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Tag: Alaska

QSL HAARP Gakona, Alaska

A QSL from the HAARP facility in Gakona, Alaska. HAARP stands for High-frequency Active Auroral Research Program. As they write on their website:

It is the world’s most capable high-power, high frequency (HF) transmitter for study of the ionosphere. The principal instrument is the Ionospheric Research Instrument (IRI), a phased array of 180 HF crossed-dipole antennas spread across 33 acres and capable of radiating 3.6 megawatts into the upper atmosphere and ionosphere. Transmit frequencies are selectable in the range of 2.7 to 10 MHz. Since the antennas form a sophisticated phased array, the transmitted beam can take many shapes, can be scanned over a wide angular range and multiple beams can be formed. The facility uses 30 transmitter shelters, each with six pairs of 10 kilowatt transmitters, to achieve the 3.6 MW transmit power.

QSL HAARP Gakona, Alaska

The facility was built in 1993, funded by the U.S. Air Force, the U.S. Navy, the University of Alaska Fairbanks, and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). With HAARP energy can be “pumped” into the ionosphere. In a controlled way this changes the local ionosphere in what otherwise happens more or less randomly under the influence of the sun. Think about the impact of solar flares causing Aurora. This allows researchers to study the impact of ionospheric changes on radio propagation. For the military this is important to assess impact on radar and communication systems or to develop new systems.


HAARP is the subject of numerous conspiracy theories as you can read on this Wikipedia page. It is thought to be a military weapon, it is accused of deliberately triggering hurricanes, floods and earthquakes, used to down aircraft or causing chronic fatigue syndrome. Being a physicist and radio enthusiast I can only laugh about such allegations. True, 3.6 MegaWatt is a a lot of power for a transmitter. But its energy is tiny when compared to a lightning flash which can be up to 10 GigaWatts: 3000 times as much. On a global scale and compared to the sun it is nothing.

The US Air Force shut down their research program in 2015. The control and operation of the facility was turned over to the University of Alaska in Fairbanks. The facilities are open to researchers on a pay-for-use basis. Between August 1-14, 2023 there was such a campaign. And as part of this on August 14th the “Ghost in the Air Glow” show was performed.

The August 2023 HAARP campainged featured “Ghosts in the Air Glow”

“Ghosts in the Air Glow” Art Work

Ghosts in the Air Glow is described by the artist/composer Amanda Dawn Christie as a “Transmission Art Work for Ionospheric Research Instruments”. It was already the third performance via HAARP and like a symphony it was referred to as “Composition No. 3“, consisting out of 10 so-called “Movements”.

The frequency on which these movements were broadcast varied from 5 to 10 MHz. The antenna direction was also different each time. In two of them two antenna beams were apparently sweeping as if they were searchlights. Modulation was AM usually, but there was also one SSTV, one FM CW and one CW movement. While I did see the carriers on the majority of them, only one (directed to Marseille) was strong enough to hear some modulation: faint choir singing.
CW showed its strength again. Although the beam in Movement XXVII was directed to Dallas I could clearly pick up and decode a poem by ear: “IF MY VOICES LOW GHOSTS SHUNDER MEANING INTO THE (……) YOUR BONES”. Apparently this is a poem from T.D. Walker, but I couldn’t find the full text.

Reception report for “Ghosts in the Air Glow” – August 14th, 2023, via HAARP


I submitted my report to the website . Unfortunately I never received a QSL card. A week or two ago I saw someone on Facebook who got a QSL directly from the HAARP organization via . Within a day I had my e-QSL and a physical QSL was promised. I also sent a gentle reminder to the artist Amanda Dawn Christie.

I have no idea when the next opportunity is to receive HAARP, and what it would look like. They do announce campaigns on their website though. The Facebook page looks less up-to-date. And otherwise you could maybe just ask them: the response mail I got was very friendly towards radio amateurs.

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