Friday, October 07, 2016

The Story of a Megasized Shortwave Station in Alaska

Construction work on a megasized shortwave station in Alaska began in the year 1993.  The location for this huge project was at an American Air Force base at an isolated location near Gakona, nearly 200 miles north east of the state capital Anchorage.
The ground plan for this massive shortwave station, HAARP High-Frequency Active Auroral Research Program, called for 360 transmitters at 10 kW each and 180 antenna masts, all compactly installed into a square pattern occupying 30 acres.  The Continental transmitters are grouped in pairs in special weatherproof temperature controlled containers.  The antenna masts support a total of 720 low band and high band shortwave antennas.
This very expensive project was constructed in three separate phases at an initial cost of $30 million.  An additional supercomputer system cost $25 million, and operational costs have been estimated at $30 million. 
The first phase of construction was completed in 1998, and a secondary phase was completed four years later.  The entire facility was finally and fully completed in 2007; though 6 years later, HAARP Alaska was shutdown.
Initial test transmissions took place on March 8, 1997 on 3400 kHz and 6990 kHz with an open carrier from the total system, and messages in Morse Code.  These tests were announced in advance and special QSL cards were available. 
Another series of tests took place two years later on March 27, 1999 and one international radio monitor who was in London England at the time reported that even with the total signal output at a massive 3.6 megawatts, HAARP was not audible in the United Kingdom.
Back in January 2008, HAARP conducted an additional two day series of tests beamed to the moon.  These moonbounce transmissions were noted on two shortwave frequencies, 6792.5 kHz and 7407.5 kHz.
The purpose for HAARP Alaska was to study the impact of massive radiated power into the sky, with the possibility of controlling it the ionosphere and nullifying incoming radio signals from other countries.  Much speculation about the HAARP project has suggested that weather patterns may be altered, deep earth radar could detect underground patterns, and communication could be achieved with deeply submerged submarines. 
However, the government authorities at HAARP Alaska have been quite open about the activities associated with their project, and open house events with guided tours have been staged periodically.  The well known amateur radio operator and radio writer, Gordon West WB6NOA, was granted an inspection tour in September 2001, apparently in an attempt to dispel conspiracy theories that abound about the station.  He stated in an article in Popular Communications magazine that normally the station can not be heard on regular shortwave receivers because the transmitters operate with a frequency hopping technique, that is a rapid and continuous change in frequencies.   
Ownership of the HAARP facility has recently been transferred to the University of Alaska at Fairbanks and plans are now underway to reopen this transmitter station and to conduct additional propagation experiments.  The FCC has issued two transmission licenses for the revived HAARP Alaska.  Callsign WI2XFX permits experimental transmissions on seven in-between bands in the shortwave spectrum, and callsign WI2XDV permits experimental transmissions ranging from 1 MHz up to 40 MHz.
A few years ago, a total of 720 transmitting tubes were removed from the 360 transmitters and placed in warm storage for safety, and currently staff are in the process of re-inserting them back into each transmitter unit.
Interestingly, HAARP Alaska is not the only shortwave facility for ionospheric research.  It is understood that other similar, though smaller facilities are located at Fairbanks in Alaska, and also on . the island of Puerto Rico, as well as at Tromso in Norway, and Vasilsursk in Russia
The QSL card issued by HAARP Alaska presents a photo in color depicting part of their enormous antenna system.
(AWR_Wavescan-NWS 397)