Analysis of time-of-arrival observations performed during ELF/VLF wave generation experiments at HAARP



[1] Modulated high frequency (HF) heating of the lower ionosphere in the presence of auroral electrojet currents has become an important method for generating electromagnetic waves in the extremely-low frequency (ELF) and very-low frequency (VLF) bands. Recent research efforts focus on improving the efficiency of ELF/VLF wave generation. One method to do so involves the spatial mapping of modulated currents that result from HF heating for comparison with HF heating models. As a first step toward providing a spatial map of the modulated ionospheric currents, we introduce time-of-arrival (TOA) observations performed during a series of experimental research campaigns conducted at the High-frequency Active Auroral Research Program (HAARP) in Gakona, Alaska. The TOA method provides a measurement of the ELF/VLF amplitude and phase detected at a ground-based receiver as a function of time, and this information may be used to estimate the distribution of ELF/VLF source currents within the HF heated region. In an effort to test and improve the TOA method, the University of Florida conducted ELF/VLF wave generation experiments using the HAARP HF transmitter under varying ionospheric conditions and using various transmission formats. In this paper, we summarize our experimental results and compare observations with the predictions of a theoretical model.