Caught in a crush of afternoon rush-hour traffic at the 405 Freeway in West Los Angeles, I flipped the dial of the radio in search of some classical music to calm my nerves.
Los Angeles drivers are terrors on wheels!
Suddenly, I caught a few words of an announcer floating across the airwaves which intrigued me.
"H.A.A.R.P. is a scientific research facility, located near Gakona, in the remote Alaskan outback and is a joint Navy and Air Force project. This facility is used to study the earth's ionosphere, the electrically-charged belt surrounding our planet's upper atmosphere, ranging between 40 to 60 miles from its surface."
More specifically, the host of the show stressed, H.A.A.R.P. is a controversial high frequency radio transmitter, or "ionospheric heater.
On the surface, explanations about the project sounded innocent enough.
The Military intends to use this billion-watt pulsed radio beam in our upper atmosphere, to create extremely low frequency waves, or ELF waves. This technology will enhance communications with submarines and allow us to "see" into the Earth, detecting anything from oil reserves (a-ha!) to underground military targets.
I don't mean to H.A.A.R.P, but my immediate reaction was a negative one.
If H.A.A.R.P. was being strictly facilitated for humanitarian reasons - for research designed to better our daily lives on the planet - such as to cure disease, heal the environment, or forewarn of impending global disasters - wouldn't the project be run by scientists instead of the military?
Later that evening, I cruised over to the H.A.A.R.P. website, which Internet users can access without requiring a password or user I.D.
A ubiquitous notice posted at the web site caught my eye.
The webmaster invited visitors to roam freely about the web site which is run by the Government in tandem with the Military.
However, the curious are warned that the site is being monitored.
Well, if you spy two mysterious-looking dudes in black suits lurking outside your door one day - just maybe - you managed to access some highly-classified material without knowing it.
H.A.A.R.P.'s roots can be traced back to the work of Nikola Tesla, a Yugoslavian Scientist, who's achievements include the Tesla Coil or "magnifying transmitter" which is till used in televisions and radio today.
What is the nifty little gadget used for?
The Transmitter generates extremely low frequency (ELF) waves for communicating with submerged submarines and conduct geophysical probes (!) to identify and characterize natural ionospheric process so that techniques can be developed to mitigate or control them.
See the connection with your TV set or radio?
If you do, then you'll understand why a handful of H.A.A.R.P activists fear that the Military may be experimenting with Tesla's concept with the ultimate aim of mind control.
In fact, a handful of individuals are involved in a concerted effort to shut down the facility, because they believe that the main motive of the Military personnel behind the project, is to harness the Earth's ionosphere for combat and defense purposes.
In a nutshell, the military is capable of generating an ionospheric lens capable of focusing large amounts of high frequency energy, thus providing a means of triggering ionospheric processes that may be potentially exploited for a Department of Defense Electron acceleration of infrared (IR).
In addition, they intend to utilize other optical emissions which could be facilitated to control radio wave propagation properties and/or generate geomagnetic field aligned ionization to control the reflection/scattering properties of radio waves.
The remarkable tool is also capable of using oblique heating to produce effects on radio wave propagation, thus broadening the potential military applications for ionospheric enhancement technology.
The way the site managers put it, the applications being considered at the facility in Alaska, are relatively harmless.
Critics lament that it is a bold-faced lie.
Curiously, when I first attempted to "cut" and "paste" a section quoted above for this article, something eerie happened.
When I attempted to "paste" the section into the " space" in the edit box below the intro to the post, the data did not appear to transfer at the click of my mouse.
A second try did not deliver up any positive results either.
However, when I scrolled up to proof-read the information I had written thus far on the subject, I was taken aback to learn that the "pasted" material entered the edit box farther up the page and superimposed itself over another section.
The end result?
There appeared to be a coded message before me in some alien computer-speak!
Puzzled, I keyed in the save button, and proceeded to start fresh with a new post.
One of life's mysteries?
Or, was I a part of a H.A.A.R.P. experiment - set into motion by scientists unbeknownst to me - at the diabolical facility in Alaska that evening?
Scientists in the employ of the Government have revealed technical aspects of the project at the site in a bold-faced effort to allay the fears of skeptical nay-sayers.
