Improved core high-harmonic fast wave (HHFW) heating at longer wavelengths and during start-up and plasma current ramp-up has now been obtained by lowering the edge density with lithium wall conditioning, thereby moving the critical density for perpendicular fast-wave propagation away from the vessel wall. Lithium conditioning allowed significant HHFW core electron heating of deuterium neutral beam injection (NBI) fuelled H-mode plasmas to be observed for the first time. Large edge localized modes were observed immediately after the termination of rf power. Visible and infrared camera images show that fast wave interactions can deposit considerable rf energy on the outboard divertor. HHFW-generated parametric decay instabilities were observed to heat ions in the plasma edge and may be the cause for a measured drag on edge toroidal rotation during HHFW heating. A significant enhancement in neutron rate and fast-ion profile was measured in NBI-fuelled plasmas when HHFW heating was applied. © 2010 American Institute of Physics.