|Subject:||[TowerTalk] Anyone know any more about this? (Again)|
|From:||Joe Giacobello <firstname.lastname@example.org>|
|Date:||Thu, 17 Aug 2006 11:10:04 -0400|
Apparently, my forwarded message from the ARRL propagation report went as an attachment rather than in the message body and was removed by the server. Anyhow, I cut and pasted below:
SB PROP @ ARL $ARLP033 ARLP033 Propagation de K7RA
ZCZC AP33 QST de W1AW Propagation Forecast Bulletin 33 ARLP033 >From Tad Cook, K7RA Seattle, WA August 15, 2006 To all radio amateurs
SB PROP ARL ARLP033 ARLP033 Propagation de K7RA
This is a special early edition of the propagation bulletin, three days before the regular Friday publication schedule. The regular bulletin will appear on Friday, August 18.
A newspaper article on Monday out of New Zealand reported a proposed Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) project that could cause major worldwide disruptions to HF radio communication and GPS navigation. The ''Radiation Belt Remediation'' (RBR) system is envisaged as a method for protecting low earth orbit (LEO) satellites from damage caused by high altitude nuclear detonations or severe solar storms. Testing the system would use extremely high intensity very low frequency (VLF) radio waves to flush particles from radiation belts and dump them into the upper atmosphere.
When I first heard of this on Monday morning, I thought it must be something from a fringe web site peddling dark conspiracy theories. But the newspaper reporting the news is real, and so is the team of scientists from New Zealand, the UK and Finland whose study of possible effects of the scheme is reported in a recent edition of Annales Geophysicae.
You can find the article here:
A web page from the University of Otago describing the research is here:
I contacted the lead researcher on the team reporting the possible effects of the project, Dr. Craig Rodger of the Physics Department at the University of Otago in Dunedin, New Zealand. He proved very cooperative, accessible and helpful, and told me RBR is a serious project, ''money is starting to appear to investigate it in more detail'', and ''U.S. scientists with military connections are treating it seriously''.
It is feared that testing the system could shut down worldwide HF communications for several days to a week, rendering the ionosphere a giant sponge for RF.
I sent Dr. Rodger a comment from Ward Silver, N0AX, who speculated ''the sheer energy needed to accomplish it would tend to rule it out from the start, and I don't know where they would erect the necessary antennas.''
Dr. Rodger responded, ''This would be true, but they are hoping to rely on some of the non-linear processes in space plasmas, stealing the energy from the radiation belts to get the wave-amplitudes high enough. We know this is possible (in theory), as it happens naturally already. We don't know how easy it will be to get it happening under our control''.
''Also, as for erecting the antenna, there are two plans. One is to fly VLF antenna in space. This could be a power problem. But for ground-based systems, you probably already know that most major naval powers have big VLF transmitters dotted over the globe. (Two of the US Navy transmitters radiate one megawatt). While these are designed to keep the signals mostly under the ionosphere, it shows the possibility for building big powerful antenna''.
You can read Monday's article from the New Zealand Herald, here:
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