| Some dare call it|
|What THEY don't want|
you to know!
| Putting the psycho in|
|Men who stare at goats|
|By the powers of tinfoil|
Decommissioned Cold War-era radio antennas known as GWEN towers have become the focus of a conspiracy theory which claims that the U.S. government is secretly operating these relics as part of a vast network of devices — imbued with the power either to control the minds of citizens, alter the weather, or create earthquakes. Or maybe all three.
Internet trolls, hoaxers and conspiracy mongers often circulate pictures of ordinary cell phone towers as "proof" that THEY are using ELF to supposedly amplify the power of HAARP and/or turn people into mind-numbed sheeple.
Today's modern cranks (being down with the smartphone-using kids and all) have even promoted GWEN towers as the smoking guns in a vast unified conspiracy theory, conveniently involving most fringe nonsense you could list off the top of your head, including chemtrails, vaccines, yogis, alien implants and Tesla woo. It's no surprise that phrases like "what is GWEN", "GWEN towers ears ringing" and "GWEN tower location map" rank high in Google searches, given the excessive level of bullshit on the subject.
The unremarkable truth
In the 1980s, the US Air Force commissioned a nationwide network of unmanned radio relay stations to act as a "fail safe" mechanism to communicate with Strategic Air Command operating locations and launch control centers should a nuclear explosion disrupt the ionosphere and knock out conventional radio systems.
The military dubbed it the "Ground Wave Emergency Network" (GWEN), since it transmitted on LF (150 - 175 kHz), which are relatively low radio frequencies that tend to hug the ground. This effect, known as "ground wave", is still employed by commercial AM radio stations in the US, whose signals bend with the curvature of the earth to provide reliable coverage over large areas. It was thought that if conventional high frequency military radio systems that depended on "sky wave" communications were disrupted by the electromagnetic pulse (EMP) of a nuclear explosion, GWEN's low frequency ground wave system would still be able to get through.
GWEN towers were actually quite unremarkable and very similar to those used by normal AM radio stations: a steel trusswork tower around 299 feet tall, lots of guy wires, and some equipment shacks surrounded by chain link fencing. Of some 200-plus planned installations, only 58 GWEN towers were ever built. When the military found its existing redundant communication systems were more than adequate and Congress questioned the expenditures funding GWEN, the whole program was quietly abandoned in the early 1990s.
Some of the 58 former GWEN towers were given to the US Coast Guard to install Global Positioning Satellite antennas on in order to extend coverage of the national GPS network. Others were sold off to commercial businesses who used the former GWEN sites to erect cell phone towers.
Of course, since anything having to do with the government is considered inherently evil, GWEN must be part of a secret plan to harm the population, so…
Turning the dial to Bullshit FM
According to various cranks, the long-dilapidated GWEN network is not only still functioning — it's even being put to new uses (such as "sending synthetic-telepathy as infrasound to victims with US government mind-control implants".)
imagined alleged GWEN capabilities include:
- Weather control: Cranks claim GWEN towers located along earthquake fault lines "were turned on for 40 days and 40 nights" in conjunction with HAARP, causing rivers to flood and agricultural losses of $12-15 billion.
- Mind control: Another crank hypothesis is that GWEN towers send out signals that disrupt the Schumann Resonance causing the earth to vibrate at bad frequencies that make humans more suggestible to orders from the government. There are claims that GWEN uses a type of mega-evil radio wave called a Scalar wave, which is pretty much all the proof you need that cranks literally make this bullshit up, since a scalar wave is actually a boring mathematical solution to an ordinary Wave equation and has nothing to do with electromagnetic radiation.
- Behavior- and mood control: Despite the obvious electrical and physical limitations, cranks say GWEN towers are able to emit radiation at the fantastically low frequencies of 7.83 Hz, 10.80 Hz, and 6.6 Hz to make a person feel good, produce an altered state, cause riotous behavior or depression.
- Infrasound implants: According to the very crankiest thinkers, GWEN towers activate tiny electronic implants contained in ordinary vaccines that somehow use infrasound to create voices in people's heads telling them what to do, or to facilitate communication with extraterrestrials (who, ironically, also tell them what to do).
