- Amateur Radio (Ham Radio) Community

Call Search

New to Ham Radio?
My Profile

Friends Remembered
Survey Question

DX Cluster Spots

Ham Exams
Ham Links
List Archives
News Articles
Product Reviews
QSL Managers

Site Info
eHam Help (FAQ)
Support the site
The eHam Team
Advertising Info
Vision Statement

[Articles Home]  [Add Article]  

HAARP Facility Shuts Down:

from The ARRL Letter on July 18, 2013
View comments about this article!

HAARP Facility Shuts Down:

The High Frequency Active Auroral Research Program (HAARP) -- a subject of fascination for many hams and the target of conspiracy theorists and anti-government activists -- has closed down. HAARP's program manager, Dr James Keeney at Kirtland Air Force Base in New Mexico, told ARRL that the sprawling 35-acre ionospheric research facility in remote Gakona, Alaska, has been shuttered since early May.

"It comes down to money," Keeney said. "We don't have any." Keeney said no one is on site, access roads are blocked, buildings are chained and the power turned off. HAARP's website through the University of Alaska no longer is available; Keeney said the program can't afford to pay for the service. "Everything is in secure mode," he said, adding that it will stay that way at least for another 4 to 6 weeks.

HAARP put the world on notice two years ago that it would be shutting down and did not submit a budget request for FY 15, Keeney said, "but no one paid any attention." Now, he says, they're complaining. Keeney says he's already had inquiries from Congress, and universities that depended upon HAARP research grants also are upset. The only bright spot on HAARP's horizon right now is that the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA is expected on site as a client to finish up some research this fall and winter.

The proximate cause of HAARP's early May shutdown was less fiscal than environmental, Keeney said. As he explained it, the diesel generators on site no longer pass Clean Air Act muster. Repairing them to meet EPA standards will run $800,000.

Jointly funded by the US Air Force Research Laboratory and the US Naval Research Laboratory, HAARP is best known for its 3.6 MW HF (approximately 3 to 10 MHz) ionospheric research instrument (IRI), feeding an extensive system of 180 antenna elements and used to "excite" sections of the ionosphere. Other onsite equipment is used to evaluate the effects.

Larry Ledlow, N1TX, of Fairbanks, Alaska, said HAARP ionosonde and riometer data have been "invaluable, especially being more or less local, to understand current conditions in the high latitudes." He said data from other sites "simply do not accurately reflect the unique propagation we endure here."

To fill the gap, Ledlow said, several members of the Arctic Amateur Radio Club -- including Eric Nichols, KL7AJ, author of Radio Science for the Radio Amateur and articles in QST -- have discussed building their own instruments. "It's all very preliminary," he said, "but we really feel the pinch losing HAARP." Nichols, of North Pole, Alaska, has conducted experiments at HAARP. He called the shutdown "a great loss to interior Alaska hams and many others."

The ultra-high power facility long has intrigued hams, even outside of Alaska. In 1997, HAARP transmitted test signals on HF (3.4 MHz and 6.99 MHz) and solicited reports from hams and short-wave listeners in the "Lower 48" to determine how well the HAARP transmissions could be heard to the south. In 2007 HAARP succeeded in bouncing a 40 meter signal off the moon. Earlier this year, HAARP scientists successfully produced

a sustained high-density plasma cloud in Earth's upper atmosphere.

As things stand, the Air Force has possession for now, but if no other agency steps forward to take over HAARP, the unique facility will be dismantled, Keeney said.

Splashy web postings abound, blaming HAARP for controlling the weather -- most recently in the case of Hurricane Sandy and the spate of tornados -- and for causing other natural disasters. Quipped Keeney, "If I actually could affect the weather, I'd keep it open."


The ARRL Letter

Member Comments:
This article has expired. No more comments may be added.
HAARP Facility Shuts Down:  
by K7CB on July 19, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
No doubt the conspiracy theorists will come up with some kind of devious reason as to why HAARP was really shut down.
HAARP Facility Shuts Down:  
by KB0TXC on July 19, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
It was shut down because the little grays were complaining that it interfered with their navigation...
HAARP Facility Shuts Down:  
by N0FPE on July 21, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
everyone knows it was just a great big hot dog cooker!!! Now that the public is eating less hot dogs and brats they had to close it..
RE: HAARP Facility Shuts Down:  
by K3FHP on July 22, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
It's common knowledge that many 'research projects' go 'Black' this way.....or.....are replaced with more advanced projects that are already 'Black'.
Email Subscription
You are not subscribed to discussions on this article.

My Subscriptions
Subscriptions Help

Other News Articles
Radio Club Makes International Connections from Loop Head:
HARA Event On Courthouse Lawn:
Ham Radio Operators Help Reunite Family:
Ham Radios as Emergency Backup Communications in Rio Blanco County:
WWV Centennial Committee Prepares for Trial Run of WW0WWV Special Event: