Skip to main content

HAARP-Like Ionospheric Research Project Underway

The Arecibo SETI observatory
Its official now, work is underway to complete the construction of an ionospheric research facility at the Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico that bears some similarities to the High Frequency Active Auroral Research Program (HAARP) far to the north in Alaska, but on a different scale and with different research goals.

"It is basically the same as HAARP for the science, except that HAARP was in the Auroral Region, where the physics of the ionosphere is quite different with all the energetic particles and magnetic fields," Penn State Electrical Engineering Professor Jim Breakall, WA3FET, told ARRL. "HAARP also had 3 gigawatts of effective radiated power, where Arecibo will only be about 200 megawatts." The Arecibo Observatory Amateur Radio Club, KP4AO, is headquartered at the research facility, which celebrated its 50th anniversary last fall.

The National Science Foundation and Cornell University, which previously operated Arecibo Observatory, contracted with Penn State's Electrical Engineering Department to construct the "new and enhanced" HF ionospheric instrument. It will be used to study the interaction between HF radio energy and ionospheric plasma.

The new facility will replace an earlier ionospheric heater in Islote, Puerto Rico, that was destroyed by Hurricane Georges in 1998. Rather than rebuild that installation, the new instrument will use the observatory's 1000 foot dish for its antenna. This will keep all research activities involving ionospheric modification at the observatory proper. Plans call for a design based on a Cassegrain-screen concept of phased array at the bottom of the dish feeding a sub-reflector mesh that hangs above the dish from three support towers. Breakall and his team of graduate students at Penn State have done all of the electrical design and modeling of this new antenna system.

"There are three crossed-dipoles for 5.1 MHz and another three for 8.175 MHz, forming an array that will beam energy up to a net mesh reflector that will hang from the three big towers," Breakall explained. "This Cassegrain screen will then reflect energy back down to the 1000 foot dish and beam an effective radiated power of hundreds of megawatts up to the ionosphere to modify it." Each dipole is fed from a 100 kW transmitter, yielding a total transmitted power of 600 kW.

An even earlier HF ionosphere-heating antenna system also was suspended from the platform above the dish and driven by a single 100 kW transmitter over a frequency range of 3 to 10 MHz. That design suffered from arcing problems and was taken out of service in the 1970s.

Scale aside, Breakall said, while HAARP also tried to modulate the ionosphere's naturally flowing currents to create VLF and ELF for submarine communication, Arecibo "has much weaker currents, and that probably will not work," he said. On the other hand, he said, "Arecibo has a big advantage over HAARP in that the same 1000 foot dish can be used for diagnostics with the 430 MHz incoherent scatter radar that can measure things such as temperature, density, winds, etc, as they are modified. HAARP has nothing like this."

Breakall said he does not anticipate that the new Arecibo ionospheric research facility will attract the same degree of controversy that HAARP has over its history, but he conceded that it's possi

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Dozier School for Boys

This Florida panhandle town is the home of a mystery that has become quite a scandal in recent months. A small cemetery buried deep into the grounds of a now-defunct boys reform school dates back to the early 1900s. Rusting white steel crosses mark the graves of 31 unidentified former students, and approximately 81 boys in total are known to have died there. The location of the remaining bodies is yet unknown, and is the center of investigation even now.

Throughout its 113-year history, the Dozier School for Boys gained a notorious reputation for beatings, rapes, torture, and even killings perpetrated by staff on students. Despite periodic investigations, changes of leadership, and promises to improve, the allegations of cruelty and abuse continued until confirmed by separate investigations by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement in 2010 and the Civil Rights Division of the United States Department of Justice in 2011. These investigations prompted state authorities to finally cl…

Vermont's Loch Ness Monster

This monster isn’t in Loch Ness—it’s Champ, the creature thought to reside in Lake Champlain, the 490-square mile body of water on the border of New York, Vermont and Canada. Early reports of a monster in the lake first surfaced in the late 1800s but really hit their peak in the 1980s. Most evidence up to this point, and a famous photograph from 1977, have been discounted or questioned. But two cryptozoologists, or hobbyists who study unknown animals, on the hunt for the creature have made recordings of mysterious sounds that may constitute new evidence in favor of Champ’s existence.

“It was wild. I had seen Champ before, but getting that communication from this animal made the hair on the back of my neck stand up,” said Katy Elizabeth, a horseback riding instructor from Rhode Island who hunts for Champ in her free time with her boyfriend, fellow cryptozoologist Dennis Hall. “That feeling you get when you know a sound is made by a biological thing, that it’s not a man made sound—that…

Skunk Ape Captured on video

This video was shot by Tim Fasano in a major watershed area in Florida that feeds all the drinking water for Tampa. It happened because I was prepared to find something day by having the camera in my car. I saw a good area and possible movement, and went in. After about three hours, I recorded something of major interest.

The establishment of Bigfoot is going to ignore this, of course. They never liked me because I do what nobody will do. I commit to going into the woods on regular basis. I have been doing so for years.