Radio Science

Ionospheric sounding in support of over-the-horizon radar


  • B. W. Reinisch,

  • D. M. Haines,

  • K. Bibl,

  • I. Galkin,

  • X. Huang,

  • D. F. Kitrosser,

  • G. S. Sales,

  • J. L. Scali


Precise coordinate registration for HF over-the-horizon (OTH) radar applications requires accurate knowledge of the ionospheric structure. In the mid-1980s Digisonde 256 systems were deployed in the American sector to provide this information from strategically located sites via telephone lines to the user. The mid-1990s saw the development of a new advanced system, the Digisonde portable sounder, or DPS, now being deployed in Australia in support of the Australian OTH radar system. A summary of the new features provided by the DPS is as follows: low radio frequency power (300 W); narrow transmission bandwidth; advanced automatic scaling; and control and data access via the Internet. The availability of real-time electron density profiles as function of time from a network of stations makes it possible to calculate the three-dimensional electron density distribution in the region of interest using Fourier transform techniques. The resulting density maps are the basis for the OTH radar coordinate registration. The DPS uses Doppler interferometry to determine the development of ionospheric irregularities.