The Blanket Effect is intended for others to learn about weather modification and its related subjects in an easy to understand way. Started in 2005, this blog is a work in progress as the technology advances

February 19, 2008

Origins of HAARP

(note: excerpt from Penn State University)

I joined the faculty of Electrical Engineering in 1959 and continued pursuing the ground-based technique of measuring the D-region of the ionosphere.
However I realized that the way we had been doing the experiment lacked height resolution while other techniques like the rocket probe measurement claimed to have improved upon the older ground-based methods.

At this point I became interested in the cross-modulation, experiment or amplitude wave interaction, as it was also called.

This technique was known for some time but was never extensively used as a diagnostic tool. It seemed to provide the much needed height resolution, so Hai-Sup Lee and I researched this idea and struck upon an improvement which we called radio wave phase interaction.
In simple terms, we found another parameter to be measured that would insure better accuracy in the derived electron density profiles that would be even faster to collect and interpret the data.
To test this concept would require an entirely new transmitting facility and funds were not yet available.

So we did some modifications to the high-power low-frequency transmitter that was sort of on its "last legs" and Steve Weisbrod (my first PhD student) tackled the problem as his thesis topic.

He put in countless hours looking at the theory and designing the special receiving equipment, transmitters and antennas.
He was well rewarded, for at 2 a.m. in 1962 at Scotia, he and I watched with amazement as the chart recorder was tracing out the first measurement of the detection of phase interaction. That was the beginning of my career in the area of ionospheric modification.
From there we went out with a proposal to the Office of Naval Research requesting the funds for a completely new installation to measure wave interaction, and we were blessed to receive the funds.

Now came another surprise. The high-power transmitter was beginning to cause interference to many other radio services. Our station, KA2XPO, being experimental, was sharing a frequency band with other more important services like the Canadian forest fighters and the Coast Guard on the Chesapeake.

We set up a hot line, and if there was interference we would shut down. Soon managing interference problems was more time consuming than doing the research, and the facility had to shut down.

However, we took this opportunity to explore doing this experiment at the Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico which had the incoherent scatter facility but it would not work too well at low altitudes, so Arecibo was a natural place to set up.

One major experiment that I performed at Arecibo that paved a new direction for my research activities was to heat the ionosphere from the high-power wave interaction transmitter in an extremely low frequency mode that would modulate the natural current system flowing overhead of the antenna beam.

This modulated current system was in effect an antenna, and it would radiate at this extremely low frequency (ELF); hence a wireless (one without wires) antenna was formed in the lower ionosphere.

The importance of this result was that one could more easily generate ELF waves which would reach the lower depths of the sea to communicate with submarines. Obviously the Navy would have interest in this concept.

The Navy was funding the development of a new heater facility in Fairbanks, Alaska, since the current system was more intense and ELF generation could be much stronger and might find actual applications to Navy communications systems.

The facility was operated by UCLA, but Penn State was awarded a large contract to make the facility produce data and to access the capabilities of this facility known as HIPAS (High Power Aurora Simulator) - first set up to cause man-made northern lights - but that was not feasible.

We showed that one could almost always generate ELF signals, but the strength was strong during electrojet activity. (image at right of electrojet current structure, from

We also showed that we could send digital data (although at a low baud rate) by phase shift keying the ELF carrier.

Our mobile receiving van was out several hundred miles from the HIPAS source, and we managed to receive these ELF signals.

An interesting experiment we did was to create two ionospheric antennas in the D-region spaced one-half wavelength apart and phased either 180 degrees of 0 degrees in phase, creating what antenna experts would know as the end fire and broad side two element array. (image left example of HF signal propagation, from click image for detail)

Our mobile van confirmed that we could make arrays of wireless antennas.

Although two elements were the limit for the HIPAS facility, it did suggest that for a much larger facility one could perhaps construct a larger array of ELF elements and steer the beam of ELF radiation in desired directions.

This was a first-time demonstration of this effect which could have bearing on future Navy system submarine communications.

Realizing the importance of ELF generation and ionospheric heating in general, the Navy requested proposals for the feasibility study of an even larger heater facility; effective powers of 10 Gigawatts over a large range of HF frequencies were in the specifications.

At that time the antenna to handle this power and bandwidth and to be able to steer the heater beam in arbitrary directions was unknown. Penn State was one of three to be picked for the three-month feasibility study along with Raytheon and APTI (Arco Power Technology Inc.)

We had suggested an underground control center that did raise eyebrows since environmentalists do [not] like to disturb the permafrost. Our unique contribution involved the FIPA (frequency independent phased array) invented by Jim Breakall.

It really solved most of the wide-band requirements.

APTI, asked use to join them as subcontractor and design their antenna, which we gladly accepted.

We turned our design over to APTI; they began the construction and built several stages of the antenna and continue to expand the facility to its final design stage.

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