High-Frequency Active Auroal Research Program

HAARP refers to the High-Frequency Active Auroal Research Program and consists of a phased array transmitted which is pictured to the right. It is located at approximately 62.39N, 145.15W near the town of Gakona, Alaska.
The purpose of HAARP is to analyze the behavior of the ionosphere which is the part of the atmosphere that extends from approximately 70km up to as much as 1500km. In this area of the atmosphere approximately 0.1% is made up of ionized plasma created by the sun's natural ultraviolet radiation. The ionosphere itself is made up of three layers known, in increasing altitudes, as the D (70-110km), E (110km-250km), and F (250+ km) layers and whose position may be determined by how they interact with radio waves. The exact altitude of the layers changes naturally and constantly. While the "E" layer and part of the "F" layer reflect radio waves, the lowest level--the "D" layer--actually tends to absorb them. Since different parts of the ionosphere absorb or reflect radio waves it can and does have a direct effect on radio waves that passes through it, be it earth-to-earth radio or signals being transmitted to or from satellites.
The purpose of HAARP is to research, both passively as well as actively, the behavior of the ionosphere. This is done by transmitting a focused beam of radio frequency energy, at between 2.8 and 10MHz, directly at a point in the ionosphere between 100 and 350 km in altitude, basically within the "E" layer. The energy focused in this area of the ionosphere lets the HAARP facility monitor the behavior of that area of the ionosphere during the test.
It should be stated that although the facility's total transmitting power is 3.6 megawatts, only about 80% (2.8 megawatts) actually reaches the ionosphere due to antenna inefficiencies (Source).

The conspiracy theories related to HAARP pretty much run the entire spectrum of the imagination of conspiracy theorists. Many of the theories are summarized on sites such as this one.
  • Earthquakes: Sites such as this one suggest that HAARP has the capability to cause earthquakes at practically any point on earth. As best I can tell, they suggest that HAARP modifies the ionosphere and, consequently, modifies the magnetosphere. The site above says "The magnetosphere is vital to the stability of the tectonic plates that float on the surface of the earth". However, I haven't found any site, other than similar conspiracy sites, that substantiates any connection between the magnetosphere and stability of tectonic plates. Fluctuations in the magnetosphere are associated with auroral activity, commonly known as the "Northern Lights." Given that the sun causes fluctuations in the magnetosphere constantly and causes significant fluctuations during solar storms, the lack of a link between solar activity and earthquakes further calls into question a link beteen the magnetosphere and plate tectonics. Lacking documentation of a connection between the magnetosphere and tectonic stability, a connection between HAARP and earthquakes is speculation not based on science.
  • Missile Tracking: It seems that Jerry E. Smith has created a niche market writing conspiracy books about HAARP and suggesting that, while it was once a research facility, it is now a full-fledged missile tracking system. He believes that HAARP can aim its radio frequency beam at will (actually it can only aim straight up) and that it is in violation of several treaties. As far as I can tell--and I admit I haven't bought his book--there doesn't seem to be any evidence to support his claims and some of them seem to be in direct contradiction to reality. HAARP cannot be aimed anywhere but straight up. He also subscribes to the theory that HAARP effects the magnetosphere which effects plate tectonics. In fact, the site above (PropagandaMatrix) actually seems to have quoted Smith regarding the connection between the stability of plate tectonics and the magnetosphere. Where Smith got it, however, I haven't been able to determine. This man believes that patriots are fools and his main interest in HAARP seems to be in generating interest and paranoia to stoke sales of his book. His history includes writing poems, science fiction and fantasy, and in the 90's he started writing about AIDS, UFOs, and then HAARP. In fact, his first non-fiction work was "HAARP: Ultimate Weapon of the Conspiracy" and it would seem that the "non-fictional" status blurs the line between fiction and non-fiction.
  • Missile Defense: The RadarMatrix site goes one step further than the missile tracking proposed by Jerry E. Smith. The webmaster of RadarMatrix suggests that HAARP is actually the Strategic Defense Initiative and is capable of destroying incoming missiles. There is simply nothing to support this claim and the suggestion that civilian scientists would be present and operating the HAARP facility were that it's real use seems rather improbable.
