I’ve been fascinated by radio since I was a young child. Radio seems to be a connection between our physical world and some sort of ether world outside of physical existence.
Speak into a microphone, modulate a transmitter, and if the signal is a high enough frequency to make it through the ionosphere, it goes out into space forever. Millennia after I’m gone from this worldly plain, signals, modulated with my voice, will still be traveling through space.
If the frequency isn’t high enough to make it through the ionosphere, well there is where some truly interesting stuff happens. There the signal may be absorbed, and since we know energy can neither be created nor destroyed, that means the signal is simply converted into some other form of energy. Or, the signal may be refracted back to Earth.
People commonly say the ionosphere “reflects” signals, but more properly it “refracts” them. The actual mechanics involve the interaction of an electromagnetic wave with free electrons in the ionosphere. In real terms the difference is that above a certain critical angle, the electromagnetic wave will not be directed back towards the Earth’s surface and there is phase shift and absorption. In the simplest of terms though it acts like a reflection if the frequency isn’t too high or the angle isn’t too steep.
There was a certain sense of immortality involved in radio. My voice will live on after I am long gone. There are phenomena involved that seemed to me, still seem to me, mystical and magical. One such phenomena that I occasionally encountered was something known as long delayed echo. Basically, one here’s an echo of the transmission delayed more than a simple reflection from the ionosphere can account for.
When I was operating my pirate radio station back in the mid 1970s, the frequency we normally ran on was 1200 Khz. At that time, there were a number of clear channel assignments, AM frequencies that only one station was permitted to transmit on at night, allowing reception of that station pretty much anywhere in the country (and many areas outside of the United States borders).
The only other station on 1200 Khz at the time was WOAI in San Antonio, Texas. We chose that frequency because WOAI’s signal was extremely weak in the Seattle area allowing our 100 watt signal to be heard over a fairly substantial distance. I never did receive any reports of it being received via skip however.
LDE, the phenomena of long delayed echoes is a truly strange one. When we operated our bootleg radio station, we had an off-the-air monitor (radio) to monitor our broadcast and make sure things were sounding good. When we’d turn the transmitter off, the AGC on the receiver would bring the gain up and you’d then here whatever noise was present on the frequency. Occasionally, I’d hear the last fraction of a second of our own broadcast repeat.
What made this possible? I don’t know but the ionosphere, magnetosphere, their interaction with each other, and with the solar wind, are all much stranger than commonly though. However, I do know that we received no reports of skip. Even if the signal had been strong enough to be reflected back to us, a trip around the Earth only takes about 1/7th of a second, the ionosphere and back only a few milliseconds, not long enough to account for the phenomena.
If not ionospheric, then what else could it be? One theory of LDE‘s is that, under the right conditions, a signal is converted into acoustic energy in the plasma of the ionosphere, travels some distance as an acoustic wave (which travels at the speed of sound in the ionosphere), and then is converted back to an electromagnetic wave. Mmm, maybe…
I should add all of this was happening before we had HAARP muddying the waters further. A funny thing about HAARP, I have heard and read all sorts of rumors about it’s capabilities being far greater than originally documented. Originally, HAARP was looking at using RF “heating” of the ionosphere, to intensify ionization in a region, to allow the bouncing of VHF and UHF signals that normally would not be reflected, back to the Earth’s surface. This would allow things like over the horizon radar and military communications over the horizon.
Recently, it was discovered that acoustic waves, sound, within the Sun, is coupled into the Sun’s magnetic field lines. It is these sound waves propagating in the magnetic field lines heat the chromosphere to 20,000 °C, and the corona one to two million °K, and during extreme activity as high as 3.6 million °K.
Many of the Suns magnetic field lines loop back upon themselves, but some do not and travel out into space and past our planet. They interact with the Earth’s magnetic field lines, and charged particles of the solar wind traveling along the Sun’s magnetic field lines couple into the Earth’s and travel along the Earth’s magnetic field lines, entering the atmosphere near the poles, exciting atoms in the upper atmosphere causing them to glow which is the phenomena we know as the Auroras.
I believe this system allows the coupling of the acoustic waves into the Sun all the way into the Earth’s magnetosphere, ionosphere, and atmosphere, and even into the planet itself.
Image from Wikipedia Commons
This image is in the public domain.
Derived from an image created by NASA.
Because protons and electrons in the solar wind have the same magnitude of charge (opposite polarity) but differ in mass by a factor of 2,000, the electrons spiral along magnetic field lines more tightly than protons. I believe this creates a separation of charge that is the root of the charge between the ionosphere
and the Earth rather than lighting. Lightning, I believe, is actually discharging this potential not charging it. That is evidenced by the increase in lightning activity during solar maximums
What all this is leading up to is that I believe the Earth’s magnetosphere and the Sun’s are intimately
connected, and that coupling adds energy to the planetary system that results in climate changes as well as internal activity. I believe it is probably the this complex system that somehow accounts for LDE’s.
Some of the things I’ve seen on the net, like a proposal to alter the ionosphere to protect low Earth orbiting satellites during a high altitude nuclear explosion or a extreme solar event, suggest that our military knows a lot more about the workings of the ionosphere and it’s interaction with the Sun than the civilian sector.
Because the ionosphere is a non-linear medium, it is possible to transmit to high frequency signals, the difference of which is the desired frequency to be created, and by doing so create signals in the ELF range. The military sees this as a possible method of communicating with submerged submarines since ELF penetrates the oceans. It also penetrates land, and is a potential method of seeing underground structures.
The most interesting low frequencies are near the Schumann resonance where the resonant cavity formed by the ionosphere and Earth tend to amplify certain frequencies.
An interesting aspect of frequencies near the Schumann resonance is that these are also frequencies close to those of human brain waves, and it has already been shown that external fields will entrain the brain and by extension affect states of consciousness. It is possible to entrain the brain to a low frequency and induce relaxation, lethargy, or sleep, or to higher frequencies, and induce alertness, anxiety, excitation, and irritation.
The creation of these low frequency signals of high amplitude can also effect the Earth’s magnetic field lines, and in turn steer where particles from the solar wind penetrate the atmosphere. This has the potential to be used as an extremely destructive weapon.
Another potential use, and I can’t help but wonder if the military isn’t exploring this although I haven’t seen it mentioned anywhere, is the potential to extract huge quantities of energy from the ionosphere in the form of a DC electric current.
In short, the ionosphere is conductive, the Earth is conductive. A charge of between 100 v/meter and
300 v/meter exists between the ionosphere and ground. The interesting thing here is that it is also claimed that the ionosphere has a potential to ground of about 300KV. The problem here is if this were true then the ionosphere would only be 1-3 kilometers above the Earth, so something is wrong with one of those figures. Either the field strength has to be lower, or the total potential higher. If one could create an ionized column from the ground to the ionosphere, a huge current would discharge through that ionized column. The amount of energy involved would be unimaginably huge.
Well, just a few thoughts, I’d be curious to hear your thoughts on this subject. There is so much more I could say about this subject, and will say in the future, but I’ve got to do some work so can’t spend all night writing.