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Radio Science

VLF signatures of ionospheric heating by HIPAS


  • T. F. Bell,

  • U. S. Inan,

  • M. T. Danielson,

  • S. A. Cummer


The amplitude and phase of subionospherically propagating VLF signals are known to be sensitive indicators of the electron density and temperature at D region altitudes. In this paper we present new observations at a station in Alaska positioned to provide measurements of VLF signals that have propagated beneath the ionospheric region heated by the high-power auroral stimulation (HIPAS) HF heating facility near Fairbanks, Alaska. Analysis of data from HIPAS campaigns conducted in fall 1992 and spring 1993 has shown that in roughly 60% of the cases analyzed, the amplitude of the 23.4-kHz signal from the NPM transmitter in Hawaii as observed in Fort Yukon, Alaska, exhibited a measurable change in amplitude with the same on/off modulation pattern as that of the HIPAS HF transmissions at 2.85 MHz. In almost 70% of the cases analyzed, the same signal exhibited similar measurable changes in phase. The amplitude changes ranged from −0.2 dB to +0.5 dB, and the sensitivity of the measurement was approximately ± 0.02 dB. The phase changes ranged from −4.5° to −0.3°, and the sensitivity of the measurement was typically ± 0.4°. It is demonstrated that the phase and amplitude changes can be used as diagnostic tools to determine characteristics of the ambient electron density profile above the HIPAS facility.

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