Excitation of the earth's ionosphere by delta function current sheets is considered, and the temporal and spatial evolution of wave packets is analyzed for a two-component collisional F2 layer. Approximations of an inverse Fourier-Laplace transform via saddle point methods provide plots of typical wave packets. These illustrate cold plasma wave theory and may be used as a diagnostic tool since it is possible to relate specific features, e.g., the frequency of a modulation envelope, to plasma parameters such as the electron cyclotron frequency. It is also possible to deduce the propagation path length and orientation of a remote radio beacon.
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