The ionospheric Research Observatory will be a major Arctic Facility for conducting atmospheric research.
The fundamental goal of research conducted at H.A.A.R.P. is knowledge; to explore and to understand natural phenomenon occurring in the Earth's ionosphere and near-space environment.
Information derived from this research will have a major value in the design of future communication and navigation systems for both military and civilian use.
The facility will consist of two essential parts:
A high power transmitter and antenna array operating in the high frequency (HF) range.
(Dogs will be howling, I expect!)
When complete, the transmitter will be capable of producing up to 3.6 million Watts in an antenna system consisting of 180 crossed dipole antennas arranged as a rectangular plannar array.
A complete and extensive set of scientific instruments - to observe both the background auroral ionosphere and of the effects produced during active research using the transmitter system - will be installed.
Output from these instruments will be combined into an integrate data package which will be available worldwide in near real time over the Internet.
The research to be conducted at H.A.A.R.P falls into two broad categories:
The study of basic natural processes that occur in the ionosphere under the natural but much stronger influence of solar interaction.
This includes studying how the natural ionosphere affects radio signals with the goal of developing techniques that may be available for mitigating these effects to improve the reliability and/or performance of communication and navigation systems.
One study may help scientists learn how to generate new signals in the ELF range (!) for the real application of subsurface communications.
Research conducted at the H.A.A.R.P. observatory is generally published in peer-reviewed scientific journals such as the Journal of Geophysical Research, Geophysical Research Letters, and Radio Science.
The scientists who conduct research at H.A.A.R.P. are university physicists, their students, government scientists, and scientists from commercial firms having interest (!) in communication and radio science theory and applications.
A typical research period may last one or two weeks and up to four such campaigns may occur in a given year.
The H.A.A.R.P. antenna array consists of 180 antennas on a total land area of about 35 acres.
The array, along with its integrated transmitters, has a total radiated power capability of about 3,600 kilowatts.
The H.A.A.R.P transmitter and antenna array is complete with all the originally planned 180 antennas installed.
The H.A.A.R.P. HF transmitter and antenna array is similar in function to several other high power transmitters operating in High Frequency range although its power capability is greater.
The HF transmitter system is able to produce approximately 3.6 million Watts of radio frequency power.
However, the H.A.A.R.P. transmitters have been designed to operate very linearly (in Class AB mode) so that they will not produce radio interference to other users of the radio spectrum.
To achieve that degree of linearity, the transmitters operate at an efficiency of only about 45%.
For every 100 Watts of input power, 45 Watts of Radio Frequency power is generated and the rest is lost in the transmitter cabinet as heat.
As an analogy, a 75 Watt light bulb gets quite hot while it's producing the light you actually see.
In addition, the on-site diesel generators must provide power for other equipment used by the transmitters including the cooling system and low level amplifier stages.
As a result, approximately 10 million Watts of prime power will be required when the transmitter system is operating at full power.
H.A.A.R.P. draws only housekeeping power, used for lighting, heating, and computers, from the local power grid.
During research operations, the H.A.A.R.P. facility is taken off local power grid completely.
An Environmental Impact Study was conducted in 1992-93 in accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).
The National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) requires all U.S. Government agencies to conduct an environmental impact study prior to beginning construction of any major facility.
The study concluded:
"All of the significant environmental impacts associated with (building and operating the H.A.A.R.P. observatory at Gakona) can be mitigated to an acceptable level. Some insignificant potential impacts, such as lost habitat (!), and wildlife impacts (!), may not be mitigated."
Numerous Federal and State Agencies have oversight over one or more aspects of the H.A.A.R.P. Research Station or its operations.
According to project scientists, the H.A.A.R.P. facility will not affect weather.
Transmitted energy in the frequency ranges that will be used by H.A.A.R.P. is not absorbed in the ether, the troposhere, or the stratosphere - they allege - the levels of the atmosphere that produce the earth's weather.
Electromagnetic interactions allegedly only occur in the near-vacuum of the rarefied region above about 7o km known as the ionosphere.
Further, scientists assert that the ionosphere is created and continuously replenished as the sun's radiation interacts with the highest levels of the Earth's atmosphere.
