NO

18

Details of Sighting

Date 8th January 1979 Time Early Morning Place New Zealand

Date 8th January 1979 Time Early Morning Place New Zealand

Date 8th January 1979 Time Early Morning Place New Zealand

Most of the anomalous returns were noticed in the area of the KaikouraCape Campbell coast

Report

OBSERVATIONS OF UNIDENTIFIED RADAR RETURNS ON 50cm HAWKINS HILL RADAR, 8.1.79.

In the early morning of Monday 8.1.79, I kept watch with John Cardy at the Wellington Control Centre. The general consensus of others present before midnight was that there was an inversionwitness echoes from mountains such as Ruapehu to confirm this. In extreme inversions the coast near Wanganui is seen, but it was not seen on Monday morning.

Significant modifications to the radar have taken place since last summer. The effect on the display of anomalous echoes is probably significant, but I have not attempted to verify this assumption.

Anomalous returns which John Cardy could not identify were present all the time, especially between about 1AM and 3AM, when there may have been a dozen present at a time. They all had the appearance of aircraft echoes when seen on the MTI (moving target display). I think they were generally absent when viewing ‘raw video’. I suspect that even the ‘raw video’ was pre-processed somewhat.

Early in the morning we attached no significance to movement of the anomalous returns, but on reflection, I think they were moving quickly outwards, because the afterglow was often visible at shorter range. John had pointed this out at some stage.

Most of the anomalous returns were noticed in the area of the KaikouraCape Campbell coast, but others occurred in Cook Strait and over Marlborough Province. They generally appeared suddenly and lasted for a short time, rarely for more than a few minutes.

A persistent group, seen I think only with raw video, occurred about 15 miles from Christchurch. They moved generally northwards over more than 1 1/2 hours.

Between 0450 and 0500 unusual ‘spotty’ echoes covered the coastline at KaikouraClarence R. John Cardy identified these as rain but there was no rain there at that time.

On the MTI photo at 0219 an echo composed of three spots appears. This was different to all the others seen. It moved northwards and I would identify it as a ship seen on ‘raw video’ photos later, moving at about 11 knots, passing Cape Campbell at about 0340. Another ship was tracked from the Brothers westwards for an hour at about 17 knotsthis was visible on [THE] MTI.

The most interesting example was seen to be moving radially outwards at 172º at an erratic 100150 knots for 1015 minutes. It was 5060 N.MILES from Wellington. Although we did not notice when it first became visible, it disappeared quite quickly at about 0445.

W. Ireland
9.1.79.

Raw Video of the Anomalous Returns (/4)

Report taken from file number
AIR 1080/6/897 Volume 1

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