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First Mediaworks


4/01/02 The Accidental Broadcaster

Accidents sometimes lead to innovation. Among the most famous is the radar unit left on a lab table next to a researcher’s lunch. The unit cooked everything inside the bag and brought the radar range (as the microwave was first called). Now another accident, which occurred almost 50 years ago, has led to a discovery so important that it may render AM, FM and satellite Radio as old news.

This accident, revealed via the Freedom of Information Act almost half a century later, took place in the Nevada desert sector known as Area 51. (You’ve heard Art Bell speak of Area 51 and the preponderance of UFO sightings in the area). Apparently, a Central Intelligence Agency experiment involved plasma mutation to produce a new form of jet propulsion. The CIA ignited a small quantity of plasma with an electrical charge in an abandoned water shaft 82 feet below the surface of the earth, hoping to measure a significant pressure. The theory involved converting water to plasma to fuel aircraft, eliminating the need for fossil fuel. Jets’ fuel tanks could then be filled with water to be converted to plasma.

As the recently uncovered report indicates, the experiment failed to create the desired pressure and was considered a failure. But a strange thing happened. Dr. Georgy Kuprin, a Russian scientist who had defected to the U.S. and was a member of the plasma research team, happened to notice reports of Radio transmission outages around the globe. As he and other members of the research team probed, they realized that all AM and FM Radio stations within a 3,000-mile radius had a high level of static for about 20 seconds at the exact time of the blast: August 30, 1954, at 2:03 a.m. Something about the ignited plasma 80 feet below the surface interrupted Radio broadcasts on both bands.

For the last ten years, researchers at the Lawrence-Livermore Labs in California have been probing this technology for use in secret CIA ground transmission. Somehow, as these things are wont to do, the technology leaked onto the Internet. Turns out anyone can replicate this technology, now known as PM (Plasma-mutation Modulation), drilling a well 82 feet into the surface of the earth, from any location. A simple conversion unit transforms water into plasma, with which — coupled with a synchronized electrical charge at any frequency — any amateur can create a broadcast on that frequency within a 3,000-mile radius of the well. In addition, because of low-power charges and the mutation properties of plasma, with multiple “transmission heads,” one unit can transmit up to 10 stereo broadcasts from one frequency.

What does this mean? Primarily, that each frequency suddenly could have 10 different formats or sub-formats available. Consumers merely need a $30 frequency splitter to receive all split broadcasts on all frequencies. The expense involved in building a ten-split unit capable of transmitting on every frequency of the AM-FM dial from one single hole at a 3,000-mile radius is less than the cost of one AM station in a small market.

Though there are some current flaws in the ground transmission system, which does not allow reception in any building over 40 stories, scientists think they will overcome this by digging deeper wells, which they believe will also increase the radius beyond 3,000 miles.

I contacted the U.S. Patent Office to see what patents, if any, are pending; I was told that several have been filed by an individual in San Antonio. However they would tell me nothing more, and I have been unable to locate any records in the Patent Office’s online archives. I would imagine this will be licensed for commercial use, although I have no idea whether the FCC has jurisdiction over in-ground transmissions. Will this change Radio forever? First, we had AM, then FM. Mark this date in history as the day you learned about this new technology, referred to as PM.
[Printed in the April 1 issue]


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