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Penetration of the Ionosphere by Very-Low-Frequency Radio Signals-Interim Results of the LOFTI I Experiment

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4 Author(s)
Leiphart, J.P. ; Radio Div., U. S. Naval Research Lab., Washington, D.C. ; Zeek, R.W. ; Bearce, L.S. ; Toth, E.

LOFTI I is the first of a series of Navy satellite experiments designed for determination of the degree and extent of very-low-frequency (VLF) radio wave penetration of the ionosphere. This investigation has provided unique data on intensity, time delay, echoes, and other characteristics of VLF signals received in the ionosphere from transmitters on the Earth's surface. Theoretical studies carried on concurrently with planning and implementation of the experiment have indicated that VLF radio energy from transmitters operating below the lower atmosphere-ionosphere interface should appear in the ionosphere in useful amount. The LOFTI I telemetry records show relatively strong signals in the ionosphere from 18-kc transmitters on the terrestrial surface. The signals were attenuated less at night and appeared as far away as Australia, 10,000 miles from the transmitter. Statistical treatment of the data so far reduced shows that the attenuation of magnetic field intensity of the 18-kc time pulses from Naval Radio Station NBA, as measured near extreme line of sight distances to the north of the station, was less than 13 db 50 per cent of the time at night and less than 38 db 50 per cent of the time during the daylight hours. The data studied so far shows very little effect of altitude on signal intensity, an observation which agrees with the theoretical treatment based on a model ionosphere.

Published in:

Proceedings of the IRE  (Volume:50 ,  Issue: 1 )