The effects on the high-latitude F region of the ionosphere by X-mode powerful HF radio waves injected towards the magnetic zenith (MZ) are analysed. The experiments were conducted using the EISCAT/Heating facility and UHF radar at Tromsø, Norway, the CUTLASS (SuperDARN) radar and the EISCAT ionosonde (dynasonde). The results show that the X-mode HF pump wave, radiated into the magnetic zenith from the HF heater, can generate very strong small-scale artificial field aligned irregularities (AFAIs) in the F-region of the high-latitude ionosphere. These irregularities, with spatial scales across the geomagnetic field of the order of 8–15 m, are generated when the heater frequency is above the ordinary-mode critical frequency but comparable with the extraordinary-mode critical frequency. The generation of the X-mode AFAIs was accompanied by electron temperature (Te) enhancements up to 50% above the background level and an increase in the electron density (Ne) by up to 30%.