For those of us who thought the only means of displaying a radar signal was on a cathode-ray tube, the story of the water voltameters seemed a fantasy.
Astronomer By Chance Hardcover by Bernard Lovell

Sid Guttridge
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Re: Hungary and the Moon

Post by Sid Guttridge » 27 Mar 2021 12:10

Hi wm,

I was a bit sceptical and so went digging.

Yup, the Hungarians did have their own radar up and running by 1944.

I highly recommend the following link: ... er=7909883

It has drawings, maps, photos and a detailed text.

Thanks for drawing our attention to this.



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Re: Hungary and the Moon

Post by Futurist » 30 Mar 2021 00:48

Sid, this Wikipedia article might also interest you: ... 0in%202016.

But Yes, wm, extremely interesting information! Thanks for sharing! :)

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