The downward coupling from the ionosphere to the stratosphere/troposphere is extremely weak, and no association between natural ionosphere variability and surface weather and climate has been found, even at the extraordinary high levels of ionospheric turbulence that the sun can produce during a geomagnetic storm.
If the ionospheric storms caused by the sun itself don't affect the surface weather, there is no chance that H.A.A.R.P. can do so either, scientists argue.
Since the ionosphere is inherently a turbulent medium that is being both "stirred up" and renewed constantly by the sun, artificially induced effects are quickly obliterated.
Depending on the height within the ionosphere where the effect is originally produced, these effects are no longer detectable after times ranging from less than a second or ten minutes.
A good analogy to this process is dropping a stone into a fast-moving stream.
The ripples caused by the stone are quickly lost in the rapidly-moving water and, a little farther down the stream, are completely undetectable.
A University of Alaska, Geophysical Institute Scientist, has compared H.A.A.R.P. to an "immersion heater in the Yukon River."
Some experts in the field say any effects by H.A.A.R.P. are miniscule compared with natural day-night variations that occur in the ionosphere.
Several ionospheric layers completely disappear naturally over a whole hemisphere during the evening hours.
H.A.A.R.P. can't come close to producing this effect, even in the limited region directly over the site, Scientists insist.
The natural aurora is created when very high energy particles emitted by the sun, reach the Earth's vicinity, are swept toward the Earth's magnetic poles, and collide wtih gas molecules existing in the upper atmosphere.
The energy involved in this process is enormous but is entirely natural and it has been a normal event throughout Earth's history.
H.A.A.R.P, is so much weaker than these naturally occurring processes that it is incapable of producing the type of optical display observed during an aurora.
However, weak and repeatable optical emissions have been observed using H.A.A.R.P. (and reported in scientific literature) using very sensitive cameras.
The health and safety of the public (and of the scientific researchers who will be present at the site) has been a primary focus in the design of the H.A.A.R.P. HF transmitter and antenna array.
There are no locations on-site or off-site where the E-M fields exceed safety standards for RFR exposure as defined by IEEE/ANSI C95.1-1992 and NCRP Report No 86.
In fact, the E-M fields measured at the closest public access to the site are lower than those existing in many urban environments, project scientists argue.
The only points on the site that approach the EM safety standard are close to or directly under the antenna array itself.
Numerous computer simulations, confirmed with measurements during tests, showed that the highest fields were actually near the edge of the ground screen, about 60 - 80 feet away from the nearest antenna element.
A fence around the antenna gravel pad, about 60 feet farther out than the ground screen (about 150 feet away from the antennas all around), encloses the limited area under the antennas where fields might exceed the standard (!)
Outside the fenced antenna pad, the fields drop off rapidly and are always below the standard.
The closest public access point to the facility at the Tok Highway is about 3,000 feet from the antenna fence and the field at this point has decreased to 10,000 times below the safety standard.
These signals are more than eleven million times weaker (smaller) than the Earth's background field and about one million times weaker (smaller) than the level where researchers have reported biological effects in the literature.
Signals generated through ionospheric interaction are so weak, in fact, that sophisticated instruments must be used to observe them. Nevertheless, they are still valuable for scientific purposes and for communications applications.
Analyses conducted during the environmental impact process suggest that radio frequency interference could occur for receiver systems that operate in the areas surrounding Gakona.
However, other facilities using transmitters and supporting diagnostic instruments similar to H.A.A.R.P., have achieved compatability with other users of the radio frequency environment.
The Government is committed to achieve compatibility with other users of the electromagnetic spectrum and an electromagnetic compatibility program has been established to assure this goal is achieved.
The EIS Record of Decision required H.A.A.R.P. to establish a Radio Frequency Advisory Committee.
The committee, with representatives from organizations that are users of the HF spectrum has met regularly since 1994 to inform the groups of progress at the facility and to receive their input and suggestions.
Research activities generally require a specific ionospheric condition to pre-exist before any given experiment can begin.
For example, one experiment may require that the D-layer be absent.
The D-layer normally disappears after local sunset but the timing may vary from one day to the next depending on solar activity.
H.A.A.R.P. is also required to operate on a "Not-to-Interfere-Basis" (NIB).
This means that the operating frequency must be selected carefully so as not to disrupt on-going communication activities. In other words, a candidate frequency may have to be re-chosen if the frequency is already used by someone else.
