24 February 2017

chasing HAARP

photo from Chris Allen twitter account
On 19-22 February, scientists used the HAARP (High-frequency Active Auroral Research Program) research instrument to conduct multiple experiments, including the so-called "Luxembourg Broadcast" and creation of "Artificial  Aurora". Radio listeners  were able to tune HAARP radio transmissions in real time by following Chris Fallen, Assistant Research Professor in the Space Physics Group at UAF, on twitter during his experiments at HAARP.  
I too tried to  follow the HAARP transmissions on 21 and 22 February and other than a fake transmission I had also a copy, or better a "track", of the 22 February Artificial Aurora transmission: short report follows below.

21 February,  a fake transmission
The alarm clock rings at 0300 UTC (0400 CET), just a coffee and then in front of the radio hoping to catch the Luxembourg Broadcast scheduled for that session/time. Propagation is quite good and I tune alternately to 2.8 and 3.3 MHz (the advertised frequencies), although both the frequencies are under my eyes in the portion of the band displayed in the SDR waterfall. Since the exact frequencies of the transmissions are not known until shortly before the experiment begins, I follow the operational updates published in @ctfallen, a special twitter account.
Looking for the Luxembourg Broadcast on 2.8 and 3.3 MHz, at 0314 UTC I copy a short CW transmission on 2.8, repeated few seconds later on 3.3 MHz (Fig. 1). The Morse coded message is the bare "vvvvv de haarp" which exhibits a wrong keyd "p" (uh?). The too-simple message, the not uniform separation between tones, the wrong "p" and the HAM style of the keyer make me think of an European "joker" and thus of a fake transmission!
I send images and recordings to Chris Fallen and his team, warning about a possible fake transmission by some European joker: initially they tend to confirm the reception, but after further analysis they realize that the copied transmission was really a fake (as supposed).

Fig. 1 - the 21 Feb 0314UTC fake transmissions

22 February,  Artificial Aurora transmission
Too tired to wake up early in the morning, I choose for an off-line listening and program SDR-Console for a timed IQ recording starting at 0330 untill 0500 UTC 22 February. In the afternoon I analyze the file and, given the propagation conditions and the HAARP antennas beam, I decide to read the recordered band using the powerfull QRSS viewer by I2PHD ("Argo"). Since the need to know the exact frequencies, as said, I browse the 22 February operational updates in @ctfallen. Indeed, for Artificial Aurora experiments they have to match the frequency to the specific peak plasma density altitude by operating a low power scanning ionosonde and then pick the main transmitter frequency based on the ionosonde analysis.
At ~0400 UTC Chris Fallen says:
3.4 MHz (and 9.5 MHz probe) tune in! If in Aalaska maybe try to photograph the artificial auroral spot"
here we are: using the IQ file navigator I move on 3.4 MHz @ 0400 UTC to dig the signal ...and I find it: although weak, a track of the Artificial Aurora transmission is visible just in the place and time at which it was to be. Quoting Fallen,  "the broadcast only sounds like a silent carrier wave, as if a radio DJ fell asleep and neglected to change the record" (Fig. 2). Note that the 1025Hz track in the QRSS waterfall is due to the 1 KHz offset (I was tuned on 3999.0 KHz/USB) plus the 25 Hz calibration error of my receiver.

Fig. 2 - the 22 February 0400 UTC Artificial Aurora transmission

Operation of the HAARP research facility, including the world’s most capable high-power, high-frequency transmitter for study of the ionosphere, was transferred from the U.S. Air Force to UAF in August 2015. Research funding agencies include the National Science Foundation, Department of Energy’s Los Alamos National Lab and the Naval Research Laboratory.

For more details on the dates and times of Fallen’s experiments, as well as information, visit:
Information is also available at the HAARP website, the UAF:  
and the official UAF HAARP Facebook page:

Address from The SWLing Post page:

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