Effect of aperture averaging upon tropospheric phase fluctuations seen with a radio antenna


  • Roger P. Linfield


The spectrum of tropospheric phase fluctuations expected for a radio antenna at timescales <100 s on a space to ground link has been calculated. A new feature included in these calculations is the effect of aperture averaging, which causes a reduction in delay fluctuations on timescales less than the antenna wind speed crossing time, ∼D/(8 m/s) (D is the antenna diameter). On timescales less than a few seconds, the Allan deviation σyt) ∝ (Δt)+1, rather than σyt) ∝ (Δt)−1/6 without aperture averaging. Calibration of tropospheric phase fluctuations with water vapor radiometers will not be possible on timescales less than ∼10 s, due to thermal radiometer noise. However, the tropospheric fluctuation level will be small enough that phase measurements on timescales less than a few seconds will be limited by the stability of frequency standards and/or other nontropospheric effects.