  • Weather Control: Also promoted by RadarMatrix and other sites is the belief that HAARP can control the weather. This theory is also endorsed by Mr. Smith. In the case of RadarMatrix, this is tied into the radar anomalies observed at NEXRAD weather radar sites. Again, there is no evidence to support this. HAARP does its work in the 100km-350km altitude range within the E and F levels of the ionosphere while all weather occurs in the troposphere which only extends up to about 14-18km. I've seen no explanation by those that subscribe to the HAARP/Weather Control theory how it is that HAARP can control the weather when it is operating at an altitude at least 7 times higher than where weather occurs. Again, it seems there is no scientific or logical reason to believe a HAARP/Weather Control conspiracy.
  • Mind Control: You probably knew it was coming, but there are those that believe that HAARP can actually offer some kind of mind control or "mood" control. Again, Jerry E. Smith is no stranger to this theory and his HAARP book discusses this, too. According to this site (and I have not verified the information), certain extremely low frequency (6-11 Hertz) waves can cause a person to feel good or depressed. Apparently those that believe in HAARP mind control have somehow come to believe that HAARP not only operates at these frequencies (rather than the 2,700,000 - 10,000,000 Hertz it is known to operate at), but that it can somehow do it remotely--i.e., somehow target the "mind control" to other areas of the earth from Alaska. Once again, it's not so much the evidence against this theory as it is the complete lack of any evidence to support it.
As you can see, you can pretty much pick whatever you want to believe HAARP is capable of and you'll probably find some conspiracy theory promotes that belief. People like Jerry Smith have pretty much decided to pick all of them. But what all these theories have in common is a lack of scientific basis or supporting evidence. They are all based on speculation and usually cite each other as sources for the information providing a very convenient "circular logic" that allows them to build the theories higher and higher while never providing any real evidence for any of it.
Sites such as this one suggest that they can detect when HAARP is active by listening to 3.39MHz. In this case, the site indicates that HAARP came on in a "standby mode at the highest daytime transmitter power." Ignoring for a moment the fact that "standby" and "highest transmitter power" seem to be direct contradictions, HAARP doesn't have a "standby" mode nor does it nor has it transmitted at 3.39MHz except for a HAARP-to-HAM radio test years ago. (Source). Sites that suggest that they can detect when HAARP is operating based on monitoring the 3.39MHz frequency seem to be barking up the wrong tree.
Something else that conspiracy theorists will point to are registered patents that have something to do with HAARP.
  1. Patent 4,686,605
    "Method and apparatus for altering a region in the earth's atmosphere, ionosphere, and/or magnetosphere"
This patent is referred to as the key document.
However, this patent covers a technology whereby "excitation of electron cyclotron resonance is about 1 watt per cubic centimeter" while HAARP only achieves 3 microwatts per cm2--thus the patent specifies an energy 333,333 times greater than what HAARP is capable of. Further, the patent requires "excitation of electron cyclotron resonance is initially carried out within the ionosphere and is continued for a time sufficient to allow said region to rise above said ionosphere". In other words, it is the intent of this patent to actually move plasma from the ionosphere above the ionosphere. HAARP does not do this.
In short, the "evils" attributed to this patent (interference with satellites, aircraft, missiles, etc.) depends to a great extent in applying over 300,000 times as much power as HAARP is capable of applying. Considering that 3.6 Megawatts is needed by HAARP to achieve 3 microwatts per cm2, it would appear that the device described in the patent would require 300,000 times that: 1,080,000 megawatts which is 1.08 terawatts.
Let's put that in perspective.
If we compare that to the fact that the world currently consumes about 12 trillion watts (12 terawatts) we can conclude that the energy consumed by HAARP to achieve the power indicated by the patent would require approximately 8% of all the energy currently produced in the world. That's basically the same amount of power consumed by the countries of the United Kingdom, Mexico, Italy, Spain and Pakistan put together. (Source).
Alternatively, it's over 1/4th of all the power production capability of the United States.
