Radio Science

Analysis of direction-of-arrival aliasing for MF/HF Doppler-sorted interferometry measurements of ionospheric drift


  • M. L. Parkinson,

  • P. L. Dyson,

  • P. R. Smith


The determination of accurate direction of arrival (DOA) of echoes is paramount when performing Doppler-sorted interferometry (DSI) at MF/HF to measure the drift of ionospheric plasma. Important factors affecting the accuracy include inadequate signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) and coherency of ionospheric echoes. As the SNR deteriorates, there is an increase in the errors in the phases measured at the individual antennas of an array, and this leads to ambiguities in DOA equivalent to directional aliasing. In this paper we model this effect, the effects of Doppler-frequency aliasing, and the finite resolution of Doppler spectra. We thereby show the importance for vertical incident sounders of rejecting echoes with large off-vertical angles, and the choice of appropriate signal-processing parameters for the accurate estimation of ionospheric motions. As an example, we consider the situation for vertical incident ionosondes and show that a low SNR can produce spurious echoes at relatively large zenith angles, which can, however, be avoided or minimized by the suitable choice of operating parameters.