Operations News

15 September 2017

The next HAARP experiment campaigned is planned for late September. Exact campaign dates have yet to be released. I will post updates on selected experiments here and at https://twitter.com/ctfallen

25 July 2017

I originally reported the Arecibo high-power HF operations to be transmitted at either 5.125 or 8.175 MHz, depending on local foF2. Note that these are just estimates and the actual transmitted frequency may be adjusted slightly from those values for various reasons. Arecibo is currently transmitting 5095 kHz at 0000 hours 25 July 2017 (UTC).

24 July 2017

Did you copy Arecibo during the 24-31 July 2017 HF campaign? Get your QSL card! This morning I received the following information by email from Angel Vasquez, Head of Telescope Operations and Spectrum Manager at Arecibo:

I’m Angel WP3R, president and trustee of KP4AO the Arecibo Amateur Radio Club. KP4AO has QSL cards that have been made because of our Special Event Runs and the MoonBounce we did. My personal QSL manager, W3HNK does the QSL’ing also for KP4AO. I can give him a call and have him send SWL QSL’s to the interested parties. All that is needed is a SASE to W3HNK. His Address can be found onQRZ.com or WM7D.net.

23 July 2017

Arecibo ionosphere HF radio modifcation campaign!

If you are reading this then another radio event of possible interest is the upcoming Arecibo ionosphere HF heating campaign during 24 to 31 July 2017. The new Arecibo ionosphere HF heater nominally transmits 600 kilowatts net power (100 to 200 megawatts effective radiated power) and has a unique Cassegrain dual-array antenna design that increases gain of three crossed dipoles for each band using the signature 1000 ft spherical dish reflector. Read more about the Arecibo HF facility at http://www.naic.edu/~astro/ao50/Arecibo_50th_Paper_Breakall_revised_Oct_23_2013.pdf

During the upcoming campaign, the Arecibo HF transmitter is limited to two frequencies, 5.125 and 8.175 MHz. Campaign HF transmissions will start at approximately 1600 hours UTC and be active approximately 24 hours per day, with some occasional downtime for maintenance and other activities lasting one or more hours. Generally, the 8.175 MHz transmissions will occur in the daytime when foF2 is expected to exceed that value, between approximately 1830 and 2230 hours UTC. Otherwise the HF transmissions will occur at 5.125 MHz. The Arecibo incoherent scatter radar (ISR) will also be active throughout most of the campaign, but since it operates in the UHF band at 430 MHz long distance propagation is not expected.

These transmissions will be in the vertical direction so this is an excellent opportunity to observe NVIS from a powerful transmitter in Puerto Rico. My own experiments are O-mode polarized CW (kicking off the campaign at 1600 hours on 24 July 2017 UTC) for measuring plasma wave and turbulence effects. Experiments by other scientists may use X-mode polarization. To the best of my knowledge, all experiments will be CW with no amplitude or frequency modulation.

31 May 2017

This is an embarrassingly delayed update after the successful first UAF-HAARP campaign! Five scientists funded by the National Science Foundation, Department of Energy, and Naval Research Lab conducted experiments at HAARP using a total of approximately 30 hours of "heater time."

Preliminary results from my own experiments is that I successfully created artificial airglow on the fourth night of the campaign. Unfortunately partial cloud cover, combined with lack of "X-mode" airglow meant that neither science objective was fulfilled. However, science is a process of repetition, repetition, repetition! The next campaign is tentatively scheduled for September, 2017.

Ham and shortwave radio listener feedback greatly exceeded my expectations. The Luxembourg (cross modulation) effect was confirmed by regional listeners in Alaska and western parts North America. Listeners in more distant regions reported hearing the broadcast but not the cross-modulation effect. My hypothesis is that the distant listeners were receiving HAARP "side lobes" that are perhaps angled more favorably to long-distance propagation. The side lobes are still quite powerful, but probably not powerful enough to generate the Luxembourg or cross modulation effect.

Finally, those QSL cards ... mea culpa! I did not anticipate the volume of fantastic reports from listeners, especially given the short amount of time between the UAF Geophysical Institute press release and the HAARP campaign, and I should have made better formal plans in this regard. The Geophysical Institute public relations office is drafting a digital card and perhaps printing some physical cards as well. During breaks between meetings and memos, I will do my best to start sending digital or printed cards depending, on the information I have on hand, for each confirmed report. (The confirmation will have to be relatively informal, again due to my original lack of planning.) If you are expecting a response, please politely ping me again this summer, as I am already embarrassed by my delayed response, though it is understandable given the workload at a university that is severely understaffed during year-after-year state budget cuts.

