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Modelling of transionospheric HF radio wave propagation for the ISIS II and ePOP satellites



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The enhanced Polar Outflow Probe (ePOP) satellite is to be launched in 2007. One of the 8 instruments it will carry is a Radio Receiver Instrument (RRI) which is a passive radio receiver. The RRI will detect HF (High Frequency band 3 to 30 MHz) radio waves from ground transmitters, one of which is the Saskatoon SuperDARN radar. The modification of an HF radar wave as it propagates through the ionosphere to the satellite is the dominant scientific interest of this thesis. The modification of a radar wave as it propagates through the ionosphere can be used to characterize the ionosphere and reveal a better understanding of magnetoionic radar wave propagation. A ray tracing program has been written to determine characteristics of the wave, including the wave path and the full polarization state, at the satellite receiver. As a confirmation of the ray tracing program abilities, data from a similar transionospheric experiment in 1978, the ISIS II satellite mission, has been analyzed and compared with simulated results. The ISIS II transionospheric experiment received radar signals from a transmitter (9.303 MHz) located in Ottawa, Canada. These signals were analyzed and it was noted that the signal periodically faded in and out both due to differential Faraday rotation effects (due to propagation through an ionized medium and reception on a single dipole antenna) and due to satellite spin rotation at rates up to 13 Hz. Also observed was a splitting of the received signal into Ordinary (O-mode) and Extraordinary (X-mode) components causing a delay between the arrival of the modes at ISIS II of up to 0.8 ms. Simulations have been carried out to model the radar wave propagation from the ground transmitter through the ionized medium of the ionosphere to the spacecraft. The modelled signal shows very similar trends to the observed signal. A linear regression analysis comparing observed to simulated fade rates gave values of slope equal to 1.07 and regression coefficient equal to 0.934. The regression analysis of mode delay gave values of slope equal to 1.14 and regression coefficient equal to 0.930. Ray path modelling has also been simulated for the RRI experiment on ePOP. These simulations have been carried out for various ionospheric and satellite pass configurations. The expected fade rates, mode delays, and latitudinal range of received signal was determined from the simulated data in each case. The dependence of these characteristics on the various pass configurations are presented and discussed.



ISIS, ePOP, satellite, radio, transionospheric propagation



Master of Science (M.Sc.)


Physics and Engineering Physics


Physics and Engineering Physics


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