Sunrise effects on VLF signals propagating over a long north-south path


  • Mark A. Clilverd,

  • Neil R. Thomson,

  • Craig J. Rodger


We present a detailed study of the times of amplitude minima observed on the 12-Mm path from NAA (24 kHz, 1 MW, Cutler, Maine) to Faraday, Antarctica, during the period 1990–1995. (NAA is a naval transmitter call sign.) This study represents the first account of the effect of the sunrise terminator when it is parallel to a propagation path at some times of the year. Since the NAA-Faraday path is within 3° of the north-south meridian, parallel orientation happens close to the equinoxes, while the maximum angle of incidence occurs during the solstices. During the solstices the terminator takes a significant length of time to cross the entire propagation path, so modal conversion effects are observed over a range of hours. During the equinoxes, however, the leading edge of the night-day transition region crosses the whole propagation path within 20 min. The interpretation of the timing of minima is consistent with modal conversion taking place as the sunrise terminator crosses the NAA-Faraday transmission path at specific, consistent locations. The timing of minima is remarkably consistent from year to year. Long wave propagation modeling is used to show that the location of nightside minima at an altitude of 45–75 km in the subionospheric waveguide represents the location of the sunrise terminator on the great circle path when dayside minima occur.