Stay tuned for news regarding the next HAARP (and Arecibo) ionosphere HF radio modification experiment campaigns. The next campaigns will be even better!

20 Feb 2017

Day 1 of the first ever University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAF) Geophysical Institute (GI) HAARP campaign was a success! Thank you to the UAF GI HAARP team and especially to everybody that contributed reports by twitter and email. You were fantastic!

The HAARP campaign will continue for another three days at approximately the same times as day 1. Ionosphere conditions during day 1 were not optimal, and were characterized by relatively significant absorption of HF radio waves, meaning that much of the radio energy from HAARP was largely absorbed in the lower altitude ionosphere D region, before it could reach upper regions that are favorable for long distance propagation (DX) or high power effects such as artificial aurora or field-aligned irregularities. Note the

Still, despite the significant (solar) head winds, I can no longer keep up with and respond to all reports in real time so please keep sending them! (Hopefully ionosphere conditions will improve for days 2, 3, and 4!) My apologies for responding with some tardiness and perhaps clogging your twitter feed if you follow @ctfallen. The next campaign will be even better! (And I will work on a better way to share results from citizen scientists such as yourself.)

Stay tuned!

Visit https://twitter.com/ctfallen for more frequent updates during the campaign! (No twitter account or log-in required.)

19 Feb 2017

Note small change in frequency for the Luxembourg Effect! Now 2.8 and 3.3 MHz. Still planning to start between 0300 and 0330 UTC. Morning (local Alaska time) experiments scrubbed due to high ionosphere absorption.

19 Feb 2017

Campaign time! Experiments begin in the mid morning 19 February Alaska Standard Time (AKST) and continue intermittently through the evening each day through 22 February.

Luxembourg Broadcast

The first radio modification of the ionosphere occurred in the early 1930s and was an accidental consequence of the new and powerful Radio Luxembourg transmitter. In certain situations, listeners of other weaker broadcast radio stations found that they sometimes heard Radio Luxembourg programming even though it was transmitted on a completely different frequency. Scientists and engineers eventually concluded that signals from powerful Radio Luxembourg and less powerful stations were being mixed in space, that is, through ionosphere modification.

HAARP will transmit a sequence of tones and music using amplitude modulation (AM) on two different radio frequencies (2.8 MHz and 3.3 MHz) in a sort of reproduction of this so-called Luxembourg Effect. If conditions are sufficient and you tune-in to one frequency or the other, you will hear tones and music from both frequencies. The tones and music have been specifically composed to take advantage of the Luxembourg effect.

The Luxembourg broadcast will begin as early as 6 p.m. on 19 and 20 February Alaska Standard Time (AKST) and conclude by 6:40 p.m. In Coordinate Universal Time (UTC), the broadcasts will begin as early as 03:00 on 20 and 21 February and conclude by 03:40. Tune in to 2.8 MHz or 3.3 MHz (2700 KHz or 3300 KHz), or both! The program is approximately 10 minutes in duration and will repeat until 6:40 p.m. AKST or 03:40 UTC.

Artificial Aurora

Aurora photographers in Alaska, Yukon Territory, and northwest British Columbia have a chance to photograph artificial aurora created with HAARP, starting immediately after the Luxembourg Broadcast and continuing until the ionosphere critical frequency over Gakona drops below about 2.7 MHz. See the artificial aurora page on this site for more details on this effect.

Radio listeners can still tune-in to these operations, but the transmissions are slightly more complex in order to test a scientific hypothesis. Also, at least in these initial experiments, the broadcast will only sound like a silent carrier wave, as if a radio DJ fell asleep and neglected to change the record (or now, more likely, the digital file). The specific transmission sequence is as follows:

MAIN: Repeat the following 480 second sequence if foF2 > 2.80 MHz

90 seconds : 2.80 MHz

30 seconds : OFF

90 seconds : 2.80 MHz, O mode, CW modulation, MZ direction

30 seconds : OFF

90 seconds : 2.82 MHz, O mode, CW modulation, MZ direction

30 seconds : OFF

90 seconds : 2.84 MHz, O mode, CW modulation, MZ direction

30 seconds : OFF

BACKUP: Repeat the following 240 second sequence if foF2 < 2.80 MHz

90 seconds : 2.75 MHz

30 seconds : OFF

90 seconds : 2.75 MHz

30 seconds : OFF

19 Feb 2017

If you want to try and tune in to the HAARP transmissions but do not have a shortwave radio (or even if you do) try one of the free web radios at the sites now listed in the Tune-In page! Thank you, Harry et al. for the links!

