|An Overview of Oblique Soundings from Chirp Ionosondes
|Year of Conference
|Sami, S, Frissell, NA, West, MLou, Joshi, DRaj, Vierinen, J
|HamSCI Workshop 2022
An ionospheric sounder, typically known as an ionosonde, is a radar device which is used to make observations of the ionized layer of the Earth’s upper atmosphere known as the ionosphere. The ionosonde works by transmitting high frequency (HF, 3-30 MHz) radio waves and observing the time delay of the ionospheric echoes. Ionosondes play an especially crucial role in our understanding both ionospheric dynamics and how radio wave propagation is impacted by the ionosphere. The data from an ionosonde is displayed in a type of plot known as an ionogram. A chirp ionosonde is a type of ionospheric sounder that produces ionograms by transmitting an HF signal that changes linearly in frequency with time. Conventional chirp ionosondes are used in a vertical sounding mode, in which signals are transmitted directly up to the ionosphere. This allows for measurements of electron density as a function of height for the bottomside ionosphere. Chirp ionosondes may also be used in an oblique sounding configuration, in which the transmitter and receiver are separated by a significant geographic distance. While the measurements of an oblique sounder are more complicated to interpret than a vertical sounder, a single transmitter can be used simultaneously by receivers in many different locations, thus allowing for a cost-effective increase in the number of ionospheric sampling points. The HamSCI Personal Space Weather Station plans to take advantage of this fact by using signals-of-opportunity from the global network of pre-existing chirp ionosonde transmitters. In this presentation, we give a brief overview of chirp ionosondes and their uses in studying ionospheric dynamics.