Another way of looking at it is that the most powerful nuclear reactors in the U.S. are capable of producing about 1.1 megawatts of electricity each. So HAARP would need about 1000 nuclear plants to generate all the power it would need.
And they get all this power out of six 3600-HP diesel generators? (Source). Or where, in the picture to the right, do we see sufficient energy production capability?
  1. Patent 5,068,669
    "Power Beaming System"
Another patent that conspiracists point to is this one that is owned by the same company (APTI) that owns the previous patent. The suggestion, I guess, is that if they own a patent similar to HAARP and they also own this patent that relates to beaming energy from one place to another, that HAARP must be beaming energy.
However, the technology described in this patent is very different from that at HAARP.
    1. This patent speaks of electromagnetic radiation produced at frequencies of 18-35 GHz while HAARP is only capable of operating between 2.8 and 10.0 MHz. The frequencies required by this patent are about 6000 times higher than that produced by HAARP.
    2. This patent requires transmitting antennas on a "movable pedestal." HAARP simply does not have such a movable pedestal.
    3. This patent speaks of a single antenna whereas HAARP has 180 individual antennas.
    4. This patent speaks of transmitting relatively low amounts of power to an airborne object, such as a plane or satellite. Much of the patent talks about the fact that the device receiving the energy must transmit a "tracking signal" so that the system may beam the energy to the right place. HAARP does not have such a capability. Even if it did, this patent covers energy transmission to an airborne object, not ground-to-ground energy transmission nor does it provide a way for HAARP to "target" its energy to some specific point on earth.
There seems to be no relation between HAARP and this patent whatsoever.
  1. Patent 5,041,834
    "Artificial ionospheric mirror composed of a plasma layer which can be tilted"
This patent is very similar to the first one mentioned above in that it discussed an atmospheric ionospheric mirror (AIM). The only real difference is this one talks about how to create such an AIM that has an angle to it. That is, the first patent talks about an AIM created at a specific altitude while this one talks about how to create it with an angle. This would allow a radio wave to be bounced off it with more accuracy.
This patent does, in fact, talk about aiming a radio wave, but it should be noted that the work of the antennas themselves are always right above the installation. It can't create such an AIM somewhere else--only right above it. It is assumed that another antenna near the installation would then transmit a communication signal and bounce it off the ionospheric mirror and, thus, achieve communication over the curvature of the earth. But, still, the radio signal bounced off the AIM could only be bounced to points that are visible from wherever the ionospheric mirror is created. Even at 100-350km you couldn't reach the other side of the world to target earthquakes in Iran like some sites suggest.
In summary, they point to interesting patents but the patents themselves don't accurately describe HAARP. About the only thing they have in common is that they both modify, in some way, the ionosphere.
Many websites talk about HAARP and state erroneous information and, based on that, take them to their illogical conclusion. Some common inaccurate information is:
  1. Power of HAARP in Billions of Watts. Sites such as this claim that HAARP is capable of transmitting a billion watts and eventually will be able to transmit 4.7 billion wants. In fact, the transmission power of HAARP is limited to 3.6 million watts, of which only 80% (2.8 million watts) is actually transmitted into the ionosphere due to antenna inefficiencies. Sites like the one just cited misstate the power of HAARP by over 3 orders of magnitude--that is, they're off by more than a factor of 1000. So far I haven't seen any of these sites provide any factual basis for their claims.
  2. HAARP has Ground-Penetrating Capabilities. This site claims that in 1994 the Congress froze "funding on HAARP until planners increased emphasis on earth-penetrating uses for nuclear proliferation efforts." The only thing I've found that comes close to this claim is this document which reads (on page 728):
"Of the funds authorized in fiscal year of 1996, the conferees recommend that $1.5 million be available for the exploration of the "deep digger" concept for hard target characterization, and that $5.0 million be available for the high frequency active auroral research program (HAARP)."
While HAARP is mentioned in the same sentence as something that would appear to be "ground-penetrating" (i.e. the deep digger), reading the above excerpt causes me to think that the deep digger concept and HAARP are two separate issues. Certainly the only thing that remotely links them is that they're mentioned so close together, but the sentence structure doesn't appear to me to necessarily link the two.