Ripe for debunking
One canard being passed around by GWEN conspiracy believers is that a broadcast antenna using a ground system can somehow blow up your mind:
Copper wire fans out in a spoke like fashion from the base of the underground system, interacting with the earth like a thin shelled conductor, radiating radio wave energy for very long distances through the ground. The USA bathes in this magnetic field which rises to 500 ft, even going down to basements, so everyone is subject to mind control.
The origin of this stupidity is probably the fact that antenna towers in the former GWEN network employed a counterpoise to form a ground plane, which is simply a radial system of buried wire under the tower that helps reflect radio signals outwards — an age-old technology that all commercial broadcasters use.
Similarly, the fact that GWEN's radio antennas made use of "ground wave" propagation is portrayed as scary and bad:
The whole artificial ground wave spreads out over USA like a web. It is easier to mind-control and hypnotize people who are bathed in an artificial electromagnetic wave.
Nope. Ground wave propagation is just one way that ordinary radio signals travel across the surface of the earth (and have been ever since Marconi first pioneered their development in 1895).
The GWEN Towers shoot enormous bursts of energy into the atmosphere in conjunction with HAARP.
Nope again. The peak broadcasting power of a GWEN transmitter was between 2,000 and 3,200 watts -- actually pretty low power for a radio station. In fact, it's less than 6% of the power transmitted by the hundred or so 50,000 watt radio stations in the US.
GWEN towers are placed 200 miles apart across the USA, allow specific frequencies to be tailored to the geomagnetic-field strength in each area, allowing the magnetic field to be altered.
The towers in the former GWEN system were placed 200 miles apart to relay messages between SAC headquarters and Air Force bases located around the USA. It had nothing to do with the earth's magnetic field. The geomagnetic field strength at any one place on the earth is so irregular it takes satellites and 200 magnetic observatories around the world just to measure it from moment to moment. The idea that a Cold War radio communications network could measure it (and then actually alter it) is ridiculous.
GWEN towers generate energy operating within the same 400 MHz frequency that the human brain also operates. Our brains are vulnerable to ELF technology because they begin resonating to outside signals similar to a tuning fork. 
No, 400 MHz (Megahertz) is not the frequency of the human brain.[note 1] The 400 MHz band of radio frequencies is used for government comns as well as construction site operations, schools, events, and fast food drive-thru intercoms. The former GWEN sites used small 20-watt two-way radios for backup communications that happened to operate in the 400 MHz band. Nobody's brain has ever resonated to these frequencies.
GWEN works in conjunction with HAARP and the Russian Woodpecker transmitter, which is similar to HAARP.
Wrong. The Russian Woodpecker was a very powerful radar installation in the Soviet Union that operated during the height of the Cold War. It was decommissioned in 1989 -- and its sole purpose was to detect an incoming American intercontinental ballistic missile. It's now rusting away in a Ukrainian forest.
The Government, has, the capability, of transmitting, “EXTREMELY LOW FREQUENCIES”, to peoples’ minds, in order, to transmit “specific electronic messages” to their brains – at a level, that can NOT be detected, by ‘the conscious mind’; but only subconsciously. People are being targeted all over the world, through the use of GWEN Towers.
So bogus as to be not even wrong. The former GWEN towers were of a specific size in order to transmit in the LF (Low Frequency) range of 150 to 175 kHz, which is just below the US AM radio broadcast band. LF is also where European and Asian AM radio stations have broadcast music, news and entertainment programming for many years. GWEN towers would have had to be substantially larger (like 30 or 40 miles larger) to transmit ELF (Extremely Low Frequency) waves, which are those between 3 and 30 Hz.
We're sorry to spoil conspiracy theorists fun, but many things around us give off ELF waves, one of the most common being power lines. And all studies into ELF waves have shown that (despite what someone told you on Facebook) they do not affect the human mind.
Fear of antennas
It's easy to see why the GWEN mind-control legend started, and how it got mashed up with rumors about HAARP and cell phone towers.
When the GWEN radio network was being built in the late 1980s, there were a number of local protests. Environmentalists and anti nuclear activists didn't want these radio towers in their backyards. Some residents feared that the USSR would target these installations in the event of a nuclear war, and their communities would be especially vulnerable to attack. Others sought to protect the natural resources and wildlife habitats that would get bulldozed over during construction. These protests have been conveniently retconned as evidence of early "government mind control whistleblowers".
