The Autovon Exchange at Ipswich was one of the first places I visited when I started this hobby. Annoyingly I was thwarted and couldn’t get in. Visit two and three were the same. But with the help of Abo, today we finally got in.
Put simply, Autovon was an (initially American) telephone system for it’s defence. It allowed priority calling etc. I can’t even begin to describe what the place was used for, but SubBrit has a pretty damn good piece.
The exchange at Ipswich closed in the 1990s and has suffered at the hands of vandals ever since. In the last year or so, Suffolk Aviation Heritage Museum have been working on site to restore it – judging by what we saw today, they have quite a job ahead of them.
Tropospheric forward scatter radio systems (the masts)
The three masts on site can be seen from miles around. They’re rather impressive, but unclimbable – the ladders have been cut off. There used to be five apparently.
Main Operations Building
This is where loads of things happened. It was totally smashed up inside though.
We have no idea how, but when we were leaving we noticed that one of the buildings was three storeys high. We didn’t see *any* stairs inside which could’ve led up to it. Odd.
Some electronic equipment
Pigeons seem to be living in this stuff. Much to our annoyance. Photographing a switch – bam, pigeon in face. Damn things.
The radioactive room
We found a lovely blue corridor. It had a few little rooms.
This rather innocent looking door was totally sealed up. Fortunately someone had kicked(/pneumatic drilled?) through the wall. Inside on the back of the (double) door was a huge sign – “CAUTION RADIATION AREA”. Woah. Inside the room though was nothing but an air conditioning system..
ETA Radio System Building
This was sealed up pretty tight. BunkerTours explains what this was used for too.