18 Feb 2017

Alaska listeners: No shortwave radio? I hear the CC Crane Skywave is a great inexpensive radio stocked at the REI Anchorage and Fairbanks locations. Thanks for the REI tip, JH!

18 Feb 2017

Several new updates:

  • The HAARP campaign will run from 19-22 February, with operations occurring between approximately 0900 hours to 2200 hours Alaska Standard Time (AKST). Exact times, transmit frequencies, and experiment modes are subject to change in response to a variety of factors and selected updates will be posted via social media outlets.
  • My artificial airglow and Luxembourg effect experiments will start at 1930 hours AKST on 19, 20, and 22 February; and at 2030 hours on 21 February. Anticipated operating frequencies from recent ionosphere conditions are around 2.7 MHz for the airglow experiments; and 2.7 simultaneous with 3.3 MHz for the Luxembourg broadcasts. The Luxembourg broadcasts will likely occur earlier in the window rather than later, due to recent rapid ionosphere decay with sunset.
  • New updates to the Tune-In page thanks to reader contributions. See new links to previous HAARP recordings and a new shortwave radio recommendation!
  • Thank you for your interest and your letters! I would like to send updates and replies more frequently but science is hard and time is short. Stay tuned!

17 Feb 2017

HAARP nominally transmits at a frequency between 2.7 and 10 MHz (sometimes two simultaneous frequencies), except at frequencies prohibited by law. Prohibited frequencies in the HAARP band include the FCC Ham 80 and 40 meter bands. See the ARRL for more information about ham radio in the US. Also, big thanks to Rick Lindquist (WW1ME) for his excellent contributions to the ARRL Letter, including previous stories on HAARP over the years and now this latest story on the upcoming campaign: Alaska's HAARP Facility Once Again Open for Business.

16 Feb 2017

The ionosphere is looking a little weak today with some signs of absorption. See the latest ionogram from HAARP below. (Note the near-complete lack of a double-hop echos and the green X-mode trace that is beginning to disappear at low at frequencies from the left.) These are relatively typical conditions as we head toward another solar minimum during an exceptionally quiet era of solar activity. I'm sure conditions will be great for the campaign though! (Fingers crossed.)

15 February 2017

Clouds over Poker Flat Research Range have made it difficult to verify that the low-light camera is aimed at the HAARP airglow spot. The camera is intended to be aimed at 165 degrees azimuth and 32 degrees elevation. Based on the Google Earth view and a video frame recorded during a break in the clouds (see below), it looks as though the camera should be aimed a few more degrees east, perhaps 162 or 163 degrees azimuth, but this might have to do for now! Observers near Fairbanks should continue to monitor the Poker Flat Research Range Facebook Page for updates on the upcoming rocket launches. (The main launches should be easily viewable from Fairbanks.)

13 February 2017

Press release from UAF (10 Feb 2017) about the upcoming HAARP campaign. This will be the first HAARP campaign operated by UAF.

12 February 2017

Historically low solar activity continues, resulting in an ionosphere that has less plasma content than usual. The ionosonde instrument at HAARP measures the ionosphere plasma density overhead and helps scientists plan their experiments. Most (but not all) ionosphere radio modification experiments such as those conducted at HAARP use transmission frequencies at or below the ionosophere critical frequency, abbreviated foF2. The plots immediately below show the recent diurnal (daily) variation of foF2 and a current ionogram (plasma number density or frequency plotted as a function of height) made at nearly midnight UTC (or 1500 hours, 3:00 p.m. AKST). Read more about the HAARP ionosonde (or digisonde) here, or navigate there via the Tune-In page.

24 January 2017

Artificial aurora experiments have historically been scheduled to begin near the start of nautical twilight: when it is dark on the ground yet the ionosphere is still sunlit and sufficiently dense for radio modification. In February at HAARP, this generally means artificial aurora experiments begin between 0400 and 0500 hours UTC (7 to 8 p.m. AKST) and last for two to three hours, or as long as the ionosphere "critical frequency" remains above about 2.7 MHz.

13 January 2017

The UAF HAARP campaign is currently scheduled for mid-to-late February during "new moon" conditions for optimal viewing of HAARP artificial airglow (aurora).

This effort is funded by NSF Award #1702328 and the University of Alaska Fairbanks Geophysical Institute.