5G – FROM BLANKETS TO BULLETS
by Arthur Firstenberg
The single most important fact about 5G that nobody is talking about is called “phased array.” It will totally change the way cell towers and cell phones are constructed and will transform the blanket of radiation which has enveloped our world for two decades into a million powerful beams whizzing by us at all times. Blake Levitt, author of Electromagnetic Fields: A Consumer’s Guide to the Issues and How to Protect Ourselves (Harcourt Brace, 1995), brought this to my attention. A mutual friend, with whom I was speaking during the campaign to defeat S.B. 649 in California, passed on a message from Blake: “5G antennas will be phased arrays; Arthur will know what that means.” And I did.
Phased arrays were one of the first things I learned about in the very beginning of my long, involuntary journey from medical student to campaigner against wireless technology. After I was injured by X-rays in 1980, I began to read everything I could get my hands on that had to do with electromagnetic radiation and its effects on life. And one of the first books I read was Paul Brodeur’s The Zapping of America (W.W. Norton, 1977).
Brodeur was a staff writer for the New Yorker who had purchased property on Cape Cod, Massachusetts, only to discover that 30 miles inland, across the bay from his future home, the Air Force was planning to construct the world’s most powerful radar station. It was going to scan the Atlantic Ocean as a key early warning element protecting us against the threat of sea-launched ballistic missiles from the Soviet Union. Although it emitted an average power of only 145,000 watts, similar to some FM radio stations, it did not broadcast that energy from only a single antenna and it did not spread that energy out uniformly in all directions. Instead, it had 3,600 antennas arranged in two “phased arrays” of 1,800 antennas each. The antennas in each array worked together as a unit to focus all their energy into a narrow, steerable beam. Each beam had an effective power of four billion watts, and the peak radiation level exceeded one milliwatt per square centimeter—the FCC’s safety limit today—at a distance of three miles in front of the radar station. The facility was called PAVE PAWS (Precision Acquisition of Vehicle Entry Phased Array Warning System).
The Defense Department acknowledged in a 1975 report, quoted by Brodeur, that such systems “energize thousands of operational elements, are electronically steered at high search rates, and operate at a frequency range having a maximum whole body energy transfer to man and for which little bioeffects data exists.”
Shortly after I read this, I discovered firsthand what some of the bioeffects were. Attempting to finish my M.D. almost cost me my life. I collapsed one day with all the symptoms of a heart attack, whereupon I resigned from school and moved up to Mendocino to recover. There I was in the path of the other PAVE PAWS, the one that scanned the Pacific Ocean. This PAVE PAWS was due east of Mendocino, in California’s Central Valley at Beale Air Force Base. And for nine months, every evening at precisely 7:00 p.m., no matter where I was or what I was doing, my chest would tighten and I would be unable to catch my breath for the next two hours. At precisely 9:00 p.m., my body would relax and I could breathe. I lived in Mendocino from 1982 through 1984, and although I eventually recovered my health, I was always aware of an uncomfortable pressure in my chest whenever I was on the coast. I also lived in Mendocino from 1999 to 2004, and felt that same discomfort whenever I was there, and always felt it suddenly vanish when I drove out of range of PAVE PAWS, and suddenly return at the same point on my journey home.
5G is going to be at a much higher frequency range, which means the antennas are going to be much smaller—small enough to fit inside a smartphone—but like in PAVE PAWS they are going to work together in a phased array, and like in PAVE PAWS they are going to concentrate their energy in narrow, steerable high power beams. The arrays are going to track each other, so that wherever you are, a beam from your smartphone is going to be aimed directly at the base station (cell tower), and a beam from the base station is going to be aimed directly at you. If you walk between someone’s phone and the base station, both beams will go right through your body. The beam from the tower will hit you even if you are in the general vicinity of someone who is on a smart phone. And if you are in a crowd, multiple beams will overlap and be unavoidable.
At present, smartphones emit a maximum of about two watts, and usually operate at a power of less than a watt. That will still be true of 5G phones, however inside a 5G phone there may be 8 tiny arrays of 16 tiny antennas each, all working together to track the nearest cell tower and aim a narrowly focused beam at it. The FCC has recently adopted rules allowing the effective power of those beams to be as much as 20 watts. Now if a handheld smartphone sent a 20-watt beam through your body, it would far exceed the exposure limit set by the FCC. What the FCC is counting on is that there is going to be a metal shield between the display side of a 5G phone and the side with all the circuitry and antennas. That shield will be there to protect the circuitry from electronic interference that would otherwise be caused by the display and make the phone useless. But it will also function to keep most of
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