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It is shown for both rough and undulating surfaces that the mean radio power reflected by the ionosphere averaged over a sufficiently long time is exactly the same as for a smooth flat surface at the same height provided the sounder is equally sensitive for echoes from all directions. When making radio wave absorption measurements under spread conditions the total integrated power over the whole time the direct echoes are being received must be used but the distance attenuation factor must be calculated from the time of arrival of the first echo.