Radio tomography is a technique for generating images of the spatial structure of ionospheric electron density over a wide area. This paper assesses the potential use of radio tomography in HF oblique propagation and ray tracing applications. Synthetic ionograms produced by ray tracing through tomographic images and ionospheric models have been compared with experimental oblique ionograms from six paths lying close to the image plane in the United Kingdom. In particular, study has been made of the effects of various types of input information used to constrain the vertical electron density structure in the tomographic reconstructions. It was found that use of a fine height resolution (5 km) and incorporation of information from one vertical ionosonde in the reconstruction process makes significant improvements to the overall reliability of the tomographic image. As expected, E layer propagation is better defined using a climatological model than by tomography. However, in comparison with three ionospheric models, use of tomographic images can significantly reduce the RMS error in the determination of the F2 layer maximum usable frequency.
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