Also, the optimum frequency for any given experiment changes as the ionosphere undergoes its natural variation throughout the day and this is continually monitored using some of the observational instruments at the site. As a result, it will be virtually impossible to know in advance the exact time or frequency for any day's operation.
H.A.A.R.P. is not authorized to operate in the Ham bands and the transmitter has been "locked out" of those frequencies.
In addition, because of the harmonic relationship of the amateur 40 and 80 meter bands, it is not possible for a harmonic of the H.A.A.R.P. transmitter to fall in those bands.
Suspected interference should be reported to the Federal Communications Commission.
H.A.A.R.P. maintains an interference reporting "hotline" @ (907) 822-5497.
The line is always answered during HF Transmitter operations.
At all other times, a recording indicates that the transmitter is not in use.
H.A.A.R.P. - scientists and the government assert - was not designed to be an operation system for military purposes.
Why is it run by the Military, then?
The H.A.A.R.P. specifications were developed by a consortium of Universities to meet the requirements for a world-class research facility and an expanded group of Universities are playing a major role in the design of future research efforts.
The H.A.A.R.P. facility will be used for basic and applied plasma physics and Radio Science Research related to the study of the Earth's ionosphere.
Because the DoD operates numerous communications and navigation systems whose signals either depend on reflection from the ionosphere or must pass through the ionosphere to satellites, there is an obvious DoD interest in understanding the ionospheric effect on these systems to improve their reliability and performance.
Greater understanding of the physics of the ionosphere are expected to result in improvements to commercial applications, such as GPS and LEO communication satellites whose performance is often significantly affected by random ionospheric variations.
Administratively, H.A.A.R.P. is restricted to operate on a "not-to-interfere-basis" (NIB) by NTIA - as aforementioned above - and is categorized as an experimental station (XR) in the NTIA spectrum certification document.
H.A.A.R.P. stands for The High Frequency Active Auroral Research Program.
The goal of the program is to further advance mankind's knowledge of the physical and electrical properties of Earth's ionosphere which can affect our military (!) and civilian communication and navigation systems.
The high-tech facility is jointly managed by the Air Force Research Laboratory and the Office of Naval Research (!).
The facility is being constructed by commercial contractors through a contract with ONR.
The Research Station is located approximately 8 miles north of Gakona, Alaska.
62 deg 23.5 min North Latitude
145 deg 8.8 min West Longitude
An Alaskan site was required since Alaska is the only state that is in the auroral region.
The site chosen for H.A.A.R.P. was ideal for two reasons:
The Alaskan ionosphere over H.A.A.R.P. can be characterized as mid-latitude, auroral or polar depending on how active the sun is at any given time and day.
There are a very wide variety of ionospheric conditions to study.
The facility consists of two major subsystems which are of equal importance.
The HF transmitter.
Scientific observational instruments that have been designed and built and which are also being installed at the site.
The scientific observation instruments require a quiet electromagnetic location.
The required locations also need to be far from populated cities and built-up areas.
The reason for this is simple.
Optical telescopes are built on remote mountaintops, for instance, to avoid the optical "noise" associated with big cities.
Many of the scientific instruments at the ionospheric observatory operate continuously to monitor the natural geomagnetic environment.
Data collected by these instruments are archived and are made available in chart format in ral time on the H.A.A.R.P. site.
The HF Transmitter at the H.A.A.R.P. Research Station is used frequently and is primarily operated to support research campaigns where groups of scientists collaborate to conduct interactive ionospheric research.
The H.A.A.R.P. Research Station does not employ sufficient on-site staff to allow routine tours of the facility.
Entry to the facility is normally restricted to those having a need to conduct business.
Citizens may visit, however, when there is scheduled "Open House".
Several scientists are usually present at the open houses so that interested parties can talk directly to those who utilize the facility for their research.
The visitor days are generally held at the end of the summer season and the dates and times are announced in advance on the H.A.A.R.P. home page site.
H.A.A.R.P. has not been labelled a classfied project; therefore, there are no classified documents pertaining to the facility and its research.
The Environemental Impact Process (EIP) documents have always been, and now, and will always be completely descriptive of the program in its entirety, a notice at the site states for the public record.