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An investigation of the feasibility of utilizing GPS/TEC “signatures” for near-real time forecasting of auroral-E propagation at high-HF and low-VHF frequencies

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4 Author(s)
Hunsucker, R.D. ; RP Consultants, Fairbanks, AK, USA ; Coker, C. ; Cook, J. ; Lott, G.

VHF propagation on ⩽5300 km polar paths has been documented during the maximum phase of sunspot cycle 19. Mode analysis on these polar paths has shown that auroral-E ionization (AEI) supported some modes. Electron densities and plasma frequencies which could support AEI modes at frequencies up to 46 MHz have also been measured. Long distance VHF propagation from AEI has also been reported by radio amateurs using frequencies in the 2 m band in a “sidescatter mode”. An AEI experiment has been in operation between Wales (Alaska) and Fairbanks (Alaska) where a 75-watt CW transmitter located in Wales transmits the Morse letter “R” every 5 s, and a receiver in Fairbanks detects the 25.5 MHz signal whenever AEI is present near the midpoint of the 960 km path. Another experiment is underway using a GPS total electron content (TEC) receiving station at Fairbanks also using AEI data from the Wales-Fairbanks experiment. From this, the authors examine 58 passes of GPS satellites whose E-layer penetration points lie close to the midpoint of the Wales-Fairbanks path and find that there is a threshold value of TEC above which auroral-E (AE) propagation occurs. They also find that AEI propagation is strongly correlated with large- and medium-scale E-region structures in TEC determined by the GPS measurements. When TEC ionospheric structures are not present near the Wales-Fairbanks path midpoint, no AEI signal is received. The authors tentatively conclude that the occurrence of these specific TEC signatures may be utilized as predictors of AEI forward propagation on paths within and parallel to the auroral oval

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Antennas and Propagation, IEEE Transactions on  (Volume:43 ,  Issue: 11 )