Thanks to the proliferation of cell phones, fear of mobile phone radiation (or anything to do with microwaves) soon got stirred into the mix. It didn't matter how many studies determined cell phone radiation to be safe, some people like this guy just enjoyed talking bogus shit about cell phones. So it's only natural that the hundreds of antenna towers needed to let cell phone companies say "we've got the best coverage in the nation" began to get lots of attention from cranks.
We get it. Antennas of any kind are strange, unsettling contraptions. Cell phone towers are ugly.[note 2] But they honestly don't have the power to control your mind. How did this stupid rumor spread? Oh, wait...social media, like Facebook's smartphone app.
Bogus photos and videos
GWEN tower conspiracy kooks regularly share photos of boringly normal cell phone towers on web pages, blogs, Facebook and Twitter, sometimes labeling them with a warning: "THESE ARE NOT CELL PHONE TOWERS!".
On Youtube where conspiracy videos thrive, one can find a super-sized helping of GWEN hysteria and misinformation. Such as:
- A fake news video about the dangers of these "extermination towers" which somehow interact with "nano aluminum" dropped by chemtrail planes to make people more susceptible to microwave torture.
- A Sheffield, UK resident who thinks the US has covertly installed GWEN towers atop a hill in the English countryside, despite the fact they are clearly labeled as British telecom company Arqiva cell towers.
- An unintentionally funny encounter between a cellular tower engineer and a breathless GWEN conspiracy theorist.
- The team from TruthStreamMedia manages to track down a bonafide former GWEN site, obviously repurposed for GPS service by the Coast Guard, yet still with its beautiful 1980s vintage radio tower intact. Sadly, instead of appreciating the site's historic value, they ramble about its supposed "mind control capabilities".
It seems that every time a US Wireless carrier puts up a new tower in some neighborhood to extend coverage for subscribers, cranks and trolls scramble to post supposed "proof" that government GWEN towers are popping up everywhere, and no one is safe from the horror.
Dude, they're just cell towers
The reason you see so many wireless towers is that a huge number of people use smartphones and mobile devices. In the US, wireless carriers like AT&T, Verizon, and Sprint serve over 400 million subscribers.  That's a lot of people. And it takes a shitload of wireless antennas to keep them all connected.
Wireless technology is pretty sophisticated, but it's not voodoo or magic. It's basically a two-way radio system that operates in the microwave range: a typical LTE wireless network uses frequencies between 1000 and 2000 MHz. The cell site towers serve for both receiving and transmitting. The weak signal transmitted by your phone (on average, 1 or 2 watts) is received by the wireless company tower, then sent out to other phones with increased power (on average, about 5 to 10 watts).
These towers have to be tall, because microwaves tend to be "line of sight" and can't go around obstacles easily. Those clusters of flat or angled vertical panels you see on the tower are called "sector antennas", because each cluster is aimed to serve customers in a 120 degree sector of whatever neighborhood the tower is located in. Inside each of the panels there are typically 10 tiny antennas arranged in a vertical line. These cute little antennas are made to a specific size so they will radiate waves that resonate with the antenna in your cell phone.
Despite the GWEN conspiracy hype, there is no technology that enables ordinary broadcast radio or mobile phone antennas to transmit thoughts directly into your mind or trigger earthquakes and tornadoes.
And far from being a sickening globalist plot, modern cell phone technology is actually pretty damn amazing.
These days, most people take for granted the ability to carry a little thing around in their pocket which lets them talk to a loved one — or anyone, for that matter — on the other side of the country (or planet) at the press of a
Never mind the ability to call for help when someone is hurt or in danger, the ability to report crime against yourself or a neighbour, or the ability to check on you kids as they walk home from school.[note 3]
- Crank geniuses have apparently confused 400 MHz (Megahertz) with 40 Hz (Hertz), a frequency at which alpha brain waves have been detected.
- Mobile providers have tried to pretty them up by disguising them as trees. Which cranks predictably interpret as sure proof the whole thing is an evil plot.
- Imagine being forced to send a god damn telegram every time you felt like pizza!
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